Arts & Culture

A Visual Romp Through the New Hotel Saint Vincent in New Orleans

The best moments of historic preservation happen when new life springs in a neglected space; when designers honor past architects and idealists but also flex a little muscle. Hotel Saint Vincent in New Orleans’s Lower Garden District opened only a few months ago, debuting as a poster child for just such a scenario. In a 70,000-square-foot brick building (circa 1860) on Magazine Street, Austin-based hospitality industry veterans Larry McGuire, Tom Moorman, and Liz Lambert saw potential. They now manage the landmark building and designed the property, preserving the exterior. Inside, guests arrive to find seventy-five rooms and suites and multiple dining enclaves including fine-dining Southern Italian at San Lorenzo and the eclectic-art-filled Chapel Bar. Perhaps the coolest aspect of Hotel Saint Vincent? The woman who first brought the building to life, and whom it now deeply honors in this new chapter: Margaret Haughery was an Irish immigrant who arrived in New Orleans in the earliest days of the 1800s. She lost her parents, and, despite being an orphan, overcame and flourished, opening a bakery and a dairy as an adult. Her heart remained devoted to the city’s orphans and in 1861, she opened this building as the Saint Vincent’s Infant Asylum. For the new owners, it was tantamount to tell that story in ways both obvious and intimate. Guests walk to the nearby corner of Camp and Prytania Streets to visit her marble likeness—Margaret Haughery was the second woman in America ever honored with a statue. Step inside Hotel Saint Vincent to learn more.

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Hotelier Liz Lambert first toured the empty, former Saint Vincent Guest House in 2014. “The ornate iron work that runs up the facade is the first thing I remember,” she says, “and once inside, the wide halls and winding, broad staircase. The place was a mess—old stained and torn green carpet, broken furniture, mismatched everything. And, when we walked into the courtyard, doves flew out from the eaves.” Her reimagined, restored, revamped hotel still greets visitors with wrought-iron ornamentation on double-level, deep front porches.

photo: Matt Harrington

The interior design of the hotel comes courtesy of Lambert McGuire Design, an architecture and interior design studio founded in 2019 by Lambert and McGuire—sister company to McGuire Moorman Lambert Hospitality. The ethos throughout is a mixture of Art Deco, Italian, and New Orleans flourish. Many of the pieces—like the red-velvet and teak lobby chairs—are reupholstered vintage scores.

photo: Matt Harrington

Paradise Lounge, through the lofty side porch doorway. The drink list marries Italian classics and New Orleans flavors, such as the Creole Cocktail—Sazerac Rye, Cocchi di Torino, Bigallet amer, and Benedictine.

photo: Matt Harrington

During reconstruction of the 1861 property, the designers took broken remnants of the original orphanage tile floors, creating an exact replica for the floors of Paradise Lounge. The walls feature hand-painted murals by local artist Ann Marie Auricchio and a custom bar crafted by local woodworker Daniel Bell.

photo: Matt Harrington

The seventy-five guest rooms, including nine suites, are high drama, featuring vintage coffee tables, charcoal gray wall paint by Farrow & Ball, and velvet headboards.

photo: Douglas Friedman

Deep soaking tubs and custom blown-glass Murano chandeliers inspired by 1970s design make the bathrooms a talked-about touch. George Venson of Voutsa created the psychedelic, marbled wallpaper and FARWEST designed matching silk bathrobes. The wallpaper is a nod to the building’s history, as well, inspired by the marble bindings of Margaret Haughery’s original financial ledgers.

photo: Douglas Friedman

The Chapel Bar—available to guests only—is a delicious perk. The cocktail den is located on the first floor, and it features an intriguing art collection of abstracts, neon, and nudes, as well as accents of stained glass and marble.

photo: Douglas Friedman

Honoring both the Italian immigration to New Orleans and the homeland itself, San Lorenzo—the hotel’s restaurant named for the patron saint of cooking—combines a crisp, Amalfi ambiance with an emphasis on line-caught fish and house-made pastas.

photo: Matt Harrington

Hotel Saint Vincent gives a nod to Texas in this newest outpost of the Austin-based boutique ByGeorge.

 

photo: Matt Harrington

The Riviera-inspired swimming pool.

photo: Douglas Friedman

When asked what the most surprising aspect of the hotel is, Lambert replied, “that you won’t want to leave. You’ll just want to settle in and stay a while, most likely on one of the dozens of seating scenarios on the porches, in the courtyard, in the grotto or by the pool.”

photo: Matt Harrington