The $10 million swanky overhaul of the historic Pontchartrain Hotel including the Caribbean Room, Bayou Bar and return of the ground floor Silver Whistle coffee shop and restaurant is now underway in the Garden District, reports Robin Shannon of City Biz this week. The hotel—now owned by Chicago-based historic property empire AJ Capital Partners, who bought the hotel in November 2014 for a cool $19.8 million—has temporarily shuttered for renovations.
As for major renovations, AJ Capital promises: "The finished product will be a re-introduction of what the hotel was in its prime." In its prime, stars such as Frank Sinatra and Truman Capote were counted as guests, and the hotel was known for its blueberry muffins, which will reportedly make a comeback.
Come 2016, 100 new employees will be added and guest rooms will be completely revamped. A rooftop lounge will make its debut, as well as the return of the Silver Whistle coffee shop famous for blueberry muffins, and the Caribbean Room famous for mile high pie. For design inspiration, AJ Capital has turned to some all-knowing locals to get a feel for the historical aspects they're hoping to restore and preserve:
We wanted to know what happened at those restaurants in the hotel. We wanted to get a good idea of how it should look and what people here want to see. We talked to a lot of locals about their memories of the hotel, and there are a lot of great stories that will be a part of this project when it is complete.
No word yet on chefs involved. The Pontchartrain Hotel hopes to reopen by Mardi Gras 2016.