Friday, February 09, 2018

Where to Stay in New Orleans: Hotel Maison de Ville

If you are wondering where to stay in New Orleans, you must check out Hotel Maison de Ville.

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville

History and Southern Hospitality - one of the best places to stay in New Orleans

Nestled in the historic French Quarter, Hotel Maison de Ville is a collection of renovated townhouses ("maison de ville" is French for "townhouse") that date back to the 1700s. In fact, its slaves' quarters, built 50 years before the main house, is the second oldest free-standing building in New Orleans. After several iterations, today it has built a reputation has being one of the best places to stay in New Orleans and one of the best boutique hotels in the United States. It has also received a Historical Landmark designation, and is listed as one of the Historic Hotels of America.


Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville exterior

The original owner of the property was French immigrant Jean Baptiste Lille Sarpy, whose daughter Henriette inherited the house and went on to sell it. She then went on to use the funds to found the Sisters of the Holy Family, a group of nuns and free women of color, who taught slave children and housed and cared for orphans. 

Another notable owner of the property is Antoine Amede Peychaud, creator of the Sazerac and modern-day cocktails. Among the hotel's many famous guests include the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tennessee Williams, who is said to have written A Streetcar Named Desire at the hotel. This room (which is in one of the slave quarters) is now known as the Tennessee Williams suite.

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville Tennessee Williams suite

Location, Location, Location!

You really cannot beat the location of Hotel Maison de Ville, which makes it a perfect choice when deciding where to stay in New Orleans. It is in the middle of the French Quarter on Toulouse Street, just blocks away from many restaurants, bars, and attractions, including Jackson Square and Cafe du Monde (it's a 6 minute walk there. Yes, *of course* I counted). Just one block away is the famous Bourbon Street which means you are right near all the action but just far away enough that you feel like you've found a respite from all the madness. 

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville Foyer
Walking into the hotel, you will feel as you have been transported back in time, much like the feeling you get while walking around the French Quarter. The vibe is charming and romantic, and the property is decorated with antiques and period furnishings. The hotel also has modern amenities, including flat screen TVs and WiFi, which gives it a unique fusion of old and new. 

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville foyer

Check-in:

The front door is locked, so you will have to ring the doorbell in order to check in. Upon check in, you will be given a key that opens both the front door and your room. Check in was quick and easy, and Guy gave us a quick tour of the hotel, while telling us some of the history behind the property, before leading us up to our room. One thing to remember is that because of the historical aspect of the building, there is no elevator so you will have to bring your luggage up the stairs, however, the staff is more than willing to assist with your bags.

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville foyer

Every single staff member we encountered was super friendly and pleasant and was always going above and beyond to ensure that we had a memorable stay. They are happy to assist with booking tours, making reservations, or arranging airport transportation for you, as well as help you with recommendations on where to eat or what to see in the city.

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville Trina the cat

You may also meet Trina (or Katrina), the hotel's cat on your way in - she is the cutest, sweetest kitty ever! If you don't meet her upon check-in, you will probably encounter her at some point during your stay.

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville room bed

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville room

The room:

The rooms are a bit cozy (translation: a bit on the smaller side), which is to be expected for a historical property. There are four different room types, each with its own unique decor. I stayed in the Premium room, which features a beautiful four-poster king bed (seriously though, bed goals) with a gorgeous glass chandelier hanging above it. Each bed comes with a quirky little voodoo doll, made by a local artist and available for purchase as a New Orleans souvenir. Oil paintings adorn the wall, and the room has an iron fireplace with some antiques lined on the mantle. The room gets an ample amount of natural light, which gives it an airy feel during the day.

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville room

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville room

The bathrooms are basic but clean, with a shower and tub. The hotel features L'Occitane bath products, which are my fave! They also have cozy plush robes for your use while staying at the property.

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville balcony view

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville balcony

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville balcony

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville balcony view

The balcony:

Each of the rooms feature either a view overlooking the hotel's beautiful private courtyard, or onto the Toulouse Street - one of the features that make Hotel Maison de Ville one of the best places to stay in New Orleans. I selected the street view. It was such a great spot to hang out, bask in some sunshine, people watch and observe the flurry of activity (of weekend revelers) that went on below.  One downside of the street view is that you can hear some of the noise from the Bourbon Street madness, but I didn't find it too bad. If you want peace and quiet, I would suggest requesting a room with a courtyard view instead. 

The hotel has a 24-hour snack bar, at which you can find small snacks like crackers, pretzels, and cookies, as well as water, soda and tea. In the morning, they also serve coffee and pastries, which you can choose to enjoy in your room, the parlor area or out in the courtyard.

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville parlor

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville parlor

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville parlor

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville parlo

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville parlor

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville parlor

The Parlor:

The parlor has a slight New Orleans carnival theme going on, with a plush silver couch, and a masquerade painting on the wall. Here, you can sit and relax, read a book, or enjoy your breakfast or a beverage. There is also a computer available for use, and the front desk is happy to print any documents for you (i.e. boarding passes). 


Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville courtyard

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville cortyard

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville courtyard

Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville courtyard

The Courtyard

Possibly the best part of Hotel Maison de Ville is the beautiful private courtyard - this definitely makes it one of the best places to stay in New Orelans. This is also an excellent place to sit, relax, and enjoy breakfast or a morning cup of coffee. There is a peaceful feeling as you sit out here and bask in the sunlight. I definitely wish I had more time to sit and relax here. I can imagine that this is also a great place to relax in the evening as well.

The courtyard shares a wall with the Court of Two Sisters restaurant, which is supposed to have one of the best jazz brunches in the city. I didn't have a chance to check it out, but have heard several people recommend it, so I wish I did! 

All in all, I really enjoyed my stay at Hotel Maison de Ville and highly recommend it as a top hotel when choosing where to stay in New Orleans!

Disclosure: I was hosted as a guest by Hotel Maison de Ville and received a complimentary stay at the property. As always, all opinions are my own.

This post also contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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Where to Stay in New Orleans Hotel Maison de Ville



Wednesday, January 31, 2018

How to Plan the Perfect Palm Springs Bachelorette Party


Planning a Palm Springs bachelorette party? You're in the right place!


Once a sleepy town known as the hangout spot for Hollywood's Rat Pack, Palm Springs has reinvented itself as a hip desert oasis, full of stylish hotels, trendy boutiques, and a bustling foodie and cocktail scene. With its plentiful sunshine and laid-back vibe, a Palm Springs bachelorette party was perfect to celebrate my friend Amy, and we a super fun girls' weekend out in the desert!


Palm Springs bachelorette party

A Palm Springs bachelorette offers something for everyone in your group, whether it's sipping cocktails by the pool, relaxing at the spa, checking out the local foodie scene, dancing all night, getting lost in nature, or enjoying the arts and culture.

Here are some ideas to help you plan that perfect Palm Springs bachelorette party, guaranteed to help you and your girls have an amazing time!

BEFORE YOU GO:
Palm Springs bachelorette party desert view

Getting there:
Palm Springs is just over 100 miles away from Los Angeles, making it a Palm Springs bachelorette party an easy weekend trip from Southern California. It is about a two hour drive, although this can also depend on traffic conditions.

If you wish to fly, Palm Springs International Airport is served by 10 major airlines, which offers direct flights to several hubs in the US and Canada, connecting it to 500 cities worldwide. However, it is a smaller airport and flights are sometimes pricey. During the slower summer months, flights are limited. Another option is to fly into LAX, or Ontario International Airport (about an hour and 15 minutes away), and then rent a car (psssst...it is often cheaper to rent a car from Ontario than LAX).

Our party was mostly based in the Los Angeles area, with two of us coming from the San Francisco Bay Area and flying into LAX (including me). We all met up in the LA area and carpooled together.


Palm Springs bachelorette party palm trees

Getting around:
Downtown Palm Springs is pretty small and easily walkable to get from one place to another. There is also a free weekend Palm Springs Buzz trolley that stops around most of the major points of interests and hotels in town. You can see the route and schedule here. Palm Springs is also served by both Uber and Lyft, which is a great way to help you get around town. Many hotels also offer bike rentals, which can also be a fun way to see the city and soak up those desert views.

If you want to go beyond the downtown area, or explore more of the Greater Palm Springs area, or take a day trip, you will need to have a car.


Palm Springs bachelorette party palm tree sunset silhouette

When to go:
Palm Springs is known for its year-round sunshine; however, it can get extremely hot in the summer. Generally, January-April are the most popular times to go. We planned our Palm Springs bachelorette party at the end of January, and the highs were in the mid 70s to mid 80s, with the lows being in the high 50s (which was warmer than the highs back home in San Francisco that weekend). Our server at dinner commented that it was freezing cold (52 degrees) in December.

I have been to Palm Springs in the middle of August, which is the hottest month of the year, with average temperatures rising to 108 degrees. Yes, it is HOT, but here are plenty of ways to stay cool, including hanging  out in the pool (several of the hotels host pool parties during the summer months) or spa, and trekking up the aerial tram - at the top, it is a good 30 degrees cooler. One advantage of going in the middle of summer is that hotel rates tend to be lower. However, keep in mind that some restaurants and businesses take a summer break during this time.


WHERE TO STAY:
Palm Springs bachelorette party Ace Hotel

There are many options for accommodations for your Palm Springs bachelorette party. Depending on your party size, a vacation rental booked through VRBO or Airbnb (you can receive $40 off your first stay by using this link), can be a great option.

There are also many stylish, boutique hotels that are perfect home base for your Palm Springs bachelorette. We opted to stay at the Ace Hotel - we loved the fun, hipster chic vibe, and the fact that it has one of the best hotel pools in Palm Springs.

Palm Springs bachelorette party where to stay Ace Hotel

The rooms are stylish but minimalistic. There were six of us, so we got two adjoining rooms. There was also a fireplace area right outside our rooms that was a cozy spot that was perfect for hanging out. There was a group there who were roasting marshmallows and making s'mores and offered us some - so fun!

There is also an on-site spa, if you wanted some quality pampering and R&R during your Palm Springs bachelorette.


WHAT TO DO + SEE:
Palm Springs bachelorette party Ace Hotel pool


Palm Springs bachelorette party Ace Hotel pool

- Hang out poolside
Take advantage of all that sunshine - pool time is a MUST for any Palm Springs bachelorette party! Soak up the sun, sip on a refreshing cocktail, and hang out with your girls poolside. Many of the hotels in Palm Springs have an on-site pool that you can take advantage of as a hotel guest.

Palm Springs bachelorette party Ace Hotel pool

If your accommodations do not have a pool, or you want to check out a different pool, there are a few options. The Ace Hotel offers a day use pass. If you want some pool time but are on a budget, the pool at the Arrive hotel is free even for non-guests (except for special event days).

Palm Springs bachelorette party Ace Hotel pool

During the spring and summer months, several hotels host pool parties, which are perfect for your Palm Springs bachelorette party. Some of the best hotel pools in Palm Springs include the Ace and Saguaro and both of these have pool parties. Check each hotel's website for the most up-to-date schedule and info.


Palm Springs bachelorette party aerial tramway

Palm Springs bachelorette party Aerial Tramway

- Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway travels two miles, and ascends from 2600 to 8500 feet in just 10 minutes. The rotating tram car, which is also the world's largest, offers spectacular views of the valley as it takes you up to Mountain Station, where you will find observation decks, two restaurants, a natural history museum, and the entrance to Mr. Jacinto State Park.


Palm Springs bachelorette party Mt. Jacinto state park

Palm Springs bachelorette party Mt. Jacinto State Park

At Mt. Jacinto State Park, you will find over 50 miles of hiking trails, which makes it the perfect spot to escape into nature for a bit on your Palm Springs bachelorette. Keep in mind that you will now be in the mountains, and not the desert, which is a nice change of scenery. Also remember that temperatures will change accordingly. It can be 30-40 degrees cooler at the top - this is a welcome respite from the heat during the summer months, however, there may also be snow in the winter. For trail maps, current conditions, and more information, see here.


Palm Springs bachelorette party Joshua Tree National Park

- Take a day trip to Joshua Tree
Just an hour drive out of Palm Springs, Joshua Tree makes for a perfect day trip opportunity. Located where the high Mojave desert meets the low Colorado desert, the park features the unique desert flora, including the namesake plant (which is actually a type of yucca), large rock boulders, and more.

Palm Springs bachelorette party Joshua Tree National Park

You can choose to spend the whole day here, or only a few hours - either way, Joshua Tree is definitely a must-see for your Palm Springs bachelorette party. There are 12 self-guided nature trails that start from the main park roads, which are perfect for exploring on a quick visit to the park. The wide open space and vast desert landscape makes it almost feel like you have the entire place to yourself.

Palm Springs bachelorette party Joshua Tree National Park

If you wish to spend more time at Joshua Tree, you can opt to hike into the backcountry, take a tour from the Visitor's Center, join a ranger program, or hike into one of five palm oases.

Palm Springs bachelorette party Joshua Tree Key's Point

After strolling though the magical desert landscape, it is worth driving up to Key's Point and taking in the view - on a clear day, you can see as far as Mexico, but otherwise you can admire the view of the So-Cal smog the valley and the surrounding mountains.

For more park information, see here. Other options for day trips for your Palm Springs bachelorette party include Salvation Mountain and the Salton Sea.



Palm Springs bachelorette party architecture

- Check out Palm Springs's modernist architecture
Palm Springs is famous for its mid-century modern architecture - there is even a weeklong festival dedicated to it! You can admire these sleek, modern homes, which were popularized in the 1920s, all over town. You may have heard of that famous pink door - this is a shining example of this style of architecture.

There are several ways to experience the modernist architecture in Palm Springs - one way is to just walk through its streets and admire the beautiful homes in town, that also double as some of the most Instagrammable places in Palm Springs. You can check out this great self-guided door tour here.  Other spots to check out around town include the Old Tramway Gas Station and City Hall.

For a more in-depth look into mid-century modern architecture, there are various guided tours that are offered. Another option is to do a tour of the famous Frey House.  For more information about available tours, see here. There is also a free map and app from PSModCom.



Palm Springs bachelorette party

- Go shopping!
What is a girls' trip without some good 'ol retail therapy? Downtown Palm Springs is lined with trendy and stylish boutiques, including the flagship store of Trina Turk, whose brand exemplifies the Palm Springs resort style. Many stores and boutiques can be found on South Palm Canyon, and you can make a shopping day out of browsing the shops on this street.

If you are looking to score some major deals, another option is to drive out to the Desert Hills Premium Outlets and Cabazon Outlets, located about a 20 minute drive away. Either way, there are plenty of options for getting your shop on at your Palm Springs bachelorette party.


PERFECT PHOTO SPOTS
With an abundance of color, stylish decor, all those palm trees, and desert oasis landscape, there's no doubt that Palm Springs is a super photogenic city. Want to know where to go to snap some Instagram-worthy shots of your squad from your Palm Springs bachelorette? Look no further for the most Instagrammable places in Palm Springs:


Most Instagrammable Places in Palm Springs The Parker

Most Instagrammable Places in Palm Springs The Parker

Most Instagrammable Places in Palm Springs  The Parker

Most Instagrammable Places in Palm Springs  The Parker

- The Parker 
4200 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

This stylish Jonathan Adler designed property looks straight out of the pages of an interior decor magazine - you will want to move in immediately! The lobby and the sitting area are perfect to snap some group shots, as well as the bar, and the iconic orange door outside. Definitely one of the most Instagrammable places in Palm Springs.



Most Instagrammable Places in Palm Springs Ace Hotel

Most Instagrammable Places in Palm Springs Ace Hotel

Most Instagrammable Places in Palm Springs Ace Hotel


- The Ace Hotel + Swim Club
701 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

You can't go wrong with that hipster chic vibe at the Ace Hotel. Some of the best photo spots here:
the Ace sign outside, the Block Shop Textiles wall, and the view from the deck in the pool area.



Most Instagrammable Places in Palm Springs pink door

- That Pink Door
1100 E Sierra Way, Palm Springs, CA 92264

This door became so popular as one of the most Instagrammable places in Palm Springs that the owners of the house created an Instagram page for it! This cute pink door makes a perfect backdrop for some photos to document your Palm Springs bachelorette party.


Most Instagrammable Places in Palm Springs The Saguaro

Most Instagrammable Places in Palm Springs The Saguaro

Most Instagrammable Places in Palm Springs The Saguaro

Most Instagrammable Places in Palm Springs The Saguaro

- The Saguaro
1800 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

The rainbow-colored Saguaro was *made* for Instagram - all that bright, happy color makes the perfect setting for some photos from your Palm Springs bachelorette. The poolside area makes the best backdrop for photos, as well as the lobby and the exterior of the property. Definitely one of the most Instagrammable places in Palm Springs!



WHERE TO EAT + DRINK:
Palm Springs Bachelorette Norma's Brunch

Palm Springs Bachelorette Norma's Brunch

- Norma's
4200 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264 (inside the Parker hotel)

Get ready for one of the best brunches of your life at Norma's! It is on the pricier side, but well worth it. If you are a fan of sweet breakfast items, Norma's has an extensive menu of decadent French toasts, waffles, pancakes and more - it is almost like eating cake for breakfast, but how can you go wrong with that?! Their Eggs Benedicts are also divine - and made with pancakes instead of English muffins. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu here. It is a must-eat for your Palm Springs bachelorette party!


Palm Springs Bachelorette Cheeky's Brunch

- Cheeky's
622 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Two words: bacon flight! Seriously though, how can you go wrong with 5 pieces of bacon, all cooked and flavored in different ways? Cheeky's is known for their creative brunch dishes, with a seasonal menu that changes weekly. One of the most popular brunch spots in Palm Springs. Keep in mind that Cheeky's does not take reservations, so plan accordingly.


Palm Springs Bachelorette El Jefe
Palm Springs Bachelorette El jefe margaritas


- El Jefe
1800 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264 (inside the Saguaro Hotel)

Known as one of the best tequila bars in the county, you are guaranteed to have a great time at El Jefe. They have the BEST margaritas - careful though, they are STIFF! El Jefe also serves a full menu of modern Mexican fare. The fun, laid-back vibe makes it perfect for dinner or a night out, some drinks + snacks at happy hour, or some Sunday brunch.


Palm Springs Bachelorette King's Highway

- King's Highway + Amigo Room
701 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264 (inside the Ace Hotel)

Both located in the Ace Hotel, King's Highway is a converted Denny's exudes a hip, laid-back, Californian vibe. You can eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner here, but it is perfect for breakfast or lunch.  The cuisine is best described as "elevated diner" - diner classics with a modern spin. They also have a poolside menu. The cocktails here are also creative and tasty. The Amigo room is the attached lounge/bar. A fun spot that is perfect for after-dinner drinks and people watching, or a nightcap on the way back to your room at the Ace. They also have fun events throughout the week.


Palm Springs Bachelorette Birba

- Birba
622 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262

With all that sunshine and (mostly) warm weather in Palm Springs, you must have an al fresco dinner. Birba is the perfect spot to dine outdoors at your Palm Springs bachelorette party. The greenery and white string lights hung in the patio make it a beautiful setting for a dinner with your girls. The rotating menu features a selection of eclectic Italian dishes, and creative cocktails.

- Koffi
515 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262

For those coffee drinkers who MUST have their caffeine to function, Koffi is the perfect spot to grab your morning Joe. Located across the street from the Ace Hotel, Koffi has an on-site roasting room and also has pastries and quick breakfast bites.


Palm Springs Bachelorette Ice Cream and Shop(pe)

- Ice Cream & Shop(pe)
1551 N Palm Canyon Dr a, Palm Springs, CA 92262

This cute spot, located inside the Arrive hotel, doubles as an ice cream parlor, gift shop, AND Instagram spot - you totally have to get a shot with the "Palm Springs is Better" neon sign. Ice Cream & Shop(pe) features a list of rotating flavors, including Rosewater, Champagne, Salted Caramel, and more. The Rosewater is to die for!

- Great Shakes
160 S Palm Canyon Dr A, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Because how can you go wrong with a milkshake on a warm day? Great Shakes is located on South Palm Canyon Drive, right in the heart of downtown, which makes is great for an after-dinner treat, or a pick-me-up while shopping at one of the boutiques in the area.

WHAT TO BRING :
Here are some essentials to help make your Palm Springs bachelorette the best and most stylish yet!

Palm Springs Bachelorette Weekend Packing Guide

Left to right from top:
Pom Pom Swim Coverup // Blue Chiffon Maxi Skirt // Straw Hat // Black Slide Sandals  //
Flamingo Floatie // Bachelorette Essentials Kit (with sash, tiara, veil, banner, and tattoos) //
Flamingo Bikini // Pineapple Sippy Cup

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. This means that I may receive a small commission when you purchase something from one of these links. 

Also please excuse the stamps on some of the photos. We brought some *eh-hem* sausage whistle necklaces.


Have you been to Palm Springs?




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