If your travels take you to the Gulf Coast you will not find a better place to stay than the L’Auberge Resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana. This is also an important stopping point for those crossing the country by car. The resort is almost half way between New Orleans and Houston. Excellent lodging, great food, and a Tom Fazio golf course right out front.
Lake Charles is an oasis in the growing Gulf Coast Oil patch and times are good here. While it is definitely a southern town it does have a lot of Texas in it. Still as you make your way off I-10 and head around the Lake itself toward L’Auberge you will get a taste of the real south. Large sprawling mansions remind one of a different time and pace of life here.
Tom Fazio is arguably the best American golf course designer ever. He has more Top 100 Golf Courses to his credit than any other architect. I think the thing that separates him from the crowd is that his courses are also fun to play. Contraband Bayou Golf Club at L’Auberge is a good example of this. Players of all ability will be tested here and fairly by adjusting the tees that they play. As with most Fazio designs a right to left pattern will do best especially on the long par fours.
Contraband Bayou is the only Fazio design in the state of Louisiana and is annually ranked by Golfweek as one of the best courses in the state. Recently they upgraded their greens to the Champion Ultradwarf Bermuda, which will ensure excellent putting surfaces even during the hot summer months. The course is adjacent to the hotel and the long road into the property separates the front from the back nine. This facility also includes an excellent grass range and large practice putting green.
L’Auberge is a 26-story property that can be seen for miles in any direction. From the grand lobby area all the way up to the rooms this is a luxury experience. Higher floor rooms look out over Lake Charles itself to the north and the Contraband Bayou layout to the south. The rooms and suites are furnished with the finest in bed linens and state-of-the-art electronics. Garden Suites are located in the private VIP section and are much larger accommodations.
Having traveled the I-10 Route I can assure you there is nothing even close to this level of service from Houston to New Orleans. Given the ease of access I would even prefer staying at L’Auberge to New Orleans on such a trek.
Normally I am not a buffet guy. Just cannot ever seem to eat enough to justify the expense. However at L’Auberge I made an exception. The La Beaucoup is the resorts buffet offering and it is the best one I have ever been to. The variety of American, Tex-Mex, and Asian cooking along with sumptuous other offerings was more than I could have hoped for. The atmosphere was also very upscale and locals come from miles around just to eat here.
Asia Restaurant offers an Asian-fusion cuisine along with authentic Vietnamese selections. The Ember Bar & Grille is the modern Steakhouse with a variety of beef cooked on a wood fired grill. A bit more casual is the Jack Daniels Bar & Grill.
Lake Charles has its own airport but the service is limited. Houston is the closest large airport about two hours to the west. Baton Rouge is about two hours east and has very competitive rates. If I were crossing the south by car I would stay at L’Auberge instead of Houston or New Orleans. Houston is very congested and should be avoided at rush hour. New Orleans is actually out of the way on such an adventure but always worth a night or two. If neither of these big cities is your final destination you will probably want a very comfortable setting after a long days drive. For complete details on L’Auberge Resort visit LLakeCharles.com.