The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans has dotted
the i's and crossed the t's of its $105 million, post-Hurricane
Katrina reinvention with the reopening of its spa complex. The
expanded and renovated facility is now known as the Ritz-Carlton
Spa, New Orleans and is the city's newest hotel day spa.
"The total square
footage of the spa was enhanced to 25,000 square feet, making it
the largest in the city and the only full-service spa that is open
seven days a week," said hotel spokeswoman Char
spa, which reopened last month, sports 22 treatment rooms, a gym, a
cafe, a shop and a reception area. A menu of about 100 services has
been updated to "meet the needs of today's spa-goers," Schroeder
The spa, like
other Ritz-Carlton spas, uses Prada beauty and skin-care
The range of menu
selections encompasses prenatal and men's services, scrubs and
massages, hydrotherapies and salon services. In addition to
weight-lifting and cardiovascular equipment, the gym has a small
facility, decorated to evoke 19th century New Orleans, specializes
in treatments that incorporate local products or traditions. The
Marie Laveau Voodoo Love Massage, for example, combines a
hydrotherapy bath and Swedish massage with application of a love
potion. The Cafe Au Lait Detoxifying Treatment involves a coffee
scrub and a milk compress.
meanwhile, can choose from massages, facials, salt scrubs,
hot-towel shaves and manicures/pedicures.
The new spa is
the last piece of the post-Katrina rehabilitation puzzle to fall
into place at the Ritz-Carlton, which reopened in December after 15
months of flood repairs and top-to-bottom renovations.
"The reopening of
the city's premier luxury hotel is yet another sign that New
Orleans is open for business," said Schroeder.
repairs and renovations to its 489 guest rooms and 38 suites were
taken a step further, with upgraded linens, soft goods, bath
amenities and showerheads.
former formal dining restaurant, Victor's, was replaced with a new
signature eatery, Melange, which was redecorated in a more casual
As its name
implies, Melange offers a mix of classic New Orleans cuisine. The
menu lists 30 dishes from 20 of the city's restaurants, including
Arnaud's, K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, Mosca's and Cuvee.
trying to duplicate New Orleans' most famous dishes, we contacted
the city's top chefs and asked if we could learn how to prepare
their signature dish for our menu," said Schroeder. "We have their
logo and a bio on the restaurant as part of the menu. We are
celebrating the best and most renowned cuisine of the Crescent
and recommended: alligator sausage and shrimp cheese pie, an
appetizer from Jacque-Imo's.
Saturdays, Melange transforms each evening into performance space
for local entertainer Jeremy Davenport.
mornings, the space breaks ranks with the jazz brunch crowd to
offer a zydeco brunch, to the tune of that particular brand of
Cajun country music.
Among the hotel's
lounge spaces, the Library Lounge is reopening as a piano bar and
will eventually become a members-only cigar club. The Lobby Lounge,
meanwhile, added themed afternoon teas to its classic daily High
Tea. The monthly Voodoo Tea serves up items named for New Orleans'
occult heritage, with a tarot card reader on hand to deliver
Orleans component of the hotel now serves as the Ritz-Carlton Club
level, with separate registration, lobby and lounge (with five free
daily food and beverage presentations). A new, separate
Ritz-Carlton Club Level entrance has opened on Iberville
galleria of retail shops on the hotel's first floor has been
converted into 8,000 square feet of function and meetings rooms.
The hotel now has 35,000 square feet of meetings space.
Hotel staff, now
outfitted in seersucker and linen uniforms, offer a host of new
services. In the Library Lounge, mixologist Chris McMillian
concocts cocktails nightly and, once a month, gives lessons on how
to whip up classic Big Easy libations such as the Sazerac and
courtyard, the only part of the hotel where smoking is permitted,
is the venue for a year's worth of outdoor culinary events each
through the end of May, the Ritz-Carlton's "crawfish concierge"
holds court in the yard, offering lessons on peeling and eating
this Cajun staple.
Come June, a
"snowball sommelier" takes over, crafting Louisiana-style snowcones
through August. From October to January, an "oyster butler" will
give lessons on shucking and seasoning shellfish.
"We wanted to
teach people about New Orleans culture and incorporate some of the
services that are associated with the Ritz-Carlton," said
A number of
packages are being offered on an ongoing basis.
The Night of Jazz
in New Orleans package, priced at $519, includes Club level
accommodations for one night, dinner for two in Melange, a Jeremy
Davenport CD, two free cocktails and free parking.
include the three-night Suite Dreams Honeymoon, from $2,400; the
one-night French Quarter Escape, from $265; and the two-night
Sportsman's Paradise fishing package, from $18,000 with
Presidential Suite accommodations, roundtrip air transportation to
the fishing site, a chartered fishing excursion and lunch and
dinner for two.
packages can also arrange to pitch in with post-Katrina
rehabilitation efforts, according to Schroeder.
To contact Destinations editor Kenneth Kiesnoski, send
e-mail to [email protected].