New Orleans may primarily be associated in America's collective consciousness with the libertine revelry of Mardi Gras but the Big Easy -- arguably the country's most European city -- also happens to be one of its most romantic, ideal for romance travel, weddings and honeymoons.
In fact, officials at reborn luxury redoubt the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, one of the city's leading upscale hotels, liken a romantic stay at their five-star property to going to "Paris -- without the jetlag."
The 489-room, 38-suite hotel is even offering a Paris Without the Jetlag package that, according to Director of Public Relations Char Thian, is perfect for romance travelers of all stripes. Priced from $279 per night and available Sept. 3 to Dec. 31, the deal includes Club Level accommodations and a hand-blown glass fleur-de-lis keepsake crafted by local artisans.
The Club Level -- formerly operated as Maison Orleans, a hotel-within-a-hotel -- "was designed to feel like a residence, a grand mansion with its art and antiques," said Thian. "The mood is created by the demi-canopied beds, sunken tubs, surround-sound stereo and a DVD library of movies filmed in or about New Orleans."
The package is just one of several that the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans has crafted to woo newlyweds shopping for a honeymoon spot, engaged couples considering destination wedding venues and even long-term couples looking to reconnect on a romantic getaway.
"New Orleans has always been a romantic destination, for honeymooners and the romantic-at-heart," said Thian, pointing to Peace of Mind, another of the hotel's packages as another option perfect for romance travelers.
Priced from $109 per night through Sept. 30, the deal includes deluxe accommodations, daily breakfast for two and valet parking.
Wedding ceremonies and receptions are becoming big business at the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans. "We've seen an uptick in requests for weddings, receptions and wedding room blocks," noted Thian.
An emerging trend in nuptials booked at the hotel is what she termed "culturally indigenous weddings." In the past year, Ritz-Carlton staff created an authentic Indian wedding ceremony and reception as well as a kosher Jewish reception.
Of course, "indigenous" can mean things Cajun, Creole and Louisiana, too.
"A popular choice for alumni of Tulane and Loyola University is a New Orleans-style wedding, complete with a second line, jazz music and New Orleans cuisine," Thian said.
Speaking of New Orleans style, the hotel's location on Canal Street at one end of the French Quarter is a big draw.
"Guests can walk out of the back door and they are in the French Quarter, one block from world-famous Bourbon Street and some of the finest restaurants, music venues and historic bars in the country," said Thian. "We find that wedding guests come in a day earlier or stay a day later to enjoy one of America's greatest treasures."
While bridal parties may be ensconced in suite accommodations in the Ritz-Carlton proper for their big day, many of those wedding attendees flying in from out of town opt for the Ritz-Carlton Hotels of New Orleans' second, less-expensive overnight option on site, the Iberville Suites.
"We operate two hotels with different price points, so attendees that are on a budget can stay at our all-suites property, The Iberville Suites." The Iberville Suites is current offering a $99 per night rate through the end of the summer.
For more, visit www.ritzcarlton.com and www.ibervillesuites.com.