vintage

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.

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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.

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Room Sonesta
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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!


Week 21: Greek. eShakti Review

eShakti review

Greece is a country of beautiful and feminine women with striking features. Only last week I discovered one of the most famous Greek actresses of the 60s, Tzeni Karezi, and decided to create a vintage inspired look to pay tribute to her style and beauty.

To be honest with you, the photoshoot turned out more "belezza Italiana" than Greek, but I decided to share the results with you this week anyway :)

 

This pretty polka dress I am wearing is from eShaktieShakti offers custom clothing for women of all sizes. It is quite incredible how fast they created and delivered the high quality dress which was exactly what I wanted and fitted me perfectly! Having a 32D chest and a tiny waist might not seem like a problem, but it is definitely hard to find a dress that fits my chest and doesn't hang loose on my waist. Luckily, clothes at eShakti are made exactly for your body using measurements which you provide before making an order. Additionally, you can fully customise any piece and choose the neckline, skirt length, add/remove pockets and so on, which means you get a truly unique piece for an astonishingly affordable price. Check eShakti out and see for yourself!

eShakti review. Custom polka dot dress
eShakti review by blogger Ulia Ali.
eShakti review by blogger Ulia Ali.
eShakti review by blogger Ulia Ali.
eShakti polka dot review by blogger Ulia Ali.
eShakti review by blogger Ulia Ali.
Polka dot dress. Vintage inspired look in NYC.
eShakti review by blogger Ulia Ali.

I think eShakti is especially great for bridesmaids dresses. I have linked a few of my favourites for you:

Week 17: Rita Hayworth is a Babe. My Femme Fatale Look.

Walter Baker beaded dress. Fashion blogger in New York. 

Inspired by Rita Hayworth's style (see here) and bold 40s makeup, I have created this modern look with a very glamorous Old Hollywood feel. I am wearing a Walter Baker beaded dress with an extremely sexy open back, and put on my ALL TIME FAVOURITE Anastasia Beverly Hills liquid matte lipstick in Sad Girl. This lipstick stays on the whole day and the colour is just pure burgundy perfection.

Ulia Ali wearing Anastasia Beverly Hills liquid matte lipstick in Sad Girl shade. Lipstick review.
Beautiful beaded dress worn by NYC Style Blogger - Ulia Ali. New York lifestyle blog.
Nyc blogger reviewing Walter Baker and Anastasia Beverly Hills.
Nyc Top Blogger. Pastiche Today
NYC sexy style blogger. Collaborate with top fashion USA blogger pastiche.today
Hot date night outfit in NYC featuring Kenzo, Steve Madden and Walter Baker.

P.S. If you don't own a pair of Slithur heels by Steve Madden, get it now! It is the most comfortable pair of heels I ever had. I walked 6(!) hours on them that day. I give up on my Pigalles after just 30 minutes :)

Shop my look and similar:


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.
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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 pastiche.today 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 15: Downton Abbey. Pastiche of Lady Mary Crawley in the 1920s

Blog of Ulia Ali. Pastiche of 20s Downton Abbey looks.

Love her or hate her, Lady Mary is one of the strongest female characters in the Downton Abbey TV series and possibly in the entire history of British TV shows. While watching the show I tried to figure out with which character I associate myself with the most, and even though at the end I had to admit to myself (not without a little annoyance!) that I am more of a Lady Rose kind of girl– spontaneous, reckless, romantic and sometimes too emotional, I wish I was more like Lady Mary.

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Lady Mary has a strong head on her shoulders and does not easily give into her emotions (especially after the scandal with the GORGEOUS Mr. Pamuk). But both, Lady Rose and Lady Mary have something in common– an amazing sense of fashion. I created a pastiche of Lady Mary Crawley with a hint of Rose Aldridge's flirty flapper girl style, but as always with a modern twist.

Cloisters museum. Lady Mary Crawley look.

For the shoot I opted for this embellished Walter Baker dress, a lace choker and my Art-Deco inspired Christian Louboutin heels. Please check out the outfit details and similar finds at the end of the post.

The photographs were taken by my husband Ben at Fort Tryon and The Cloisters Museum, which was built to resemble a real medieval castle with authentic medieval gardens. The museum and Fort Tryon park are located in Upper Manhattan and are definitely worth a visit!

Photo of Ulia Ali
Cloisters' medieval garden in NYC
Fort Tryon
Blogger Ulia Ali next to the Met Cloisters museum
Silver Walter Baker dress and Art Deco inspired Christian Louboutin heels.
Pastiche of Downton Abbey fashion style in 1920s
Medieval museum in New York Cloisters. 2016
Christian Louboutin Kristali silver heels