A Night Away at the NOPSI Hotel

Here's a look inside one of the city's newest hotels.

If you’re looking for a reason to stay at the NOPSI Hotel, “just because” works just fine. I recently had a chance to spend a weekend at the hotel, and I cannot say enough good things about my experience.

As you may know, the hotel is housed in the building that was the former headquarters for New Orleans Public Service, Inc. Throughout the hotel, you will see items that pay homage to the business that once occupied this space.

That starts immediately upon arrival with the sizable NOPSI logo embedded in the sidewalk, and you can’t help but take a picture of with your feet framing the emblem. I saw many people, including myself, taking this “Instagram-worthy” photo. Just beyond the logo, you are greeted by charismatic doormen which set the tone for the hospitality that this hotel breeds.

The quintessential NOPSI photo

 

Once you enter the lobby, you’ll hear the sounds of a jazz band playing near the bar. The lobby is bright, spacious and has the original, vaulted ceilings that have been restored to their original state. The lobby bar, underCURRENT (get it, a play on electricity), specializes in gin but will serve up any drink that soothes your soul.

Near the bar is a large, outdoor patio which is also dog-friendly. They even have a “pooch menu” for your canine companion, and we’re not talking puppy chow. The menu offers dishes like Scrappy’s Steak n’ Eggs, which consists of a petite filet mignon with scrambled eggs and brown rice. During football season, the patio will host pre-game festivities with specialty food and drink offerings.

underCURRENT bar with the Patio area just beyond it

 

During my visit, I stayed in a King Deluxe room which is one step above the standard room. Immediately upon entering the room, I was greeted by the most pleasant aroma. I’m not sure what they use for air freshener, but I would sure like to get some for my house.

The room was spacious with large windows overlooking Barrone Street. I expected to hear some street noise throughout the night, but to my surprise, it was very quiet.  The bathroom was large by most hotel standards with double sinks and a shower that was big enough to fit four people comfortably. Wi-fi comes with the room, which is a perk you don’t find for free these days at most hotels.

King deluxe room overlooking Baronne Street

I had dinner reservations at the hotel restaurant, Public Service. Before heading to dinner, I decided to go to the rooftop bar, Above the Grid (there’s that reference to electricity again).  As a hotel guest, you are allowed rooftop access starting at 7 a.m., and that is where the pool is located. Non-hotel guests can visit the bar after 4 p.m., which means the pool is for hotel guests only (another reason why you should stay there).

Above the Grid offers a large rooftop with plenty of seating, which gives it a nice feeling of not being too crowded. There were plenty of people, mostly locals, taking in the 180-degree views stretching from the Superdome to the CBD.  I liked the vibe up there, mostly professionals enjoying a cocktail and some appetizers after work.

There is a happy hour, or as they refer to it — “Power Hour” — from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, which offers drink specials at all three of the hotel’s bars. There was a gorgeous sunset that night which was timed perfectly before heading downstairs to dinner.

The fabulous views and sunset at Above the Grid

The hotel’s restaurant, Public Service, features an open concept with a bar on one end and an exposed kitchen on the other end. The restaurant was energetic (no pun intended), with a good number of people dining on this particular Friday night. The contemporary menu has something for everyone, from the meat dishes to the seafood entrees.

My dining party had a combination of all the above, including a cold seafood tower, public burger, chicken fried soft shell crab, crabmeat gnocchi and rotisserie chicken.  Everything was excellent and the prices were quite reasonable for a restaurant of this caliber. Prices ranged from $5 to $32. During the month of August, the restaurant offers a special Coolinary menu which includes a three-course dinner for $33.

Like everywhere else in the hotel, there are reminders of NOPSI everywhere, from the artwork on the walls to the light bulb shaped salt and pepper shakers on the tables. I found those quite adorable. Even if you do not have a chance to stay at NOPSI, I would still make it a point to try this restaurant.

The seafood tower, public burger and chicken fried soft shell crab at Public Service

I really do not have a negative thing to say about this place. I enjoyed my time by the pool, which I took advantage of the following morning after visiting the on-site gym. The service is impeccable, and the amenities cannot get any better. And if you are a dog lover, it’s a pet-friendly hotel.

Right now is the perfect time to stay, as they are offering a “Be a Tourist Deal” for Louisiana residents only. This gets you a room for $150 with breakfast included. Take it from me, you can’t beat this “electrifying” deal. 🙂

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Rachel Sigur is a contributing blogger for Nola Weekend and a frequent traveler. She also now recommends booking a night at NOPSI Hotel.

 

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