Updated Mar 8, 9:30 AM; Posted Mar 8, 9:30 AM
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
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The 207-room Jung Hotel & Residences has reopened on Canal Street after a three-year, $140 million renovation. In addition to the historic hotel, the development includes multiple floors of apartments that will start leasing this spring.
On Tuesday (March 6), Marc Becker, director of sales and marketing for The New Orleans Hotel Collection, which manages The Jung, wove through a lobby decked out with glossy marble walls, Italian porcelain tile and Art Deco-inspired light fixtures, including a glowing lobby chandelier that looked like the roots of a tree dipped in silver. Local art, acquired in partnership with Where Y'Art, a digital platform for local artists, colored the walls in nearby seating nooks, all with water and river themes. To the left, one of The Jung's original marble stairs led to the ballroom, a soft patina left behind by decades of footsteps.
For Becker, equally as interesting as the details of the restoration are the countless stories of Mardi Gras balls, weddings and prom nights attended at The Jung that have been bubbling up with the re-opening.
"We have heard again and again and again of people who remember or have pictures of their grandmother at a party at The Jung, things like that," Becker said.
Watch a video from inside The Jung Hotel & Residences below. The video was filmed during a Facebook Live tour on Tuesday.
The Jung Hotel opened in 1908 at the corner of Canal and LaSalle streets. It was one of the city's busiest venues through 1971, before time started to take its toll. The hotel changed hands and brands before closing after Hurricane Katrina. The property has languished since.
Developer and hotelier Joseph Jaeger purchased the property in October 2007, but it wasn't until 2015 that renovation plans were unveiled. Construction ended late last year.
Becker said the renovation started to make sense alongside a broader effort to redevelop the blocks near Canal Street and Claiborne Avenue intersection, known as the upper Canal area. The opening of the new University Medical Center and Veterans Administration hospital in Mid-City is expected to spur renewed demand for lodging and apartments, he noted.
The renovated Jung, which unites several buildings and an entire city block, has various nods to history, but is fully contemporary. The hotel rooms are larger, totaling 171 rooms compared with roughly 1,000 in the old Jung. Panels throughout the hallways mark where the original hotel room doors once were.
The former Tulane Ballroom, where big musical acts performed in the 1950s and 1960s, now has glossy shined concrete floors and is being pitched as a space for large exhibitions as part of the hotel's 21,000 square feet of meeting and event space. A large, contemporary bar sits in the lobby, countering the restored historic wooden bar in the second floor event space. A new full-service restaurant and coffee shop front Canal Street and visitors can park at an on-site parking garage.
The building now also includes 113 one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments on floors 8 to 19, including a top-floor penthouse. Work is still being completed on the apartments, but Becker said developers anticipate pre-leasing will begin in roughly 60 days.
The two sides of the property, which consists of several buildings of varying sizes, have their own rooftop pool decks, one on a sixth floor for hotel guests and another on the 19th floor for residents. The view from the residential pool deck is unique, offering a different angle of the old Charity Hospital building, the Central Business District and the burgeoning biomedical district between Canal Street and Tulane Avenue.
During a Tuesday tour, Becker encouraged the public to come see the space. The lobby bar and restaurant areas will be open to the public, though the hotel's rooftop pool will be for guests only. That said, Becker anticipates the hotel will add poolside cabanas in May that non hotel guests will be able to rent.
Becker added the hotel will be hosting a memorabilia drive in June to collect old photos, artifacts and other items from the hotel's heyday. He noted a few pieces of The Jung's silver and plates have already popped up, slipped out by admiring visitors of yesteryear.
He joked the hotel won't ask any questions about where acquired artifacts come from.