New Orleans. My home, my soul. If you are from here, you wear it with a badge of honor. If you’re not, you wish you were. New Orleans is a place to be when you want to find yourself, find value in culture, and become reacquainted with yourself after indulging in its unique cuisine. Because after you’ve pulled up a chair in somebody’s mama’s kitchen, they undoubtedly fed you so good, you forget who you are. Not to mention, you instantly feel a sense of home and basically become a cousin.
When I started this journey of becoming a lifestyle blogger/influencer, I knew I wanted to share all of the hidden gems of my city…you know the places where us natives like to frequent. Because I have a strong passion for local businesses, I make it a part of my lifestyle to support the talent of entrepreneurs that give meaning to this place we call home. So when I was invited to stay overnight for a little staycation at the St. James Hotel, I knew that it would be more than I could imagine. There’s just something about hospitality in New Orleans. But, to experience it at a New Orleans boutique hotel, you set yourself up for a level of service that you’ll crave during any of your travels.
I’ve driven past this hotel a million times.. ok, maybe not a million, but a lot! It’s one of those boutique hotels that seems hidden in a secret garden. But finally, it was time to go beyond just passing by, I was about to become a part of the experience. Upon my arrival, I was greeted by an extremely accommodating and welcoming man in valet. His infectious smile and attitude set the tone for my stay…you know that smile that says, “welcome home.” He took my bags, ushered me out of the heat, and made sure I got some refreshing water from the lobby. I figured if the treatment that I received began with valet, I was anxious to see how else they could possibly top that! The front desk agent was equally charming! As she checked me in, she provided a little fun fact about the hotel mentioning that it was a union hospital during the Civil War. Interesting right? So far, they provide extraordinary service and some impromptu Nola education! Winning! Like a lot of New Orleaneans, I could feel the pride she took in her job. She went on to list the nearby bars and restaurants and she made sure to let me know I was in walking distance to the French Quarter. When she handed me my room key, she smiled and said, “welcome home.” Ok team St. James Hotel! I’m here for it!
After entering my suite, I was beyond impressed by the décor, size, and view. The St James is an 84 room boutique hotel that was built in 1833 and originally meant to be a meeting place for local merchants and tradesmen to conduct business. Therefore, when I opened the door, I was pleasantly surprised with my spacious setting. I assumed since it was built in 1833 the rooms would be more quaint than spacious. Lesson learned: Don’t assume. I fell in love with room 403 for a couple of reasons:
- The exposed beams gave the room a rustic feel. With all of its West Indies charm, I instantly wanted to lose myself in a good book and sip on some good coffee.
- The warm tones of the room offered this charismatic sincerity that opened an invitation to the perfect place to sleep in on a cold winter’s day.
Did I mention my private balcony? Oh, just another spot for me to sip coffee!
Once I got settled in my room, I decided to do some exploring throughout the hotel. During my touring adventure, it spoke volumes and meant a lot to me that the hotel staff greeted me by name during each interaction. In a Beyoncé kind of way, I blushed every time I heard them say “Heyyy Mrs. Carter… I mean Mrs. Wiley.” Ok, after snapping out of that Beehive moment, I took a walk outside to get close and personal with the courtyard. Feeling like I was in an enchanted place, I immediately had the thoughts "a good cup of morning coffee would be great here"… well if it wasn’t 95 degrees. Just thinking about that created some hot flashes! Thank goodness my next stop was the pool. Again, super cute area, but super small too. So don’t go expecting to do laps, but it can definitely serve for some great shots to share on the gram!
While I was out and about, I opted to walk next door to make a dinner reservation for the hubby and I (who had not arrived yet). Because in true New Orleans fashion, we always make time to eat! Lucky me, Chophouse is connected to the hotel, and this restaurant had been on my must-visit list too! Although the hotel staff insisted on making my arrangements, I ensured them that it was ok as I really wanted to do a quick preliminary visit. Haha. After making my reservations, I went back to my room to take a beauty nap before dinner.
I cannot believe it took me so long to make this dining encounter a reality! AlI I could say was “Wow!” The food, wait staff, live band playing, and the romantic ambiance totally fit the storyline of my staycation. The steak and crab cocktail left lasting impressions on my husband and I…, and while I sit here fantasizing about that crab cocktail, you can bet I’ll be back! Oh, and dinner wouldn’t be dinner without a dessert nightcap. So thank you Palace Café for that ridiculously, mouth-watering Banana’s Foster. Just know that the presentation will blow your mind.
Well, that’s close to all folks. We walked back to the hotel and turned in early… because this staycation did not involve kids and as parents, we seldom get to share the same sleep schedule. Not to mention, I really looked forward to my morning on the balcony. Sipping my coffee and eating my warm Croissants that the hotel delivers to your room for breakfast every morning. You know this made it hard to go back to real life! Everyone that I’ve encountered that works at the St. James Hotel have made me feel like a cousin, So as a new family member, I felt even more proud watching them interact and share their knowledge with other guests!
As I reflected on my remarkable stay, I just wanted you to know that this local magical happenstance is a place to discover your Nola, Whether you’re a local, tourist, or transplant, I encourage you to get to know the St. James Hotel. I wanted an experience, and they delivered. I couldn’t have asked for anything better, and you can always ASK me anything about my stay…. because, well, ….#TraceyKnows.