The Chloe Boutique Hotel in New Orleans

WORDS Robyn Alexander PHOTOS Paul Costello, Brittany Conerly

Combining mystery and romance with a sense of whimsy, The Chloe is a new small hotel in New Orleans that is big on evocative design, and captures all the special charm of this remarkable city.

With romantic antebellum homes and gorgeous gardens shaded from tropical heat by a canopy of oak trees, New Orleans’ Garden District is on every traveller’s must-visit list. And now there’s a fresh attraction: new luxury hotel The Chloe is situated just a couple of minutes’ walk away, in the Uptown District.

A genuine boutique hotel with just 14 guest rooms, The Chloe is housed in a renovated Victorian mansion that was originally built by renowned local architect Thomas Sully, with its reworked interiors designed by local decorator Sara Ruffin Costello. The new hotel is all about understated luxury, with moody themes typical of New Orleans – including mysticism and the natural world – reflected in the interior design. Think dim lighting, darker hues, slow-turning fans and winding rooms: a place to embrace all the mystery and romance of the Big Easy.

On arrival, guests are greeted by wrought-iron gates, an expansive brick patio and a front porch that features original tiles from the 1860s. In the lobby and other public areas, historic design details remain similarly intact; they include intricately tiled floors, dark woodwork, complex plaster mouldings and exceptionally high ceilings. The old staircase has a red carpet with a pattern of scrambling alligators, adding a playful touch to the period grandeur.

The Chloe Boutique Hotel
The main dining room features neo-Victorian light fixtures, hanging plants and marble-topped tables.

The Chloe is the first hotel from restaurateur Robert LeBlanc of New Orleans-based hospitality group LeBlanc + Smith. No surprise, then, that its restaurant menu has been conceived to feature modern takes on local classics such as a muffuletta egg roll, gumbo z’herbes agnolotti and shrimp étouffée dumplings. The dining room is just as evocative in design, with neo-Victorian light fixtures, a verdant tangle of hanging ivy and ferns, ochre leather banquettes and marble-topped tables. This being a tropical place, being able to eat and drink outdoors is essential – and at The Chloe you can choose to dine under crepe myrtle trees on a stone patio. And did we mention the outdoor bar area, the pool and the fragrant herb garden lined with Meyer lemon trees?

Upstairs, the guest rooms are also filled with whimsy and wonder, with special touches such as modern soaking tubs, four-poster beds or low spindle beds, and photography and artwork that include both artist originals and vintage finds. There’s a Victorian theme, but the rooms feel light and elegant, with crisp, white, monogrammed Italian sheets, custom-made dressing gowns, and toiletries and amenities produced by neighbourhood makers. Opulently patterned fabrics by storied British design houses House of Hackney and Morris & Co adorn mismatched chairs, with each chair also embroidered with an image of the cat that used to hang out at the original hotel in another charming nod to the history of the house.

Combining a distinct New Orleans spirit with thoughtful, assured interiors, The Chloe is a wonderful piece of design inspiration – and the ideal location from which to discover all the magic of this unique American city.

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Looking for more architectural or travel inspiration? Take a look at the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge.