After sitting in ruins for the past 30 years, the NOPSI (New Orleans Public Service Inc.) building, known to New Orleanians previously as the place to pay your utility bills, re-opened in 2017 as a luxury hotel. Salamander Hotels is responsible for the friendly, professional staff and how smoothly things run, but the hotel’s real beauty is in the old bones of that original building: high ceilings, loads of natural light, and seriously room digs, from comfortable guest rooms down to the wide lobby and gorgeous event space.
Standard rooms are generously sized, with small seating areas, flat-screen "smart" televisions, and large work desks. Most rooms utilize the building's original, wide windows, with light navy and gold decor throughout, over-sized mirrors, and commissioned local art on the walls.
Looking for something suite? 76 suites range from $50-150 more than a standard room, depending on season and type, and feature varied desirable extras like full living spaces, multiple flat-screen televisions, oversized bathrooms with soaking tubs, and private rooftop terraces.
Standard bathrooms, with large subway-tiled walk in showers and single or double vanities, are modern and spacious. "Spa" suites have porcelain stand-alone bathtubs in addition to walk-in showers.
Among the comfortable seating areas, original terrazzo floors, and high white columns, you'll find small references to the building's history, like the recreated vintage bank table at the lobby's center, where you can view old NOPSI bills and brochures under the glass. Past the lobby's round bar, follow a wide hallway with original bank teller windows and vintage 1920s ads, into the Dryades Ballroom, an event space featuring exposed brick, an industrial ceiling, and dramatic arch windows. A small gift shop next to the check-in desk sells NOPSI-related merchandise and memorabilia.
The ninth floor rooftop bar and pool area strive for a party vibe, with a large covered bar, dance music blaring from the speakers, and ample lounge and seating areas. The small pool is for guests' use only.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The pool area has a slightly confusing dress code (no bathing suits without cover-ups, no cutoff shorts for women or tank tops for men). To avoid being turned away come swim time, clarify dress code specifics when checking in.
The fitness center has a few cardio machines, strength machines, and free weights, with a large mirrored wall and shared flat-screen television.
Public Service shares the lobby's understated elegance with high ceilings, an open kitchen, and a fairly small but well-designed dining room. Cuisine here is elevated but familiar, with delicious Southern snacks (hush puppies, skillet cornbread), fresh pasta, and hearty family-style meat and seafood options.
The lobby bar, Undercurrent, segues into a large patio with tables and umbrellas. Its a gin-centric bar, with specialty cocktails, and local beers on tap, and often hosts tailgating or happy hour-type events. There’s a small jazz band in the lobby on weekend evenings. The bar at Public Service is whiskey-centric, and both bars are large and elegant, with plenty of drinking options. Above the Grid, the rooftop pool bar is a “party bar,” where you’re likely to enjoy a rum cocktail or local beer while sunning poolside.
The hotel offers valet, and there are several more affordable lots around Poydras Street. The St. Charles and Canal streetcars, as well as many galleries, museums, and sites are within walking distance, and you won’t need a car once you’re here.
The Paramount Building (6-minute walk) offers several fantastic local dining options: Willa Jean, for pastries and brunch, Maypop for dimsum and inventive Southeast Asian fusion, and Company Burger for one of the best burgers in the city.
Sip a perfectly crafted Pisco Sour or one of the bartender’s creative inventions at the charming Catahoula Hotel Pisco Bar (1-minute walk) across the street. Victory (1-minute walk), a sleek cocktail lounge just down Baronne Street, hosts a lively downtown crowd during Saints games and events.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Throughout this property, you will enjoy the comfort and service of a luxury hotel while relishing in its unique history. The hotel's well-designed lobby, restaurant, and bars pay respectful, elegant homage to the original 1920s building, and rooms are large, sunny, and comfortable.