Travel Talk Radio chats with The Roosevelt New Orleans general manager Tod Chambers about the hotel’s restoration and opening. The interview covers everything from the hotel renovation to the lighting of the Roosevelt sign.
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After nearly 50 years, The Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel is again claiming its spot as a top music destination in the city and around the world.
Starting in July, guests can enjoy the fresh and imaginative sounds of jazz clarinetist Tim Laughlin inside the legendary Sazerac Bar. Laughlin will bring a sound and style that is uniquely his own, contrasting the classic style with which he grew up with the contemporary influences of others. Performance dates are July 9–11, 16–18 and 23–25, with shows beginning at 8 p.m. nightly.
On July 31, legendary clarinetist Pete Fountain will take the stage at the Blue Room with Laughlin. Together they will bring back the kind of star entertainment that once made the Blue Room one of America’s premier night clubs and supper clubs. The event will include a champagne reception and dinner starting at 7 p.m., with music to follow.
The grand hotel returns with 504 rooms, of which 135 are luxury suites; the legendary Blue Room; the Sazerac Bar and Restaurant, John Besh’s Domenica Restaurant and Teddy’s Cafe; state-of-the-art meeting and convention rooms; and a 12,000-square-foot, world-class Guerlain Spa and fitness center.
Other amenities designed to position The Roosevelt New Orleans as a destination favored by travelers include a comprehensive business center, private dining and suite butler service, an outdoor pool and courtyard, and a specialty gift shop.
To publicize its July 1 opening, The Roosevelt New Orleans passed out doughnuts and coffee to almost 500 taxi drivers recently at New Orleans International Airport, along with Roosevelt-branded packs of fare receipts to give to their fares. Hotel management was on hand to pass out the food while answering questions. The drivers, of course, were quite pleased with the event and echoed their excitement for the reopening of the hotel.
“We have the largest economic renovation in New Orleans post-Katrina,” Chambers says, leading the group up a narrow stairwell. “I think it’s the largest private investment in the city since Katrina — $145 million. Six-hundred-something jobs.”
General Manager Tod Chambers watches as Kurt Weigle, CEO of the Downtown Development District, talks about the importance of The Roosevelt to New Orleans during The Roosevelt’s champagne lighting ceremony held May 20.
May 12 – 15, 2009
New Orleans Convention Center, Hall A
- Tuesday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- Thursday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
For more information log on to www.hiltonfamily.jobs
Even before the famed Roosevelt New Orleans officially opens in June this year, its luxurious rooms already are attracting lots of attention in one of the most unlikely locations: the main lobby of New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport.
The downtown New Orleans hotel, which is undergoing a $145-million historic restoration as a Waldorf Astoria Collection property, has faithfully recreated one of its well-appointed guest rooms in a former retail location in the airport’s 1950s-era main terminal. Complete with everything a Roosevelt New Orleans guest will experience when the hotel opens this summer – minus the bathroom, of course – the model room is seen by thousands of travelers and visitors every day, thanks to its location at the intersection of concourses C and D and adjacent to the bustling ticket and check-in terminal.
“This is the first time an actual hotel guest room has been set up in the New Orleans airport. One of the most exciting aspects about this campaign is the partnership between the airport and The Roosevelt to promote New Orleans tourism from a different perspective,” said Mark Wilson, director of sales and marketing for the hotel. “The era of grandeur and elegance is being reborn in New Orleans with the return of The Roosevelt New Orleans, so we wanted to give visitors and the general public a preview of the luxury they’ll experience when they visit us.”
Marked with a red carpet and signage bearing The Roosevelt’s distinctive “R” logo, the room, visible through a clear wall, features a king-size bed, a desk, tables, chairs, a dresser and other items straight from the hotel’s collection of furniture destined for actual guest rooms. Approximately 80 percent of the hotel’s 504 rooms will feature king-size beds, and 135 will be luxury suites, some named for celebrities who once visited the hotel.
“To create the space, we brought in the same carpenters, electricians and other craftsmen who are restoring the hotel,” Wilson said. “We told them, ‘Build a Roosevelt New Orleans guest room right on this spot,’ and they did in two days. It’s so authentic that every time I see it I want to ‘check in’ and enjoy the luxury myself.”
The room will remain at the airport through June.
The hotel, shuttered since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, originally opened in 1893 as the Grunewald. In 1923, it was rebranded as The Roosevelt in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt and retained its distinctive moniker until the hotel changed hands in 1965 and was renamed The Fairmont.
Returning to The Roosevelt New Orleans are the Blue Room, legendary with locals, visitors and celebrities, offering Sunday brunch and regular entertainment and available for receptions; and the Sazerac Bar, again serving its signature Sazerac and Ramos Gin Fizz cocktails. The hotel will feature nearly 60,000 square feet of event and meeting space, including three spectacular ballrooms and 23 distinctive meeting and event rooms that span two floors; a 12,000-square-foot Guerlain Spa; John Besh’s new Domenica Restaurant; and more.
The Roosevelt New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria Collection hotel, has launched both a Web site and a blog designed to bring the landmark property, currently undergoing a $145-million historic restoration, back to life once again prior to its June 2009 opening.
The Web site at www.therooseveltneworleans.com provides an opportunity for visitors to book guest rooms and suites; obtain information about meeting and event rooms; plan weddings and receptions; explore the return of the legendary Blue Room and Sazerac Bar; and read about the Guerlain Spa, dining and entertainment opportunities, and the hotel’s rich history.
In addition, the hotel has launched a blog that allows readers to follow the hotel’s historic restoration, preview its rebirth, participate in discussions about experiences and memories associated with the hotel, and make the kinds of emotional connections that will help re-introduce The Roosevelt New Orleans as the Gulf South’s premiere grand-hotel destination.
The hotel’s blog site can be reached at www.therooseveltneworleans.com/blog.
“Many generations of visitors have come to The Roosevelt New Orleans because of its reputation for glamour, luxury and excitement,” said general manager Tod Chambers. “Now, as we plan for the hotel’s re-opening, this time as a Waldorf Astoria Collection property, we encourage visitors present and past to visit our sites to learn more and to share in our excitement.”
When The Roosevelt New Orleans reopens, it will offer 504 guest accommodations, of which 135 will be suites, and nearly 60,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including the spacious 20,000-square-foot Roosevelt Ballroom, 12,000-square-foot Crescent City Ballroom and 7,000-square-foot Waldorf Astoria Ballroom, along with 23 distinctive meeting and event rooms. The historic Roosevelt New Orleans, first opened as the Grunewald in 1893, once again will feature the famous Blue Room and the Sazerac Bar.
The famed Roosevelt New Orleans is hosting a hiring fair at the New Orleans Convention Center May 12 – 15 as it prepares to open in the summer of 2009 as a Waldorf Astoria Collection property, with a work force of approximately 400.
“Today’s luxury travelers have high expectations for service,” said general manager Tod Chambers, “so hiring employees who know how to put customers first in everything they do is critical. We want The Roosevelt New Orleans to be a grand-hotel destination. Having the right staff, as well as first-class accommodations, will make that a reality.”
“In addition to restoring a New Orleans landmark, we’ll have a positive impact on employment in the community at a time when it needs it most,” Chambers said.
Among the qualities the hotel is seeking in its service professionals are a positive attitude, a passion for guest service and an eye for detail. “Guests who visit any Waldorf Astoria Collection property experience a level of service from employees that makes them realize they are in one of the world’s best hotels,” Chambers said. “We want to deliver that kind of unrivaled experience at The Roosevelt New Orleans.”
The hotel will be searching for top performers in all aspects of delivering luxury accommodations. Positions will be available in the following disciplines: finance/accounting, food and beverage outlets, culinary, guest services, housekeeping, property operations/engineering, retail/gift shop and security. On-the-spot job offers will be made at the hiring fair where the exact fit is found, contingent upon pre-employment processes.
To be part of the legend, job seekers must go online to www.hiltonfamily.jobs and complete an application. Once the application is received, applicants meeting basic qualifications will be invited to attend the hiring extravaganza for the interview process. The invitation will include instructions for being identified as what Chambers called a VIP, or “very important professional.” VIPs will have the option to call the hotel in advance and set up an interview time to avoid the crowds.
As part of the Hilton Family of Brands, professionals may be eligible for a complete benefits package, including medical care, dental care, vision care, prescription drug coverage, team member travel program and a 401(k) savings plan.