Art Deco style renewed in New Orleans hotel revival

Transforming a historic building in the city of New Orleans, the new Act Hotel features moody interiors filled with an eclectic arrangement of stylish pieces that spread out into a contemporary addition.

Ace Hotel New Orleans sits in the city’s Warehouse District, just south of the famous French Quarter, and is split across a 1928 building and a new extension.


The historic nine-storey building was designed by Weiss, Dreyfous and Seiferth and once housed the largest furniture store in the American South.

To turn it into a hotel, the art deco-style structure was restored and renovated, and given a four-storey addition by local firm Eskew+Dumez+Ripple to total 184,000 square feet (17,100sqm).

Eskew+Dumez+Ripple’s extension is intended as a “quiet, elegant reinterpretation of its classic neighbour”. Dark brick is used to clad the facade, contrasting the lighter stone next door, while window boxes front deep windows and balconies on the top floor.

Old and new are connected by a three-storey glass bridge that is set back from the street, and sits atop of a historic single-storey garage that now accommodates a coffee shop.

Work on the exterior of the art-deco building included erasing aluminium-framed glazing around the entrance that was added during a 1970s renovation. These were replaced with high-performance yet more visually sensitive fixtures, and the recessed archway was returned to how it looked when the building first opened.

Inside, the ground floor spaces – which once functioned as a vestibule and access point for offices – have been transformed into the hotel lobby and restaurant areas.

More restoration took place here, including work on the terrazzo floors and corinthian column caps. New York-based Roman & Williams was responsible for the interior design, and used many of Ace’s signatures – like soft lighting, vintage furniture and industrial materials – across the communal spaces.

“The interior features restrained finishes and a lively but warm character that provide a welcome contrast from the art-deco ornamentation of the building’s base,” said the hotel’s statement.

The guest rooms are decorated with moody colours and dark furniture to create a cosy atmosphere. Penthouse suites on the ninth floor include mezzanine levels for sleeping, while facilities for cooking, dining and relaxing are found below. All the rooms feature custom woodwork, designed to blend with the building’s character.

“Each hotel room pays tribute to the unique culture and history of the city, creating an authentic experience for guests,” said Ace Hotel.

During the conversion, a plant-filled rooftop deck and swimming pool were added to the top of the historic building. This involved upgrading its core to provide additional lateral bracing and structural support, and the inclusion of a new elevator and stairwell.


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