by Jessi Minneci | December 06, 2019

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans opened a hotel on its campus in the Arts and Warehouse District this week.

The 230-room Higgins Hotel and Conference Center, a Curio Collection by Hilton, features 18,000 square feet of event space spread across 14 different meeting rooms, multiple dining outlets, a rooftop bar, a fitness center, a business center and a concierge lounge. The first Curio Collection hotel in the state of Louisiana, the property will support the Museum's expanding educational programs while offering guests full-service hotel accommodations, according to a news release.

"We fundamentally believe that a dedicated space to host educational programs for students, teachers, enthusiasts, corporate groups, reunion groups and military is a core component of what we should have here at the Museum," said Stephen J. Watson, president and CEO of the museum. "When we looked at our last undeveloped piece of land, we wanted to ensure that we created a property that would economically support the Museum's educational mission, while also enhancing our visitor experience. When you pair that with our increasing visitation, a hotel and conference center is a natural choice."

The $65 million hotel and conference center is part of a $370 million expansion that also features the Hall of Democracy, a 31,000-square-foot building that opened in October with retail and exhibition space, classrooms and a library. Construction is currently underway on Liberation Pavilion, a three-story space set to open in 2021 which will honor the moment of post-World War II liberation and its aftermath.

Florida-based Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe and Associates, Inc. designed the hotel with 1940s-themed details, drawing inspiration from the time period and the Art Deco buildings found throughout the city, according to a news release. Los Angeles-based Kay Lang and Associates worked with museum curators on the hotel's interior design to incorporate artifacts into the property; among them, General George S. Patton's piano; the Higgins Boat Trophy; and a 1943 portrait of the late Andrew Jackson Higgins, local manufacturer of "Higgins Boats" during World War II, for whom the hotel is named. New Orleans-based Palmisano handled construction on the project.