The Snazziest Place to Stay in New Orleans

I don’t know about you, not having met you yet, but I know what I like.  I don’t like to stay in a chain hotel.  When I travel, I’m not particularly interested in staying in an empty apartment, either, à la AirBnB.

Please don’t inundate with emails about how AirBnB is enabling people to rent out spare rooms in their homes to serve as goodwill ambassadors for the city in which the hosts live.  That may be the case where you live.  In New Orleans, with its over 6000 AirBnB listings, the model is an empty house or apartment up for rent for the weekend, empty and fallow and devoid of actual neighbors the rest of the week and during slow tourist seasons.  How do I know?  I walk the street behind our address and half the homes are empty, waiting for next weekend when they’ll be rented out on AirBnB for $1000 a night, sleeping twelve.  I love Mardi Gras but I’m not looking forward to the frat parties that are going to cram into the houses around our boutique experience inn.

What about Rhonda (not her real name)?


The snazziest place to stay in New Orleans!
Your humble narrator with our latest favorite guest


Rhonda is staying with us this weekend.  She came to New Orleans this weekend for the NBA All-Star Game.  I’m gonna tell you, I haven’t thought one thought about the NBA All-Star Game.  This is the first big, BIG weekend of Mardi Gras parades.  Basketball?  Schmasketball!

People in New Orleans don’t care about the NBA All-Stars this weekend.  It’s Mardi Gras, man, get with the program!

Rhonda didn’t know that when she made her reservation to stay with us.  She just came for basketball.  Now that she’s here, she’s learning about all the other things going on in New Orleans that have nothing to do with the NBA.  She’s wishing she had more free time, but she’s got tickets to the game.  This afternoon she had lunch with all the NBA players.  She’s wishing she had the time to see a few parades.  Whatever you think you know about New Orleans before you get here, there’s more.  There is always much, much more.

That’s the way it usually is with people who overplan and make all their restaurant reservations and book tours for every free minute while they’re in New Orleans before they get here.  There is so much going on in New Orleans every day, things that you’ll never know about from reading travel websites, guidebooks, or magazines.  New Orleans is anything but boring.  While the city has a thriving tourist economy, the locals keep themselves occupied outside things in the tourist bubble.  New Orleans is alive and vibrant.  Just show up.  You’ll never be bored in this beautiful city.

Stay at La Belle Esplanade and we’ll tell you all about these other things that locals do.  Discover a different, better New Orleans, altogether.  Get outta the French Quarter.


The snazziest place to stay in New Orleans
Melba’s motto

On of our current guests is Rhonda, which is not her real name.  We like to change names here to protect the innocent (unlike Penthouse Letters which always changed names to protect the guilty—do people still write Penthouse Letters?  That’s how innocent I’ve become; I don’t even know).  All of our guests are a delight to talk with every morning but Rhonda is special.  She’s always the first one in the dining room, which I like because we get to spend some quality one-on-one time.

Rhonda is staying at La Belle Esplanade, if you haven’t figured out that fact already.  Where is her sister staying?  At an AirBnB squat in Belle Chase, Louisiana, right across the river from New Orleans.  Sure it’s cheaper out there—there’s nothing to do in Belle Chase.  How’s an AirBnB in Belle Chase compared to the #1 boutique experience inn in New Orleans? Rhonda’s sister told Frau Schmitt: “This place is so much better than where I’m staying. Your inn has so much more ‘snazz.'”

Yep.  We’re all about the snazz.  La Belle Esplanade is the snazziest place to stay in New Orleans.

While I was on my motor scooter, tootling about the city the other morning picking up fresh bread and pastries, I pulled up close to the car in front of me when were stopped at a traffic light to take a picture of its bumper sticker.  It was missing only one thing.

EAT at Melba’s.  PRAY before meals. LOVE New Orleans. STAY at La Belle Esplanade.

It’s all about the snazz.

À votre santé,

La Belle Esplanade

where every morning begins with a snazzy curated breakfast salon.

Saturday, February 18, 2017:  Five parades on St. Charles Avenue today.  Two more in the Marigny and the Bywater.  It’s Mardi Gras proper in New Orleans.  The city is just gearing up for next week.  Fasten your seat belts for a wondrous ride.