I always love dipping into the old mailbag but we don’t do it in this format very often. So, for you regular readers who think I’m getting lazy reprinting correspondence with former and future guests, you know I don’t indulge in this cliché more than I think is enlightening. The vast majority of the words in this blog are written sizzling-fresh off the keyboard. Like my person-to-person correspondence, I make it all of this up as I go along, like jazz. Improvisation is a way of life in New Orleans. I make an excellent pen pal. Send us a paper letter via the U.S. Postal Service and see what you’ll get in return.
Matthew King c/o
La Belle Esplanade
2216 Esplanade Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70119
United States of America
WE HAVE ONE OVERSTUFFED NEW ORLEANS MAILBAG.
The most enjoyable part of our day is sharing what we know about New Orleans over breakfast with the guests who are staying with us on any given day. The second most enjoyable part is checking guests in and seeing their expressions and witnessing their reactions as we go from room to room and walk around the property. La Belle Esplanade is housed in a colorful historic mansion on a beautiful block of a beautiful New Orleans street. The first impression is a lasting impression and good memories last forever.
Good memories are made on Esplanade Avenue. The best New Orleans memories are made when you make La Belle Esplanade your New Orleans headquarters. La Belle Esplanade is not like any other hotel.
One of the many details that make our day enjoyable is answering queries that arrive in our email inbox. Yes, we have hairdryers in our suites. Yes, our antique clawfoot tubs are equipped with showerheads. Yes, it is safe to walk on Esplanade Avenue. Yes, we love where we live. Boyoboy do we love where we live! Frau Schmitt (who is the better half of this operation) and I are blessed to live in this part of New Orleans.
News of flooding a few weeks ago in our fair city, and news of the hurricane that has dumped a record amount of rainfall in Houston this past weekend has prompted a deluge of letters and well wishes in our email inbox recently. Frau Schmitt and I would like to personally thank everyone who has written to us and expressed their concern. We’re well. A tip of my fedora your way. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your concern on our behalf. All is well.
Just this morning we received a letter from Cathy (not her real name) and after I responded to it, I thought that the whole exchange encapsulated “The La Belle Esplanade Experience (TM).” I’m not trying to be funny or make light of Cathy’s and mine exchange, or any fondness we have for each other. When you boil it down to basics, Cathy and Mick (not his real name) were just hotel guests for four nights in May 2016. A bond between innkeeper and guest was established during that short time. I’m not going to suggest Cathy and Mick are bestest friends with Frau Schmitt and your humble narrator, nor that we’re on intimate terms with each other. As she indicates in her letter, “You may not remember us…” Au contraire.
As Frau Schmitt will tell you, I am terrible with people’s names but I always remember their stories, where they are from, what they do for a living, who they are and why they are visiting New Orleans. Both Frau Schmitt and I love to share what we know about New Orleans and we tailor our recommendations to what our particular guests may be interested in. We live in a city with many, many facets. All of New Orleans is not for everyone on their first visit. Staying at La Belle Esplanade is advanced placement. Frau Schmitt and I aren’t on vacation, we live here, but we try to tailor our recommendations to what our guests may or may not be interested in. You won’t find that at the Marriott or the Sheraton. You won’t even find that at the Ritz.
I always say that La Belle Esplanade is like the Ritz, if the Ritz were in a beautiful and colorful, quirky historic mansion and run by two people. You can’t get The La Belle Esplanade Experience (TM) anywhere else. We haven’t really bothered to trademark it. It’s impossible to copy the bond between innkeeper and guest that you’ll get at La Belle compared to Holiday Inn, La Quinta, Marriott, Sheraton, Homewood Suites, Motel 6, or, well, even the Ritz. When was the last time you spoke with the owner of a hotel? Here at La Belle Esplanade, you’ll do it every day of your stay.
Nothing is off-the-rack at La Belle Esplanade. We don’t keep a shelf of tourist brochures in our lobby. We prefer to talk with our guests, get to know them, and then point them in directions we think they’ll find entertaining and enlightening. There is a whole wide city out here beyond the French Quarter and off the tourist grid.
To whit, and without further ado or suspense, let’s open up the old mailbag and see what it held this morning…
“Matthew and Melanie,
“Dear Cathy and Mick,
And that just about wraps it up, except—
À votre santé,
La Belle Esplanade
…Where every day is a brighter tomorrow and it all starts off with a curated breakfast salon of good food and good conversation.
Wednesday, August 30, 2017: The sun is out. It’s a good day in New Orleans. Being in New Orleans is its own reward.