A New Orleans Jewel...Discovering Hotel Monteleone

No doubt about it, New Orleans is one of the South's more fascinating city. Rich in history and tradition, nearly each street and point of interest has its own characters and stories. If you're looking for one-a-kind, then New Orleans is your place.

This sentiment extends to the Crescent City's hotels as well, like Hotel Monteleone.

If you've spent time in the French Quarter, more than likely you have either passed by or walked in the property. Situated on Royal Street (considered as the heart of the Quarter), Hotel Monteleone  has been the backdrop for several movies, television shows and books; hosted numerous luminaries (many in the literary world), is home to the famous Carousel Bar, and much more.

But all of that, along with its architecture, style and d├ęcor is only part of the story. You see, Hotel Monteleone is in a class of its own. The property is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, which is a big milestone for anything, but especially significant in the hospitality industry. It's also the only hotel in the city that has been designated both a Literary and Historic Landmark.

And yet, even in the 21st century, the property still remains family-owned.

“We are the only hotel that has been family owned and operated for four generations,” says Andrea Thornton, director of sales and marketing. “The hotel is authentic in every way, and is a great symbol of New Orleans.”

She adds, “ (It's) our staff and our guests are what make the hotel special.”

Even with all of its rich history, Hotel Monteleone is definitely in the present as well. Offering 600 guestrooms and 66 suites, amenities include a fitness center, business center, rooftop pool and Spa Aria. There's also 25,000-square feet of meeting/event space available as well. It's a property that's adaptable any type of traveler, whether family travel, romantic travel, or friend travel. It's also pet-friendly.

Back to the hotel ambiance. If you're looking for the true essence of the hotel, Thornton says consider the lobby.

“The lobby has huge chandeliers a beautiful Italian marble floor, 102 year old grandfather clock that was carved by an employee in our furniture shop, brass railings and overstuffed comfortable chairs.”

“The bellmen in their uniforms and the indentations in the marble of bellman 'posting; over the years are all part of the fabric of the hotel. When one is in the lobby, it seems that the hotel is a boutique full service hotel with a great location.”

And don't overlook the famous Carousel Bar, either.

“Others immediately think of it when they hear Hotel Monteleone,” she says. “It's a historic landmark of its own.”

Installed in 1949, the bar is a favor among locals and guests. The 25-seat bar, overlooking Royal Street with its large fan windows, turns one rotation every 15 minutes. And don't believe the rumors, it always rotates at the same speed. The bar is also home to two specialty cocktails, the Vieux Carre and The Goody.

Of course, as with any historic property come the stories and sightings of ghosts. According to the International Society of Paranormal Research, who spent days at the hotel investigating, there are over a dozen haunts (former employees and guests) still walking the halls.

Did You Know...Hotel Monteleone is home to many events throughout the year, including the 26th annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, March 21-25, 2012. It was said that Williams was a fan of the Carousel Bar and the hotel. In fact, the hotel was referenced in two of his works.