What We Love
- Quiet, safe and central location steps from the French Market
- A balcony as large as a private den, with views of the French Quarter and downtown
- Guests have free access to the New Orleans Athletic Club
What To Know
- The Soniat House opened as a hotel in 1983
- Pets and children under 10 are not allowed
- Noise (voices, traffic, horse-drawn carriages) might filter up from the street
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
It’s little wonder that former guests of the Soniat House such as Helen Mirren, Brad Pitt and Francis Ford Coppola all purchased homes steps away from this Creole-inspired haven in New Orleans. Made up of three restored townhouses filled with antique furniture, larger-than-life artwork and Oriental rugs, the historic charm of this French Quarter hotel is undeniable. And its meticulous style has landed it in the pages of Vogue and Architectural Digest.
Bed & Bath
Each Soniat House room is uniquely decorated, but all have Oriental rugs, printed textiles, gilded mirrors and access to a balcony or the courtyard. Expect stunning antiques, such as massive canopy beds and oil paintings of exotic animals. Bathrooms have Molton Brown products; many have Jacuzzi tubs.
There is no on-site restaurant, but the hotel has an honor bar with premium liquors, wines and champagnes. Pour yourself a cocktail and retire to the courtyard, where a Japanese magnolia provides shade and the limbs of a pineapple guava spin a lace veil over a fountain and a lily-padded pond. Ask the owner to show you around his antiques shop across the street. Or request an in-room massage.
In the Area
The Beauregard-Keyes House and Museum, next door to Soniat House, has a notable history: It’s the former residence of both the writer Frances Parkinson Keyes and the Confederate general Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, who ordered the first shots of the Civil War. Just one block from the hotel sits Verti Marte. It looks like a rundown deli, but it serves one of the best po’boys in New Orleans. For an haute take on New Orleans fare, check out Cochon Butcher, which serves artisan meats and sausages and specialty sandwiches such as muffalettas and a buckboard bacon melt. Walk five minutes down from Soniat House to d.b.a., the Spotted Cat and the other music clubs lining Frenchmen Street.
How to Get There
Check-in was not handled well. After several rings on the locked entrance door to the property (to keep unwanted access form the numerous local homeless and/or wandering drunks I imagine) a very polite/pleasant man appeared - who was the porter. He advised that the manager/check-in man was elsewhere.
When he arrived - shortly afterwards - check-in was interrupted by his taking of a couple of lengthy phone calls (he apologised for the second one - but obviously should have asked the callers to hold, as he was dealing with a guest). I asked if we were able to have an upgrade (SLH status-related) but was told only one grand/deluxe suite was available which was several grades higher - so the answer was no. That was fair enough.
The room we were given (number 33) was truly awful. It was on the top floor in the roof – literally in the roof. It had two tiny windows that looked directly out onto a wall a short distance away One third of the room was unusable (at least when standing upright) as it had a number of 45-degree beams from ceiling to about one metre above the floor. We strategically placed items to avoid walking into the beams in the middle of the night.
We advised the manager this room was unacceptable. He said there was nothing he could do - but that he may (stress may) be able to move us for the last 2 nights.
The room had a smoke detector. The battery-warning signal was beeping when we arrived, so it had to be changed. This was not an easy task as it is approximately 5 meters (!) into the ceiling/roof space. However, it was fixed.
That night we were kept awake by:
- the ceiling window that let-in light
- the two tiny windows in the wall that had zero sound proofing (the area was very noisy)
- the rain beating-down on the hotel roof - which was part of the room!
- the lift which also formed part of the room! It was an old-fashioned lift (manual sliding safety door etc) that was incredibly noisy when used by any/all guests – which it was at any/all times of the night.
The breakfast offerings were pitiful. There was no breakfast room - so anything ordered had to be taken on our laps in the room - either in bed or on two chairs (no table!). It was not possible to eat outside due to the rain.
The next morning we spoke with the (new) person on reception. She knew nothing about all the problems - the person from check-in had failed to pass-on any information. So, we relayed the story all over again.
When we returned that afternoon, we were told they were willing to upgrade us to one of two rooms that were now available (and, apparently, also available at check-in too, despite being told otherwise at the time) - BUT only if we paid an additional $100 plus tax per night. We declined! Overall, it seems the hotel would rather have an empty room(s), than satisfied guests!
This hotel has MAJOR problems. It is without doubt the worse “premium” hotel I have ever stayed in anywhere in the world.
We reported this to SLH at the time and they responded very promptly and instructed the GM of the hotel to reply directly to us (with a copy to SLH) on all the issues. Over one week later, we are still waiting to hear-back from the hotel!
This was our third stay and we were very excited to return, so it is hard to deal with the disappointment. I waited two weeks to reflect and my opinion had not softened.The first time, we stayed in a courtyard room across the street. The second time, in a deluxe room with balcony, right on the street, in the main building. This time, I called the Inn to make sure that if I booked a deluxe room it would be in line with the room we had last time, which we loved: main house, second floor, with access to balcony. We were told that was the right category to book.
When we arrived, yes we were in the main house, but we were one room behind the room we had last time and what a difference! While the room we had this time was similar in size to the “deluxe” description as shown on the website (350 sq ft) and had a queen bed, and a modern lovely bathroom, the configuration of the room was odd and that made it seem cramped.The bed was set at an angle, not quite in a corner. I suppose this is because all four walls had some kind of “architectural obstruction”. Also, the room was dark. The one next to it, which we had last time, was right in front of the building on the balcony, with two tall windows. This room, the only natural light was from a set of doors that went to the outdoor staircase, and as a result, for privacy reasons, had heavy curtains on the doors (the only source of natural light). There was not even light enough to read (unless you were reading on a lit screen like an iPad.) There was one comfy chair, placed too far from the TV to watch anything (and with a dimly lit table lamp) and the two chairs nearer the TV were straight back chairs, comfortable enough for breakfast (which is why they were there) but not for sitting for any length of time. Basically the room was not comfortable. I was especially disappointed because I thought we were going to get a room like last time (which is the same price but a much nicer room); I had called to inquire about the deluxe rooms with balcony; and we booked over 4 months in advance. (We had balcony access, through a door in the hallway, so that was a technically correct answer, but we did not get a room directly behind the balcony).
We were there 3 nights and on the second day I expressed disappointment in the room. I told them that the feeling I had was that when we checked in, being not big people, my husband and I were chosen for the room because we could fit in the narrow spaces between the oddly angled bed and the walls. I was told this was not the case, we had been assigned the room because “they booked up very early this spring”. Also mentioned that the room, while similar in size to deluxe rooms as described online, because of the architectural features on each of the walls, was better suited to being a single room than a double. There is minimal room on each side of the queen bed. I weight 110 lbs and had to turn sideways to navigate between the bed and the wall. I was told it was never a single room. They did comp us breakfast for the next two days but to us that did not make up for the fact that the rooms similar to where we THOUGHT we would be staying were the same price as this room, which my husband (more harshly than me) said was “barely acceptable”.
Now, all the good stuff. The Inn is lovely . We loved the balcony access and the courtyard (the weather was lovely so we could take advantage of both). The staff is gracious and responsive. The location is terrific, within walking distance of the busy-ness of the French Quarter but without the rowdiness. We love the fact that they have a cat ( and Clare in the second cat we have met at Soniat). We love the honor bar. But for an Inn that gave us terrific memories and that we have seen featured in publications such as Architectural Digest, this was a major disappointment. Especially for the price paid. Read my other reviews: we are generally very happy with our lodging.
They say that in “guest rooms” in your own home, you should sleep there once a year to see how comfortable/hospitable it really is, I would suggest that the owners/managers sleep in the room we had and see if they think it is worth the price paid.
A friend who lives in New Orleans told us about Soniat House and it was truly one of the most beautiful, and more than pleasant places we have stayed anywhere in the world! We felt as if time had stretched both forward and back—the ageless charm of the original architecture plus staying 4 nights made us feel as if it was an even longer stay. Life DOES slow down in the Big Easy. We had a lovely room opening onto the courtyard filled with magnolias starting to bloom, azaleas, and green, green everywhere. Koi swim in the old fountain. At night votive candles glow on the few small tables with chairs where you can sit with a drink from their honor bar in the pretty drawing draw. Or we'd take a drink upstairs and sit on the front veranda overlooking Chartres (Charters wer learned) street until it was dark and time to eat more wonderful food.
Ambiance, the art work, yes those Frette sheets do not equal what makes this such a perfect place to stay. The final and most important ingredient is the staff, starting with Erwin when we made our reservations last fall and happily got to meet. Jill, Carlos, Janice-I'm forgetting more-but their suggestions, getting transportation, making reservations-we felt like royalty. Thank you, Soniat House. See you next February! (Oh and Claire the cat whom I believe actually runs the place)
Great location at the center of the French district of New Orleans, yet very quiet place
Wonderful staff to welcome you, nice courtyard, decoration, etc.
I recommend this place.
What I didn't like so much: we had a room with no window, only the door had a window... not great to have breakfast in a dark bedroom
My daughter and i have just stayed at The Soniat ....quite a magical experience...lovely setting right in the middle of the french quarter so quiet and peaceful .Our Suite ,we were given an upgrade ..(nice touch) was in the property over the road . WE had 2 huge rooms and lots of fabulous antiques to look at. Aswell as all the modern comforts.Great curtains which blocked out all the light so some terrific rest . A lovely courtyard with fountain playing and lush vegetation. In the main hotel there a very quaint and well stocked honour bar...with Claire the resident cat who is irresistible. Its a sophisticated hotel..and beautifully run.All very low key.The ladies and gentleman at the desk were so very helpful in all out pre planning. The lovely Calvin and Scott who brought out Breakfast to our rooms. were real gents....it was a bit too cold to sit in the courtyard. We had a fabulous stay in New Orleans in a very 'special' hotel ..A total delight! would definitely visit again...