From the moment I arrived, this hotel made my visit memorable.
I've visited New Orleans several times and stayed in various areas all over the city, including in the Quarter several times. For this visit, I was originally going to stay at a favorite hotel in the Warehouse District but it was partially booked over my scheduled stay. I didn't necessarily want to stay in the Garden District, even though I love it, mostly because with French Quarter Fest and several other things planned, I had wanted to be closer to the action. But I took a chance on this hotel, based on several good reviews, and boy am I ever glad I did!
The location is prime, really. It's right on St. Charles, closer to Lee Circle than Audubon Park, and the streetcar stops directly outside the front door. So you are quite literally minutes from everywhere. It's about an 18 minute ride to Canal Street, which is right on the edge of the French Quarter, and it's always a pleasant ride. If it's later than you thought and you need a cab, the front desk will call one for you as hailing one from out there isn't really feasible. But catching a cab from the Quarter out to the hotel is easy and inexpensive.
When I checked in, I was about five hours early, since my flight was at the crack of dawn, and at first the sweet girl at the front desk wasn't sure she could get me in. I was resigned to leave my luggage and go on a walkabout to the Quarter and come back later in the evening when my room was ready. But not only did she manage to find me a room, she managed to find me a BETTER room than the one I reserved, and did so at the same rate, only because I'm a points member and it's my birthday! It was a lovely surprise and a great relief to come to my room, which was absolutely beautiful.
So the room itself has wood floors, large sofa/seating area, huge king-sized bed, and wall-to-wall windows. The big screen TV was expected but still always nice. Bathroom is, in a word, huge. Gargantuan sink space and a great walk-in shower. Now, I've read people complaining about the shower and/or lack of tub, but I'm not a bath person at all and I love love LOVE the shower here. Great craftsmanship and a fabulous stone floor. In the rest of the room I really liked having the wood floors because I personally don't like carpet at all. The bed is a dream -- super comfortable, not too soft, not over pillowed, a great sleep every night.
I managed to get a room on the side of the hotel at the back -- I'd recommend this side of the hotel for anyone who wants peace and quiet. I didn't hear a single peep out of ANYONE on my floor or anywhere else the entire time. And I was there over French Quarter Fest! I think the fact that it's outside of the Quarter deters hard-core Quarter partiers from staying and therefore reduces the loudness factor. But I could be wrong on this.
The food in the restaurant far surpassed that of other hotels I've stayed in and was so good I chose to eat there two nights in a row after having less-than-stellar meals at some old-school Quarter restaurants. If I'd been with a group, I probably would not have done this, and would have ventured out to Uptown or the Garden District for some good eats. But as I was by myself and it was after dark and I hadn't made reservations, it was really nice to be able to come back to the hotel and know that I could have a decent meal in a pinch. (Try the muffaletta salad. You won't be sorry.)
The service, in general, was fantastic. Staff was always friendly and attentive. They're relatively young and I've read that some people found them inexperienced, but I didn't really note that. Everyone tried to do their best to accommodate my requests and needs and I saw no evidence of laxness or immaturity. It is a young property and is still finding its feet, but it's a part of the InterContinental Hotel Group, so even though it's young by hotel standards, it's still a professionally run and maintained hotel.
The lobby, bar, restaurant, grounds and building in general are great. Very stylish and modern without being cold. And fantastic jazz playing 24/7 on the sound system.
I did not visit the gym or other facilities so I can't attest to their quality.
All in all, a lovely experience with friendly and helpful staff. I will return again and again and in fact am already planning on scheduling a visit with my mom in July.
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