Augmenting Tradition: Windsor Court Hotel

The Windsor Court Hotel reopens their distinguished and refurbished Polo Lounge after a summer-long expansion, offering increased seating and an extended performance area without sacrificing opulence or comfort.

For over three decades, the Windsor Court Hotel has been an inviting place, offering luxury and refinement to visitors and locals alike. During the recent summer months, the popular Polo Club Lounge underwent a $300,000 restoration and expansion adding approximately 930 square feet which allowed for additional seating and an expanded venue space for local musicians. “We’ve had an awesome response from guests and also from the staff. It’s very important to us that our team is happy and comfortable in their working environment,” said Windsor Court Director of Food and Beverage Joey Worley.

Inspired by old-world British clubs, the Polo Club Lounge, as well as the rest of the hotel, has always featured a mixture of French and English décor with an extensive collection of English art centered around the royal family and Windsor Castle. In between the Lounge and The Grill Room, the Windsor Court’s fine dining restaurant, there was a sort of “neutral ground,” a space that wasn’t being utilized to its fullest potential. General Manager David Teich and Food & Beverage Director Joey Worley got together and conceptualized the recent expansion and the results have been more than satisfactory. “Our idea with the project wasn’t so much to change the Polo Club Lounge, as it was an expansion.” explains Worley. “Between the Grill Room and the Polo Lounge, the whole second floor just flows a whole lot better and I am really happy with the way it worked out.”

Architecture and design firm Montgomery Roth was tapped to carry out the expansion, a New Orleans company who has enjoyed a long history with the Windsor Court Hotel. Considering the focus of the expansion was to make the space look like it had always been a part of the hotel, Montgomery Roth’s biggest challenge was to seamlessly blend the décor and furniture together. “The hotel itself commands a level of elegance and refinement that always challenges us,” said Emily Stewart, Senior Interior Designer at Montgomery Roth New Orleans. “We didn’t want this expansion to look like an afterthought.”

The design firm was meticulous in their efforts, letting no detail escape their attention from installing all new lighting to commissioning new furniture to match the existing pieces in the Lounge. “Pulling all of the details of the Polo Lounge into that new space was our biggest hurdle.” said Stewart. “Emulating the wood paneled divider with the glass inserts was a huge part of that project, making it look like it had always been there.” Local contractors Carimi Construction & Development worked closely with Montgomery Roth on the project, a critical aspect to finishing on time and on budget. “It was a real honor to take on the expansion of such an iconic gathering spot in the city,” said David Carimi, President of Carimi Construction. “The Polo Club Lounge has always been a favorite place to meet with friends and family, especially during to holidays.”

As an accompaniment to the expansion, the Windsor Court Grill Room’s chef de cuisine Gabriel Charpentier has designed a new menu for the Polo Club Lounge featuring elevated pub grub. Selections include an Iceberg Wedge with pumpkin dressing and sage, Oxtail Ragout Poutine with pickled shallot and a soft poached egg, a “Windsor Burger Royale” with beer battered onions and Lorenzo sauce and, of course, Fish & Chips made with Gulf-caught grouper in an Abita Beer batter.

Easily one of the most exciting aspects of the newly expanded wing is that it provides the perfect backdrop for the local jazz performers regularly featured, namely “The Songbird of New Orleans” Robin Barnes. Already a local sensation, Barnes recently made the Billboard charts with her new album, “Songbird Sessions,” which landed at No. 5 for Current Traditional Jazz Albums. With the Polo Club Lounge’s installation of top-of-the-line lighting and sound equipment, Barnes can once again captivate audiences weekly with her dazzling vocal talents and elegant stage presence.

*Article originally published in the November 2016 issue of New Orleans Living Magazine

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