Theme 43: New Orleans. Royal Sonesta Hotel Review

Royal Sonesta New Orleans hotel review by NYC based influencer Ulia Ali. Louisiana Travel

One of the places that has been on my bucket list long before I moved to the USA was a charming, mysterious city of New Orleans. For some reason I kept putting away a trip to probably one of the most cinematic cities in the world, waiting for some serendipitous moment to arise. This October, unexpectedly, I was invited for a journey to the city of my fantasy-novels-inspired dreams, exactly on the city’s 300th anniversary.

After confirming my flight, I, in a dream-like haze, was saving all the information about haunted mansions, quaint bookstores, houses of famous writers and all the Instagram-worthy locations in Nola. But then I realized I have no idea where we should lodge!

I undoubtedly dreamed to stay in a famous, and, by the way, ridiculously gorgeous French Quarter, but I wanted to steer clear of any loud hotels, filled with people who came to only party on a fun Bourbon street. Some AirBnb properties looked lovely, but when I saw some photos and read about Royal Sonesta New Orleans, I was intrigued.

For me New Orleans is an enclave of a dark and beautiful history, rich with layers of French and Spanish Creole culture and architecture; a magical place where time doesn’t exist and you loose yourself in a time travel fantasy, while listening to the best jazz music you ever heard.

The hotel Royal Sonesta was a perfect choice for such a nostalgic soul like me, and it let me immerse myself into that classy, elegant, yet seductive and mysterious New Orleans dream I imagined for many years.

Royal Sonesta Grand Lobby Reception area. New Orleans visit review
Royal Sonesta street entrance
Royal Sonesta Review in New Orleans.

The grand lobby of the Royal Sonesta hotel looks like a movie set: a big old style wooden hotel reception with keys and neat envelops, hotel porters in sleek royal blue uniforms, vintage and antique items beautifully placed here and there, exquisite chandeliers and candelabras, water fountains, huge flower bouquets lushly blooming and filling the room with their sweet aroma and a soft jazz music playing on the background teasing the guests with the promise of one-of-the-kind stay.

The moment we stepped into the Royal Sonesta, I knew this is my kind of place as it reminded me of small chateaux in France, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” film and some lavish vampire pre-ball (of course! We are in NOLA after all!) setting at the same time.

Room Sonesta

There are almost 500 newly renovated beautifully decorated guest rooms and luxury suites, and the room we had was so cozy and charming that we loved going back to it and taking breaks between venturing out for long walks with a stop for delicious beignets and coffee at the world famous Cafe du Monde, and getting back out to the most wildly intoxicating and mysterious night air of New Orleans. Conveniently, the hotel Royal Sonesta is located right in the heart of the French Quarter!

The service at the hotel, by the way, was absolutely impeccable and I was able to learn about famous Southern hospitality firsthand. Once, for example, I asked for a steamer, and it was delivered pretty quickly, so I was able to steam my dresses for the city strolls. 

The breakfast and even lunch were included with the Sonesta Travel Pass (it is a loyalty program I recommend you to join as it has a lot of great perks! Learn more here), and even though I am usually pretty picky with hotel breakfasts, I was really happy with the variety and also some of the unique breakfast options Royal Sonesta offered their guests. I got to try grits for the first time in my life, and loved substituting my usual oatmeal with it. Another really sweet, in every sense, detail is that there was a full candy bar with Halloween chocolates, caramels, cookies and gummy worms, along with fruits and tea/coffee available from early morning to late night at the breakfast lounge. I might or might not sneaked some chocolates every night before going to bed to watch “Poldark” (not the most New Orleans inspired show, but I love period dramas, and I finished watching the most New Orleans’ show ever, “The Originals”, months ago!).

New Orleans trip. Royal Sonesta Hotel pool.
Charming hotel in New Orleans

The hotel by the way, despite being located in the heart of the French Quarter, felt like a luxury quiet oasis from a bygone era.

The sounds of a bursting with life, Bourbon street, somehow do not travel through the walls of Royal Sonesta. The lush courtyard with a fountain and quaint little tables are welcoming to have a calm little moment with a book or your own thoughts. The pool area of Royal Sonesta is also absolutely beautiful and a great place to relax and enjoy the sunny weather of Louisiana’s most exciting city!

Royal Sonesta NOLA

There are so many great little things and charming little details about Royal Sonesta, but I think it is important to note that the hotel is also home to some of the best dining and entertainment venues, making it even more unique! The Jazz Playhouse is arguably the best jazz club in the city, offering incredible live jazz music every evening right in the lobby level of Royal Sonesta. 

Jazz Club New Orleans
Desire Oyster Bar at Royal Sonesta New Orleans

Desire Oyster Bar is another dining venue inside the hotel and it was so good that we went there twice for fresh chargrilled oysters, amazing creole food, like jambalaya and gumbo, and a wide variety of fresh seafood.

There is also a Restaurant and a bar R’evolution, Le Booze and PJ’s Coffee Café inside the Royal Sonesta Hotel, which we haven’t had a chance to experience. I heard from other guests that R’evolution serves some of the most interesting Cajun and Creole dishes and original cocktails, so I am looking forward to visit it next time in New Orleans (and I hope to be back for many many times in the years to come!).

This New Orleans trip was special for many reasons, and the Crescent City absolutely stole my heart like no city has ever done before (except maybe London back in 1999 when I visited it for the first time and made a wish to move there one day, which happened years after, but that is another story). I believe that accommodation is so incredibly important and should reflect the mood and aesthetic of your dream trip, and Royal Sonesta with its impeccable service, gorgeous classy 1930s-style-luxury-hotel decor and many charming spots, like a jazz filled ballroom, a courtyard with a pleasant babbling fountain and a decadent dining areas deserves all the stars I can give to it!

Theme 36: Holiday Season. Sentiero Shoes - perfect gifts for a Fashionista!

Best online shoes boutique. Sentiero shoes.

As every self-respecting fashionista, I get weak in the knees because of gorgeous shoes. And not because I can't walk on high heels (because I can. At least I think I do?!). Recently I have discovered Sentiero - an online boutique with stunning and original designer shoes. Every pair is either a piece of art or just the most original trendy pair you can find, and I just HAVE to share the news that Sentiero Shoes is currently running up to 50% off sale on some of their bestselling shoes.

This pair is  Nando Muzi Velukid  and it's now on SALE. These shoes are super comfortable and stunning! Shop them  here .

This pair is Nando Muzi Velukid and it's now on SALE. These shoes are super comfortable and stunning! Shop them here.

I have already 3 pair of shoes from Sentiero online boutique, and all three are not only beautiful and make at least 5 people a day ask me where did I get that gorgeousness, but are durable and of a great quality. They will make a great luxury gift for a fashionista you know and love (or maybe you should get them for yourself? ;)) There are lot of stunning pairs on sale, so make sure you check Sentiero Shoes asap before the offer ends!

The most stunning  Ballin kitten heels.  They are just so perfect! They are now on  SALE!

The most stunning Ballin kitten heels. They are just so perfect! They are now on SALE!

Obsessed with them! My favorite  Ballin Garden heels .

Obsessed with them! My favorite Ballin Garden heels.

Ballin Garden heels are perfect for classy events, holiday gatherings, and also they will be surprisingly great at the office! They are super comfortable and will add chicness to your work attire. Also, to be honest with you, I used to hate kitten heels, but this pair just completely turned my world upside down, and I think kitten heels have to be in every woman's wardrobe.

Floral kitten heels.
You can style them in so many ways! I added these cute polka dot stockings to make my look even more interesting and add that vintage feel.

You can style them in so many ways! I added these cute polka dot stockings to make my look even more interesting and add that vintage feel.

Ballin shoes worn with polka dot socks.

Ballin shoes worn with polka dot socks.

Casual look with  Ballin Garden shoes  from Sentiero.

Casual look with Ballin Garden shoes from Sentiero.

Hot NYC look by blogger Ulia Ali.

There are many more designers and shoes on Sale on SENTIERO, so check it out and thank me later! Tomorrow I will post my new boots from Sentiero, so don't forget to come back to the blog to see.

Week 23: La Semaine Française. Colours of France!

Make Me Chic online store. Chanel inspired white tweed jacket look.

Welcome to the French Week on my blog! For my first look Française I opted for the proud, bold colours of the French flag: Blue, White and Red. The highlight of this look is my Chanel-esque tweed jacket that I found at the Make Me Chic online store. The jacket is classy, beautiful and looks more expensive than it actually is.

I completed the look with another classic French fashion staple– a striped top, blue jeans, a bright red hat, pretty flats and my all time favourite Chanel bag.

Chanel bag and twee jacket by Make Me Chic. Emilio Pucci red hat for fall 2016.
Chanel bag and twee jacket by Make Me Chic. Emilio Pucci red hat for fall 2016. Pretty Ballerinas shoes.


Striped Top - Club Monaco (similar here) |  Jacket - Make Me Chic | Hat - Emilio Pucci |

Bag - Chanel | Shoes - Pretty Ballerinas (I also LOVE this pair!)


Chanel bag and white tweed jacket by Make Me Chic. Emilio Pucci red hat for fall autumn.
Pretty Ballerinas flats for my French Look.
Azeri blogger in NYC. Look of the day
Chanel bag and white tweed jacket by Make Me Chic.
Blogger in NYC. French inspired look for fall winter 2016 and 2017.

Make Me Chic has an amazing range of clothes and accessories. You should visit their website right now because they just put new items on sale!



Week 17: Rita Hayworth Is a Babe. 40s Style Goddess.

Pastiche of Rita Hayworth in black skirt and a polka dot shirt. Photos by DCPNYC.

When I received this polka dot top from Shein I tried it on with jeans and denim shorts first, and it looked really fun and cute. But I just knew I had to create a vintage inspired look when I saw how beautiful the top looked paired with my favourite ball gown skirt (similar here).

This outfit combo reminds me of Christian Dior's New Look from the 1940s and of stunning Old Hollywood actresses, especially Rita Hayworth who, in my opinion, deserves more recognition. Therefore, I am dedicating this Theme Week to 40s babe, Rita Hayworth

Dior's 'New Look' in late 40s. Pastiche blog

I first saw Rita in Gilda and she stole my heart. I will talk more about her and her style in one of my posts later this week, but today I am sharing my “40s Style Goddess” outfit inspired by a few of Rita's signature looks. Today’s look was shot in Soho by the amazing photographer DCP New York.

Rita Hayworth new on pastiche.
Beautiful blonde girl in Soho, New York City. Streetstyle
Elegant classy look in black and polka dot. Big hat. Formalwear look by blogger.
Red Wall in Soho. Fashion shoot Ulia Ali.
Amazing elegant classy look worn by NYC blogger Ulia Ali. Pastiche of Old Hollywood star. Ascot inspiration.
Blogger wearing Shein Polka dot top and macaron Kenzo bag
Soho babe
Polka dot trend.
Big black classy hat worn by Ulia Ali from blog.
Ulia Ali in Louboutins
Big black hat
Ulia Ali
Polka dot off shoulder blouse by Shein store. Blogger collaboration. Kenzo macaron bag.

Top - Shein, Skirt - old, but found similar on Shein, shoes - Christian Louboutin, Bag - Kenzo (similar).

Hello, World!

Week 12. Gossip Girl. My pastiche of Blair Waldorf

Ulia Ali as Blair Waldorf on her blog

For this post I have pastiched Blair Waldorf. I particularly drew inspiration from Blair's White Party outfit. It’s not hard to copy the Manhattan princess' signature looks. Just get a classy dress, embellished headband, pretty flats, and a luxury bag, and you are ready to rock any event, Blair Waldorf style.

My Outfit:

Dress - CLUB MONACO (buy here), Bag - LOUIS VUITTON, Flats - MELISSA,  Headband - CLAIRE'S (similar here)

Ulia Ali
Copying Blair Waldorf's style
Gossip Girl Style