As of last week, there's a new boutique hotel in New Orleans' quaint Garden District. Opened on Feb. 4, Columns is a 20-room boutique hotel housed inside an 1883 mansion. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building underwent a careful renovation process that preserved many original architectural details while simultaneously bringing it into the 21st century.
Columns is aptly-named for the stately pillars on its spacious porch, overlooking the historic Saint Charles Avenue streetcar line. The property has a rich history as one of the Garden District’s most recognizable mansions; notable New Orleans architect Thomas Sully originally designed it. It is one of the only remaining examples of several Italianate houses he designed. When the building turned into a hotel in the 1950s, its veranda soon became known for hosting classic brunches and other gatherings while guests gazed out on the oak-lined avenue, which is also on the Mardi Gras parade route.
Although owner Jayson Seidman (who also owns the Drifter in New Orleans and the Basic and Thunderbird hotels in Marfa, Texas) was careful to preserve original details like the dramatic mahogany stairwell that rises to meet a domed stained-glass skylight with an elaborate sunburst, he also hired designer Lorraine Kirke to redesign the interiors, including adding original artwork, plush upholstered furniture, and a whimsical mix of lighting from Buster & Punch to accent the original ornamented chandeliers. Original wallpaper is joined by rich Farrow & Ball paint colors.
The 20 rooms include six suites with 15-foot-high ceilings, which all have original claw foot bathtubs. Bath products are from Aesop, and bed linens and towels are by Parachute.
Chef Michael Stoltzfus, known for his Garden District restaurant Coquette, is in charge of the hotel’s bar and restaurant, which opened in December 2020. The small plates menu features dishes like poached Gulf shrimp and a fried Gulf fish sandwich with tomato jam and turnip tartar sauce alongside New Orleans classic cocktails like a Sidecar and Sazerac. A newly expanded patio offers additional outdoor seating, and there’s also a new rooftop restaurant, an in-house coffee and flower shop, and a curated retail collection of locally and globally sourced goods.
To make a reservation, visit www.thecolumns.com. Nightly rates start at $350.