If you like art, design, creative cuisine or just hanging with coolios, the spanking new boutique hotel, The Saint, should be on your twitter feed and, if you’re heading to New Orleans, it should be on your itinerary.

Grand opening was January 28 and, although they’re still tweaking the details, this opulent new property at the corner of Burgundy and Canal is going to be making Adele-size waves. It’s next door to the Ritz-Carlton on the outskirts of the French Quarter and every square foot is unique from the gnome tables in the Burgundy Bar to the pressed tin awning leading into the lobby.

American Airlines pilot Mark Wyant who, along with his partner, mom Jana Wyant, poured $45 million into New Orleans’ latest luxury option, lucked into this one-of-a-kind project on a vacation with his family. He saw the “For Sale” sign on the abandoned 1909 Audubon building that, at one time, housed the city’s Woolworth’s department store. He was intrigued and decided to call, just on a whim.

And what a whim it turned out to be! Since that time, he has turned his heart over to this project that includes 166 rooms, a speakeasy, a rooftop bar and two restaurants helmed by Chef Michael Stoltzfus, pegged as one of Food and Wine’s top 100 chefs, and celebrated in the Big Easy for Coquette, his popular restaurant in the Garden District.

Halo, the rooftop lounge that should open just in time for the Final Four playoffs, offers a panoramic view (one of very few in New Orleans) from the top of the eight-story building.

The lobby, whimsically designed with no square walls, surprises at every turn from 21-foot
Italian-crafted columns and backlit white drapes to giant black and white photos of the historically-significant building in 1910 when it first opened and in 1921 during Mardis Gras.

The rooms, ringing in at a respectable 320-square-feet, show off exposed brick walls, white lacquered furnishings, marble bathrooms, amenities by Niven Morgan and dark blue ceilings, chosen, says Wyant, for the pilot’s motto, “Keep the blue side up.”

Folk art by William Hemmerling adorns the walls of Sweet Olive, the funky street-level bistro with an imaginative menu that sources local food and changes seasonally. Found during opening season are such dishes as rabbit jambalaya, wild boar rillette, sweet potato gnocchi, she crab soup and Velvet Elvis, a mixture of peanut butter, banana and bacon ice creams, red velvet crumble and cream cheese mousse.

The vibe at the Saint is bohemian chic with custom-made chandeliers, furniture and lobby pool table. And since it is only blocks from early jazz clubs frequented by such legendary performers as Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton, live jazz is offered nightly

The street car stops at the front door. 931 Canal Street, 504.522.5400, www.thesainthotelneworleans.com

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