Oak Alley Plantation, New Orleans

Gay New Orleans New Orleans City Guide

A decadently diverse mecca spurred by enduring myth and legacy in the realms of art, music, distinct cuisine and cross-cultural history, New Orleans is a Southern stunner. Layered in superstition, tradition and Cajun spice – the vestige of Spanish and French colonial roots as well as Creole, Irish and Italian immigrant influence – here you have the complex and intriguing birthplace of Jazz and the Po’boy sandwich. Driven by non-conformists and creative thinkers, New Orleans is a bright spot in the otherwise conservative Deep South, blazing the trail for social change and gay activism US-wide since the 70s. While gay and straight culture is wonderfully blurred, Lavender Line in the French Quarter is notable, not only as home to the oldest gay bar in the states, Café Lafitte’s in Exile, but also as the starting point of the annual Pride Parade. Other annual LGBT-embracing festivals include Mardi Gras, Jazz fest and Halloween. Wondering what to do in New Orleans year round? For your definitive New Orleans gay scene guide, look no further.

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The best hotels in New Orleans

Let’s start this gay New Orleans travel guide with a roundup of the best hotels in New Orleans. Opened on the edge of the Warehouse District in spring 2016, the swanky Ace Hotel occupies a beautifully restored Art Deco building whose interiors pay homage to the city’s history—painted furniture and murals evoke Louisiana’s lush landscape. The hotel has fast become a destination for everyone from creative spirits to high-rolling revellers who flock to its poolside rooftop garden café, Alto; the intimate music venue, Three Keys; the Southern-inspired osteria, Josephine Estelle; and the contemporary menswear boutique, Friend.

Another welcome addition to the neighbourhood, the Old No. 77 Hotel occupies a rehabilitated 19th-century coffee warehouse. Exposed-brick walls and hardwood floors showcase the eclectic, tastefully curated vintage interiors and two art gallery extensions: one showcases the latest Where Y’Art exhibition, and the other features the work of NOCCA students. The hotel’s convivial restaurant, Compère Lapin, presents the deftly executed contemporary Creole fare of Big Easy culinary whiz Nina Compton.

On the edge of the French Quarter inside the masterfully converted Beaux Arts-style former Maison Blanche department store, a landmark since 1909, the sumptuous Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans features neoclassical interiors, marble bathrooms, live music in the old-world Davenport Lounge, and one of the loveliest hotel courtyards in town. The luxurious day spa offers more than 100 treatments.

For a more intimate experience in an unbeatable location on the edge of the Marigny, the Gothic Melrose Mansion offers spacious luxury suites with subzero refrigerators, washer and dryer, Jacuzzi tubs, and cathedral ceilings.

The Old No.77

The Old No.77

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