New Orleans Children’s Asylum was relaunched as the Saint Vincent Hotel


Cranky gray rooms add to the spooky vibe of this New Orleans hotel that occupies a 19th-century infant asylum renovated by Lambert McGuire Design.


Hotel Saint-Vincent is housed in a red brick building which was founded in 1861 as The Saint Vincent’s Infant Asylum.

The Saint Vincent hotel is located in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans

Located among the Greek Revival and Italianate mansions of the Lower Garden District, the new 75-room hotel is operated by Austin-based McGuire Moorman Lambert Hospitality with interiors from its sister company. Lambert McGuire Design.

The team kept the exterior of the building, including the decorative wrought-iron balustrades typical of the city, largely as original but subtly updated it.

Reception and lobby of the Saint Vincent hotel in New Orleans
Lambert McGuire Design kept the internal layout of the 1861 building largely the same

Inside, they’ve opted for an eclectic mix of design styles ranging from 20th-century Italian to mid-century modern and art deco.

“The property’s original grand staircase and wide sweeping hallways remain intact, allowing for an open layout with light and airy common areas as well as darker hidden corners adding a touch of discovery,” said the operators of the property. ‘hotel.

Dark gray guest room at the Hotel Saint Vincent
Rooms are painted a dramatic dark gray color and give red velvet accents

One of the most spectacular decisions was to paint the walls and ceilings of the rooms in dark gray. Combined with a red velvet covering, this reinforces the sinister atmosphere evoked by the history of the building.

However, some rooms are brightened up with patterned rugs and psychedelic accent walls, which extend into bright red and pink bathrooms with curvy white tubs.

Bright red guest bathroom
Psychedelic wallpaper lines the guest bathrooms in bright red and pink. Photo by Nick Simonite

Dark gray is also widely used in the Chapel Club, a guest-only cocktail bar designed “to recreate the look and feel of classic large hotel lounges.”

Entered through a neon-lit passageway, the space includes a black and white marble countertop and a hot pink velvet bar.

Entrance to the chapel club
Neon lights surround the entrance to the Chapel Club bar reserved for customers. Photo by Matt Harrington

Among the dining options at Hotel Saint Vincent is the San Lorenzo Restaurant, which serves Italian cuisine with a local Creole twist in a large room with pale green paneling and checkerboard floors.

The Elizabeth Street Cafe, a Franco-Vietnamese-style cafe and bakery, is located next to the main hotel building and spans a courtyard garden.

Lighter meals are available at the Paradise Lounge, where flora and fauna-themed murals hand-painted by a local artist Anne-Marie Auricchio color the space bright and airy.

There’s also a bar next to the outdoor pool surrounded by lounge chairs and tropical plants in the central area formed by the hotel’s three buildings.

chapel club bar
The Chapel Club of the Hotel Saint Vincent is also decorated in dark gray

Of the hundreds of insane asylums that were built across the United States in the late 19th century, and used until the 1970s, many are now strangely abandoned.

But the Saint Vincent Hotel is not the only one to have been transformed into accommodation: Deborah Berke Partners also restored and redesigned a former mental hospital into a hotel in Buffalo, New York.

San Lorenzo Restaurant
Brighter spaces include the San Lorenzo restaurant, which serves Italian-Creole cuisine

New Orleans’ unique history and culture, or NOLA, spans architecture, food, and nightlife, making the city a popular tourist destination filled with hotels for all tastes.

For those seeking the grandeur of the Garden District or Uptown, other options include the Henry Howard Hotel or The Chloe Hotel, while the trendy Warehouse District is home to the Eliza Jane, Ace Hotel and the Maison de la Luz – which won the AHEAD 2020 awards.

The living room of paradise
The Paradise Lounge murals were hand painted by a local artist

Lambert McGuire Design was founded in 2019 as an architecture and design studio specializing in the hotel industry. Co-founder Liz Lambert is behind properties such as the Austin Motel, the Phoenix Hotel in San Francisco, and the San Cristóbal Baja Hotel in Mexico.

The photograph is by Douglas friedman, unless otherwise stated.


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