Guess what? I’m speaking at TravelCon 2020 in New Orleans! Use SPEAKER50 to get $50 off.
This summer, I did a happy dance when my blogger besties Kristin and Angie and I planned what has effortlessly become a summer reunion tradition for us. Since our first trip together to Miami, we’ve made it to Bonaire, Aruba, Orlando, Boston, and Martha’s Vineyard. This year? We were headed south.
I’m a pretty lucky girl — my first two trips to New Orleans, I was there to visit my little sister, who spent two years there teaching the cutest dang kids in Louisiana. That meant I got to experience New Orleans much like a local would, and it instilled a deep love of the city in me. It also meant I had no reason to check out the local accommodation scene, leaving me little to recommend to fellow travelers and friends.
For our big girlfriend getaway return, that all changed as I checked into Catahoula Hotel, the Big Easy’s chicest boutique hotel.
Catahoula Hotel, named after the official state dog breed of Louisiana, is located in the Central Business District — and yes, with a name like that, they allow pets (for a $75 fee.)
The Central Business District, or CBD for short, might not be the first area that comes to mind for travelers to seek accommodation in, but it’s a nice central location in the sprawling city, equidistant from the many neighborhoods one is likely to hit in even a short visit to NOLA. Within fifteen minutes you can walk to The French Quarter or the Superdome, and in less you can hit the streetcar lines.
Restored from a creole townhouse originally built in 1845, Catahoula has just 35 rooms, and no two are exactly alike. I was in a Classic Room in the back of the house, which I loved because it was quiet and dark at night when it came time to recharge for the next day’s adventures. It was fun to get to check out so many of the different spaces available — Kristin stayed in a well-appointed Premier Room while Angie lucked into the Master Bedroom, Catahoula’s most luxe offering, and one we gathered in frequently to plan our days and recap them from the lush sitting area.
All rooms featured areas of exposed brick, original windows, cloud-like king size beds, walk-in showers with rainfall shower heads, custom headboards and furniture crafted from Louisiana cypress wood, and artisanal soaps by a local boutique. Some, like mine, had balconies with outdoor seating.
Coming with a group of friends and want to crash together? Check out the original Bunk Room, which allows for up to four to share!
Regardless of which room you book, you’ll have access to Catahoula’s charming common areas, including a trendy rooftop deck, a courtyard with exposed brick, lush draping plants, and a larger-than-life mural of Nola burlesque legend Trixie Minx by local artist Walker Babington. The lobby itself feels straight out of a design catalog, and the coffee shop that converts into a pisco bar in the evenings is basically Instagram candy.
The night I checked in, before the girls arrived the next morning, Catahoula was hosting a buzzy event with live music on their rooftop terrace — check their Facebook page to see what’s going on when you’re in town.
Perhaps the greatest asset of Catahoula is it’s small but excellent bar. In the morning, the space is Catahoula Cafe, peddling luxurious coffee, beautifully arranged baked goods and a small menu of egg dishes. Just don’t walk down without your wallet — there’s no charging to the room at Catahoula (oops!) While I didn’t have the chance to grab breakfast here, Kristin was a coffee regular.
From lunch onward, that same space converts to Pisco Bar, an homage to Peruvian cocktail culture. Having become quite the pisco fan during my own three months in Peru, I was thrilled to spend an evening here. If you’ve never had a pisco sour before, by all means, have this be your first — but then move onto more creative offerings like those on the “just for fun” menu. I went for Miracle Berry Trip, which includes a small edible flower from the Amazon that alters your taste buds when you munch it halfway through the drink. What a trip, indeed!
And while the menu of small plates is limited, it is excellent — don’t miss the beet hummus.
And while you absolutely must have at least one meal or appetizers at Pisco Bar, there’s plenty else nearby. For those who love to be on foot when they travel like me, there are some excellent restaurants are within easy walking distance — Juan’s Flying Burrito, where I picked up dinner to go after a long day of travel, Willa Jean’s, a popular breakfast institution, and my favorite, The Daily Beet, a healthy cafe with swoon-worthy avocado toast and acai bowls.
Needless to say, Catahoula was perhaps my favorite find of the trip. It hit that perfect blend of modern style and historical charm, and is affordable to boot — rooms start at just $100 per night!
What fabulous boutique hotels have you stumbled upon lately?