The Grand Boutique Hotel, located in the heart of the Garden District here on historic St. Charles Avenue and the subject of a spirited rivalry, recently joined the Clarion hotel chain.
The hotel, which features 44 oversized rooms, is part of an historic building built in 1890. It is owned and operated by Al Copeland of New Orleans, founder of the Popeye`s Famous Fried Chicken franchise and Copeland`s New Orleans -style restaurants.
The building was once site of a Mercedes-Benz dealership. In Memnoch the Devil, a book written by New Orleans novelist Anne Rice, the character Lestat, a vampire, peers through the windows of the building, sees his own reflection and vanishes.
When Rice, who didn`t want her historical site transformed in any way, learned that Copeland had bought the building to build a restaurant, she took out an advertisement in the local newspaper defaming Copeland and his restaurant.
“Mr. Copeland, upset over the comments that were being made, filed a suit for defamation of character. She then filed a lawsuit to stop him,” said Gary Weissert, president of Al Copeland Investments` hotel division, based in New Orleans. “Now both suits have been dropped, but the local folks enjoyed the excitement, and we`ve enjoyed the extra publicity!”
The hotel, formerly known as the Grand Boutique Hotel, was built in 1997 and became a Clarion brand last month.
“We`re proud to now be a part of the Clarion brand, a name associated with upscale amenities and services,” said Weissert. “Our hotel offers business travelers the amenities they expect, and our location is also perfect for leisure travelers visiting the beautiful Garden District.”
All rooms at the Clarion Grand Boutique Hotel feature refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, hair dryers, safes, pillow-top mattresses and two telephones with data ports. Eight rooms feature in-room whirlpools, king-size beds and pull-out sofa beds. Some feature balconies that overlook St. Charles Avenue.
The hotel features an Art Deco theme, meeting space to accommodate 35 and a lounge area on each floor. The hotel is located above Straya Grand Café, one of Copeland`s newest restaurants featuring California Creole cuisine.
Rates begin at $99, which includes enhanced complimentary continental breakfast and USA Today newspaper. Special rates are available on a space-available basis when booked in advance for business travelers, senior citizens, members of the American Automobile Association, tour operators and government and military personnel. Children age 18 and under may stay free in the rooms of their parents or grandparents. Additional bedding is extra.
The Clarion Grand Boutique Hotel is located on the St. Charles Street Car line and the Mardi Gras parade route. Local attractions include the Audubon Zoo, Central Business District, French Quarter and New Orleans Morial Convention Center.
Clarion Inns, Hotels, Suites & Resorts specialize in serving the needs of business travelers and meeting planners around the world. The brand is franchised by Choice Hotels International of Silver Spring, Md., the world`s second-largest lodging franchisor.