Fodor's Expert Review
A boutique hotelier recently revived an old Mid City motel on Tulane Avenue, and the result is a beautifully renovated property with the shabby chic style and idiosyncrasies of a 1950s-style motor motel. The pool bar hosts parties, performances, and pop-up restaurants, and has quickly become a local favorite for swimming and up-and-coming music and culture around town.
You Should Know Once a hub of sketchy activity, you should still take caution walking around Tulane Avenue at night. There's a security guard at the hotel entrance in the evenings.
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Besides the layout, nothing about these rooms, with Casper mattresses and bespoke wooden furniture, says "motel." Expect modern comforts, chic decor, and gorgeously tiled floors. Second floor rooms have shared balconies overlooking the pool area.
You Should Know This hotel is for those looking to embrace a fun and alternative local scene that lasts well into the morning. If returning late each night to a DJ-ed, half-naked pool party doesn’t sound appealing, The Drifter isn’t the hotel for you.
While they aren't large, tiled bathrooms are seriously updated, providing modern facilities and top-notch amenities.
The lobby is one of the most aesthetically appealing aspects of the property, embracing the funky motel vibe with vintage-style sofas, soft lit globe lamps and colorful murals. There's a full espresso bar in addition to the cocktail bar.
The pool area is in a large courtyard, with beautiful retro lounge chairs, tables and umbrellas, and a disco ball-laden stage used for performances. The pool itself is quite large, though it gets crowded during popular times and events.
You Should Know Consent is a priority at these often wild pool parties, where clothing is “toptional” (women don’t have to wear bikini tops). Don't take photos of any other guests (or post them on social media) without their permission. Obviously don't do this.
You can order some light snacks at the bar (chips and ramen), and the Drifter often hosts some of the best pop-up restaurants around town during events, with exciting choices like Caribbean roti, Colombian food, and Japanase izakaya.
The spacious bar allows you to order both in the lobby, and at an outside window facing the pool. Radlers, frozen drinks, rosé and sparkling wine are popular choices here, and drinks are reasonably priced.
Take a quick cab/Uber/Lyft to and from the Drifter to most other parts of town, and walk to popular areas of Mid City. There is some parking provided by the hotel, and plenty of street parking on Tulane Avenue.
You'll find surprisingly delicious food options at some of the neighborhood bars within walking distance from The Drifter: Treo (3-minute walk) serves coastal Italian fare, 12 Mile Limit (5-minute walk) piles on the BBQ sandwiches, and Finn McCool's (7-minute walk) serves elevated, Irish-influenced pub favorites.
Treo, one of the best cocktail bars in the city with a great happy hour and patio, is across the street, and Three Palms (4-minute walk) hosts music shows, trivia, and make a great daiquiri. 12 Mile Limit (5-minute walk) is a neighborhood favorite dive with great cocktails. Purchase micro-brewed beers to go from 504 Craft across Tulane ave. (6-minute walk).