Last Updated on June 10, 2023
It’s charming. It’s historic. It’s in an ideal location. And it has a carousel bar. An honest-to-goodness rotating carousel bar.
Hotel Monteleone is one of my favorite places to stay in New Orleans. Located on Royal Street in the French Quarter, this lovely historic hotel is only one block from famous Bourbon Street and a 10-minute stroll to the banks of the mighty Mississippi River.
History of the Hotel Monteleone New Orleans
The family-owned and operated property was built in 1886 in the Beaux-Arts architectural style with quite the eclectic flair. Hotel Monteleone is a historic landmark and a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Antonio Monteleone, an Italian immigrant, originally opened the hotel as a 64-room establishment, and over the years, it has undergone several expansions and renovations. The most significant occurred in 1908 when a 10-story addition was constructed, increasing the hotel’s capacity to over 500 rooms. The addition was designed by prominent New Orleans architect, Albert Weiblen.
Though currently the hotel has 570 guest rooms, including 50 suites, you wouldn’t know it’s this large due to a much smaller, boutique hotel feel.
Throughout its history, the Hotel Monteleone has been a gathering place for artists, writers, and literary figures. It has been referred to as the “Grand Dame of the French Quarter” and has welcomed many notable guests, including Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Truman Capote, and Eudora Welty. Tennessee Williams even mentioned the hotel in his play “The Rose Tattoo.”
Famous Carousel Bar
Hotel Monteleone is renowned for its famous rotating Carousel Bar. Installed in the 1940s, it features a large circular counter that slowly revolves, giving patrons a constantly changing view of the surroundings. The bar turns on 2,000 large steel rollers pulled by a chain powered from a one-quarter horsepower motor at a constant rate of one revolution every 15 minutes.
The Carousel Bar has become an iconic symbol of the hotel and remains a popular attraction for visitors. Even those not staying at the hotel know that this is one of the must-do stops in the city.
The Carousel Bar was designed and installed by local craftsman Paul Ninas, who was inspired by the original Merry-Go-Round that was on the hotel’s location before the hotel was built. Though the bar has undergone renovations over the years, it has managed to retain its charm and unique character.
The bar features 25 seats adorned with luxurious, vibrant upholstery, giving it an elegant, throwback feel. Patrons can enjoy a wide selection of cocktails, including classic New Orleans drinks like the Sazerac and the Vieux Carré (old square).
Due to its extreme popularity and small number of seas, the bar gets busy, especially at peak times. But guests can also choose to sit at one of the bar’s tables surrounding the Carousel and still get a great view of the Carousel.
Hotel Monteleone, Royal Street, New Orleans, LA
Hotel Monteleone offers a luxurious array of accommodations with three types of traditional hotel rooms including preferred rooms with stunning views of the Mississippi River or the historic French Quarter.
Guests may also choose from a collection of five different suite types or select one of the highly-preferred literary suites named in honor of such renowned authors as William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, and more.
Each room type features high ceilings, crown molding, and traditional décor with a timeless touch. All guest rooms come fully equipped with modern comforts and amenities including marble and granite bathrooms and plush robes. Some rooms include a Jacuzzi Garden tub and twice daily housekeeping.
One of my favorite amenities of the hotel is the heated rooftop swimming pool. Guests can work out in the state-of-the-art fitness center or enjoy a massage at the full-service spa on site.
And you won’t want to miss the gift shop that carries some delightful Hotel Monteleone logo items.
Dining at Hotel Monteleone
Though the French Quarter has a plethora of places to dine, the hotel’s signature restaurant, Criollo, offers seasonal menus celebrating the land and sea with a focus on the bounty of the Gulf with of course, a distinct Louisiana flair.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant’s menu includes New Orleans’ culinary treasures such as beignets, gumbo, seafood bouillabaisse, and crawfish when in season.
Hotel Monteleone’s combination of elegant architecture, rich history, and prime location in the French Quarter make it a cherished institution in the city of New Orleans.
And as they say in the Big Easy “laissez les bon temps rouler” – “let the good times roll.”