It's hard not to stop and stare while passing LeBlanc + Smith's latest and highly anticipated Uptown restoration. The 19th century St. Charles Avenue mansion is now home to The Chloe, a 14-room hotel with a bar and restaurant a.k.a. the perfect set up for a food focused group adding a boutique lodge to its portfolio.
The local company, helmed by Róbert LeBlanc, is behind French Quarter restaurants Sylvain and Longway Tavern as well as Cavan and Barrel Proof on Magazine Street. The Chloe, while steeped in the city's architectural history, customs, and traditions, provides the group's 21st century hospitality in a new and exciting way.
"We have a great company with young talented people who want to grow and I'm really proud of the portfolio we have," the restaurateur explains. "It's not inspiring to me to recreate something we've already created. The Chloe is an opportunity to work in hospitality but to create a slightly different product line."
The property officially opened to hotel guests and diners in late October after more than two years of preparation. Designed by Thomas Sully as a private residence and most recently utilized as a bed and breakfast, The Chloe boasts many original details thoughtfully enhanced by interior designer Sara Ruffin Costello. Modern colors and amenities, a wide range of art and photography on the walls (curated by photographer Paul Costello), and unique guest rooms with "fun little discoveries" set the tone for a comfortable and enjoyable stay.
"We want people to be inspired by our food, drink, hospitality, and design, but we want it to be playful and fun, and not so delicate where people feel anxious engaging it. Sara designs the exact same way. She wants everything to be inspiring — and it is — but there is no chair that wasn't designed to be sat in."
Every part of the destination is extremely livable: the lobby with its many stations and nooks for work and play, the backyard which boasts a dazzling pool and outdoor bar, and the front porch with its classic rocking chairs. "A lot of people will sit out with a cocktail and let the world pass by."
LeBlanc hopes that The Chloe is used as a landing spot for anyone spending time in the neighborhood. The hotel is meant to feel like an extension of one's own abode and gives guests, local or visiting, the perfect place to sit and relax with a coffee or cocktail after a day spent exploring the city. The staff is also prepared to offer culturally, architecturally, or historically relevant suggestions.
"It's a hotel but it is designed to be as much a campus as anything else, where people can feel comfortable coming and enjoying the various experiences. With the medical centers really growing and the universities getting more robust, I think there is more of a reason to stay Uptown now than there has been in the past."
In the dining room, guests are surrounded by lush greenery while tucking into Todd Pulsinelli's casual New Orleans fare. The light-filled room was inspired by Uptown's bountiful private gardens. Should you prefer to dine al fresco, the courtyard — which recently added heaters for the colder months — and back patio are both available.
No matter if you are stopping by for a meeting in the courtyard or a weeklong visit with friends, the restored sanctuary is ready to welcome all who walk through its wrought iron gates. LeBlanc sums up the experience perfectly: "At The Chloe, nobody is going to feel bad about laughing too loud or out of place doing a shot of whiskey. Nobody is going to feel bad about dropping a glass of wine, because that's part of life and laughter."
This article appeared in the December 2020 Issue of Adore Magazine.