Italian immigrants have long had a hand in shaping New Orleans culture—grazie for the muffuletta, amici!—and their influence plays a role once again in the design of the newly opened Hotel Saint Vincent.
Housed in an 1860s Lower Garden District building that was originally the Saint Vincent’s Infant Asylum, the boutique hotel was renovated with Italian modernist-style touches overlayed on a backdrop of Western European staples. Austin-based McGuire Moorman Lambert Hospitality opened the hotel in June, and the firm’s sister design company Lambert McGuire Design was responsible for the dramatic details that fill both the public spaces and each of the 75 guestrooms.
“Although the orphanage was built during the Civil War, it had remained fairly untouched structurally since it was built, so we approached the building in the spirit of restoration, with the additional intent of layering a new story on top of the historic structure,” says designer Liz Lambert. “We needed a full reimagination of the place. We wanted to create something grand and a little debaucherous.”
Lambert and her design partner Larry McGuire were careful to keep the character of the building intact while adding modern and opulent accents that would appeal to a new generation of visitors.
“My favorite hotels always seem to be properties that have been in a family for a long time and passed along to new generations, who in turn layer their own remodels and personal styles on top,” says Larry McGuire. “Liz and I imagined that it was our turn and we were going to go ’60s and ’70s decadence over the beautiful base layer of New Orleans classic Garden District design that already existed.”
The hotel is among a handful of haute new properties that have opened in the Crescent City in 2021, including the Four Seasons, the Virgin Hotel and the Kimpton Hotel Fontenot. While we’re busy planning our next weekend getaway, read on for a peek into the sumptuous spaces at the Hotel Saint Vincent, with design inspiration oozing from every historic detail.
The guest-only Chapel Club was furnished with the feel of a classic grand hotel salon in mind. This seating area within the intimate bar space draws its inspiration from the exaggerated curves, deep colors and luxe fabrics that defined midcentury Italian design. Brass and marble accents and a black-painted wood floor add to the mod mood.
New Orleans architecture firm MetroStudio made few visible changes to the hotel’s original 1861 architecture. New Bevolo gas lanterns and sky-blue balcony ceilings stay true to a timeless south Louisiana approach.
A Murano glass mirror reflects a Murano chandelier in the entry to ByGeorge, a new in-hotel incarnation of the Austin shop of the same name. A curvaceous green-painted sideboard features rattan insets that play off the woven texture of the chair nearby, while a black marble cocktail table offers a sleek contrast.
Velvet-upholstered rattan seating and a wicker-shaded floor lamp are combined with a jewel-toned rug in the lobby.
A red mohair-upholstered bed stands out against an all-gray backdrop that envelops walls, moldings and ceiling. A bentwood rocking chair gives a nod to the building’s former life as a home for babies and young children.
Guest bathrooms embody the designers’ 1960s vision, thanks to details like terracotta red tiles and custom psychedelic Voutsa wallpaper inspired by Florentine marble book bindings found in the original orphanage’s owner’s ledgers.
The brick floors of the central courtyard echo the hotel’s façade. Pink and white striped seating in this poolside space pays homage to the sunny style of midcentury seaside destinations along the Italian Riviera.