The French Quarter’s famed streets, like Bourbon and Royal, see much of the foot traffic from the 18.51 million visitors who come to New Orleans each year. But just a few blocks away, the overlooked riverfront is working to draw in tourists as well.

The city has been slowly revamping the historic five-mile strip that runs along the Mississippi River. The 20-acre waterfront Crescent Park opened in 2015, and the sculpture-dotted 16-acre Woldenberg Park finished its renovations in 2018. While further improvements stalled during the pandemic, there’s more on the horizon: Harrah’s New Orleans will transform into Caesars New Orleans in 2024 and unveil a new 340-room hotel tower, and the recently purchased Outlet Collection at Riverwalk New Orleans — which saw vacancies crop up during COVID — will see the arrival of new shops from high-end national brands over the next two years, owners say.
But a recent addition is luring luxury travelers to the riverfront already: the new Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans, a property that embraces the city and its prime location within it. From top-tier restaurants guided by distinguished local chefs to a spa refuge with treatments from a cult favorite French beauty brand, here’s why you should check in:
The Design
The Four Seasons moved into the former World Trade Center, a plus-shaped 1968 landmark oriented toward the four points of the compass and centrally located at Canal Street and the Mississippi River. Designed by modernist architect Edward Durell Stone (whose other designs include Radio City Music Hall and the Museum of Modern Art), it towers 34 stories above the river and is still used to help ships navigate.

White shiplap on the guest room walls represents the area’s history and the Mississippi’s continuing role as a busy port. Local artist Dawn DeDeaux salvaged materials from the World Trade Center’s heyday, like signage, ashcans and mail chutes, and transformed them into shadow boxes that offer a glimpse into the past.