Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's at Hotel Monteleone

IMG_0869 reunion buffet

Whenever I visit New Orleans I love to stay at the Hotel Monteleone, not just because we are related to the owners, but because it exudes the essence of the city. It is easy to understand how it has earned the title of “Grande Dame of the French Quarter.” Its beaux-art architecture blends in beautifully with the rest of the Vieux Carre.

  DSC06343 Hotel Monteleone front door

It is conveniently located on Royal Street (Rue Royale), home of some of the swankiest antique stores in New Orleans. A lobby display case features collectibles from Moss Antiques… 

IMG_1155 Hotel Monteleone oyster plate display

…showcasing colorful oyster plates… 

IMG_1156 oyster plates

…and fancy epaulettes in the original box.

IMG_1293 gold epaulettes

Another display case boasts of the hotel’s rich literary history… 

IMG_1501 Hotel Monteleone - authors display case 

…including a letter written by Tennessee Williams. 

IMG_1508 Tennessee Williams letter 

The lobby flowers are always spectacular, but the lobby is at its finest in December, with the traditional Christmas tree… 

IMG_0723 Hotel Monteleone Christmas lobby

…and the antique grandfather clock… 

IMG_0732 Hotel Monteleone grandfather clock lobby 

… all gussied up for the holidays. 

IMG_0736 Hotel Monteleone grandfather clock

I like to tag the spot in front of the clock where the years have worn a dip in the marble floor.

  IMG_1506 hotel monteleone lobby

The decorative wood panels by the elevators add a flair of elegance. 

IMG_1151 Hotel Monteleone lobby panel 

IMG_1154 Hotel Monteleone lobby panel 

*** 
One year ago, one hundred of our closest relatives converged upon the Hotel Monteleone for a family reunion. We decided that the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve was the perfect time to gather because all schools, universities, and many businesses are on holiday. 

When my husband and I were getting ready for the reception in our room upstairs, I watched the sun set from our window. I held my breath as I watched a barge make the impossibly tight turn at the bend of the Mississippi.

  IMG_0747 barge going around bend of the mississippi

The reunion gathering was in a downstairs meeting room overlooking Royal Street.

  IMG_0865 reunion

The hotel’s catering staff did a spectacular job preparing and serving a delicious and beautiful buffet of fruits… 

IMG_0868 reunion buffet 

… and crudités. 

IMG_0879 reunion crudite

The soup buffet offered a choice oyster artichoke, white asparagus and brie, and seafood gumbo served in demitasse cups. I can attest that all three soups were fantastic.

  IMG_0876 soup buffet

I can also tell you that the martini glasses with grilled artichoke heart with lump crab and avocado brunoise with radish sprouts and lemon for garnish were scrumptious. As for the shooters with tomato, basil, and dilled watercress pana cotta - my goodness, they were delicious.

  IMG_0908 reunion buffet

I forgot to take photos of the barbecue buffet and I didn’t have room for the sliders, but I did stop to admire the gorgeous jewel-toned floral arrangements by Perfect Presentations.

  IMG_0867 reunion

Most of all, though, I loved catching up with relatives I hadn’t seen in a long time and meeting new ones that I never knew existed. 

 *** 

Two nights later, on New Year’s Eve, my daughter, my sister and I had a cocktail the Carousel Bar, where you can literally feel the room spinning every fifteen minutes.

  IMG_0727 Hotel Monteleone Carousel Bar cropped

IMG_1518 Carousel Bar detail

Earlier in the week, my father-in-law reminisced about his courtship with my mother-in-law when they used to listen to Liberace play here.

IMG_1522 carousel bar piano

After weighing all our options, we chose to bring in 2011 in the comfort of our room upstairs, watching the fireworks across the Mississippi while sipping mango bellinis. 

IMG_1398 fireworks at the bend of the mississippi

Here is a glimpse of the fireworks at Jackson Square about seven blocks away.




From the comfort of my home in Palo Alto, I wish you all a Happy New Year!

27 comments:

Marilyn said...

What a gorgeous way to celebrate the season. The food, flowers, hotel lobby, and fireworks - what more could you ask. Thanks for this beautiful New Year's celebration. Happy New Year to you!

Ginnie said...

And you're related to the owners. WOW! What a memorable way to celebrate the closing of one year and the opening of another, DB!

Hopefully even in the coziness of your own home this year, you've brought in a new year full of love and possibility for what lies ahead! HAPYY NEW YEAR.

George said...

Ah, Dutchbaby, you are indeed living the good life! I grew up about ninety miles from New Orleans and know the area well. May you and your family have a wonderful new year!

Sue A said...

Fabulous! What a very stylish way to bring in the New Year. Wishing you everything good for 2012 for you and yours.

Vagabonde said...

What an outstanding and historical hotel! The outside architecture certainly looks French and the inside is very elegant. What a gorgeous place to celebrate New Year – and with kinfolk too! Have a great 2012.

rochambeau said...

You are right! The Hotel Montelone is a class act all the way and I was even thinking the other day about one of the waitstaff who works there, Lucille. She has such good energy and is one of those gems of an individual who makes our world a better place with her efferent smile. I intend to write a post about her, even thought she does not have a computer. It is interesting that many of the staff have worked there for years. Thomas and Lucille and Parker all are such excellent human beings. I can tell the Montelones are too, because it all starts at the top. Even I once wrote a letter to Mr. Montelone to thank him for his excellent Hotel.

Any way, thank you for writing this beautiful post.

May this be the start of the most spectacular year for you and those you care about most, Dutchbaby!

xox
Constance

rochambeau said...

I meant Effervescent smile!!

lisa said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate the season, and how gorgeous too!
Happy New Year to you, and thank you for sharing these wonderful images here!

Alexa said...

A beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing! When will you be visiting NOLA again? :)

London Caller said...

Wow, absolutely opulent!
Did you have a great New Year? :)
London's NYD parade was a bit disappointing.
It was raining so heavily towards the end...

Victoria said...

Happy New Year to you! What a marvelous post... I will definitely keep that hotel in mind if I ever get back to New Orleans... so many places to see in this lifetime! Your photos are fabulous and definitely present the hotel and the food beautifully! (thanks for stopping by my blog earlier)

margie said...

I simply cannot believe you forgot we are related and left me off the guest list. darn!

rochambeau said...

Hey Dutchbaby,
When you have time, will you send me the link to your hot tips on photography. You summed it all up, so many things in one post. Do you remember?

Many thanks!
xox
C

California Girl said...

Your photos are wonderful. You make me wonder if my GFs & I she have stayed where you fir got birthday bash in Oct. We passed the hotly numerous times but did not go in. Wish I had.

California Girl said...

Oh brother. Just re-read my comment from several days ago and the mis-spellings are atrocious, all due to working on my new Kindle Fire which doesn't type w/o auto-correcting & it obviously doesn't know syntax etc.

Sorry about that!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Marilyn,
Yes, it was a spectacular New Year's celebration. I'm glad you enjoyed the tour. I hope your new year is off to a great start.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Ginnie,
Yes, I'm related by marriage. I felt that I had to disclose the connection early in the post.

I thoroughly enjoyed the process of planning this reunion and was delighted to meet so many relations from many corners of the South.

Gelukkig Nieuw Jaar, Ginnie en Astrid!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear George,
Growing up in the South must have left an indelible imprint on your life. I appreciate the passion in the people of New Orleans.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Sue A,
I wish you a fantastic 2012 as you embark on your new career in flowers!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Vagabonde,
With words like "kinfolk", I can tell that you have been fully indoctrinated into the South.

Heureuse nouvelle année!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Constance,
You and I are both huge fans of The Monteleone and I'm so glad I had a chance to meet you there last year. I hope that we can see each other there again soon.

I think the post you are referring to is this one:
http://godutchbaby.blogspot.com/2010/11/beginning-photography-class.html

and you already know about Derrick Story's app and podcast: The Digital Story.

Happy New Year to you, your husband and your mom!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear lisa,
Thank you and I see that your new year has already started with beautiful images. Happy New Year!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Alexa,
There's a good chance I'll be visiting my daughter for the first weekend of Jazz Festival this year. Will you be there?

I already booked my room at the Monteleone!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear London Caller,
I'm sorry it rained for your New Year's parade, but I hope your year is off to a great start.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Victoria,
I sincerely hope you will see New Orleans before long. I would love to see it through your lens. Happy new year!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear margie,
Silly me, forgetting you and your sister. You would have loved this evening!

Happy New Year!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear California Girl,
Don't worry, I was able to work out what your message was. Thank you for taking the trouble to come back. I get frustrated with Apple's auto-complete software also. Though artificial intelligence has come a long way, it still has room for improvement.

I hope you and your girlfriends will have a chance to stay at the Monteleone one of these days. They offer literary/spa/shopping packages just for girlfriend weekends.

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