Most visitors to New Orleans tend to gravitate towards the beloved, if touristy, French Quarter. Set along a straight drive out on Tulane Avenue towards Mid-City, the newly opened 20-room Drifter Hotel offers a quieter, but equally escapist, alternative.
Starting with the original awning and restored neon road sign, Concordia Architecture and Nicole Cota Studio have preserved the silhouette and retro-vibe of the low-slung 1956 motel, while layering on nostalgic American-highway period references by way of white geometric lattices, mid-century furniture, concrete walls, palm-leaf wallpaper, floral-patterned breeze bricks and Oaxacan tile-work. A particularly surreal moment is the huge disco ball over the bijou swimming pool.
Encased in slick grey concrete walls, the bedrooms are dressed in Frette and Aesop bath products, but the more entertaining diversions are to be found pool-side with frozen cocktails and sakes, while on-site food trucks dish up Mexican, Cuban and Trinidadian standards.
From: Wallpaper* Magazine
✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 20 rooms (20m2) (210 sq ft) • hotel opened: 2017 (originally 1956) • architecture: Joel Ross (Concordia Architecture, New Orleans) • interior design: Nicole Cota Studio (New York) • bathroom amenities: Aesop • no pets allowed ✅ complimentary bicycles
The DNA: Thanks to its retro “motel” sign out front, this unassuming low-rise seems at first glance like a forgotten 1950s anachronism. But look past the period-piece signage and The Drifter reveals itself as an exercise in modernized nostalgia, both in terms of design and concept. With a name inspired by the iconoclastic Beat Generation of postwar America, the property is a playful respite from New Orleans’ expected offerings, shining a light on a newly hip side of the city by acting as a melting pot for the local and global “drifters” who end up there.