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The Chloe in New Orleans

The Chloe in New Orleans – an Effect Magazine design hotel to watch

What do you get when you combine sweet Southern ambiance with moody interiors? In this edition of our series of hotels for design lovers, we visit Louisiana’s most lauded new hotel, The Chloe

Nestled within the idyllic streets of New Orleans’ pastel-kissed Uptown neighbourhood and occupying a family mansion that was originally designed by American architect Thomas Sully in 1891, The Chloe is both pretty and Bohemian, with interiors crafted by decorator and NOLA native Sara Ruffin Costello.

Her aim to preserve the building’s accentuated Victorian original features while adding a modern touch has resulted in a rich and distinctive colour scheme that marries dusty sapphire and romantic rosé with an injection of organic green. While it might sound erratic, it works well, with Sara’s broad spectrum of paint choices the anthesis of the mansion’s original features.

An eclectic utopia of palm trees, inky blue walls and alligator-print carpets entices guests with exotic surroundings the moment they walk through the door. “During Sully’s time, ‘orientalism’ – basically, anything Asian – was considered the height of exotic,” says Costello.

READ: The Londoner – an Effect Magazine design hotel to watch

“We gravitated toward that, layering in Chinese art deco rugs and Asian ceramic planters. As the colour story got to be moodier, we played up darker New Orleans themes like the occult, connection to the spiritual world, the animal kingdom, the swamps that surround us, low lighting and slow-turning fans.”

Fringing adorns everything from pendant lights to plush patterned stools in the hotel’s cosy blush seating nook, which sits just off the reception room. Here, a large fireplace takes pride of place, fronted by claw-footed sofas and a blue floral rug. Art is also a focal point of Costello’s design, and in the front room you’ll stumble across a Spencer Tunick photograph featuring hundreds of nudes – the perfect catalyst for conversation over cocktails.

Like walking onto the set of Angel Heart: romantic Victorian features blended with contemporary accents and mystery (Image: Paul Costello)

A more pared-back design aesthetic defines The Chloe’s 14 rooms guest rooms thanks to egg-shell white walls, with grand four-poster beds and lavish free-standing tubs directly in some rooms adding a touch of drama and an undeniable nod to luxury. Privy to “a unique sense of whimsy and wonder,” each also come with mismatched furniture collected over time, and artwork and photographs from blue chip artists and vintage finds. 

“We hoarded old chairs from the previous owners and painted them a mix of cobalt blue and mustard yellow, then re-upholstered the seats with fresh linen onto which we embroidered an image of a black cat that used to hang out at the hotel, as a love note to the vernacular of the house and the era,” says Costello.

One thing’s for sure – there’s no chicer base from which to enjoy all the rich history and vibrant live music scene New Orleans has to offer.

The Chloe Hotel, 4125 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115, USA

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