Alfred L. Groos
President and General Manager
Alfred L. Groos was appointed General Manager of the Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans on April 1, 2006. The title President was added in 2010, and reflects his oversight of the Royal Sonesta Hotel Boston in addition to his responsibilities in New Orleans. Mr. Groos joined Sonesta International Hotels Corporation in 1977, and most recently served as Vice President and General Manager of the former Chateau Sonesta Hotel New Orleans.
After graduating from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, Mr. Groos started his hospitality career at the Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans as a trainee. In 1994, he moved to the former Chateau Sonesta Hotel New Orleans to become the hotel’s opening general manager. In 1996, Mr. Groos was named Vice President and General Manager of the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Boston. Mr. Groos returned to New Orleans in 2000, when he rejoined the former Chateau Sonesta Hotel as Vice President and General Manager.
Since 2001, Mr. Groos has served on the board of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau and in 2005, was named Chairman of the Board. He currently serves on the Bureau’s Executive Committee.
In 2003, Mr. Groos served as President of the New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association. The Association, which is comprised of hospitality professionals of the Greater New Orleans area, represents the lodging industry and provides a means to further professionalism, knowledge, and profitability. That same year, Mr. Groos was honored with Where Magazine’s 2003 “General Manager of the Year” award.
In 2006, Mr. Groos was sworn in as the Vice Conseiller Gastronomique for the Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs.
In 2007, Mayor C. Ray Nagin appointed Mr. Groos as a Commissioner to the board of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority, who’s exclusive mission is to spur economic growth and development that will attract out of state visitors to the state.
Director of Sales & Marketing
With a wealth of experience in hospitality sales and marketing, Ms. Guido now oversees marketing for Sonesta’s luxury property in the Crescent City. Prior to joining Sonesta, she was Director of Sales & Marketing of the Windsor Court, Le Meridien and Fairmont Hotels.
Located in the heart of the historic French Quarter, Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse invites music lovers to experience Jazz on world-famous Bourbon Street every Monday through Saturday night from 8:00 pm to 12 Midnight and Sunday from 7 to 11 pm.
“The Playhouse is where jazz lives and moves forward towards the future,” explains jazz trumpeter Irvin Mayfield. The new club is a direct reflection of Mayfield’s sense of adventure, style, creativity, and passion for his art form. The artist has fashioned the perfect platform to showcase New Orleans’ jazz legends and emerging young artists such as jazz vocalist Johnaye Kendrick, trumpeter Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown, and the eclectic style of musician Shamarr Allen. Future programming in the new club will also include cabaret ensembles and classic burlesque productions.
The Royal Sonesta Hotel has certainly demonstrated a commitment to perpetuating the New Orleans’ culture. “Directly on the heels of hurricane Katrina, we created the highly successful Women in Jazz music series specifically as a vehicle to support our female jazz vocalists. The hotel wanted to do our share to help restore the heartbeat of our city, and music is certainly an important element of daily life here,” said Alfred L. Groos. “Our partnership with an artist of Irvin Mayfield’s stature and artistic accomplishments, propels that commitment to a level that is unprecedented in New Orleans,” he continued. “Al Groos and I are proud and excited about the opportunities that such a venture offers to both the local community and the visitor seeking an authentic New Orleans experience,” echoes Irvin Mayfield.
In preparation for this new partnership, the Royal Sonesta recently completed a major renovation of the location that will be the home of Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse. The room speaks to the mood that the music of jazz evokes. Classy, but playful, is the vibe that is mirrored in every aspect of the room’s detail. The result is a sexy, classic club that captures the essence a Bourbon Street nightclub at it’s finest.
Irvin Mayfield has certainly established himself as one of the most decorated and recorded jazz artists of his generation. At the young age of 31, Mayfield has already forged a highly successful career as a versatile trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, and recording artist. Appointed by the U.S. Senate in 2003 as the Cultural Ambassador of New Orleans, Irvin Mayfield’s mission embodies his steadfast commitment to growing the only truly American musical art form, jazz, for audiences for generations to come.
Audiences will feel right at home at Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta. Now, more than ever, the hotel is “the” destination of choice for all visitors seeking an authentic music and travel experience in the city of New Orleans.
The Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans opened in September of 1969, and has since become a landmark on Bourbon Street. The site of this grand hotel enjoys a history that dates back to 1721. That year, French military engineer Adrien de Pauger first laid out the city of Nouvelle Orleans...New Orleans. The block of land where the hotel now stands originally consisted of houses, stables, gardens, courtyards and carriageways.
Among the notable residents were the first independent architect in New Orleans, the founder of the City of Donaldsonville, the great grandfather of artist Edgar Degas, the first postmaster of New Orleans, a philanthropist who left his entire fortune to New Orleans schools, and noted Shakespearean actor, Edward Hugh Sothern.
During the 19th Century, Bourbon Street grew to become a commercial Mecca hosting a variety of businesses on the site including: a costume shop, a bakery, Dr. Alexander’s herb garden, a laundry, a vinegar factory, and a winery.
In 1890, the American Brewing Company, makers of the popular Regal Beer, purchased the winery. Through time, the Brewery expanded removing the historic yet deteriorating buildings, and ultimately encompassed the entire frontages of Bienville, Bourbon and Conti Streets.
Little remained of the brewery when Lester Kabacoff first introduced the Sonnabends (descendants of Sonesta International Hotels Corporation founder, A.M. Sonnabend) to this prime location on Bourbon Street in the late 1960s. Lester had been the developer of the Royal Orleans Hotel (a former Sonesta managed hotel) and soon had a hand in the creation of the “Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans.”
The design of this new French Quarter Hotel was created by Richard Koch and Samuel Wilson, Jr., working with the architectural firm of Curtis and Davis. Known as pioneers for the restoration of local building treasures, Richard and Samuel were also known for designing the most prominent examples of New Orleans architecture of the mid-20th century. (Their most famous contribution changed the New Orleans skyline forever—the Louisiana Superdome.)
In 1967, the Vieux Carre Commission approved of their plans, and construction began on the $16 million Royal Sonesta Hotel.
The exterior of the hotel was designed to look like typical 1830s New Orleans row houses, a unique architectural style in the French Quarter that came about as “American” styles began to influence the area following the Louisiana Purchase.
Two years later, local jazz great “Sweet Emma” Barrett cut the ribbon at the grand opening, which was part of a four day celebration—culminating in an event benefiting the Cultural Attractions Fund of New Orleans.
The Mystic Den
When the hotel opened, the intention of the “Mystick Den” lounge was to give visitors to the city a glimpse of the “mystique” behind the creation of a Mardi Gras float. Among its decor were a series of plaques representing each carnival krewe (pictured below in the Times Picayune from August 1969.)
As the hotel evolved, the theme became no longer suitable, and the plaques were going to have to be removed. Because of their popularity, the treasured tributes to Mardi Gras’ past were moved to the Carriageway—between the Desire Oyster Bar and the Mystic Den, where they are visible to the public to this day. The plaques represent each carnival krewe as of 1969.
Enjoy this refreshing cocktail while socializing with friends or listening to the hottest jams at New Orleans’ premiere jazz venue. If you can’t get enough of the invigorating Cucumber Basil Margarita, you can now create the cocktail at home
Cucumber Basil Margarita
1 ½ ounce of Tequila
2 ounces of Agave Nectar or Simple Syrup
2 Fresh Limes, Squeezed
3 to 4 Thai Basil Leaves
1 Splash of Ginger Ale
1 Small Pinch of Black Pepper
Combine the Thai Basil Leaves and Two Slices of Cucumber in a shaker and muddle with the Agave Nectar or Simple Syrup. Add the Fresh Lime Juice and Tequila with crystal clear ice. Shake vigorously, and pour over the rocks. Pour in the splash of Ginger Ale and sprinkle a small pinch of Black Pepper on top. Garnish with a Cucumber Slice on the side and a basil leaf.
Audiences will feel right at home at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. The Club is located in the heart of the French Quarter at 300 Bourbon Street. Now, more than ever, the Playhouse is “the” destination of choice for all visitors seeking an authentic music experience in the Big Easy. For more information on Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse, call (504) 553-2299 or visit www.Sonesta.com/RoyalNewOrleans.