Southeast

6 Downtown Hotels in Baton Rouge | Southern Hospitality at its Finest

Whether you're looking for classic Southern charm, LSU pride or city views of the Mississippi, these six hotels deliver a great downtown Baton Rouge experience in the heart of the action.

Compared to its freewheeling neighbor east down I-10 about 85 miles, Baton Rouge seems like a conservative cousin. But while my New Orleans home is famous for its cultural joie de vivre, Louisiana’s capital city has its own flavor of civic pride.

As a history lover, I relish taking a break from Nola’s nuttiness to explore Baton Rouge, the seat of state government and home to the tallest U.S. state capitol building in the U.S., a 19th-century Gothic castle reaching 34 stories against a Mississippi backdrop. Tours are free and the stained glass windows alone are worth a visit.

The city’s leafy neighborhoods buzz with energy – my favorite is the pretty Garden District, where my pup Pearl can frolic in Raising Cane’s Dog Park and vintage shopping abounds. Although its name means red stick in French, purple and gold are the city’s true colors, worn proudly by LSU fans whose beloved Tigers captured the national championship for 2019.

While a lot of the city’s business surrounds LSU, when I visit I prefer staying downtown, within strolling distance of lots of action, including Raising Cane’s River Center, home to conventions and trade shows and an ongoing menu of theater, concerts and shows. This walkable city center delivers a slew of amenities, from a range of restaurants and bars to historic attractions, all against the backdrop of the mighty Mississippi. Each of these hotels puts you in the heart of downtown, exactly where you want to be.

A modern stay in the heart of downtown

This newish Courtyard by Marriott opened in 2018 at the corner of Florida and 3rd, a contemporary art-filled space with tons of comfy amenities. Although it is all about modern design, the eight-story hotel – like so much in Baton Rouge – has a back story. It sits on the site of the former Hotel Istrouma, the city’s first downtown stay and the epicenter of Louisiana state business for more than 60 years. The hotel’s Istrouma meeting room is a nod to that history, a name used by native people for the city before it was called Baton Rouge.

The striking lobby invites with comfortable chairs and sofas configured for socializing or business meet ups. Jump online or print your boarding pass in the business center but Wi-Fi is free in all hotel spaces. A 24 hour grab-and-go market offers snacks any time, but for more substantial fare, the lobby Bistro delivers tasty cocktails along with a creative menu of breakfast and all-day dishes. There’s a surprising number of healthful options, from an egg white frittata to a Mediterranean grain bowl and little gem salad. A giant media wall near the bar offers sports fans and news junkies the chance to stay on top of their game. If that skinny latte is calling your name, a full-service Starbucks off the lobby has the goods.

The oversized rooms are downright cushy, outfitted with snazzy linens and more eye-popping art. Some of the 93 rooms and 42 suites include outside balconies, my favorite options for drinking that Starbucks coffee in the morning with views of the river and bustling streets below.

Courtyard By Marriott Baton Rouge Downtown

Top rated
Baton Rouge
8.6 Excellent (148 reviews)

Great river views from this hotel's wraparound balconies

Hampton Inn & Suites Baton Rouge is proof that not all hotels under this popular brand are created equal. Valued by families and business travelers for its spacious suites design, Hampton Inn, which opened its first location in Memphis back in 1984, is often found in the ‘burbs and just off the Interstate. This downtown river front hotel, with its sassy curved exterior facing Lafayette Street, is distinctive for its many private balconies with views of the Mississippi River and surrounding cityscape. Snag one of the circular one-bedroom suites for panoramic river views, and from the hotel’s highest floors, you can see all the way to LSU’s Alex Box Stadium and likely hear the roar of the fans when the Tigers make a touchdown.

One mile from the downtown area’s Louisiana’s Old State Capitol and Raising Cane River Center Arena events, the hotel is a fine home base for exploring downtown arts and culture. A front runner in the ongoing revitalization of downtown, this was the first urban hotel built in more than 50 years when it opened in 2014.

Outfitted with amenities ideal for road warriors and families with kids, the 137 rooms and suites have plenty of elbow room and necessaries like hairdryers, irons and ironing boards and coffeemakers. Although the hotel doesn’t serve beyond breakfast, there are dozens of restaurants and bars within walking distance and Aztecas, a super Mexican eatery and bar, is right across the street.

Hampton Inn & Suites Baton Rouge, LA

Top rated
Baton Rouge
9.0 Excellent (1621 reviews)

History comes alive at this grand downtown stay

Fidel Castro, JFK, Jimmy Carter – those were just a few of the notables who laid their heads down in the old Heidelberg Hotel, a downtown beauty that was a favorite of Louisiana governor Huey Long back in the day. Renovated to the tune of more than $70 million in 2006, the hotel, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, reopened as the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center, an Art Deco beauty with gobs of architectural panache. From vintage photos of the Kingfish in the suite named for the colorful – and ill-fated – governor to original plasterwork and terrazzo marble adorning the two-story lobby, this historic stay is all about elegance and style.

Love the Kingfish Grill and the Lounge off the lobby, where you can order a Sazerac, one of the governor’s fave. Munch on casual bites in the lounge – try the crawfish pie and pepperoni flatbread – with craft cocktails shaken and stirred until as late as 2 am weekends. The Kingfish Grill serves cook to order breakfast, with options like eggs benedict and French toast.Louisiana gumbo is a specialty here, along with aged Angus steaks and the house special redfish Rouge.

When it’s time to chill, every room in this historic hotel has a view, either of the river or downtown Baton Rouge.Amenities including a full service gym and a seasonal outdoor pool overlooking the river give a body plenty of options. Bring your four-legged pal for a getaway – the Hilton Baton Rouge Capital Center is pet friendly.

For the psychically inclined, a room on the 10th floor will appeal.Staff reports encounters with the ghost of the storied Huey Long, whose signature cigar wafts in the air of the fully non-smoking hotel.

Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center

Baton Rouge
8.1 Very good (1694 reviews)

A trusted brand delivers the goods

Holiday Inn is a wiz at inspiring brand loyalty, with frequent stayers treated to extra perks like free Wi-Fi, complimentary mineral water and food and beverage credits during their stay.The Express category has plenty of fans of its well-priced, simple and smart approach to taking care of guests.

The Holiday Inn Express Baton Rouge Downtown is a cut above the usual budget stay, with funky design elements like lobby furnishings in mix and match teal, chartreuse and raspberry hues. Get the day started with a satisfying breakfast buffet before heading out to explore. The hotel is conveniently located in the North Boulevard Town Square area a relatively new green-space development that sets the stage for Baton Rouge’s cultural and civic attractions. Wander more than an acre of open green space, which includes café seating and fountains in the Town Lawn area, where locals congregate for brown bag lunching and soaking up the sun. Town Square is also the transit hub for downtown as well as home to Galvez Plaza, an entertainment venue for regular music and cultural events. Tons of restaurants and bars offer plenty of tasty options nearby.

Close to all things downtown, the Holiday Inn Express is well equipped for the business traveler, with plenty of charging outlets, a board room for meetings and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. But everyone appreciates the well turned out rooms and lagniappes like free shuttles to the airport and LSU, a plus for fans in town to cheer on the Tigers.

Holiday Inn Express Baton Rouge Downtown

Top rated
Baton Rouge
8.5 Excellent (669 reviews)

This Art Deco beauty delivers a delicious sense of place

Settle in and prepare to be dazzled at the Watermark Baton Rouge, Autograph Collection, an art-filled hotel that absolutely drips elegance and style.Located in the iconic Louisiana Trust & Savings bank building, an architectural stunner famous for being the city’s first skyscraper, Watermark Baton Rouge combines gorgeous Art Deco and Greek Revival design elements with edgy modern convenience. The restored 1927 landmark, with its acres of marble and hand painted bas-relief murals, offers 144 lavish rooms, decked out with luxe bedding and all kinds of extras, from workstations to premium cable TV and free Wi-Fi.

Although close to the city’s dining and entertainment options, you won’t want to leave once you’ve eaten at The Gregory, a swank restaurant named for artist Angela Gregory who created the hotel’s striking murals.Under chefs Justin Lambert and Chad Galiano, both Louisiana natives with Cajun roots, a menu of deeply etched Southern regional dishes and fresh seafood impresses.Whether munching on chicken and waffles, fire roasted oysters or making a meal out of the tempting small plates offered for lunch and dinner, a memorable dining experience awaits. Solo diners, of which I am often one when I travel, will appreciate the chef’s counter, a super place to enjoy dinner and a show as the kitchen works its magic.

For something more casual, tuck into a corned beef special at Milford’s Deli on Third, a New York style kosher deli that dishes plenty of Southern hospitality on the side. Bagels and schmears, Dagwood-sized sandwiches (don’t miss the corned beef special) and fresh breakfast “hand-helds,” make this homey spot a winner.

Watermark Baton Rouge, Autograph Collection

Top rated
Baton Rouge
9.1 Excellent (318 reviews)

Close to everything, this boutique hotel oozes Southern hospitality

The historic Hotel Indigo Baton Rouge is in the heart of downtown, strolling distance to the State Capitol and Old Governor’s Mansion and close to the city’s vibrant entertainment and nightlife offerings. Explore on foot or take one of the hotel’s complimentary bikes for a spin around leafy neighborhoods like Spanish and Beauregard towns, residential havens of Southern architecture and gorgeous live oaks.

This boutique hotel delivers a chic sense of place along with tons of amenities, including a lush rooftop garden planted with herbs, flowers and a beehive, the source of the local honey on your morning toast.The King Bar & Bistro offers a menu of seasonal Cajun and Creole specialties along with classic cocktails and local beer. Work those calories off any old time, the fitness center is open 24/7.

Location, location, location is an added bonus here, as the hotel is close to the Riverfront Convention Center, Shaw Center for the Arts, and just one block from the entertainment of Third St. Visiting your favorite student or catching a game at LSU? The bus to the university stops right outside the door, making that commute a breeze.

Hotel Indigo Baton Rouge Downtown

Top rated
Baton Rouge
8.8 Excellent (909 reviews)