The Royal Sonesta 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.
During the 19th Century, Bourbon Street grew to be 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. The American Brewing Company was closed in 1962 and the building was demolished two years later.
Little remained of the brewery when Lester Kabacoff introduced the Sonnabends, of the family who founded Sonesta International Hotels and Corporation, to this prime location on Bourbon Street in the late 1960s. Lester had been the developer of the Royal Orleans Hotel (formally a Sonesta managed hotel) and soon had a hand in the creation of the Royal Sonesta New Orleans.
Richard Koch and Samuel Wilson, Jr., who were known as pioneers for the restoration of local building treasures, created the design of the new and last French Quarter Hotel. The duo was famous for designing the most prominent examples of New Orleans architecture not the least of which was the signature of the New Orleans skyline, the Superdome.
In 1967 the Vieux Carre Commission approved the plans and construction began on the $16 million Royal Sonesta New Orleans.
The exterior is designed to look like the typical 1830s New Orleans row houses, a unique French Quarter architectural style that came about as “American” styles began to influence the area after the Louisiana Purchase. The hotel opened its doors in September of 1969.
Royal Sonesta New Orleans Awards & Accolades• ConventionSouth presents the Royal Sonesta New Orleans with a Top New & Renovated Meeting Site Award for 2015.
• Meetings South Magazine voted the Royal Sonesta New Orleans the “Best of the South” 2014
• The Royal Sonesta New Orleans awarded a 2014 and 2013 Certificate of Excellence by Tripadvisor for its outstanding hospitality achievements
• U.S. News & World Report names the Royal Sonesta New Orleans one of the top ten ‘Best Hotels in Louisiana.’
• U.S. News & World Report ranked the Royal Sonesta New Orleans among the Top Four Hotels in New Orleans in 2011
• Royal Sonesta New Orleans named ‘Best of the South’ by Meetings Focus South Magazine
• TripAdvisor’s travelers named the Royal Sonesta New Orleans the Top Five Hotel in New Orleans for Business
• The Royal Sonesta New Orleans named 7-time winner of the AAA Four-Diamond Award
• Royal Sonesta New Orleans named 9-time winner of the Gold Key Award from Meeting & Conventions Magazine
• The Royal Sonesta New Orleans named 11-time winner of the Pinnacle Award by Successful Meetings Magazine
• Royal Sonesta New Orleans awarded 6-time winner of Excellence by Corporate & Incentive Travel Magazine
Restaurant R'evolution Awards & Accolades• Wine Spectator recognizes Restaurant R’evolution with the Restaurant Wine List Best of Award of Excellence in 2014
• Wine Enthusiast Magazine ranks Restaurant R’evolution among the top 100 “Best Wine Restaurants” in 2014 and 2013
• Silver Medal winner in the Dessert Category of the Fleur de Lis Culinary Awards at the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience 2014
• Restaurant R’evolution named “Best Of” Easter Brunch New Orleans by Gayot, 2014
• Restaurant R’evolution named 10 Best Foodie Spots in New Orleans by USA Today, 2014
• Bar R’evolution was named 10 Best Bars in New Orleans by ABC News, 2014
• Restaurant R’evolution named “Best Of” Dining Out for New Year’s Eve New Orleans by Gayot, 2013
• Restaurant R’evolution named Best of Winter in New Orleans by Afar: The Experiential Travel Guide, 2013
• Thrillist Nation ranks Restaurant R’evolution in The World’s 12 Best Restaurants for Carnivores in 2013
• Restaurant R’evolution named 2013 Top 10 Thanksgiving Restaurants in New Orleans by Gayot
• Restaurant R’evolution earned 4 Beans (Excellent) from The Times Picayune Restaurant Critic Brett Anderson.
• Conde Nast Traveler names Restaurant R’evolution one of the Top 70 “Best New Restaurants in the World” and “Best New Restaurants in the American South” in 2013
• Restaurant R’evolution named as one of the 2013 Top Ten New Restaurants in the U.S. by Gayot
• New Orleans Magazine named Restaurant R’evolution “2012 Restaurant of the Year ”
PJ's Coffee Cafe Awards & Accolades• The Times-Picayune ‘Readers Choice Awards’ named PJ’s Coffee the city’s Favorite Coffee House
• PJ’s Coffee awarded Best Coffee Shop in Where Y’at Magazine’s Reader Poll
Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse Awards & Accolades• In 2014, USA Today’s 10best.com named Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse among the top ten venues for live music in New Orleans.
• The Playhouse was awarded the Certificate of Excellence by Tripadvisor in 2014 and 2013 for a consistent outstanding travel review on the world’s largest travel site
• Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse voted “Best Jazz Club” in Where Y’At Magazine’s 2013 and 2012 Readers’ Poll.
• Royal Sonesta Hotel honored with Offbeat Magazine’s ‘Best of the Beat’ Bourbon Street Award for bringing quality Jazz music to Bourbon
• Where Y’at Magazine named Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse the “Best Jazz Club” at the 2011 ‘Best of the Big Easy’ Awards
• Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse awarded Offbeat Magazine’s ‘Best of the Beat’ Business Award 2010
• Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse bartender Tiffany Soles awarded New Orleans Magazine’s 2010 Bartender of the Year.
• VacationRentals.com named Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse the “Ten Best Places in New Orleans to Listen to Jazz”
• Travel Channel’s Samantha Brown voted Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse the “Number One Pick in the Big Easy”
• Desire Oyster Bar won “Best Float” at the 2014 Annual United Way “Got Gumbo” Cook-off
Desire Oyster Bar Awards & Accolades
• Desire Oyster Bar is honored with Tripadvisor’s 2013 Certificate of Excellence for a consistent 4.5/5.00 rating
• Desire Oyster Bar won “Best Seafood Gumbo” at the 2011 Annual United Way “Got Gumbo” Cook-off
• Desire Oyster Bar’s Gus Marshall won the 2011 New Orleans Oyster Festival’s Oyster Shucking Contest
New Orleans Destination Awards & Honors• New Orleans was named the number one "Quirkiest City in America" by Travel + Leisure magazine, March 2015.
• Condé Nast Traveler has named New Orleans the number one "U.S. City for Business Travelers," February 2015.
• Ebony magazine named New Orleans named New Orleans one of its "14 Top Travel Spots for 2015," February 2015.
• New Orleans was named a "Top U.S. Destination" for travel in 2015 by users on Mashable.com, February 2015.
• New Orleans was named one of the 10 Most Popular Valentine's Day 2015 Destinations by Priceline.com, February 2015.
• TripAdvisor.com named New Orleans one of the top "13 Destinations to Book Your Next Adventure," February 2015.
• The New York Times named New Orleans one of its "52 Places to Go in 2015," January 2015.
• New Orleans was named one of the Top 15 Destinations for 2015 by Explorica.com, January 2015.
• Momondo.co.uk named New Orleans the best emerging budget travel destination on its calendar for March of 2015.
• Lonely Planet named New Orleans one of its "Best in the U.S. 2015" destinations, December 2014.
• New Orleans was named the "Friendliest Homeport" as part of Porthole Cruise Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Awards, December 2014.
• Rough Guides named New Orleans one of the Top 10 Cities to visit in 2015, December 2014.
• New Orleans was named the number one U.S. City for Food by Thrillist.com, December 2014.
• Destination Weddings & Honeymoons named New Orleans one of the top 20 "Best Wedding Destinations of 2015," December 2014.
• ConventionSouth magazine named New Orleans the "Most Meeting Friendly" destination in the southern United States, as voted by readers, December 2014.
• New Orleans was named number seven in GOOD Magazine's 2014 GOOD City Index, which ranks cities by their inspiring nature and possibility, November 2014.
• New Orleans was named the Best Home Port in North America by Cruise Critic in their 2014 US Editors' Pick Awards, November 2014.
• New Orleans won top honors in Travel + Leisure's America's Favorite Cities list, ranking number one in the "Festivals," "Notable Restaurants," "Historical Sites" categories and more, October 2014.
• Conde Nast Traveler named New Orleans one of the Top 25 Cities in the World, one of only five U.S. cities to make the list, October 2014.
• Men's Health Magazine named New Orleans the seventh Friendliest City in America, September 2014.
• ConventionSouth Magazine named New Orleans one of the South's Top 10 Music Cities for Meetings and Events based on reader and fan votes, August 2014.
• New Orleans was named the Best Culinary Destination in the small domestic category by Saveur Magazine, August 2014.
• Cvent named New Orleans one of the Top 10 Meeting Destinations in the United States, August 2014
• Business Facilities magazine ranked New Orleans the 5th best city for Economic Growth Potential and Louisiana the number one Best Business Climate in the USA, August 2014
• New Orleans was named the 5th Friendliest City in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler, August 2014
• Travel + Leisure readers name New Orleans a World's Best City, one of only two American cities to make the list, July 2014
• Thrillist.com ranks Louisiana the fourth best state in the U.S. for its signature food and drinks, July 2014
• New Orleans was voted one of the Best Convention Cities, selected by readers of USA Today and 10Best, June 2014
• Travel + Leisure readers name New Orleans America's Best City for Night Owls, May 2014
• Travel + Leisure readers name New Orleans America's Best City for Girlfriend Getaways, May 2014
• Forbes recognized New Orleans as one of America's New Brainpower Cities, April 2014
• Conde Nast Traveler names New Orleans the fifth the Best American Cities for Foodies, April 2014
• The city of New Orleans is the fifth most popular travel destination in the United States in TripAdvisor's 6th annual Travelers' Choice Awards for Destinations.
• Among priceline.com hotel guests, New Orleans was the 7th most-cited U.S. city for its romantic charm, February 2014
• Nerdwallet.com, a financial website, named New Orleans one of the Top 10 Best Cities for Singles, February 2014
• New Orleans was voted one of the 10 Best Romantic North American Getaways, selected by readers of USA Today and 10Best, January 2014
• Coastal Living magazine included a visit to New Orleans as one of "Six Trips That Will Change Your Life", February 2014
• Glamour magazine named New Orleans as a Top 10 Bachelorette Party Destinations in 2014, January 2014
• In the January issue of Food & Wine, the magazine polled its readers for their picks. The "clear favorite" for top dining city was New Orleans, January 2014
• Australia's Flight Centre named New Orleans as one of their Top Destinations 2014. New Orleans is the only city in the United States to make this list, January 2014
• National Geographic Traveler places New Orleans on their Best Trips 2014 list
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.
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.