The ne plus ultra classic New Orleans hotel

The Pontchartain Hotel is located in New Orleans’ historic Garden District along St. Charles Avenue, a carnival route whose 200-year-old oak trees are draped with Mardi Gras beads.The city’s clanging streetcar line runs directly to the hotel’s doorstep. Originally built in 1927, its past guests include Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, and Truman Capote.  Tennessee Williams worked on “A Streetcar Named Desire” while living at the hotel. The hotel is a sanctuary that plays host to visitors and locals alike, and all are welcome. The Pontchartrain Hotel was redeveloped by AJCP, the group behind Graduate Hotels.

The Challenge

In 2016, the historic Pontchartrain Hotel was preparing to reopen in New Orleans, nearing the end of a +$10 million renovation. The opening team needed a digital platform that matched the timeless brand of the property and its iconic F&B outlets: Caribbean Room, the Bayou Bar, and the new Hot Tin, a rooftop lounge where visitors take in stunning views of the city and the Mississippi River.

We needed to provide a design direction that maintained a sense of mystery around the property. We didn’t have much to work with, photo-wise, as the hotel was still under construction.

How do you build a website for a hotel that doesn’t exist yet?


The Solution

The answer is simple; water-colour illustrations. Because we were working with such limited photography, the Client decided to have watercolour illustrations of the hotel commissioned as placeholders until the renovations and photography were complete.

The digital result was as subtle and classy as the hotel. In some ways, the initial design was nod to the Chateau Marmont’s website, staying discreet, mysterious, and maybe a little sexy if you know the hotel.

Since the opening of the hotel, the website is now alive with pictures and it’s performing very well. In fact, the hotel was recently named to T+L’s list of best new hotels in the world – we’re certain it was thanks to the website.

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