Sleepover: International House

A bed for the night in New Orleans
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The Independent Travel

The location

International House is sandwiched between the business district and the French Quarter, a couple of blocks from the Mississippi, handy for both the Riverfront and St Charles streetcars.

The USP

The original Beaux Arts building was a bank, which was later converted into America's first international trade centre, providing club-style facilities for visiting businessmen. Many of the original features of this historic building have been retained and restored, but once inside, you are greeted by a boutique-style, ultra-modern hotel.

The comfort factor

The rooms are wonderfully quiet with soft duvets and comfortable beds and armchairs. The lively lobby area is also a good location to hang out, but you may prefer to stay in your room and be pampered. Switch on the CD player, check out the room-service spa menu, and book someone to come and give you a private yoga session or a wonderfully relaxing hot stone massage.

The bathroom

All have large bathtubs or power-showers, and are stocked with bathrobes and Aveda bath products. Each room also has an iron and board, and a selection of toothbrushes, T-shirts and other essentials that you can buy if you need them.

The food and drink

The cocktail bar, Loa, is all mirrors and candles, an atmospheric place for a drink before dinner or late at night. Lemon Grass, the hotel's restaurant, has a Vietnamese chef, who produces a menu that reflects his origins but also makes use of local ingredients - so expect lots of oriental vegetables and spices, combined with Louisiana seafood. There are also French staples such as filet mignon, cooked in a more traditional style. Anything from the menu can be served in your room, which also has a well-stocked mini-bar.

The people

International House is popular with business visitors, but it is extremely handy for tourists, too. The lobby, bar and restaurant are all frequented by locals.

The area

Jackson Square, with its 19th-century French-style arcades and historic houses, is a short walk along Chartres Street, and there are some attractive private homes in the blocks further west. Canal Street Shopping Mall is a 10-minute stroll from the hotel.

The access

There is wheelchair access from a side entrance, and lifts to all floors. Children are welcome, and will be given colouring books and CDs on arrival. Nannies can keep them occupied in the hotel or take them on outings, and if you want to take your baby when you go jogging, the hotel will lend you a pushchair or "baby jogger". Pets are welcome.

The damage

Rooms start at $216 (£114) for one or two people, although this can rise to $624 (£328) if you want a suite. Breakfast is around $15 (£8).

The address

International House, 221 Camp Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130 (001 504 553 9550; www.ihhotel.com).

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