Today, January 26, is National Plan for Vacation Day and academic research has found that the positive effect of anticipating a journey rivals that of actually being on one. With new hotels and attractions opening, fall festival dates announced and discounts and deals offered for visitors, it is the perfect time to plan a trip.
The year has begun with exciting announcements of details of openings and event dates in 2021 for visitors to look forward to when they return or make their first trip to the city. The advancement of vaccine distribution gives travelers hope that it will finally be the right time to travel at some point this year and there will be several exciting new developments to check out including the new Four Seasons and Virgin Hotels as well as the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, which will open this spring and summer. Annual events like French Quarter Fest and the always anticipated New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which are traditionally held in the spring, have announced fall dates and provide more exciting reasons to visit.
Our community and the hospitality industry are taking the COVID-19 situation very seriously and striving to make New Orleans as safe as possible for all, especially our guests. We have instituted a NOLA Hospitality Safe Program through which hotels, restaurants, musicians and others have taken a pledge to follow COVID-19 reopening guidelines and guests are asked to do the same.
New Orleanians look forward to the return of live music, festivals and our friends from near and far when the time is right and here is an overview of what visitors can look forward to when they plan their trip to New Orleans.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Jazz Fest 2021 is now scheduled for October 8‐17. Due to the ongoing Covid‐19 pandemic, the producers of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell have decided to postpone this year’s event until the fall. The Festival will begin announcing details about the music, food, art and safety guidelines planned for the 2021 Fest this spring.
French Quarter Festival
The new dates for French Quarter Festival 2021 will be September 30–October 3. The annual festival celebrating Louisiana music, food and culture hires over 1,500 Louisiana musicians and attracts hundreds of thousands of fans. The organizers of French Quarter Festival presented by Chevron will have a modified layout that adheres to CDC protocols and guidelines.
Four Seasons Hotel
Opening in Spring 2021, Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans provides a luxurious gateway from which to access the vibrant culture of the city. The 34-story Hotel offers 341 rooms and suites with views of the Mississippi River and cityscape. A signature restaurant by James Beard Award winning chef Alon Shaya overlooks lush gardens, while Chandelier Bar is the energized gathering point of the lobby level. A second chef-led restaurant on the fifth floor, overlooks the river, alongside the full-service spa, fitness center and outdoor pool deck. An observation deck and exhibit features the only 360-degree panoramic riverfront views of New Orleans.
Virgin Hotel New Orleans is slated to open its doors in Summer 2021. Located in the Warehouse District at 550 Baronne Street, Virgin Hotel New Orleans is located in the Central Business District close to a growing number of new restaurants, galleries and shops. The property will feature over 200 chambers, multiple dining and drinking outlets such as the brand’s signature Commons Club and Funny Library Coffee Shop, a rooftop pool and lounge, gym and dedicated meetings and event spaces. Virgin Hotel New Orleans will be completed by Logan Killen Interiors, Mathes Brierre Architects, CallisonRTKL Architects, and Broadmoor Construction and will be managed by Virgin Hotels.
Local New Orleans interior design firm Logan Killen Interiors are designing the hotel to incorporate a Southern residential feel while combining colorful, tropical architectural motifs with Virgin’s signature style of fun and smart. The hotel will feel more like one’s home away from home than another city hotel. Common spaces like the lush rooftop pool deck and the Jazz Age-inspired Commons Club inspire curiosity and exploration around every turn.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations New Orleans Resort
Holiday Inn Club Vacations Incorporated, a national vacation ownership company, opened its New Orleans Resort, the Company’s first urban property in its growing network of U.S. travel destinations, on January 13, 2021. The historic property, originally built in 1893 as New Orleans’ first skyscraper, was acquired by Holiday Inn Club Vacations in 2019 as a luxury apartment building and converted into a 105-villa resort.
Located in the heart of downtown New Orleans, the property is one block from the city’s famed Bourbon Street and a short walk from the French Quarter. Ideal for families and groups looking to explore the city, the resort offers full-size villas with spacious one- and two-bedroom layouts that include kitchens and living rooms. The first floor of the resort contains a Marketplace and the Maritime Bar & Lounge, a full-service bar that is expected to open later this year. On the building’s top floor, guests can enjoy a fitness center, outdoor dipping pool and rooftop terrace.
Still New to the Scene
One11 Hotel opened in December, the first new hotel to open in the French Quarter for 50 years. A former sugar warehouse, the 83-room property is located adjacent to the luxury shopping of Canal Place and provides expansive views of the Mississippi River from its rooftop bar.
The Chloe also opened in the fall on tree-lined St. Charles Avenue. The 14-room boutique hotel is a renovated a historic mansion developed by local hospitality group LeBlanc + Smith, and features a great restaurant and intimate spaces to enjoy a drink at the bar, salon, pool or on the front porch with the streetcar passing by.
Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience
Opening in Spring 2021, the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience will explore the many ways Jews in the American South influenced and were influenced by the distinct cultural heritage of their communities, covering 13 states and more than 300 years of history – including Colonial, Civil War, World War II and the Civil Rights Movement.
Multi-media exhibits will illustrate how Jewish immigrants and succeeding generations adapted to life in the South, forming bonds of deep friendship and community with their non-Jewish neighbors. The Museum will also address issues of race and anti-Semitism, and the many ways that Southern Jews navigated them at different times.
The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Pedestrian Park
A new linear park turning 7.5 acres of Convention Center Blvd into a lush pedestrian park is complete and features interactive water elements, live event spaces, public art installations and shaded gathering places for the enjoyment of those planning a future business trip or to attend a future convention. It is part of a $557 million improvement plan underway at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, America's largest contiguous-space exhibit hall with 1.1 million sq. ft. of prime exhibit space. This includes modernizations and renovations throughout the facility such as a brand new, centrally located Transportation Center to allow shuttles, taxis and ride-shares to move attendees more efficiently to and from the Center.
The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center was one of the first facilities to achieve the GBAC STAR™ accreditation through the Global BioRisk Advisory Council, certifying that the facility is implementing the industry’s highest standards of cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention for infectious agents such as COVID-19, and is the leading standard of prepared facilities.
Still New to the Scene
New Orleans welcomed two experiential art exhibits in the fall. JAMNOLA is an innovative space in the Bywater filled with Joy-Art-Music. With art curated by Where Y’Art, a New Orleans-based artist collective, 20 local artists have crafter unexpected, interactive exhibits in a love letter to New Orleans’ cultural gems.
The ARTmazing Gallery is an art exhibition and events space in the midst of the French Quarter. The gallery houses thirteen Instagrammable rooms filled with the wildest experiences and guests are invited to paint on canvases which will be auctioned off and proceeds will be donated to help local charities.
For more on these and other developments, please visit https://www.neworleans.com/developingnola/
Images available upon request.