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Marriott Debuts New Brand with 220-Key AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon

15 Dec 2014, 9:54 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon

Global hospitality giant Marriott International Inc. officially debuted the AC Hotels by Marriott brand in North America with the opening of the 220-key AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon. The New Orleans location marks not only the AC Hotels by Marriott brand’s U.S. debut but also the start of an aggressive expansion in the United States and Latin America. The lifestyle brand will open more than 50 destinations throughout the Americas over the next three years. The brand’s next locations, set to open early in 2015, include Kansas City’s posh Westport neighborhood and downtown Miami Beach.

Located at 221 Carondelet St., the AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon is situated in the world-famous French Quarter, a global destination for entertainment, food, culture and business. Opened in November in the historic Cotton Exchange building, the lifestyle hotel underwent a multimillion-dollar conversion. According to The New Orleans Advocate, Texas-based hotel development, construction and management company NewCrestImage invested $18 million in the 1871-built property’s renovation. NewCrestImage paid $17.8 million to purchase the property in mid-2013. The owner will also operate the AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon under a franchise agreement with Marriott. According to The New Orleans Advocate, the hotel employs 70. As a nod to its target demographics, Millennial travelers, the hotel offers complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi throughout the property.

The redesigned hotel features a sleek European look inspired by Milan’s fashion world, while still staying true to the property’s historic air. Amenities include a fitness center, five meetings and event venues totaling 2,200 square feet, and 47-inch flat-screen TVs with premium movie channels in every room. Signature amenities include the AC Library; the AC Lounge; a daytime work and after-hours relaxation space serving signature drinks, craft beers and tapas; and The AC Kitchen, offering posh European breakfasts.

“With the continued rise of the Millennial traveler, we saw an opportunity to import this highly successful European brand from overseas with the hope of introducing a more experiential and design-led, upper-moderate-tier lifestyle brand to the U.S.,” said Marriott International President & CEO Arne Sorenson.

Founded in 1998 by famed Spanish hotelier Antonio Catalan, AC Hotels joined Marriott’s global portfolio in 2011. Currently, AC Hotels by Marriott operates 74 hotels throughout Southwestern Europe, in sought-after destinations such as France, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Image courtesy of Marriott International

165-Key Warehouse District Hotel Rebrands, Starts $14M Reno

8 Dec 2014, 6:14 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery

It looks like things are going to heat up even more for the Big Easy’s tourism industry. Speaking at TravelSouth International Showcase, Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau President & CEO Stephen Perry announced that the city will host two major international tourism industry events over the next two years, reported The Times-Picayune. The first event will be the Go West Seminar, a three-day event organized by German tour operator Meiers Weltreisen. The three-day event will bring 100 travel agents to New Orleans and Louisiana in November 2015.

The second event, however, will be a landmark happening. In June 2016, the U.S. Travel Association IPW, the world’s largest tradeshow of its kind, will descend upon New Orleans, bringing 1,200 domestic and international travel buyers from more than 1,000 domestic travel organizations and 70 countries.

With the tourism industry riding such highs, it comes as no surprise that the local hotel real estate market is running hot, as well. This week, it was the old Ambassador Hotel’s turn to hit the development block, with the owners announcing a $14 million renovation and rebranding. The 160-year-old building’s remodel will focus on highlighting the structure’s original architectural elements, such as exposed brick, and hardwood floors. In-room amenities will include flat-screen TVs, docking stations and complimentary Wi-Fi. Hotel amenities will include a fitness center and a versatile meeting venue. The remodel will increase the number of rooms to 167 and locate a popular food and beverage spot on-site later in 2015. The property, set to open in spring, will be renamed The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery in honor of its port trade past.

Previously part of hospitality mogul Warrant Reuther’s holdings, the former ambassador is now under the ownership of Provenance Hotels and GB Lodging. According to The Times-Picayune, Provenance and GB purchased the hotel in August 2013 for an undisclosed price.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Image credit: The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery via Facebook 

South Market’s $40M The Beacon Secures Financing, Begins Preleasing

1 Dec 2014, 2:47 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associated Editor

The Beacon

New Orleans- and New York-based The Domain Cos. has secured financing for The Beacon, the $40 million third phase of the $250 million South Market District, the transformative mixed-use development underway in downtown New Orleans. Pre-leasing has also been kicked off for the 20,000 square feet of retail space that will be available at The Beacon.

Primary funding for the 126-unit asset was secured from Capital One Bank through a $28.4 million construction/permanent loan. While this is the first South Market project to receive funding from Capital One Bank, The Beacon is Domain’s third New Orleans project to secure equity from the banking institution. Domain also secured $4.5 million in bridge loan financing from Iberia Bank, which provided the initial acquisition financing for South Market’s sites. The Beacon will also benefit from a 12-year PILOT deal from the New Orleans Industrial Development Board.

With The Park boasting full occupancy and The Paramount more than 90 percent leased, as previously reported, retail space in The Beacon will most likely be snapped up quickly by businesses interested in a downtown clientele. While The Paramount focused on food and beverage retailers, The Beacon will target fashion apparel and home décor retailers. Retail leasing and consulting services are provided by Atlanta-based Terremark Partners.

The Beacon

The Beacon will feature 126 Class A apartments and amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, resident lounge complete with chef’s kitchen and media center, concierge and valet service, and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout. Residents will also have access to South Market amenities such as bike and car sharing programs and electric car charging stations.

Designed by Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, the seven-story building will also feature a 4,350-square-foot landscaped courtyard situated at the center of the building on Girod Street. The courtyard will start at street level and slope up to a second-floor courtyard via a string of stepped landings with seating. The Beacon’s exterior, a mix of masonry and metal panels, offers a new take on the area’s warehouse and commercial architecture, without stepping out of context.

Expected to be completed in January 2016, The Beacon will connect to The South Market’s fourth building, which will kick off construction in late 2015.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Renderings courtesy of The Domain Cos.

285-Key Loews New Orleans Completes $4M Update; 106-Key Pontchartrain Hotel Embarks on $10M Remodel

24 Nov 2014, 3:19 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Loews New Orleans

The 285-key Loews New Orleans, a landmark downtown New Orleans hotel, has announced completing a $4 million renovation. The three-month project updates guest rooms and renovated corridors and the hotel restaurant, Café Adelaide. Updated features include new carpeting, lighting fixtures, sofas, chairs and new art. The renovation was led by New Orleans firm Lisambiance Interior Design.

“New Orleans has experienced an incredible surge in visitors these past few years, which means everyone in the city wants to put their best face forward,”  said Loris Menfi, the hotel’s general manager.

Located at 300 Poydras St., the 21-story hotel features amenities such as an indoor heated saltwater pool, co-ed whirlpool, dry sauna, fitness center, spa, business center, on-site parking and 17,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, as well as an outdoor events venue.

Loews New Orleans is owned by Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc. through wholly owned subsidiary Inland American Lodging Group Inc. As previously reported, the REIT purchased the hotel for $74.5 million, or $261,000 per key, a little over a year ago. Loews Hotels & Resorts manages the asset. Formerly an office high-rise, the building was converted in 2004.

Pontchartrain Hotel

In other hospitality news, Chicago real estate investment firm AJ Capital Partners has picked up the 106-key Pontchartrain Hotel for an undisclosed sum. According to The Times-Picayune, the new owners plan to renovate the property and reopen it as a full-service hotel. IberaBank will finance the $10 million project. The property was built in 1927 as an apartment hotel and hosted the likes of Rita Hayworth and Frank Sinatra.

Click here for further Charlotte market data.

Photo credits: Infrogmation via Wikimedia Commons and Inland American Lodging Group 

202-Key Former Wyndham Rebrands as Omni Riverfront Hotel

20 Nov 2014, 4:34 am

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor

Omni Riverfront Hotel

The New Orleans hospitality market continues to stay white-hot, as yet another hotel switches between giants’ flags, proving the allure of owning a Big Easy lodging asset.

The hotel, at 701 Convention Center Blvd. and known as the Wyndham Riverfront New Orleans only a few days ago, has become the Omni Riverfront Hotel. Omni Hotels & Resorts was contracted by Riverfront Lodging LLC to take over the management contract of the 202-unit luxury asset.

“We are excited about the rebranding of the Riverfront New Orleans as an Omni,” said Joe Jaeger, owner of Riverfront Lodging. “This is our second property to join the Omni family, and we look forward to a longstanding and productive relationship,” he added. According to The Times-Picayune, Jaeger, through Riverfront Lodging, has partial ownership of the rebranded property. He is also in the run for a long-term lease for a vacant site near the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, where convention center officials envision a hotel-anchored mixed-use project. As previously reported, Jaeger partially or outright owns several New Orleans hotels, including the 93-key historic Whitney Hotel, which he picked up earlier this year for $10.5 million. Financial details of Omni’s contract have not been disclosed.

Omni Royal Crescent Hotel

Omni’s rebranding of the former Wyndham property comes after an $8 million, six-month, full-property renovation. The process included a complete overhaul of guest rooms, which now feature high-end touches such as 42-inch flat-screen TVs. The hotel bar has been flipped 180 degrees, and the hotel restaurant, formerly known as 7 on Fulton, has rebranded as Fulton St. Bistro | Bar. While the hotel has been extensively refreshed, the property’s New Orleans style and vintage past have been preserved. The Warehouse District hotel features a 24-hour fitness center as well as in-room fitness kits, four meeting rooms totaling 3,325 square feet of meeting and event space, with the largest facility clocking in at 1,700 square feet.

Omni Riverfront is the brand’s third New Orleans asset. Other holdings include the Warehouse District’s 97-key boutique Omni Royal Crescent and the French Quarter’s 345-key Omni Royal Orleans.

Click here for further New Orleans market data.

Images courtesy of Omni Hotels & Resorts


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