There’s definitely a certain charm to historic, old-world hotels like the Monteleone or the Roosevelt. They’ve been around for more than a hundred years, and are still providing luxury and Southern hospitality in beautiful, classic settings, just as they’ve been doing for years.
But what if you want to stay in a place that’s a little bit funky, ultra-modern, or even sassy? These days, hotels that are hip, spunky and trendy are all the rage. And several such hotels have recently opened in New Orleans. Take the Moxy Hotel, for instance. The latest hotel concept from the Marriott brand, Moxy is “a boutique-hotel concept for the budget-savvy traveler…a fresh and innovative brand combining stylish design and approachable service at an affordable price point.”
The hotel caters to the young, cool, edgy demographic…or anyone of any age who embraces the unconventional and weird and really just wants to have fun. The Moxy has a very unique, even quirky style. From the minute you set foot inside, you’ll know you’re in a one-of-a-kind hotel. For starters, the front desk and the bar are one and the same. Guests check in right there at the bar, and appropriately enough, every check-in includes a free signature Moxy cocktail. According to Jennifer Merryman, a representative for the hotel, giving you a drink when you check in is the Moxy’s idea of hospitality. “We let the bar drive the Moxy,” she said. What traveler to New Orleans is going to argue with that concept?
The hotel’s design has a vintage, 80s feel, complete with Restoration Hardware fixtures and all things retro-swanky. The lobby is chock full of fun and unusual items...things you wouldn’t find in most any other hotel. Instead of a conference room, for instance, there’s a “work station” with a big table and containers full of colored pencils, markers and crayons. While your average hotel would offer you reading material in the realm of The Wall Street Journal or Forbes, the Moxy’s lobby is scattered with books such as Tinder Nightmares and 52 Things to do While You Poo. The vending machine, though not quite up and running just yet, offers sundry items rather than snacks. It’s got everything the hipster traveler could ever need, such as jambalaya mix, nail polish, and a Queen Elizabeth toy doll. Meanwhile, to keep any social media-craving guest happy, the Moxy’s live Instagram feed is broadcast across the giant flat screen TVs behind the bar. Add your own photos by posting #AttheMoxy.
Hungry? The Moxy has “Grab-n-Go provisions” available 24/7, as well as a morning Breakfast Bar with bagels, fruit and the like, and a selection of Naan-bread open-faced “sandwiches” which you can order anytime day or night. They even offer creative munchies free for the taking, including a giant jar of Goldfish crackers, and a jar of Skittles which sports the label “Anti-Depressants”.
Bored? There’s no shortage of games to choose from. From the foosball table in the lobby to the selection of board games and such—including Twister, Jenga, Operation, Scrabble, and a variety of drinking-games-in-a-box, you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained. And for something even more exciting, go ahead and grab one of the pool floats from the lobby to play with. No, the Moxy doesn’t have a pool; these are intended for the showers in your bathroom.
When you head upstairs to your room, a whole other world of fun awaits. Even the elevator ride is an experience, and will soon be set up as a selfie portrait studio. Funky photos decorate the walls and doors everywhere, including a sexy, scantily-clad man ironing in his boxers in the laundry rooms, and another man sleeping in his underwear with a teddy bear on the Do-Not-Disturb signs dangling from every door.
A night at the Moxy can also be a learning experience. Take some wisdom from the slogans written on the chalkboards in each room or emblazoned on the pillows on the beds. Words to live by, like “We were born to be real, not perfect”. And though the incredibly comfortable mattresses will surely lull you right to sleep, if ever you suffer from insomnia, dial 68 on your room’s telephone to hear a bedtime story. Under-bed lighting, which is motion-activated, comes in especially handy, Merryman pointed out, “if you need to let the pizza guy in, in the middle of the night”.
The New Orleans location, which has only been open since May, is one of only a very few Moxy hotels in the world, though many are in the works for the near future. Each Moxy hotel is different, and each aims to be “urban and eclectic” while “honoring the vibe” of the city it’s in. In the case of New Orleans, this means a lot of NOLA-themed décor which also happens to be locally-sourced, and a location in the CBD, close to the French Quarter without actually being in the Quarter.
Moxie means vigor; verve; pep. It also means courage and aggressiveness, or nerve. The Moxy strives to exemplify all that. According to Merryman, the guests who stay at the Moxy are looking for a more integrated experience. “Our traveler is looking more for social currency,” she said. “They have the guts to do something a little different.” And that, of course, takes moxie.
The Moxy Hotel, 210 O'Keefe Ave., 504-525-6800.