Smartflyer’s rising stars top producer trip
Maison de la Luz, New Orleans
Maison de La Luz is a one-of-a-kind luxury hotel in the warehouse district of New Orleans. The property is a private sanctuary, with many of the sitting rooms & breakfast bar reserved for those checking in, replete with Southern charm and vintage pieces sourced right in the Crescent City. A reptile love affair is on full display throughout the hotel – the snake shower handles were some of my favorite decor items. Maison de La Luz is unlike any other property in the Big Easy. With a very intimate 67 rooms, you really feel like you are at home.
Smartflyer is all about relationships and community. Within Smartflyer, the Rising Stars program honors the top six agents within their first three years as travel advisors by inviting them to a workshop in collaboration with tastemakers in the luxury travel space. This host of this years workshop is the newcomer, Maison de la Luz.
If you’re no stranger to my work, you know that I do a lot of travel photos for my buddies at Smartflyer. They are a full-service travel company that caters to high-end corporate and leisure travelers the world over, specializing in exceptional experiences. I’m definitely speaking from experience as I have photographed many itineraries for them over the years. As an aside, if you aren’t booking travel with a travel specialist, you could be missing out on exclusive perks. Some of these include the best airline prices, perks at luxury resorts & hotels as well as in-the-know locations and tailored experiences to suit your adventure levels. Smarties are influencers and experts making sure to know every aspect of travel.
Welcome to Maison
The stunning foyer of La Luz is a perfect warm welcome for the hotel. A doorman graciously opens the front doors and carries your luggage in for you. The foyer is an eclectic mix of textures and patterns and every inch was designed to perfection. As you move through the hotel lobby you see more patterns and textures to delight your senses. You get your keys from concierge and head up to your room. You’ll be back in a few to really dive into all of the spaces.
How gorgeous are the details of this grand studio suite? I love the high ceilings and windows to match, flooding the room with loads of natural light, my favorite. I love the vintage, brass pineapple ice bucket and the eclectic art pieces! The bathrooms at Maison de la Luz are not to be missed, either. The vast majority of rooms boast large bathrooms including a separate soaking tub, decor designed with a mix of vintage furniture and custom made pieces.
The stunning tile work and the serpent shower pull are two of my favorite custom details.
First things First
The travel advisors have all arrived – but first on the agenda, coffee. Just around the corner from Maison de la Luz, is New Orleans’ very own Congregation Coffee. “644 Camp Street has been a cafe, restaurant and/or coffee shop since the 1800’s, and Congregation is keeping that tradition alive with its second location.” This all-day-cafe has an expanded menu and locally grown coffee beans. It was a fan favorite among the Smarties.
A morning with Maison de La Luz
For the Smarties first activity, Bar Marilou hosted a private cocktail making class. Sazerac anyone? The Sazerac, a stiff cocktail born in the 19th century has deep roots in NOLA (some even say it’s the oldest cocktail to be mixed in America). The sazerac is a drink with many layers that you unpack as you sip, sip and was voted NOLA’s official cocktail in 2008.
Located in the bywater neighborhood of new orleans, N7 specializes in French Cuisine, often infused with a Japanese touch. You arrive to a nondescript fence and head into a restaurant and garden space with indoor and outdoor seating. The garden feels very intimate and the indoor space is very cozy. The N7 namesake derives from Nationale 7, the highway that once ran from Paris to the border of Italy – known as the Route des Vacances. The Parisians would take the road south, mostly in the summers for vacations. Along the way, the Michelin Guide would direct them to the mom & pop restaurants which would cater to the travelers. Fun fact, this is actually Michelin Star originates from!
A solid afternoon plan
Shop til you drop and then head back to Maison for afternoon tea that rolls right into cocktail hour. Guests are invited to enjoy nightly wine & cheese cocktail hour, and to kick the gong – you have to go, to know – complete with an honor bar where expertly crafted cocktails can be poured over ice or taken up to your room.
In the Big Easy, Happy hour rolls right into pre-dinner drinks. Head next-door to the Ace and hit P to go straight to the pool deck. Alto Rooftop & Bar boasts stunning views of the city skyline while keeping you warm on chilly nights with a firepit.
A night on the town
For dinner, we headed next-door to Seaworthy for an intimate dinner filled with dripping wax candles, more cocktails (beginning to see a trend here…) and the most amazing seafood tower. A surprise awaited us as we finished up. Pedi-cabs awaited outside for us to take us to our next stop – Preservation Hall. Set inside a worn Creole town home, the house band plays New Orleans Jazz 360 nights a year. Press Hall hasn’t changed much since the early 60s, nor have they missed a single day.
A full day in New Orleans
An early morning means an early coffee delivery by the wonderful house staff at Maison de la Luz! You can let reception know what time you would like your coffee delivered and they drop it off at your front door. Your coffee is delivered in thermals so that it is piping hot just for you. Head down to the gorgeous breakfast nook for an extensive buffet or à la carte menu. I love the way the morning light shines off the blue and white and the walls are all hand painted frescos.
One way I love to see a new city is by bicycle, so I was so excited when Smartflyer took us to Buzz Nola for our bike tour! First stop, Frenchmen Street – home to the city’s best jazz (aside from Press Hall, of course). The Spotted Cat, a small, rundown kind of bar that comes alive at night, is at the center of it all, one of the few strongholds holding on to their authentic jazz identity. In addition to the live music scene on Frenchmen, we learned about the charm of a shotgun home, tasted many Cafe du Monde coffee & beignets, and stopped by one of the many above ground cemeteries in New Orleans.
Maison de la Luz is actually a partner hotel of Ace Hotels and conveniently are located right next door to each other! Lunch at Josephine Estelle was the perfect spot to lunch after buzzing around the Crescent City!
Afternoon light & tea are served back in the living room of Maison de la Luz. Unwind with a game or two of backgammon, or read a book.
Events at Maison de la Luz
On the second floor of the hotel, there is a beautiful and intimate space that can be used to host a small wedding. For instance, the grand staircase just beyond can be decorated beautifully with candles to create that intimate wedding feeling. A live band can play jazz in the corner and for this particular event, a tarot reader read cards. It was the perfect evening to a wonderful trip for these Smarties!
I’d love to hear from you and to photograph your space or adventure.