Let there be fun! – My New Orleans
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a prosecutor turned designer and hotelier by the name of Liz Lambert. It was 2004, the country was Austin, Texas and I was a baby reporter at Austin American-Stateman newspaper working as a design columnist. Since I got to know her work and interviewed her on several occasions, I certainly loved it at the Design Church of Lambert, so yes, I am biased. In my astonished eyes, everything Lambert touches or breathes is gold. His attention to detail and penchant for creating chic spaces with an atmosphere to spare is unmatched. Lambert is the queen of cool and if she’s reading this I present my very uncool and gushing shamelessly gushing fangirl admiration ramblings. Hi, Liz! (I laugh nervously at this.)
By the early 2000s, Lambert – a master of adaptive reuse – had reused, restored, designed and otherwise all the rage just three properties, the Hotel San José (featuring famous modern design firm Lake | Flato and where you have to go for a drink in the courtyard) and Jo’s Coffee in Austin, as well as the Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa, TX. By the time I moved away from Austin in 2010, Lambert was responsible for the incredible luxury Hotel Sainte Cécile and a second Jo’s in Austin, El Cosmico, a yurt and an Airstream “hosting community” in Marfa, Texas, Havana Hotel in San Antonio, Texas (where you have to go for a drink in the Glass Porch Bar, Ocho) and went on to create plenty of other cooler than cool properties through his management company Bunkhouse Group. In 2019, she founded the Austin-based architecture and interior design group Lambert McGuire Design, as well as former Austin-based but now New Orleans-based chef, businessman and arbiter of cool Larry McGuire. It is a sister company of McGuire Moorman Lambert Hospitality, the group responsible for the future famous Hotel Saint Vincent. In fact, the crowd is already celebrating him (Lambert’s friend, musician St. Vincent performed at the star-studded launch party and his gang of other well-known friends, including actors Connie Britton and Jennifer Coolidge, dotted her Instagram feed in perfect party lewks). The attention is justified, as the Hotel Saint Vincent is magnificent.
Built in 1861, the brick-built giant of the Lower Garden District was originally the children’s asylum in St. Vincent. It was founded by famous Irish immigrant, bakery owner and philanthropist Margaret Haughery, whose story is fascinating enough for her own blog post. The design team has retained as much of the original architecture as possible, with modern improvements, painting, lighting (some by Bevelo) and other decorative details from mid-century and Art Deco emphasizing highlight the lush spaces. Each of the 75 rooms (many of which are ADA compliant), the courtyard, the Saltillo pool, the event space, two bars (one open to the public and one clubby for guests only), the coastal Italian restaurant San Lorenzo and a French restaurant. The Vietnamese-style Elizabeth Street cafe and bakery (a second location of the popular Austin restaurant), plus a mini iteration of the Austin ByGeorge boutique looks like something ripped straight from the pages of your architecture magazines. , interior design and travel favorites.
(Old-school New Orleans purists probably won’t be as happy with all of this as I am and, I’m not saying the Austin invasion is underway, but I’m not saying it either, I’m don’t say it. hate emails. Thank you.)
As expected, no detail is overlooked. Vintage telephones sit on elegant bedside tables. The bathrooms are adorned with Voutsa wallpaper with bold and colorful patterns with a psychedelic border. Winkbed mattresses are wrapped in 300-thread-count Sferra Sateen linens (in a pattern that matches the bathroom wallpaper) and are perched on custom bed frames.
People: There. Is. Outrageously. Chic. And, as always, Lambert and his sidekicks, terribly cool. So much so that I really feel sick to my heart since I shot it with my colleagues and I can’t live there.
Please enjoy the photos of the hotel while I cry nostalgia at a table in the Paradise Bar.