The site of Royal Sonesta New Orleans dates back to 1721 when French military engineer, Adrien de Pauger first laid out the city of New Orleans. Originally, houses, courtyards and carriageways occupied the 300 block of Bourbon Street. During the 19th Century, Bourbon Street became a thriving commercial district with everything from a costume shop to a winery. In 1890, the American Brewing Company purchased the winery and expanded the building to encompass an entire city block. Nearly 70 years later, the owners of the Sonesta brand at that time, the Sonnabends, were introduced to developer Lester Kabacoff and soon the site of the old brewery would be repurposed. In 1967, the Vieux Carre Commission approved plans to begin construction of what would become a landmark French Quarter hotel. Two years later, Royal Sonesta New Orleans opened its doors.
Initiated in the early 1960's, Sonesta's Art Collection is one of the first corporate hotel programs dedicated to original art by nationally and internationally-known artists. This group of works consists of more than 7,000 contemporary paintings, sculptures, original prints and tapestries by both emerging and established artists such as Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Sol Lewitt, Jan Dibbets, Malcolm Morley and Carl Palazzolo.
The works reflect the artist's vision, while illuminating some of the most significant movements in contemporary art, including Conceptual, Minimal and Pop Art. The works of art in Royal Sonesta New Orleans are in our public spaces like the lobby and PJ's Coffee Cafe. Each work of art was carefully considered to create an aesthetically pleasing and meaningful statement. Many works have been specially commissioned for a particular space, in an effort to fully integrate the architecture and design of the hotel.