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When is the Best Time to Visit New Orleans?

French Quarter

Spring in the New Orleans French Quarter

You are thinking about that long-awaited journey to New Orleans, but can’t decide on when to come.  Do you like crowds or quiet balconies? Parades or garden tours?  Festivals or concert halls?  Here are a few tips from the Grand Victorian staff to help you decide.

SUMMER for the amazing deals

Summer is hot and so are the special deals you can find to design that economical vacation or stay-cation to enjoy all that the city has to offer.  COOLinary menus allow you to try 2 and 3 course lunches and dinners for low prices.  The festivals continue with Creole Tomato, Cajun-Zydeco, Essence, Satchmo and weekly free summer music offerings in our incredible parks.  The Grand Victorian also offers great summer rates for a cool respite after your sizzling summer days.

MARDI GRAS for the bucket list

You have to experience it at least one time in your life, and we can help you make it the experience you will enjoy.  There are many ways to experience Mardi Gras – parades, costumes, family picnics and ribald entertainment from the masses.  We do Mardi Gras family style in the Garden District, where our home is right on the parade route for over 50 parades during the two-week season.  When you’re tired of the crowd, just jaunt over to the porch to enjoy the pageantry from afar.  It is usually during February or March, check the calendar as the date changes every year.

Mardi-Gras

SPRING for the music festivals

If you love the live local music like we do, then April is for you!  French Quarter Festival and Jazz Festival are the weekends we enjoy most in the city.  An abundance of musical talent on 10 or more stages plus an over-abundance of restaurant food tasting choices can tempt even the most solitary traveler.  Make the festival one of your own design by choosing which musical acts to enjoy or which food booth to park your chair near.  Great spring weather added onto these elements make spring the easy choice for your next New Orleans vacation.

 

The Grand Victorian tends to book early for Mardi Gras and the spring festivals, but we always have good deals in the summertime!  Make this historic New Orleans bed and breakfast your home away from home this year!

Top 5 Jazz Brunches

When it comes to food and music, nobody does it like New Orleans. Put the two together on a mid-morning weekend and it’s the creation of perhaps your most memorable meal in our culinary utopia. Here are our Top 5 recommendations for Jazz Brunches.

jazz brunches

Commander’s Palace Garden Room
Photo Source: Wikicommons

Commander’s Palace

Walk two blocks to our number one recommendation.  Brunch here features a special menu and Live New Orleans Jazz by the Joe Simon’s Jazz Trio. Saturdays and Sundays.

 

Cafe Atachafalya

Live music and a Bloody Mary Bar are the highlights at this uptown favorite.  Enjoy brunch Saturdays and Sundays.

 

Arnaud’s

A tradition in the French Quarter, Sunday only brunch offers Dixieland Jazz and a four-course prix-fixe menu.

 

Palace Café

Build your own mimosa and enjoy Sunday brunch with live music at this class restaurant in the French Quarter.  Sundays only.

 

House of Blues

Wait a minute; that’s not Jazz!  Some of our guests like things a little different from everyone else.  If this is you, try a Gospel brunch and get some praise on for your Sunday exhilaration vacation.

 

 

It’s summertime; so don’t forget to check out our special rates for that last minute getaway or stay-cation at our historic Garden District Bed and Breakfast.

Answers to your burning questions about the Grand Victorian B&B

To save you  a little time, help you decide what to bring and how to spend your time in New Orleans, here is quick list of what our guests usually want to know about staying at the Grand Victorian B&B.

1.  Is there a shower in every room?  

YES.  All rooms have a bathtub with a shower head, except for Evergreen which has a shower only.  The suites have a jacuzzi tub with wall-mounted hand held attachments for the shower.

2.  How far from the French Quarter are you?  

27 blocks. It is 15 minutes by the convenient historic streetcar which will pick you up directly in front of our house for $1.25.  A taxi cab down to the quarter will take about 10 minutes and costs about $8-10.  You can often flag a cab down on the street or we can call one for you.

3.  How far from the airport are you?  

We are about 30 minutes drive by taxi.  The airport shuttle service does not usually come to smaller properties like B&Bs.  The city has a set fee of $33 for 2 people to and from the airport.  We have a taxi service that we recommend if you are interested.

Streetcar in New Orleans

Streetcar in front of Grand Victorian B&B

4.  Do I need to rent a car?

NO.  Most of your travel stops are accessible by streetcar or by taxi; tour companies can pick you up at our door for day trips.  The streetcar has posted stops about every 2-3 blocks; look for a yellow post.  They travel by every 10-20 minutes and once an hour after 10 pm.  The cost is $1.25 each time you get on and we sell day passes for $3.00.  You can use the passes on all public transportation options such as the Canal Street streetcar to City Park or the Magazine Street bus for shopping. The only time our guests use a car is when they are independently touring outside of the City or in the suburbs. Otherwise if they have/arrived in a car, they leave it parked for free on the street for the duration of their stay here.

5.  How close is Commander’s Palace?

The world famous restaurant is 1.5 blocks walking distance from the Grand Victorian.

6.  Where should we go eat?

There are so many great restaurants; it is difficult to choose just one place to go.  It will depend on what part of town you will be in for lunch, brunch or dinner. What southern specialties are you hoping to try:  po-boys, etouffee, beignets, gumbo, etc.   Our staff will happily make recommendations based on what your particular interests are.  You can also read up on New Orleans restaurants in a wide variety of online publications for something that might peak your interest.

7. Are all of the rooms upstairs?

NO. There are 2 rooms on the first floor: Rosedown and Oak Alley. The 2 suites and additional 4 rooms are on the second floor. (Also note that Oak Alley is ADA compliant.)

8. Do you serve a full Southern breakfast?

NO. Due to current laws in New Orleans connected to our license from the City, a B&B can only serve pre-prepared food made elsewhere. We set up an extensive continental breakfast daily over a 2 hour window so that our guests can come down whenever they would like to eat. There is always a hot item that is prepared upon request daily in addition to a varied selection of other things: fresh pastries,  hard boiled eggs, bread, fresh fruit cups du jour, and a variety of cheeses, yogurt and cereals of many sorts. Most guests compliment us on our wide selection of different items daily and always find just what they want to start their day and satisfy them until their lunch restaurant selection.

We hope you’re convinced that the Grand Victorian B&B is the right place for your next vacation.  Still have questions?  Check out the FAQ page on our website and then make your reservation today!

 

 

 

Top 5 Side trips from New Orleans

If you want the full Southern experience and have an extra day or two, here are a few side trips that you may want to include in your itinerary beyond the French Quarter, Garden District and New Orleans city sites.

1.  Plantations

There are 10 large historic homes west of New Orleans along the Mississippi River.  Each has something special to offer. You can take a leisurely drive and view all the lovely gardens, stopping to tour the ones that appeal to you.  You can also reserve a half day or whole day tour through one of the tour companies that will pick you up from our front door.

http://www.neworleansplantationcountry.com/

Plantation New Orleans

 

If you are really entranced by the plantations, add an extra day to your vacation and travel a few hours north of Baton Rouge to the town of St. Francisville, one-time home of John James Audubon.

 2.  Swamp

Southern Louisiana is swampland.  There are many places where you can touch a wild alligator and hear fantastic tales about life lived in the rugged swampland surrounding New Orleans.  There are several companies that will pick you up  and offer tours on covered pontoons or raucous air boats that skim the water.  If you have a car, you can drive yourself down to Jean Lafitte State Park (40 minutes) and walk the Bayou Coquille Trail into the watery wilderness.

http://www.louisianatravel.com/

 

Biloxi Lighthouse

Biloxi Lighthouse

3.  Mississippi Gulf Coast

Since all of Louisiana’s waterfront property is a swamp, if you need some beach, travel just two hours east of New Orleans and drop down to one of New Orleanian’s favorite spots for R&R – the Gulf Coast.  You’ll find miles of beautiful white beaches, casinos, great food, fishing, boating, history, art galleries, museums, shopping, and much more.

From the small artsy towns of Bay St. Louis and Ocean Springs to the larger destinations of Gulfport and Biloxi, you are sure to find wondrous views, and memories worth the trip.

 http://www.gulfcoast.org/

4.  The Northshore

Head across Lake Ponchartrain, north of New Orleans, for about 45 minutes, and you’ll find yourself in cooler country.  Rent bikes and travel on Louisiana’s only Rails to Trails conversion, the Tammany Trace. Visit the home of famous craft brewery, Abita Beer. Have some outdoor fun along the Tchefuncte River, go antiquing in  Ponchatoula or visit an alligator farm.  You can do all of this and still make it back in time for dinner at your favorite New Orleans restaurant.

http://www.louisiananorthshore.com/

5.  Cajun Country

New Orleans is not Cajun, despite what the rest of the world may think. You’ll need to tack on an extra day to see real Cajun food, music, dance, fun and hospitality a few hours west in the small towns around Lafayette.

Visit a live Cajun radio show at a roadside dancehall in Mamou on a Saturday morning. Take a pontoon boat ride into the Atchafalaya Basin to see nutria, egrets turtles, and alligator floating around the water hyacinths or basking under the cypress trees.  Follow the trail of the Acadians from Nova Scotia to St. Martinville.  Spice up your travels with a trip to Avery Island, the birthplace of Tabasco sauce.

Avery Island

Avery Island

Wherever your travels may take you in southern Louisiana, you’ll find a comfortable rest awaits you at the Grand Victorian B&B.  Schedule your stay with us today!

Should I Stay in a B&B or a Hotel?

You’re traveling to New Orleans, and you have heard about all the incredible architecture and beautiful historic homes.  You’ve never stayed in a bed and breakfast before and are wondering … should I?

Here is a simple break down between hotels and bed and breakfast inns to help you decide.

Grand Victorian B&B

Average hotel room in U.S.

Hotels

  • Often located near a major airport or roadway for convenient commuting.
  • Usually associated with a corporation for a consistent look.
  • Designed for large groups that may not require personal touches.
  • Large scale staff and round the clock service.
  • Most charge for using many of the amenities, such as parking, buying snacks, bottled water, certain television channels, etc.
  • Appeals more to the cautious traveler looking for a convenient location and a high level of services available at all times.

 

Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast

Evergreen Room at the Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast

Bed and Breakfast:

  • Often located near a natural landmark or tourist destination and in an historic residential neighborhood.
  • Often have fewer rooms in a converted historic property with furnishings suggesting to the era of the building.
  • Usually independently owned and operated; each inn and each room within each inn is different.
  • Offers a more personal  “home away from home” experience, with comfortable spaces for family and friend conversations.
  • Smaller group of staff members who are generally “locals” who offer insider tips for activities.  They leave the inn periodically for supplies and appointments, so may not offer a 24 hour front desk.
  • Most offer free amenities such as breakfast, internet access, snacks, water, television, parking.
  • Appeals more to the adventurous traveler wanting the locals experience away from the busy part of the city.

 

If you still have questions, we shatter the Top 5 myths about staying at a bed and breakfast here.  

Hope this helps you decide which lodging option is the best for your needs.  And if you decide on a B&B, we think you should choose the Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast.  You won’t be disappointed.

 

How to choose a room at the Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast

Once you’ve decided to forgo the sterile hotel for the interesting B&B, how do you choose among the variety of rooms to meet your special needs. The Innkeepers in New Orleans proclaim there are “Two Hundred Rooms; No Two Alike.”  We may be biased, but we believe the Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast is the best place to stay in New Orleans. Our Garden District bed and breakfast offers eight unique rooms, all named after local plantation homes.  Here are some suggestions from the Grand Victorian staff on finding just the right room for you.

best place to stay in New Orleans

If you are planning a romantic getaway, then the Nottoway Suite is for you.  Separated from the rest of the house by an extra doorway and stairwell,  Nottoway is known as our honeymoon suite and is popular among our New Orleans elopement couples.   If you prefer one of our deluxe rooms, the deep hues and bay windows of the Shadows Room are also a favorite with couples.

For a quiet place to read and rest, the two rooms farthest from the street are Destrehan and Magnolia.  You can still hear some of the rattle of the streetcar, but these century-old thick walls drown out most everything else.

If you are traveling with a third person or would like to sleep separately (all rooms have only one bed), we have several rooms that are large enough for a rollaway cot:  Oak Alley, Greenwood, Magnolia, Evergreen and Nottoway. Please note that we go to great lengths and many layers to create a comfortable bed here. Our rollaway mattresses simply cannot compare, but are available as a convenience.

End your day with a long hot bath in one of our suites, Greenwood or Nottoway.  Each have large European style jacuzzi bathtubs good for a soak with wall-mounted handheld attachments for a shower.   All of our rooms have bathtubs with showers except for Evergreen which has a shower only. If you are a vintage buff,  try the old cast iron tubs in Rosedown,  Shadows, or Destrehan.

Don’t like stairs?  We have two rooms on the first floor:  Rosedown and Oak Alley, plus a ramp that leads to the front door.  Rosedown houses our “Princess and the Pea” bed because it is high and requires bed stairs to climb in. Oak Alley is ADA compliant with an accessible bathroom and low queen size bed. Also note that our Nottoway suite has an extra and private set of stairs that takes you down into the room. Because it was added onto the back of the original house in the 1940s, the ceiling height below is not the same 14′ ceilings as the rest of the house.

Are you a tall traveler (over 6 feet)?  Then choose one of these rooms without a high footboard on the antique beds:  Rosedown, Greenwood, Magnolia, Shadows, Destrehan or Nottoway.

New Orleans lodging

The Shadows Bed has plenty of leg room.

Girlfriends traveling together would appreciate the roomy bathroom of the Magnolia room or the expansive window bench in the Evergreen Room, good for sitting, reading, talking or spreading out your stuff. Both spots also comfortably fit a rollaway in case you don’t want to share a bed or you are a group of three.

For taking in the street scene, choose one of the suites with private balconies.  The Greenwood Suite overlooks the streetcars along St. Charles Avenue and is a great people-watching spot! Nottoway’s balcony is more private and has  a quiet view of the neighborhood.

New Orleans Garden District

Your private balcony in the Greenwood Suite

What is a “plantation sized bed you ask?  Because our furniture is all from the turn of two centuries ago, there were no “standard” bed sizes. These beds are all unique in length and width, each with a custom-made mattress.  They all fall between a full and a queen by modern standard definitions.  You can also customize your bed with a choice of feather or foam pillows and choose to sleep with or without the feather-top mattress.

If you are sensitive to light, choose the shaded rooms:  Rosedown, Magnolia, Destrehan or Nottoway.  If you need some sunshine to get going, try Oak Alley, Greenwood, Shadows, or Evergreen.

Lastly, if you are traveling with a group of friends or family members, we have three great hangout spots available.  You can talk and view the street scene in the parlor, have a glass of wine on the porte cochere balcony, or play cards in the dining room.

New Orelans vacation packages

Catch the street scene views from our front parlor.

You might just get inspired by your room or the carved painting of it’s namesake plantation home.  If so, several of the plantations are still open for tours:  Oak Alley, Evergreen, Destrehan and Nottoway.

Wherever you sleep in the Grand Victorian, you are sure to have a wonderful experience and great memories of the Garden District of New Orleans.  Call or email us today if you have any special needs and would like help choosing the perfect room for the perfect New Orleans vacation at the Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast.

 

 

 

Top 5 Myths about Staying at a Bed and Breakfast

new orleans bed and breakfast

Make a new travel resolution!

A bed and breakfast or a New Orleans hotel? That is the question. Is more travel on your New Year’s Resolution list?  This year, add trying a Bed and Breakfast to your travels!  You might have considered skipping the bed and breakfast experience because you think it’s not for you.  Check out these Top 5 Myths about Staying at a B&B to see if a New Orleans bed and breakfast might be in your future for 2014 or 2015.

1.   Too many lace doilies 

We’re not all antiques and patchwork quilts.  More inns these days have a clean, sophisticated decor with modern furnishings and amenities.  Victorian homes like ours often feature rooms that appeal to different tastes.  (Our Evergreen Room might be just right for you.)

2.   You have to share a bathroom with other guests.

The majority of inns offer private bathrooms.  (All rooms at our New Orleans B&B have their own bathroom with shower, hair dryer, special soaps and other amenities.)

new orleans bed and breakfast

Who could say no to fresh breakfast?

3.   You have to eat a specific breakfast with total strangers at a specific time.

Many inns offer guests a variety of choices of breakfast or brunch as well as meeting needs for special diets or food allergies.  (You can take advantage of our continental plus breakfast anytime between 8:30 and 10:30am, and we are glad to offer gluten-free, sugar-free or vegan items if you’ll let us know ahead of time!)

4.   You have to be home at a certain time.

Guests are almost always given keys to the main house and guest room doors, providing them with the flexibility to come and go as they please.  (All Grand Victorian room keys also open the front door to our New Orleans bed and breakfast.)

5.   B&Bs are only for couples and prohibit children and pets

Many inns offer family units with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, and a number of inns offer pet friendly rooms as well.  (While the Grand Victorian is not the best option for the youngest family members; our New Orleans bed and breakfast easily accommodate older children with roll away cots, kid-friendly snack items all day, and free wireless internet.  We also have a new pet resort spa just down the street if you want to bring your furry family member along.)

We hope we have debunked some of the myths surrounding life at the bed and breakfast inn, and you come to the Grand Victorian for your inaugural visit.   Check out our rooms and specials pages for the one that is just right for you!

 

Are You a B&B First Timer? Discover our Bed and Breakfast

The Better Way To Stay, a website that helps travelers discover today’s inns and the B&B experience, has a new article, “To B or not to B&B” with helpful tips to help you decide when a Bed and Breakfast is the right choice for you!

Reasons to stay at a Bed and Breakfast include: when you are looking for a unique experience instead of the generic hotel room, when you want a better deal for your money, and when you need access to internet.

If you’ve never stayed at a Bed and Breakfast but are considering it, read the article and then check out the eight unique rooms, breakfast and snack amenities and free wireless internet at our historic bed and breakfast in New Orleans in the beautiful Garden District.

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Trusting Trip Advisor for your Travel Destination

 

Well, if you haven’t checked off New Orleans as a vacation destination, it’s time you prioritize it to the top of your list! You may think we, at the Grand Victorian, are biased, but the number one forum site for travelers, TripAdvisor.com, agrees. Topping New York City (ranked #6) and San Francisco (ranked #5), New Orleans reaches the peak as the best place to vacation!

Maybe it’s the food, the music, or the atmosphere. Regardless, New Orleans lives by the motto “Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler” (or “let the good times roll”). While you’re visiting the Big Easy, stay at one of the top ranked B&B’s in the city. Nestled in the Garden District, the Grand Victorian is ranked #21 of the 146 B&B’s. Guests who have stayed comment that the Grand Victorian:

Ideally located on the St Charles streetcar line-we never needed our car during our visit… Would definitely [sic] stay here again.” –John W., San Antonio, TX

“Location, location, location!! They are on St. Charles with a trolley stop just across the avenue, and you cannot find yourself better situated for enjoying the lovely Garden District as well as venturing down into the French Quarter. The house itself is a stunning Queen Anne, so much atmosphere! The service was also first rate. Bonnie was an absolute gem and so very helpful with restaurant and reservation recommendations…We are already looking forward to staying here on our next trip to New Orleans.” –Unknown, Pittsburgh, PA

Have you stayed with us before? Let everyone know about your experience at the Grand Victorian!