The Vibe: Retro simplicity.
The Area: Set along a straight drive out on Tulane Avenue towards Mid-City. The nearby Canal Street streetcar can deliver you downtown cheaply and quickly.
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. White geometric lattices, mid-century furniture, concrete walls, palm-leaf wallpaper, floral-patterned breeze bricks and Oaxacan tile-work reference a nostalgic American-highway period. A particularly surreal moment is the huge disco ball over the bijou swimming pool. Next to pool side cocktails there is an on-site food truck which dishes up Mexican, Cuban and Trinidadian standards.
Suite-Me-Up: Set across a two-storey strip overlooking the pool, the 20 near-identical rooms immediately give off a movie motel kind of vibe. Interiors are akin to high-end cabanas, with lots of charming, esoteric touches. Neutral wood and cream tones dominate the colour palate, and the grey walls are bare save for a 1950s-style electric fan and some small art prints.
✅ free Wi-Fi • size matters: 20 rooms (20m2) (210 sq ft) • hotel opened: 2017 (originally 1956) • architecture: Concordia • interior design: Nicole Cota Studio • bathroom amenities: Aesop • no pets allowed • wheelchair accessible (but not adapted)