While opening Ace Hotel New Orleans in 2016, the Ace Atelier team was curious about the space directly across the street. They learned from The Domain Companies--their partner in all things New Orleans--that the historic site, which used to house City Hall Annex, happened to be available.
"We had been thinking about creating a more intimately-scaled guest house and this opportunity offered us a chance to ignite new concepts alongside the freedom to experiment and redefine luxury in the realm of compassionate hospitality," says Kelly Sawdon of Atelier Ace.
With their inspiration in tow, Maison de la Luz was born. The team partnered with acclaimed design firm Studio Shamshiri to create the 67 room sanctuary, replete with luxurious details to match the city's many cultural influences. Even the name reflects the city: "We wanted a name that evoked its multiculturalism, romance languages, and the lightness of being," explains Sawdon. "Maison de la Luz mixes French, Spanish, and Latin as an ode to the city’s essence, nodding to traditional New Orleans nomenclature for dwellings ("House of the Rising Sun," for example)."
After a lengthy construction and design period, the Carondelet Street oasis opened its doors this May. The stunning guestrooms boast hand-embroidered linens, original works by local artists, and sculptural snake shower handles. The historic grand staircase is a glorious first sight and dazzling details greet visitors at every turn. Guests have access to several common areas and Bar Marilou, a sophisticated take on the hotel watering hole serving craft cocktails, a mostly-French wine list, and tasty fare. The bar, situated next to the hotel with a separate entrance for the public, was also designed by Studio Shamshiri and created with longtime friends and Parisian group Quixotic Projects. (It is the group's first stateside venture).
"They were able to marry their Parisian sensibility and their passion for New Orleans’ cocktail culture in perfect harmony with the space," says Sawdon. The bar's name was also inspired by the French. "[It's] the shortened version of the proper Marie-Louise. It's like calling an old friend by nickname, the friend whose apartment you always visit for cocktails and revelry."
Paying homage to traditional New Orleans' guest houses, Maison de la Luz is a New Orleanian's elevated staycation dream. Meant to serve as a refuge from the sights and smells of the stimulating city, the guest house still possesses a sense of idiosyncratic history, storytelling, and French-inflected nonchalence, says Sawdon. "The care expressed in the design mirrors the way we treat our guests, as our family in our own home."
Several room types, including suites, are available and range in size from 340 to 620 square. Reservations are available for booking online, with rates starting at $389.