COURTESY PONTCHARTRAIN HOTEL/FACEBOOK
Chef John Besh will oversee the food and beverage program at the Pontchartrain Hotel when the historic building reopens in 2016.
Chef John Besh will oversee the food and beverage program at the Pontchartrain Hotel when the historic building reopens next year, the building's owners announced Nov. 2.
Chicago-based real estate company AJ Capital Partners, which purchased the historic building on St. Charles Avenue in January, said the partnership with the local restaurant group will include a revival of the storied Caribbean Room as well as the Bayou Bar, the grab-and-go Silver Whistle coffee shop and a still-unnamed rooftop bar boasting a 270-degree view overlooking the city and the Mississippi River.
“It’s an honor to play a part in shaping the future of a place that holds previous memories for me and so many other locals,” Besh said in a prepared statement.
The hotel was established in the 1927 and attracted a host of icons including Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams. Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan also were guests. Following Hurricane Katrina, the property became a luxury apartment building with extended-stay rooms but shifted back to a hotel in 2013.
Renovation efforts on the property’s restaurant spaces and 106 rooms aim to “maintain the hotel’s historical feel while imparting a sense of modern comfort and style as well as the unique personality of New Orleans,” the statement says.
“The Pontchartrain Hotel is owned by the City of New Orleans; we are simply the stewards and responsible for bringing it back to life,” said AJ Capital Partners CEO Ben Weprin.
No opening date has been set yet for the hotel, where renovations are underway.