Tucked along Conti Street between Bourbon and Royal in the French Quarter, the Hotel Le Marais (717 Conti St., 504-525-2300; www.hotellemarais.com) is housed in a yellow building typical of the Vieux Carre's colonial style, but a recent remodel has modernized the interior.
"It's a warm, contemporary look with brighter color," says Marc Becker, director of sales and marketing of The New Orleans Hotel Collection, which owns Hotel Le Marais. "A lot of the hotels in the French Quarter have that older look. Le Marais is edgier and more fun. A lot of our guests are pleased to find a different kind of hotel."
The lobby's plush, jewel-toned armchairs and purple lights give it a club-like atmosphere, but Becker says that with 66 rooms, hotel staff are available to focus on service. "We take a more homey [approach] to having guests stay. We like to make people feel like [they] are staying in a friend's guest room. We don't nickel and dime people."
The hotel offers free Wi-Fi, bottled water and breakfast, and each guest receives a free drink at the hotel bar, Vive! Lounge. "We have a holiday package that includes free parking in the Quarter," Becker says. "The only thing you'd end up paying for here is your second drink."
The hotel also features a 24-hour business center and eight-person conference room. The heated outdoor saltwater pool with poolside service from Vive! Lounge is well-suited to those looking to relax. The bar has daily happy hours, and on Wednesday nights patrons receive drink discounts based on the height of their heels. Popular choices include Sazeracs, Moscow mules and Bubbly Vives, a Champagne cocktail with a Swiss liqueur made from violets.
"We have lots to choose from," Becker says. "Mixed drinks in a friendly atmosphere is great before going to dinner. The only thing we don't have is a restaurant, and some of the best ones in the city are a couple blocks from Le Marais. That's why a lot of people come here."
For locals looking for a staycation, the hotel offers 15 percent discounts through Jan. 14. "Unlike other big chain hotels, we're locally owned and operated," he says. "Locals like to support their community, and we're a little hotel with everything you need."
"Everything" also includes an elopement package for couples who want an intimate, convenient wedding ceremony. It includes use of the courtyard, an officiant, chairs and Champagne. "It's for just a few people gathering to tie the knot," Becker says. "The idea is for someone to say, 'That's exactly what I need,' and make a phone call to book everything all at once. We do those quite a lot."