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Discover the Le Pavillon Hotel with its blend of New Orleans charm, elegant interior craftsmanship with early 20th century detail.

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Le Pavillon Hotel, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 1994, dates back to 1907.


A contributing structure within the New Orleans Lower Central Business District, the fantastic Le Pavillon Hotel has been a member of Historic Hotels of America since 1994. Its history is quite extensive, harkening back to the twilight of the Gilded Age. In 1899, La Baronne Realty Company bought a plot of land along Poydras Street with the intent of developing an upscale boutique hotel. But the construction did not begin in earnest until 1905 and took another two years to complete. Nevertheless, the company managed to create a magnificent structure that displayed some of the finest Renaissance-inspired architecture in all of New Orleans. Indeed, its iconic design made it one of the most defining edifices in downtown New Orleans at the time. Justin Denechaud subsequently acquired the location when the project concluded in 1907 and renamed it as the “New Hotel Denechuad.” Under Denechaud’s stewardship, the New Hotel Denechuad quickly became among the best hotels in the city with its cutting-edge amenities and opulent services. In fact, the building developed a considerable reputation as a popular gathering spot for New Orleans’ social elites. Denechaud nonetheless sold the New Hotel Denechaud to new hoteliers right before the onset of World War I, who renamed it as the “DeSoto Hotel.” Despite the change in ownership, the business managed to maintain its prestige as an exclusive vacation getaway.

This repute endured for many years thereafter, even as events like the Great Depression and World War II negatively affected the local economy. Indeed, the hotel staff thought of innovative ways to keep the business solvent. During Prohibition, for instance, the DeSoto Hotel operated an underground escape tunnel that led straight to an exit over a block away. (The tunnel was activated in case law enforcement arrived on-scene to break up any illicit parties.) Then in the 1970s, new owners acquired the site and relaunched it as “Le Pavillon Hotel.” The proprietors soon focused on redeveloping Le Pavillon into an outstanding showplace for the city. The search began in Europe, yielding most of the décor that grace the halls today. Among the items collected included massive exterior columns and oversized sculptures that were carved by Italian artisans to the owner’s specifications. Eleven glistening crystal chandeliers were also purchased from Czechoslovakia and installed throughout the redesigned lobby. Various French paintings and furnishing even arrived, such as the unique marble railings that once resided in Paris’ Grand Hotel. All helped accentuate Le Pavillon Hotel’s historic roots, while also elevating its character for a modern audience. Le Pavillon Hotel has since remained one of New Orleans’ most fabulous places to visit. Its grand European-inspired ambiance and warm hospitality have truly made it a wonderful destination to experience.

  • About the Location +

    Le Pavillon Hotel is located just steps away from the Vieux Carré, otherwise known more popularly as the French Quarter. A National Historic Landmark, the French Quarter was first established in 1718 by French colonials under the direction of the Mississippi Company. These aspiring settlers were specifically led to the region by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, who would go on to serve as the local colonial governor throughout much of the early 18th century. The French Crown intended for the nascent settlement to operate as an important regional port that controlled trade throughout the Mississippi Delta. After navigating the local coastline for several weeks, Bienville and his compatriots found a section of high ground above the Mississippi River that offered natural protection from flooding waters, as well as incursions against English and Spanish privateers. They named their new community “La Nouvelle-Orléans” in honor of the Duke of Orleans, a nephew of King Louis XIV.

    La Nouvelle-Orléans eventually evolved into New Orleans, the capital of the French colony of Louisiana. France lost control over the city for a time during the late 18th century, when the French were forced to cede the colony to the Spanish following the Seven Years War. Yet, the Spanish gave New Orleans back to the French in 1800 at the height of the Napoleonic Wars. The town and the surrounding parishes were then part of the Louisiana Purchase, in which Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte sold 828,000 square miles of French-controlled territory in central North America to U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. The city subsequently became the capital for the new state of Louisiana in 1812, rapidly evolving into the most important port in the southern United States. This growth was offset temporarily with the outbreak of the War of 1812, with New Orleans itself becoming a battleground. It was the site of the famous Battle of New Orleans, where future president Andrew Jackson defeated the British in an incredibly lopsided victory.

    New Orleans’ significance as a commercial port made it a highly valuable strategic point of interest for both the Union and Confederacy during the American Civil War. Both armies fought over the city early in the war, with the United States Navy forcing local Confederate units from the area in early 1862. It subsequently became the base for future operations by the Union in the Mississippi Delta for the duration of the conflict. Following the cessation of hostilities between the two sections in 1865, New Orleans resumed its national status as a premier port city. It even served as an integral part to the national war effort in World War II, where it became the site for the development of the crucial Higgins Boat. New Orleans has since emerged as one of the nation’s most popular tourist destinations, with millions visiting every year. The most popular attraction is the original French Quarter and its celebrated landmarks, such as Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, and Bourbon Street. All of these fantastic sites wonderfully represent the original French heritage of the Vieux Carré.

  • About the Architecture +

    The beautiful Le Pavillon Hotel stands in downtown New Orleans today as a stunning example of Renaissance Revival architecture. Renaissance Revival itself architecture—sometimes referred to as "Neo-Renaissance”—is a group of architecture revival styles that date back to the 19th century. Neither Grecian nor Gothic in their appearance, Renaissance Revival-style architecture drew inspiration from a wide range of structural motifs found throughout Early Modern Western Europe. Architects in France and Italy were the first to embrace the artistic movement, who saw the architectural forms of the European Renaissance as an opportunity to reinvigorate a sense of civic pride throughout their communities. As such, those intellectuals incorporated the colonnades and low-pitched roofs of Renaissance-era buildings with the specific characteristics of Mannerist and Baroque-themed architecture. Perhaps the greatest structural component to a Renaissance Revival-style building involved the installation of a grand staircase in a vein similar to those located at both the Château de Blois and the Château de Chambord in France’s Loire Valley. This particular feature served as a central focal point for the design, often directing guests to a magnificent lobby or exterior courtyard. But the nebulous nature of Renaissance Revival architecture meant that its appearance varied widely across Europe and the Americas. As such, historians today sometimes find it difficult to provide a specific definition for the architectural movement. Regardless, Renaissance Revival architecture today remains one of the world’s most enduring, appearing in countless places across the globe.

Image of Historian Stanley Turkel, Historic Hotels of America Image of Stanley Turkel's Book Built To Last: 100 Year Old Hotels East of the Mississippi, Historic Hotels of America.

Guest Historian Series

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Nobody Asked Me, But...

Hotel History: Le Pavillon Hotel (1907), New Orleans, Louisiana*

By Stanley Turkel, CMHS

The Le Pavillon Hotel was originally the New Denechaud Hotel which was designed by architects Toledano and Wogan and built by the New York firm Milliken Brothers. It opened in January 1907 with 217 rooms and was known as the "Belle of New-Orleans". It achieved heights of elegance and innovation with the first hydraulic elevators and electric lighting ever to be installed in New Orleans.

Toledano and Wogan were very active in the first decade of the 20th century, designing three major new hotels in New Orleans, all of which are still in operation. The largest and best known was the Grunewald, now the Fairmont Hotel, built in 1908. The firm also designed the original building for the Monteleone Hotel on Charles Street in 1910.

Manager Justin Denechaud's father, famed hotelier Edward Francis Denechaud, had operated the Hotel Denechaud on Carondelet and Perdido streets from 1884 until his retirement in 1902. Upon opening of the New Denechaud Hotel, the senior Denechaud's nearby Carondelet Street destination closed its restaurant and became a European plan hotel known as The Inn.

In 1913, new owners changed the name of the New Denechaud to the De Soto Hotel. Through wars, prohibition, and the Great Depression, the De Soto Hotel received international acclaim as one of the grandest and finest in the world. During the prohibition years, an underground tunnel led from the hotel to a building block and a half away, in case of "emergencies" needing discreet VIP passage. The penthouse was the home of New Orleans's first radio station WDSU from 1928 to 1948.

In 1970, ownership of the hotel passed into a new hands, and a major restoration project was undertaken. Crystal chandeliers from Czechoslovakia, marble floors from several locations, marble railings from the lobby of the Grand Hotel in Paris, spectacular Italian columns, and statues have found a home at the Le Pavillon. Topping it all is the rooftop pool and patio, the perfect place for a refreshing swim with a spectacular view of the Crescent City. To complete the renaissance of this living legend, the hotel was renamed Le Pavillon.

On June 24, 1991 Le Pavillon was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of Interior. It is a member of Historic Hotels of America and has been the recipient of AAA Four-Diamond award since 1996.

*excerpted from his book Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi


About Stanley Turkel, CMHS

Stanley Turkel is a recognized consultant in the hotel industry. He operates his hotel consulting practice serving as an expert witness in hotel-related cases and providing asset management an and hotel franchising consultation. Prior to forming his hotel consulting firm, Turkel was the Product Line Manager for worldwide Hotel/Motel Operations at the International Telephone & Telegraph Co. overseeing the Sheraton Corporation of America. Before joining IT&T, he was the Resident Manager of the Americana Hotel (1842 Rooms), General Manager of the Drake Hotel (680 Rooms) and General Manager of the Summit Hotel (762 Rooms), all in New York City. He serves as a Friend of the Tisch Center and lectures at the NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism. He is certified as a Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. He served for eleven years as Chairman of the Board of the Trustees of the City Club of New York and is now the Honorary Chairman.

Stanley Turkel is one of the most widely-published authors in the hospitality field. More than 275 articles on various hotel subjects have been posted in hotel magazines and on the Hotel-Online, Blue MauMau, Hotel News Resource and eTurboNews websites. Two of his hotel books have been promoted, distributed and sold by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry and Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi). A third hotel book (Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York) was called "passionate and informative" by the New York Times. Executive Vice President of Historic Hotels of America, Lawrence Horwitz, has even praised one book, Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry:

  • “If you have ever been in a hotel, as a guest, attended a conference, enjoyed a romantic dinner, celebrated a special occasion, or worked as a hotelier in the front or back of the house, Great American Hoteliers, Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry is a must read book. This book is recommended for any business person, entrepreneur, student, or aspiring hotelier. This book is an excellent history book with insights into seventeen of the great innovators and visionaries of the hotel industry and their inspirational stories.”

Turkel was designated as the “2014 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America,” the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion, greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.

Works published by Stanley Turkel include:

Most of these books can be ordered from AuthorHouse—(except Heroes of the American Reconstruction, which can be ordered from McFarland)—by visiting, or by clicking on the book’s title.