The variety of the United States never ceases to amaze. This issue contains reports from New Orleans and Maine, two places that could scarcely be more dissimilar. Despite the pandemic, the Big Easy has seen four new luxury hotels recently open their doors. As well as searching for potential new recommendations, I was keen to see how the city’s famous restaurants and vibrant jazz scene might have been affected. And I was thrilled to find that New Orleans has once again proved its resilience. Dining reservations were quite hard to come by, and music venues were unexpectedly crowded. As is invariably the case, my trip contained a mix of discoveries and disappointments. However, the new Maison de la Luz, a 67-room property within easy walking distance of the French Quarter and the Warehouse District, proved a delightful surprise, thanks to its grand architecture, sumptuous décor and unusually attentive service. During my stay in New Orleans, I also found time to enroll in a course at a cocktail school, explore some of the city’s remarkable antique shops and take two excellent Garden District walking tours.
March may seem like a strange time in which to publish a story about Maine, a state still firmly in the grip of winter, but summer 2022 may well prove a repeat of summer 2021, when many domestic destinations were heavily oversubscribed. Despite the ongoing revival of international travel, I suspect that it will be prudent to make Maine travel plans as early as possible. Last fall, we stayed in three coastal properties, as well as at an exceptionally hospitable 10-bedroom inn, located a four-hour drive inland from Portland, at the edge of the North Maine Woods. During our journey, we ate our fill of superb local lobsters, oysters and crabs, revisited some of our favorite lighthouses and toured an astoundingly lavish 19th-century Italianate mansion, built, coincidentally, as a summer residence for a wealthy New Orleans hotelier. As ever, Maine’s clear air and refreshing breezes sent us home feeling thoroughly rested and revived.