The Origins of Hotel Monteleone
Formerly the Commercial Hotel, the building was bought by Italian immigrant Antonio Monteleone in 1886. A cobbler by trade, Antonio had made his money, after his move to the US, by manufacturing and repairing shoes from his shop on Royal St.
In 1886 he seized on the chance for further success when a hotel went on sale further down the road, buying it and quickly transforming it into one of the 'Grand Dames' of New Orleans.
The Hotel Monteleone Blossoms
The hotel attracted illustrious guest from up and down the country. It was in such high demand that Antonio soon had to expand it. Over two decades of renovations a further 330 rooms were added. Around the same time he renamed the hotel in his family's honour. The Hotel Monteleone was born.
The Hotel Monteleone Survives Hard Times
After Antonio's death in 1913 the hotel passed to his son, Frank. Frank continued to expand the building as business boomed during the New Orleans jazz craze of the Roaring Twenties. Hard times however were soon to follow.
Starting in 1929, the Great Depression saw many of the city's independent hotels go under. This combined with WW2 spelled great peril for the Monteleone, but Frank and the family successfully weathered the storm, in part thanks to the hotel's growing fame as a hotspot for writers.
Literary Heroes at the Hotel Monteleone
One such writer was William Faulkner who not only honeymooned in 1929 at the hotel but worked on his famous novel The Sound and the Fury at the same time.
Over the decades that followed many more authors followed suite. Tennessee Williams wrote parts of The Rose Mountain at the hotel and even featured it in the narrative. Ernest Hemingway went one further, setting his story The Night Before the Battle in different rooms throughout the building.
Stephen Ambrose, John Grisham, Anne Rice, to name a few, are all numbered amongst its past guests. Truman Capote, who was a regular at its legendary bar, even joked he had been born there.
The Hotel Monteleone Carousel Bar
The aforementioned bar was created in a series of redevelopments that followed the end of WW2. Featuring a slowly revolving bar as its centrepiece it was an instant hit and grew more popular still when it was transformed to look like a grandiose carousel.
Alongside this, a series of elaborate ballrooms, dining rooms and cocktail lounges were added and, in 1964, a host of luxurious new guestrooms and a Sky Terrace.
The Hotel Monteleone into the Modern Day
To this day the hotel remains in the Monteleone family, having now been passed down 5 generations.
It is the oldest hotel in Louisiana's illustrious French Quarter and has been given several significant accolades, including numerous 4 diamond awards from the American Automobile Association and a listing as an official literary landmark.
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