10 Reasons to Stay at the Hotel St. Marie, a Historic Boutique Hotel in the New Orleans French Quarter
The French Quarter is one of the most exciting neighborhoods in the country, if not the world, with attractions like Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, and the French Market. There are so many fun things to do in the Quarter! Here are our top reasons to stay at the Hotel St. Marie.
1. Old-World Charm With Modern Amenities
At Hotel St. Marie, we indulge our guests with a classic French Quarter atmosphere, but with all of the modern amenities you’d expect in a big-city hotel. Inside, Hotel St. Marie serves up classic French Quarter atmosphere with its European-style decor and luxurious touches like chandeliers and period paintings. The meticulously restored exterior is lined with wrought-iron balconies. Several of our guest rooms feature balconies that overlook the always-exciting streets of the French Quarter, while others offer a relaxing view of the lush tropical courtyard and the saltwater pool.
2. Proximity to the French Quarter Attractions
Hotel St. Marie is close to many great local sights, sounds, activities, and places to go. It’s only half a block away from the party-central Bourbon Street, which is home to unique bars, restaurants and shops, some historic. It’s also a mere four blocks from the iconic Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral. Flanked on both sides by the Cabildo and thePresbytère, both Louisiana State Museums, the Cathedral is the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic Cathedral in the United States, and one of the most instantly recognizable buildings in the world, its famous steeples showing up on many a postcard and in quite a few films.
You can check out the Cathedral’s stunning interior during its hours of operation, and attend a mass or a music concert. If passing by, depending on time of day, you may get to hear its bell, catch a brass band playing outside, or witness an occasional wedding party spilling out of the Cathedral, followed by a second line.
On Jackson Square, you’ll find local vendors selling art, psychics and tarot card readers, street performers, and tons of great live music. Known since the 18th century as Place d’Armes, it was renamed in honor of Andrew Jackson following the 1815 Battle of New Orleans. Jackson’s bronze statue is the focal point of the square, surrounded by the lavish flora and facing the Mississippi River. Carriage rides are offered in front of the square.
Just across the Square is the French Market. Founded in 1791 as a Native American trading post, it has been operating since, making it the oldest public market in the country. Similar in structure to a traditional European market, this open-air mall covers roughly five blocks, from Cafe du Monde on Decatur St. across from Jackson Square to the daily flea market at the end of Esplanade Avenue. Many retail shops and restaurants surround it in every direction. The flea market area hosts dozens of local artisans, plus vendors from all over the world. You’ll find souvenirs, handmade masks and jewelry, t-shirts, music, and more. Stop by the food vendors to get a quick bite and an edible souvenir to take home.
There are also many other attractions, historic buildings, museums, and entertainment venues to see, all within walking distance or by cab, streetcar, or bicycle. Just blocks from the hotel are the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas with the IMAX Theater, the Riverfront along the Mississippi River, and, on the Canal Street side, the Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium.
On the other side of the French Quarter, toward Esplanade Avenue, is the Old Ursuline Convent. Built in 1752, which makes it the oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley and the oldest surviving example of the French colonial period in the country, circa Louis XV, the building has first served as a convent for the Ursuline nuns, and then, as centuries ticked on, it had been, at some point: a school, an archbishop’s and priests’ residence, archdiocesan offices/archives, and is now part of the Catholic Cultural Heritage Center of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Its museum is open for self-guided tours.
3. Music Everywhere
The French Quarter has music coming out of its many doors and street corners, 24/7. You can enjoy it for free by just walking around and running into street performances, have it with your brunch, dinner or happy hour, or dance till dawn at New Orleans’ numerous live music venues. From Dixieland to jazz to zydeco, you can hear it all in one night, all within walking distance. Places like Jackson Square and the pedestrian-only part ofRoyal Street are the main destinations for street performances (free, though donations are welcome; and often excellent).
Some of the best live music venues are also located in and near the French Quarter, including the legendary Bourbon Street’s Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub, the Jazz Playhouse, the Musical Legends Park, and Maison Bourbon, an old-school jazz club with a courtyard and a big balcony.
Don’t miss the elegant Bombay Club as it has live music nightly and the largest selection of martinis in the city. The One Eyed Jack’s hosts everything from touring bands to burlesque, and the heavy-hitter House of Blues is a go-to to see the headliners and nationally touring acts.
Just past Esplanade Avenue and venturing in the adjacent neighborhood of the Marigny, you’ll end up on Frenchmen Street, which is peppered with clubs and restaurants featuring live music, plus a fair amount of street performances. There, you can easily lose yourself in the magic and dance until dawn.
4. Great Choice for Summer Vacations
Looking for family-friendly summer excitement for all ages? Come experience all of the fun happening in the summer in New Orleans. A city whose motto is “laissez les bon temps rouler,” or “let the good times roll,” certainly knows how to show visitors an unforgettable time. However, while New Orleans may be famous for its debauchery and world-class partying, it is also a city that prioritizes family life at every turn. Though summers here tend to be hot and humid, it’s still a good time to visit if you want a chill vibe and fewer crowds. There are also quite a few food and music festivals that happen over the summer (see below).
And, did we mention Hotel St. Marie’s saltwater pool? The pool is tucked away in private tropical courtyard, surrounded by beautiful brick walls, fountains, and lush greenery. What makes the pool at Hotel St. Marie stand apart from the many other hotel pools in the city is that it’s handicap-accessible and especially kid-friendly, at 4.5 feet at its deepest.
Built for lounging, the pool area and the landscaped courtyard with patio seating can surely put you in a vacation mode. You can grab a cocktail or a bite to eat from Vacherie Restaurant & Bar located inside the hotel, and enjoy either poolside. Vacherie is three in one: the cafe is a convenient, on-the-go option for a snack or a quick sandwich; the full bar offers artfully crafted drinks (and the daily happy hour 3-7 p.m., with $5 deals on food and drinks); and the restaurant is great for elegant yet low-key dining-in.
5. You’ll Be Near Festivals All Year Round
Spring is peak festival season in New Orleans, but there are festivals going on all year round, many either within walking distance or a short cab, bike, or streetcar ride away. Depending on when Easter falls, Mardi Gras day can occasionally extend into March. But even when it doesn’t, locals have barely recovered from Carnival when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, which is marked by several raucous parades.
On the heels of St. Patrick’s comes St. Joseph’s Day, when many local Catholic churches and private homes build elaborate altars laden with food to honor St. Joseph, and pass out lucky beans to people seeking his blessing. Come nightfall on St. Joseph’s, Mardi Gras Indians hit the backstreets in spectacular hand-beaded suits and feathers to strut for the locals and visitors eager to catch a glimpse.
March goes out like a lion with a cacophony of ear-blasting yells of “STELLA!!!” and “STANLEY!!!” during the Stella & Stanley Shouting Contest that marks the end of the annual Tennessee Williams Literary Festival.
Festival season kicks into high gear in April, when live music takes center stage throughout the entire month. Freret Street Festival Uptown jumpstarts the action the first Saturday of April with three music stages and hundreds of food, drink and craft vendors.
May comes with the Bayou Boogaloo along the picturesque banks of the Bayou St. John in Mid-City, the Greek Fest in Lakeview, and rolls into summer with the New Orleans Oyster Festival, the French Market’s free two-day Creole Tomato Festival, and the Louisiana Cajun-Zydeco Festival (also free, and also within walking distance from the hotel). Summer kicks in with the fireworks over the Mississippi River with the Independence Day celebrations, and the star-studded (and packed) Essence Festival.
Later in July, craft-cocktail aficionados belly up to the bar for Tales of the Cocktail, which draws celeb mix-meisters from around the globe and includes spirited walking pub crawls throughout the Quarter. Then it’s time for the annual Running of the Bulls, when Big Easy Roller Girls don horns and wield paddles as they chase their human prey around the Quarter.
August kicks off its first weekend with two simultaneous festivals. Music lovers make a beeline for Satchmo SummerFest, held at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint, while art mavens don their best summer whites and throng to Julia Street for White Linen Night (or its cheeky cousin, Dirty Linen Night, held the following weekend).
Guys and gals alike don their prettiest ruby frocks and hit the streets the second Saturday of August for the annual Red Dress Run, which raises money for charity by allowing grown men and women to act silly and get giddy for good causes.
Throughout the month of August, foodies can graze on prix fixe gourmet cuisine at the city’s top restaurants during COOLinary New Orleans. Then it’s all hands on deck for the fabulous 24/7 Southern Decadence festival over Labor Day weekend, when anything and everything goes.
Ready for more? From Halloween to the festivals that celebrate pretty much every type of food found in Louisiana (and some drinks too), fall in New Orleans means a full calendar of festivities, not to mention the perfect weather come October.
Food fests continue with a vengeance in November. The enviable lineup includes Oak Street Po-Boy Festival Uptown, the expanded Fête des Fromages at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, Tremé Creole Gumbo Festival, and Emeril Lagasse’s celebrity chef-studded fundraiser, Boudin, Bourbon & Beer.
Then November kicks into high gear with the winter holidays, starting with Bayou Classic, and the Thanksgiving Day opening at the Fair Ground Race Course, fabulous hats and all.
New Orlenians know the holidays are just around the corner when the beloved Celebration in the Oaks at the City Park opens its doors on the Thanksgiving weekend and through December. The 25 acres of the City Park, including the Botanical Garden, Storyland, and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park are swathed in hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights, and the holiday spirit is upon us.
Before you know it, it’s the winter holidays, with Christmas and New Year’ Eve celebrations with the levee bonfires, caroling, fireworks, and Reveillon dinners. Then, boom, it’s Mardi Gras time, kicking off each year with three parades on Twelfth Night on January 6.
6. The French Quarter Fest Will Be Outside the Door
French Quarter Festival, a free music extravaganza that takes over the entire Quarter in mid-April with over 20 stages of local music from traditional jazz to zydeco, has become the city’s biggest magnet for out-of-town visitors. In fact, the French Quarter Festival is the largest free musical event in the South!
Music stages are placed throughout the French Quarter during this four-day celebration of culture, food, and music, featuring hundreds of musical acts in genres including traditional and contemporary jazz, rhythm and blues, Cajun and zydeco, New Orleans funk, classical, swing, rock, and international sounds from all over the globe.
7. Jazz Fest Is Only a Short Ride Away
Many of the city’s visitors also stick around for the city’s other major music event: the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which celebrated its 50th birthday in 2019.
Held at the New Orleans Fair Grounds for two consecutive four-day weekends at the end of April and beginning of May, Jazz Fest remains a mecca for music lovers from around the world, and features national headliners along with a bounty of local New Orleans and Louisiana musicians. While the epicenter is at the Fair Grounds, Fest-related live shows abound at clubs throughout the city and spill into the streets almost anywhere you go. To get to the fest from Hotel St. Marie, hop on a bike or bus (or walk, if you’re up for it), or take a cab, Uber or Lyft to the Fair Grounds, located in Mid-City.
8. Family-Friendly Fun Awaits Just Round the Corner
New Orleans may be known as “an adult playground,” which it certainly is on Bourbon St. But it’s also one of the kid-friendliest cities in the country. From its laid-back, relaxed vibe to its walkability and warm weather, New Orleans is the perfect destination spot for families from all over the world. As a family, you can explore the local tours, visit the famous above-ground cemeteries, and shop and eat to your heart’s content.
Throughout the year, youngsters can explore the animal kingdom at the Audubon Zoo, get buggy at the Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium, or immerse themselves in the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. They can ride flying horses and visit Storyland at Carousel Gardens Amusement Park in City Park, or get up close and personal with the interactive exhibits at the Louisiana Children’s Museum, which moved from Julia St. to City Park in 2019.
Most New Orleans festivals, especially the food-centric ones, are kid-friendly, and there’s tons of stuff to do for them during Halloween, including catching throws at the Krewe of Boo parade, and Christmas (the NOLA ChristmasFest at the Convention Center is not to be missed if you have young children).
9. Some of the Best Bars and Restaurants in the World Are Within Walking Distance
10. Local Shopping Is Like Treasure Hunting
Sure, we have our share of retail chains, but the French Quarter also boasts some of the truly unique stores where you can find treasures specific to New Orleans. Whether you’re looking for a NOLA-centric souvenir or a dog costume, or want to take some pralines or a bottle of Louisiana hot sauce home, you can find it all within walking distance from the hotel. This also includes the small local boutiques that pepper Chartres Street, and the impressive vintage stores, galleries, and antique shops so abundant on Royal Street.
The Hotel St. Marie Guarantee
The historic Hotel St. Marie invites you to plan your French Quarter escape. Take advantage of our discounted weekday rates and special offers, and receive even deeper discounts when you prepay in advance. If you find lower rates on your Hotel St. Marie room at the time of booking we will match that rate! Check availability for your travel dates and book your stay online. If you prefer to speak with one of our reservation agents, please give us a call at (800) 366-2743. We’d love to have you, and we hope you have a great visit!