Inside the Four Seasons New Orleans: New opening date, sneak preview for some guests

The Chandelier Bar at the Four Seasons New Orleans, which will be open from Aug 17 but limited to those who can find one of the 85 indoor and outdoor seats that will be available. Alon Shaya’s Miss River ground floor restaurant also is starting this week to take bookings from Aug 17. The hotel will be taking bookings also for stays starting on Sep 1.

The Four Seasons New Orleans, a luxury riverside hotel that has been the dream of city officials for decades, finally has an official opening date: Sept 1.

The much anticipated resort — a $530 million conversion of the old World Trade Center at the foot of Canal Street — has been putting the finishing touches on its 341 rooms, as well as the property’s two restaurants and other amenities, for the last few months. After four years of construction, hotel managers have just a four more weeks to iron out the final kinks.

To make sure operations are up to par on opening day, officials decided to open up 10 rooms — or one full floor — earlier this month to a handful of early birds.

“It was just offered randomly to a few who’d been following us and our progress on social media,” said Mali Carow, the hotel’s general manager.

The “soft opening” was a whimsical idea for these guests to test out the resort, as well as the new ground floor Chandelier Bar and Miss River restaurant, both of which feature food by chef Alon Shaya’s company, Pomegranate Hospitality.

“What we did was open up our reservations system for 24 hours, and anyone who was paying close attention and happened to check during that time, was able to secure a room for this window,” said Brad Packer, spokesman for the hotel.

The trial period started July 21 and will run through August, after which the hotel’s rooms will be fully available.

The Chandelier Bar will open earlier, on August 17, but will be limited to those who can find a seat. There are 22 seats at the bar and 51 other indoor spots, as well as 12 in the adjacent outdoor courtyard, all available on a first-come first-served basis.

Miss River also will begin taking bookings for tables on August 17, with the reservations line opening Friday.

In October, the hotel will begin booking events, including corporate meetings and conferences, as well as private events like weddings, Carow said.

Yet to be determined is an opening date and a name for the Donald Link-run restaurant that will occupy riverfront space on the fifth floor, adjacent to the terraced pool and spa area with spectacular views of the river. Link has said the restaurant will seat 150, with space for another 30 at the bar, and it will have a contemporary fine dining vibe.

Carow said hotel officials are still recruiting for jobs at the Link restaurant as well as for other hotel amenities. After a hiring drive that included several days of interviews at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the hotel is about two-thirds of the way toward its goal of hiring about 500 employees this year, she said.

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