By Melanie Votaw
Photos by Melanie Votaw and New Orleans Hotel Collection
AUDUBON COTTAGES NEW ORLEANS
509 Dauphine Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70112
It’s unusual to find an accommodation like Audubon Cottages in the center of a city. More than a luxury hotel; it consists of seven cottages in historic buildings in the French Quarter. The block where the cottages are located is quiet for the French Quarter, but when you’re ready for the noise, Bourbon Street is fewer than five minutes on foot.
As a New York City apartment dweller, it was nice to have two floors in my Cottage #4. The living area was on the ground floor with a couch, television, dining area, sink, and drawer freezer and refrigerator with a built-in ice-maker. Complimentary bottled water and sodas were in my frig, and there was a Keurig coffee and tea maker for hot drinks.
Up the stairs were two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom and walk-in shower. Both bedrooms had Queen-sized beds and a balcony overlooking the courtyard and pool. The hallway between the bedrooms contained two large closets with their own safes and waffle cotton bath robes and slippers.
The best part of my cottage, however, was the large private courtyard that contained plants, a fountain, and two tables with an umbrella. I was there in December, so it was a bit cold to eat outdoors, but I’m sure it’s a lovely option during the warmer months. A generous continental breakfast was delivered to my cottage in the morning, and French Quarter butler service was available to me for any other needs. (I also appreciated the free WiFi and complimentary local telephone calls.)
Cottage #4 is supposed to be haunted by a country music-playing Confederate soldier. I didn’t see or hear him while I was there, but I was told others have spied him on the balcony of the second floor of the cottage.
In the center of all of the cottages is an outdoor, heated, saltwater pool, which is believed to be the oldest pool in New Orleans. I loved its brick setting and the plants that lined the inner walls of the pool area.
Newly renovated, Audubon Cottages has been a favorite of the famous both in the past and in the present. Elizabeth Taylor has stayed there, and current Broadway and television stars Patti LuPone and Sutton Foster stayed there while performing in town. The property is named after naturalist and painter John James Audubon, who stayed in Cottage #1 while he completed his Birds of America series from 1821-1822. Cottage #7 served as his studio.
Cottage #1 and Cottage #7 share a courtyard, which must have been perfect for Audubon. Cottage #1 has two bedrooms – one a king and one a queen, while Cottage #7 is a one-bedroom suite with a king bed.
Cottage #2 also has two bedrooms – both with king-sized beds. The bathroom in the master bedroom has a Jacuzzi tub and double sinks. The dining area seats four, and it has its own private courtyard.
Cottage #3 is another two-bedroom suite with king beds, and one of the bedrooms includes a brick faux fireplace. It also has its own private courtyard with a fountain and is the cottage where Elizabeth Taylor stayed more than once during her visits to New Orleans.
Cottage #5 is also a two-bedroom suite with one king-sized bed and one queen-sized bed, each room with its own bath. It has a faux fireplace, French doors, and a crystal chandelier. The courtyard is shared with Cottage #6.
Cottage #6 is a one-bedroom suite with a king bed. Some people book both #5 and #6 in order to have three bedrooms with a shared courtyard.
All of the cottages include 42-inch flat-screen televisions, stereo alarm clock radios with iPod/iPhone docking stations, hair dryers, and in-room safes. Turndown service is offered each night.
The buildings were constructed in the late 18th century after two fires destroyed most of New Orleans. It would be a great place for a wedding party or a honeymoon because you would have much more privacy than you have in a hotel atmosphere.
Hotels are great, but there’s something special about having your own building, especially in a location that is so convenient to the action. I’d stay at Audubon Cottages again in a heartbeat.
© February 2014 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.