A stay in a historic hotel brings added dimension to the way visitors experience its location, whether it ties into architectural trends, fascinating past guests or significant events that took place there. New Orleans is home to plenty of those, from the French Quarter to the Garden District. However, the 230-guestroom Higgins Hotel & Conference Center New Orleans, a member of the Curio Collection by Hilton, opened in early 2020, turns that concept on its head thanks to the looming presence of the adjoining The National WWII Museum.
Exteriors devised by Florida architectural firm Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates and intentional interiors by Los Angeles-based Kay Lang + Associates underscores the breadth and depth of what lays inside the buildings across the street.
Although nothing about the war is sugarcoated at The National WWII Museum, there’s a palpable sense of national pride running through the museum’s expansive rooms and pavilions. The same can be said for what awaits hotel and restaurant guests, from the tastefully patriotic color scheme to artfully arrayed photos depicting wartime recruiting, morale-boosting activities, factory production and V-Day 1945 events. This is thanks in part to Kay Lang + Associates making the most of its exclusive access to the museum’s artifact collection.
Visitors are greeted with a bold mural by Art Deco artist Michael Kudnl, celebrating the employees of the hotel’s namesake (Andrew Jackson Higgins/Higgins Industries) and support of the war effort by Louisiana citizens. The theme continues through the lobby’s high ceiling; dramatic glass windows; spiraling staircase; and statement chandelier made of glass, metal and bronze.
Rooms and suites are appointed with furnishings reflecting contemporary tastes and conveniences (digital key cards, WiFi and large workspaces), while nodding to interior design of the 1940s. Other distinctive comforts and amenities in the guestrooms include upholstered bed frames; embroidered bed sheets; and WWII-era artwork, such as colorized old photographs of soldiers, trains and celebratory scenes shot at the end of the war. Premium corner rooms feature large windows with views of the New Orleans skyline, while other large suites are appointed with a separate living area, fold-out sofa, and half bath in addition to a master bedroom.
Three luxury suites are named in honor of WWII-era presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower. They include evocative living and dining areas for entertaining, an in-suite bar and a Victrola record player. The presidential suite, meanwhile, is equipped with Big Band Era 33LP Records along with an old-school record player. Tribute plaques by families of those who served are placed next to the doors of other rooms.
Kilroy’s Bar, on the ground level, and Rosie’s On the Roof continue the theme in a fun, morale-boosting way. Menus at both outlets feature updated spins of classic cocktails, original craft cocktail drinks, and regional cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients and, in some cases, home-grown spirits. These run the gamut from cheese and charcuterie plates to Cajun onion soup to po-boy sandwiches to crab beignets. Fine-dining restaurant Café Normandie offers a more refined menu, with the kitchen paying homage to New Orleans’ French origins. While the hotel’s restaurants are available for private functions, meeting and event planners have seamless, coordinated access to the museum’s own venues, scholars, curators and entertainers to create custom exhibits and presentations delivering an authentic taste of the 1940s.
In the second-floor conference center, there is more than 18,000 square feet of meeting and event space encompassing 14 meeting and conference areas. While the facility can accommodate business conferences, weddings, and a variety of milestone and business events, other times, it expands upon unique amenities offered to guests beyond the lounge areas, fitness rooms, Provisions souvenir shop and coffee bar.
There are also periodic programs, presented by The National WWII Museum, such as Happy Hour Lectures and fee-based student and adult leadership conferences.
Several of the city’s most noteworthy restaurants, including Cochon, and the trendy businesses of the Arts District are almost right outside the hotel’s front door. Other key areas, including the French Quarter, are walking distance or a quick Uber ride away.
1000 Magazine St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
tel 504 528 1941
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