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First Look: The Higgins Hotel & Conference Center

The National WWII Museum will be opening its signature hotel, The Higgins Hotel & Conference Center, Curio Collection by Hilton, this November.

The property is located in the heart of the Arts and Warehouse District, a recently revitalized neighborhood transformed from a former 19th century industrial area.

The newest addition to the museum’s growing campus is named after Andrew Higgins, the founder and owner of New Orleans-based Higgins Industries, who oversaw the production of more than 20,000 Higgins boats used in every major amphibious battle of World War II, including the D-Day invasion of Normandy. The hotel is part of the Museum’s master plan to expand its campus, further strengthening the institution’s educational mission as it increases its offerings of conferences, symposia, and student and teacher residential programs.

The eight-story, four-star hotel will have an Art Deco modern style of architecture designed by Florida architectural firm Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates, with 230 guestrooms and specialty suites, and 14 meeting and conference spaces. The hotel’s interiors will also embody the Art Deco style with touches of WWII history. Los Angeles interior design firm Kay Lang + Associates received exclusive access to the Museum’s artifact collection to display select pieces throughout the hotel to convey an authentic historical experience for guests.

“Higgins Hotel & Conference Center’s interior design is inspired by 1940s style, Art Deco and touches of WWII history,” said Kay Lang, president/CEO, Kay Lang + Associates. “Our aim was to make the hotel have a connection to the museum by incorporating design features to create a historical reference and experience for the guests, and inspire them to visit the museum and learn more. One of the ways we did this was by working with curators from the museum to select pieces from their vault, such as a portrait of Andrew Jackson Higgins, after whom the hotel is named.”

When guests walk through the hotel’s main lobby, their attention will be drawn to the massive mural painted by Art Deco artist Michael Kudnl. The painting celebrates Higgins Industries’ workers and Louisiana’s pride for the war victory. The lobby’s tall ceiling, dramatic glass windows, spiraling staircase and statement 1940s-style chandelier made of glass, metal and bronze, will evoke a look of grandness and sophistication that was characteristic of the era.

The hotel’s guestrooms offer deluxe comforts and amenities, including upholstered bed frames, embroidered bed sheets and WWII-era artwork, such as colorized old photographs of soldiers and trains. Three luxury suites, named in honor of WWII-era presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower, will include magnificent living and dining areas for entertaining, an in-suite bar and a Victrola record player.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to commemorate the legacy of those who served their country by purchasing a plaque engraved with their names that will be displayed outside of guestrooms. The plaques will serve as a permanent and prominent tribute for hotel guests to view for years to come.

On the hotel’s second floor, a conference center totaling 18,000 sq. ft. includes luxury event spaces, including a sophisticated boardroom and meeting rooms bearing names related to the themes of World War II. The facility will serve as a space for a wide range of social and business events, such as weddings, symposia and incentive travel events. Special programs presented by The National WWII Museum, including free Happy Hour Lectures and fee-based student and adult leadership conferences, will be held in these venues. The hotel’s restaurants will also be available for private functions, and guests will have seamless, coordinated access to the museum’s own venues, scholars, curators and entertainers, allowing for guests to enhance their private events with music of the era, custom exhibits and presentations.