Put down the smartphone, shut out the work noise and don’t even think about making that bed. You’re on vacation. The idea is to elevate your stay from the everyday. That’s not hard to do in New Orleans, where out-of-the-ordinary is the norm. No worries, no responsibilities and no penny-pinching. Just let go and indulge.
M.S. Rau Antiques: One of the city’s oldest antiques galleries is also one of the nation’s largest. For more than a century, Rau has ruled Royal Street with a stellar high-end selection of 18th- and 19th-century art and collectibles. Searching for Napoleon’s bronze death mask? Pope Paul VI’s diamond-and-emerald-encrusted cross? You'll find them among the 25,000 square feet of jaw-dropping treasures.
Avery Fine Perfumery: Step into this “smell gallery” and set off on a world tour of luxe fragrances. Scent stylists help you build a customized “fragrance wardrobe” with art perfume brands from around the globe. More a fan of home than body fragrance? The shop’s chic ceramic sculptures double as diffusers.
Waldorf Astoria Spa: This elegant escape inside the equally elegant Roosevelt Hotel provides a full line of spa services, from facials to massages, in addition to specialty treatments and lavish luxuries. Take the decadent Diamond Body therapy, which incorporates precious stones and gold-enriched creams. A complimentary glass of champagne? Yes, please.
Fellow Suits: Where do sharp-dressed New Orleans Saints like Roman Harper and Brandon Coleman turn for expert fashion advice? Fellow Suits, where tailors take up to 30 measurements to ensure the perfect fit and guide guys through the process of selecting the right fabrics, styles and personal touches for a handcrafted, one-of-a-kind look.
The Shops at Canal Place: Tiffany & Co., Coach, Saks Fifth Avenue, lululemon: That’s just a small sampling of the many high-end retailers found at this upscale mall. On the third floor is a nine-screen theater where moviegoers can order gourmet snacks and cocktails straight from their seats.
Windsor Court Tea: With paintings of British royal life adorning its lobby, hallways and Polo Club Lounge, the Windsor Court Hotel emits a decidedly English air, which makes its traditional afternoon tea all the more authentic. Sip from 26 different varieties and nibble on scones with lemon curd, while Rachael Van Vorrhees, principal harpist for the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, strums in the background.
Effervescence: Champagne is the order at this French Quarter bubbles bar, where a spirited crowd toasts the 90 different bottles—and 33 by-the-glass—on offer. Settle in for an international flight of French, Italian, Spanish or American varieties, while noshing on caviar and sophisticated small plates.
Commander’s Chef’s Table: A place at Commander’s Palace’s Chef’s Table, located smack in the middle of the kitchen, is an exciting, upscale experience, full of people, bustle, energy and, of course, amazing food. Chef Tory McPhail chats with diners ahead of time, so he and his team can create a pitch-perfect, specialized and thoughtful menu.
Behind the Lines Tour: You could easily spend two full days taking in all of the National WWII Museum’s holdings, and its exclusive behind-the-scenes experience lets you do just that. Climb inside a Sherman tank, get hands-on with historic artifacts, grab lunch with a curator and receive a pass for a second day to explore on your own.
The Jazz Playhouse: Walk-ins are welcome at the Royal Sonesta’s swanky jazz club, where visiting musicians, such as Stevie Wonder, have been known to stop by for an impromptu set. But why take your chances on finding a seat when you can secure a front row spot for just $20?