You don’t have to be a military history buff to appreciate the Higgins Hotel New Orleans, a new Hilton boutique property attached to the National World War II Museum with competitive prices and vintage decor
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Paul Oswell; Alyssa Powell/Business Insider
- The Higgins Hotel New Orleans is a brand new addition to Hilton’s boutique Curio Collection and mixes contemporary luxe appeal with vintage design flourishes.
- The hotel is attached to the world-class National World War II Museum and offers attractive packages and perks in association with the institution.
- I stayed in a spacious entry-level King Room, which starts at $129 per night. It’s a competitive price point for four and five-star hotels in New Orleans.
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Opened in 2020, The Higgins Hotel New Orleans is attached to and works closely with one of the city’s proudest attractions, the National World War II Museum. It joins a wave of new high-end hotel openings in the surrounding Central Business District (CBD) but stands out among them for precisely this unusual association.
The hotel enjoys the backing of Hilton and it’s boutique Curio line, appealing to those who prefer to show brand loyalty, but want to stay in a slightly more memorable property than a traditional Hilton. The wartime design theme and retro aesthetics certainly elevate it beyond the standard hotel.
I stayed in the entry-level King Room, which starts at $129 per night, shortly after the hotel opened. The 360 square feet of space felt generous for an entry-level room, and the amenities, design, and comfort were comparable to any equivalent four-star hotel. It’s especially alluring given how new the rooms are.
The hotel provides an impressive range of facilities, with excellent food and beverage offerings, but its standout feature is its proximity and access to the museum, which is a major factor for those planning to visit, especially veterans and group trips. The theme won’t appeal to everyone, though it’s tasteful and evocatively done, and there’s a touch of vintage class in general. For anyone looking to soak up history and stay in a good looking, full-service hotel in the CBD, it’s a top choice.
Need more New Orleans hotel suggestions? Read our list of the best hotels in New Orleans.
- The first impression
- The room
- On-site amenities
- What’s nearby
- What others say
- What you need to know
- The bottom line
- Book the Higgins Hotel New Orleans starting at $129 per night
Keep reading to see why I was so impressed by the Higgins Hotel New Orleans.
I’m a long-time reviewer of hotels in New Orleans and the billing of this being a new concept of a hotel attached geographically and commercially to a world-class museum was certainly intriguing. Though, I was unsure how this would translate into the branding and decor.
The name itself is a subtle hint, named for Andrew Higgins, the New Orleans-based manufacturer of Higgins Boats, an amphibious landing craft that helped with the war effort, and to which there are various exhibits dedicated in the museum.
From the outside, the building, (in contrast to the mostly-modern CBD) has an almost Gothic look. Inside the large lobby, the most striking aspect was an almost story-high mural depicting the construction of a Higgins Boat in classic, wartime propaganda style. Art Deco fixtures and patterns added to the general retro ambiance.
I arrived at a busy period as the hotel had just opened and was welcoming large groups to the property. Nevertheless, check-in was handled efficiently and politely, and I was dispatched to my room without delay and respectfully addressed.
The lobby staff were on hand to assist with all luggage and other requirements, and even though it was officially still the honeymoon period, it seemed like the systems for check-in and customer relations were already welcoming and professional.
I checked into a third-floor entry-level King Room, which came with the hotel’s standard-issue modern, though 1940s-inspired decor.
The sense of grandeur I experienced in the lobby subtly carried through to the guest rooms. At 360 square feet, it was one of the more generously-proportioned entry-level rooms in the city, easily accommodating a couple with luggage for a week-long vacation.
The King-size bed came with luxe-standard mattress and pillow-topper and was complemented by a plush armchair and ottoman, all presented with military-grade tidiness, ready to pass the most stringent of inspections.
The design details switched between an homage to Art Deco via the mirrors and light fittings, and retro themes via serious and more playful artwork that evoked the wartime era. Serious black and white photography hung on the bedroom walls while posters that verged on kitschy framed the bathroom.
The sense of thoughtfulness and adherence to a singular design concept – one that walked a line between modern and vintage – was impressive. The color palette of royal blues and golds made for a traditional, almost regal feel, bolstered by down pillows and subtly decorated throws.
Rooms on all levels overlook the immediate Central Business District, but noise wasn’t an issue at all, the soundproofing of the windows was top notch and during the evenings and over weekends, the streets outside are not high-volume thoroughfares for vehicle traffic. Add to this the comfort level of the bed and a good night’s sleep came to me easily.
The unswervingly contemporary bathroom boasted a walk-in shower and was as comfortable as any entry-level room in town, complemented by high-end, Beekman 1802 toiletries. The remaining room amenities included a Keurig coffee maker, a small refrigerator, and an HDTV. The room didn’t have a minibar, though the refrigerator had space for my own refreshments.
The King Rooms are fairly uniform in presentation. A slight upgrade to a Deluxe Corner King (from $159) comes with the added bonus of a bathtub as well as the shower, plus a small wet bar.
Given how new the rooms are, combined with their generous size, the lead-in price of $129 for a King Room is cheap for New Orleans. The vintage design touches elevate them above regular rooms at chain hotels, and you do feel as though you’re staying at a memorable property.
If you’re inclined to book something loftier and larger, King Studios are available from $169, while King Two-Room Suites starts at $229, and Presidential Suites are available from $459, all of which are still competitively priced.
While Higgins Hotel is not located in the real thick of things in the center of the historic French Quarter, many guests will appreciate the buffer, and guests coming mainly to visit the museum will obviously find it the perfect spot.
Next time, I would upgrade to a King Corner Room for the extra space, bathtub, and wet bar, which are well worth the extra money in my opinion, and the price difference is quite minimal.
The Higgins Hotel is flush with all the amenities you would expect to find at a good four or five-star hotel, as befits a member of the Hilton Curio brand.
The gorgeous lobby area flowed into the main bar and restaurant area, which also reflected the 1940s ambiance.
The bar, Kilroys, has high-top tables made from faux military machine parts adorned with lamps with replica infantry helmets. Period-appropriate music plays to maintain the theme (think Glen Miller, etc) and there are screens showcasing (modern-day) news and sports games.
Here, you’ll also find the dedicated Concierge desk, set up to provide information both about the World War II Museum and the general attractions and entertainment options in the city.
Guests can also try the hotel’s signature restaurant, Café Normandie, a large, open-plan dining room with both regular table seating and a couple of large booths with tables emblazoned with world maps. Photos and large murals on display play on the hotel’s nostalgic elements.
Guests can dine here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I enjoyed the rustic French menu, which includes some local Cajun and Creole favorites, too. Breakfast had an impressive ‘construct your own Benedict’ option, with various bread, topping, and sauce elements.
Hilton Honors members can also enjoy the Executive Lounge, which has light refreshments served all day and is a tranquil spot away from the main public areas. The lounge boasts a grand piano that once belonged to General Patton.
Taking the elevator to the ninth floor, my favorite after-dinner spot was the rooftop bar, Rosie’s On The Roof. A casual indoor bar with a colorful ‘Rosie the Riveter’ theme, the roof terrace offered great views across New Orleans’ downtown, a playful craft cocktail menu, and small bar plates.
For guests on the go, there’s also a casual coffee and pastry spot, Provisions, open 24 hours a day. It doubles as a basic general store and souvenir shop. The physical amenities are rounded out by a modern fitness room and a business center.
The hotel’s final big amenity though, is, of course, the access to the World War II Museum. Book through Hilton and choose from discounted general admission to special behind-the-scenes tours and other seasonal promotions.
Such packages include a basic Admission Package, which includes the room rate, plus daily breakfast, and a two-day campus pass to the museum for each adult registered to the room. There’s also a three-night Behind The Lines offer, which includes the room rate, a special tour of the museum’s private collection, the chance to sit in a B-24 Liberator, a two-day campus pass for the museum, one dinner for two and daily breakfast. Both offer substantial savings on booking rooms and museum admission separately.
On the review site, the hotel had overwhelming praise for the location and attention to detail with the amenities, saying that rooms were “plush and comfortable” and the food was “outstanding quality.”
Most visitors also loved the proximity to the World War II Museum, saying it was “great if you wanted to take a break” during your visit, and the proximity was “really worth the visit”.
The only recurring mild complaint was that the hotel can be a 10-15 minute walk to some popular parts of downtown, and guests with less mobility might have to take cabs into the French Quarter, but this was a minor point.
Who stays here: A large proportion of military veterans and history buffs visit the World War II Museum and the clientele can skew more mature. Though, this is mixed with a good number of families, general leisure and business travelers, and Hilton loyalists.
We like: The food and beverage decor and offerings are all presented in ways that honor the hotel theme without being gimmicky.
We love (don’t miss this feature!): The proximity to the museum is a huge bonus, especially since it is so extensive that it really takes a whole day (or multiple days) to fully explore. Staying at Higgins Hotel makes it very convenient to take a break between exhibits.
We think you should know: The hotel does not have a swimming pool, if that’s of any importance. And, don’t expect a youthful New Orleans party crowd.
We’d do this differently next time: Take one of the hotel’s VIP tours of the museum with up-close presentations of exhibits, and special access before the museum opens to the general public for the day.
The Higgins Hotel New Orleans is a truly notable property and one of the only hotels in the world connected to a museum in this way, both aesthetically and commercially.
The 1940s-tinged decor and nostalgia is clever and thoughtful and will appeal to many visitors. I never found it overwhelming or felt that I was in a wartime-themed hotel.
Instead, it has all the hallmarks and amenities of a high-quality, four or five-star hotel outside of a swimming pool and spa. The design, service, dining, and customer experience all met very high standards, and staying here is quite memorable.
The hotel definitely caters to tourists and groups visiting the museum, many of whom are elderly veterans. Beyond that, though, it’s a very good standard, full-service property where general leisure and business guests will feel well looked after. Military history buff or not, it comes thoroughly recommended.
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