The Eliza Jane occupies seven warehouses that were closely clustered together, and eventually combined to create 196 guestrooms. Former tenants of the space include the Gulf Baking Soda Company, Peter’s Cartridge Shop and the iconic New Orleans favorite: the Peychaud Bitters Factory (key ingredient in the Sazerac). The most important tenant, though, was the The Daily Picayune Newspaper, which was published by New Orleans native Eliza Jane. The namesake of the hotel, Eliza Jane was the first female publisher of a newspaper in the United States, and this inspiration is subtly felt throughout the hotel.
Designed by New York based Stonehill Taylor, the finished product features bold colors and rich textures alongside exposed industrial elements. Layered in is a literary history that adds depth without feeling superficial or in your face. In fact, this element may go unnoticed to some.
The hotel has a prime location on Magazine Street, which is within the city’s Central Business District - just a short walk to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street. I particularly enjoyed the quieter, calmer upscale feel of the location of this hotel. If you want to enjoy the craziness, but also be able to step away from it, this is the hotel for you.
It was a rather last minute decision to book this hotel, in fact, I was staying with others until a friend of mine decided to join me in New Orleans. So, I scrambled and was able to utilize a Free Night Award that I get annually with my Chase Hyatt Visa Card - this card is no longer available, but with a $79 Annual Fee, the Free Night Award offers me great value! Yes, you read that right, the Eliza Jane is, in fact, a Hyatt as an Unbound Collection Hotel - a upper upscale soft brand - which is one of my favorite portfolios of unique and thoughtful properties.
Arrival, Check In & Lobby
As many do, we arrived via New Orleans brand new Louis Armstrong International Airport via a quick and affordable Lyft ride. When we pulled up to the hotel, a smiling valet opened the front doors into a reception area where we immediately saw the friend we were meeting - luckily she had coffee for us, which I desperately needed after our long morning of flying. Just to the right, I made my way over to the front desk where a friendly smiling agent welcomed me to New Orleans, offered me a bottle of water and quickly checked me in. A nice touch that I always appreciate is that she thanked me for my loyalty and asked what time I’d like to check out - a 2:00 PM checkout is a perk of my Discoverist Status. Although we were very early, there was indeed a room ready for us, so in just moments we were on our way.
Located at what appears to be the center of the warehouses used to create this hotel is the lobby. The result is an absolutely remarkable multiheight space that runs the center of the lobby. It’s revealed to you once you pass through the first archway from reception, and it’s so stunning that it draws your eye right past the bar - which in its own right is beautiful too. This central space is populated by a variety of soft lounge seating and ergonomic tables and chairs. At times, it almost feels like a coworking space, and I for one could imagine happily working away for hours here.
Off to the right is another space that has a library vibe and features plush seating and a working fireplace - an excellent space to curl up with a book or enjoy a night cap with friends. Opposite this room is an outdoor courtyard with a variety of nooks for various size groups, lush plantings, and a working fountain near the back. I wish we’d had time for a drink here.
The lobby is one of the best that I’ve seen in my travels, and completely unique, but while it is the positive outcome of this merging of buildings, the hotel corridors suffer. Don’t get me wrong, they’re tastefully appointed with hardwood floors, inset carpets, printed wallcovering - which change to hint at the former use of each building - and wall mouldings, but they have a number of grade changes and twists and turns. While we were never lost, we were confused a few times by this, and the various elevator banks. Had even more alcohol been involved, we may have needed a map.
Guestroom / Suite
Upon walking into the guestroom, my immediate thought was how right it felt, which is hard to do. You know that feeling, right? When you see something and it just feels correct, without you even analyzing why, well this room was a manifestation of that feeling. It was beautiful and tastefully appointed. A phenomenal blend of historic, eclectic and fresh - a blend that in my experience can be difficult to pull off. It was clear that that vibe was intentionally built with texture, color and pattern: the painted exposed brick walls were far from perfect, there were pops of pattern in wall covering and upholstery, and a combination of both soft and rich colors provided interest and comfort.
In the main portion of the room, two comfortable Hyatt Grand Beds with crisp white linen and plush comfortable pillows just begged for you to faceplant into them. Their tufted navy headboards and gray linen bases tied them well to the rest of the room, and they provided an excellent night’s sleep. At the foot of each bed for a comfortable pink lounge chair and walnut table, which pulled double duty for our luggage. Across from them was a tv console and desk combination with a lovely green velvet stool; which, while attractive, probably wouldn’t be comfortable to work on for very long, but again, I’d be more than happy working in one of the lobby spaces downstairs. Next to this was an open wardrobe of black and brass tubes, which I simply loved as an alternative to a standard closet. In my opinion closets are clunky for most hotels and take up too much space, this solution felt lighter and showcased two plush robes. Just outside the bathroom was a small nook with an accent wall covering where a matching piece held the refrigerator, Keurig coffee machine, complimentary water bottles and some books.
Just next to the entrance to the room was the bathroom, which had a palette of tasteful black hexagonal tile, a gorgeous marble on that vanity, and a white subway bathtub. Aged brass accents were throughout and really helped to elevate the space. Towels were hung and placed throughout the bathroom and exactly where a guest needs them, as a frequent traveler, this is one of my favorite things to see as there’s nothing worse than finishing a shower to find the towels are halfway across the room. The bathtub shower combo itself had an excellent rainfall shower head with great water pressure and an attractive curtain with a historic print. My only complaint is that I don’t understand built in bathtubs in hotels like this, I’d have much preferred a walk in shower. C.O. Bigelow amenities - one of my absolute favorites - were on offer.
Amenities & Features
The hotel features a small, but well appointed fitness center on the ground floor complete with a few Peloton Studio bikes. It was a nice space with exposed rafters and had both chilled towels and water bottles on offer - it was almost enough to get me to utilize it.
Otherwise, the hotel doesn’t offer traditional amenities, but hear me out on what I think is its best one: that lobby. It is such an expansive, comfortable and moody space that I can imagine working for hours, or grabbing a drink and playing a game, or curling up with a book by the fireplace. This is something that not many hotels have, and especially rare in New Orleans. On top of that, the courtyard is also an amazing amenity, it’s a lovely calm space that you just want to spend time in. That’s a win in my book.
My only critique is that the lobby needs a bit more activity. I don’t want the chaos and hijinks of Bourbon Street, but a bit more rustling to accompany the laid back upscale ambiance. But, in the end, I highly recommend checking out The Eliza Jane on your next visit to New Orleans!