DiamondRock recently purchased the very coveted French Quarter, New Orleans asset – the Bourbon Orleans Hotel. This 220-room hotel, was purchased for $81 million in the city with a prime location on Bourbon and Orleans Avenue at the center of the French Quarter.
Len Wormser, Bill Murney and Ketan Patel of HREC, arranged the sale. Wormser says, “It is was a pleasure working with Diamondrock and the seller on this transaction. “
The Bourbon Orleans Hotel has historical relevance. It served as The Orleans Theater & Ballroom from 1817 to 1881 and as the convent for Sisters of the Holy Family from 1881 to 1964. Although the property went through these earlier changes, when it was remodeled as a hotel, it retained its historic facade and Parisian grandeur from its original construction.
Since there is a moratorium on new hotel construction in the French Quarter, this protects the hotel against new hotels going up in the near future, making this hotel that much more valuable.
Due to the city’s leisure orientation, future convention and festival calendar, and recent airport investment, DiamondRock has been searching for a high-quality hotel in New Orleans for some time. They targeted hotels specifically in the French Quarter because of its worldwide reputation as a leading leisure destination. The Bourbon Orleans is one of the city’s highest quality hotels and occupies one of the best locations in the French Quarter and includes an entire block of Bourbon Street frontage. The company is excited to work with the existing concepts presently in place.
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The Bourbon Orleans offers tremendous street facing and public area spaces. According to Jeff Donnelly, the Chief Financial officer of Diamondrock, the company is working on a plan to re-concept some of the spaces and reinvigorate the food and beverage offerings. The goal is to restore the hotel’s original grandeur and celebrate the history (and haunted history) of the property.
Although Food and Beverage upgrades will be at the forefront for the future plans; the concepts for these are currently under development.
The hotel offers extremely high quality and recently renovated guestrooms, half of which have balconies and French Quarter views and almost one-third of which are bi-level suites. The Bourbon Orleans offers one of New Orleans’ most famous ballrooms which has views of the St. Louis Cathedral. The central pool and courtyard of the property are spectacular. The hotel also includes the St. Ann Cottage, an adjacent freestanding cottage which includes a small ballroom and quaint private courtyard perfect for social occasions.
According to Mark W. Brugger, President and Chief Executive Officer of DiamondRock Hospitality Company, “This high-quality acquisition continues DiamondRock’s multi-year strategic initiative to assemble a leading portfolio of leisure-oriented, experiential hotels and resorts.”
The plan for future renovations is to take the first few years to understand the hotel’s needs and what the consumer is looking for and then ultimately undertake work at the hotel scheduled in such a way (off-season, hours when the hotel is empty, isolated areas, etc.) to minimize guest disruption.