Nouveau New Orleans

Maison Orléans, a new boutique-style hotel

Maison Orléans, a new boutique-style offspring of The Ritz-Carlton, is a hybrid: a midsize hotel that's meant to feel like the intimate, idiosyncratic inns of the French Quarter while providing service in line with its five-star parent. And the Maison Orléans pretty much delivers. The conscientious service starts with a call a few days before guests' arrival to find out if they have any special requests, and continues on arrival with 24-hour butler and room service. The decor is lush, particularly in the four public rooms. Like the grand salons of a plantation house, they are filled with luxurious touches: Louis XVI furniture, antique crystal-and-gilt chandeliers, breakfronts showcasing vintage Limoges, oil portraits, and tufted silk or leather settees. The 74 guestrooms and one suite are handsome if not quite as distinctive, with cherry-wood floors, framed engravings, and sumptuous fabrics like the green brocade half-canopies over the beds. The identical furnishings in each room are a function of the hotel's parentage. Being part of The Ritz, which opened in fall 2000, also means direct access to the excellent restaurant, Victor's, and the atmospheric 20,000-square-foot spa. Rooms, $385-$795. At 904 Rue Iberville; 504-670-2900; fax 504-670-2864;

Hotel prices show high-season rates from the least expensive double to the most expensive suite.