When someone says "the Garden District" or "Le Vieux Carre" what kind of place do you envision? I suppose I would include high ceilings -- gracious living throughout the South tends to feature them -- and French doors to open early and late to let a pleasant breeze in. Maybe I would include a hidden courtyard or flowery bower.
The Chimes has all that, and more. The place has been run for the past quarter-century or more by Jill and Charles Abbyad, whose lovely home and outbuildings have been transmogrified into an elegant and welcoming space with room for couples up to entire families. To simply call it a Bed & Breakfast does a disservice to the pre-prandial wine available on a honor basis in the main brick courtyard, or to Jill's unfailing willingness to help plan activities (even parties), or to the delight of enjoying morning coffee on the swing with Julius, the resident cat (a Katrina refugee himself).
Our room had 12' ceilings, a chandelier hanging in the bathroom, plenty of closet space, spring water in a lovely carafe waiting for us to return from the thirsty business of seeing the sites, a very comfortable bed with good reading light...and we were, so to speak, in the cheap seats. The three larger suites are very commodious, indeed.
Unique Quality: Breakfast generally includes French bread with a variety of cheeses and preserves; fruit; freshly baked pastries; eggs, yogurt, granola or cereal; a vast assortment of teas and very strong coffee. In pleasant weather, you can take your repast out to one of several small tables in the grounds; the main dining table is always set with linen and is a most congenial place to meet your fellow visitors.
The website includes video tours of each of the rooms, which is helpful when trying to plan for a visit. Be advised that the place books up years in advance for Tulane/Loyola graduations, Mardi Gras, etc.
My sister and I have stayed at other New Orleans bed-and-breakfasts in the past with our mother, who died last year; we made this trip to remember her, and Jill made our visit really wonderful. The Carriage House where we stayed is beautiful, as are the rest of the grounds and garden/courtyard. The Chimes is perfectly located, being close to both Magazine Street and the St. Charles streetcar (and on-street parking was never a problem either). Jill is the consummate hostess and made sure we felt welcome and relaxed from the moment we arrived. I would recommend The Chimes to my friends and I'll *definitely* be back.
Unique Quality: The building itself is lovely and the interior - and all the details - are beautiful. The location is perfect for getting to all the places one might want to see during a New Orleans visit. Jill is a knowledgeable, charming and caring hostess. The bed was SO comfortable and the room was quiet, serene and peaceful.
Directions: Lower Garden District
621 St. Louis Street, New Orleans
833 Poydras St., New Orleans
717 Orleans Street, (Formerly "Wyndham"), New Orleans
300 Bourbon Street, New Orleans
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Address: 1146 Constantinople St., New Orleans, Louisiana, 70115, United States