New Orleans Hotels - Major Chain Properties
Recovery Status for Fall 2006:
New Orleans is well on its way back to re-claiming its place as a fully functional tourist destination. The recovery was aptly demonstrated with decisions to hold Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest celebrations in Spring 2006 as usual, as well as by Tulane's "miracle" graduation ceremony that featured past Presidents Bush and Clinton. In fact, all five New Orleans universities—Tulane, Loyola, Xavier, the University of New Orleans, and Dillard—have reopened
All but a few of the 13 airlines that serviced the City are shuttling flights in and out of the City. Taxis, bus service and the street care are functioning. Touro, Tulane and Charity hospitals have all been reopened for months. It is reported at the close of summer 2006 that 103 out of 140 metropolitan area hotels are open, with over 70% of the original 38,000 hotle rooms available. Of these rooms two-thirds are open to visitors, while the remaining third is contracted to various agencies. Ninety percent of downtown hotels are open, however, the Fairmont and the Ritz Carlton continue to be closed for renovation. Both are expected to re-open by the end of the year. Remediation contractors in all the restored hotels conduct room-by-room assessments against EPA standards. After remediation work is completed, the clearance process includes visual inspection, as well as sampling for airborne fungal spores and ongoing monitoring. Restaurants are re-opening daily with any of the famous chefs back in their aprons, including Paul Prudhomme, Susan Spicer Donald Link and John Besh. Before any establishment serving food can be reopened it is examined by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for compliance with all regulations regarding water safety and food handling. To give you a better sense of the situation you should call ahead to your hotel and favorite restaurants to be sure they are ready for you or check on the site here for opening status. Air and water are safe for visitors (government air testing results). Harrah's Casino, the convention center and Riverwalk are open, as are museums including Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Contemporary Arts Center, the National D-Day Museum and the Aquarium of the Americas.
If you want to jump directly to more detailed hotel information, please click here for our top, all around hotel recommendations. You can click here for hotels in the French Quarter, or click here for hotels in uptown New Orleans, or click here for a page about some exotic mansions and guesthouses. If these geographic references for New Orleans don't make sense, then click here for city layout information. If you want to jump directly to a page about New Orleans restaurants, then click here. Or click here for a page about the best things to do while you're in town, and to start at the top click here for the New Orleans Guide Executive Summary.
When I reference a "chain hotel," and dedicate a special section for that category, I mean a property that is heavily influenced by the ethos of its parent company so that you shouldn't expect that the muse of New Orleans has changed the look of your Hilton very much. With these properties you can pretty well guess what you're getting (a Marriott is a Marriott is a Marriott). But because many visitors come to New Orleans on an expense account that is restricted to certain properties here is some insight on the major corporate players. While some of my other picks are corporate entities and a part of a national "chain" (e.g. Ritz-Carlton, W Hotels, Monaco, and even the Windsor Court), I included them in other sections becuase in my view they have the spirit of New Orleans above and beyond the homogenized spirit of their corporate overseer.
Hilton – If you are part of a convention group and your hotel arrangements have been made for you, then you can count yourself lucky to find yourself booked at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. The Hilton is perhaps the best all-purpose, least-worn-out, high-traffic convention hotel. As you drive down the lower part of Canal Street you will see the Hilton appear diagonally behind Harrah’s Casino, next to the New Orleans World Trade Center. The descriptor “riverside” is a perhaps a misnomer because the hotel is separated from the Mississippi by Riverwalk, a mostly forgettable riverside tourist mall. But the location is extremely serviceable, only a few steps from the Convention Center, Harrah’s Casino, Canal Place Mall and the French Quarter. A cobblestone circular drive features a somewhat anomalous statue of Winston Churchill who is not typically associated with the jazz town of New Orleans (Hilton has a “Churchill’s” bar on the second floor of the Hilton if you are looking for a tie in). There is an atrium inside the grade level with indoor access to the Convention Center, Riverwalk and more than a dozen tourist caliber dining and entertainment facilities. 2 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA 70140. 504-561-0500 - www.hilton.com. Specifications - 1,600 rooms, Towers Concierge Class suites with private lounge and twice-a-day maid service, pool, parking, business services, conference rooms, fitness center, no charge for children under 18 staying with parents, full hotel amenities.
Sheraton - Consistently highly ranked, the Sheraton has a central location right on Canal Street. It enjoys a reasonably unobstructed view of the river if you receive a “riverview” room on an upper floor. The Sheraton is easily visible most anywhere downtown and with its underground parking it offers one of the most convenient drive-up approaches of any New Orleans hotel. Just minutes from the Interstate highway you are parked, checked-in, oriented and headed into the French Quarter a block away. The lobby has a circular bar and two-story windows overlooking Canal Street. Expect full, large hotel service and armies of convention traffic. If a rating must be made, the Sheraton beats out the underinspired Marriott across the street, but probably runs a little behind the Hilton in terms of a comfortable, convenient, not-too-worn-out New Orleans chain hotel. The restaurants are not exceptional. 500 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130. 504-525-2500 - www.sheraton.com. Specifications - 1,100 rooms, 72 suites, 3 restaurants, 2 bars, pool, fitness center, parking, full hotel amenities.
Wyndham - The Wyndham has the best selection of multiple properties of any major chain in New Orleans (with Omni in second place). In addition to the Wyndham New Orleans at Canal Place (which is highlighted in the first section of this hotel review), there is the graceful and historical Whitney, the Bourbon Orleans in the middle of the French Quarter and the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel across from the Convention Center at the bottom fringe of the warehouse district. The Whitney is a classic restored property that housed the Whitney bank after the Civil War. The Whitney retains many of the features of the earlier structure (including a huge, inlaid vault door near the check-in area), and the building is a natural standout on the central section of Poydras Street. The Bourbon Orleans is a block-long property in the middle of Bourbon Street in the school of the Royal Sonesta (see Royal Sonesta listing). It should be qualified that the Bourbon Orleans lacks the grace of the Sonesta. The front entrance on Orleans Street is both a blessing and a curse: it is a relief from the craziness of Bourbon Street, but the side street entrance is also a disheartening shirk from the spirit that goes with walking out of the front door onto famous Bourbon Street. You can expect from the Bourbon Orleans an attempt at traditional New Orleans fixtures (gaslight lamps, piano, angels painted into the ceiling plaster), but this hotel has crowded and narrow public areas. One gets the sense that The Bourbon Orleans is trying to be authentic in a blunt, chain hotel manner. The Wyndham Riverfront Hotel is a 19th century rice mill blocked from direct access to the Mississippi River by Convention Center Boulevard and the Convention Center itself. The name of the hotel is a misnomer - you could stay for a weekend and not necessarily realize that the river is nearby. The Wyndham Riverfront is not simple to find, but if you are in town for a function at the Convention Center this is one of the more serviceable hotels in the immediate area (together with the Hilton and Embassy Suites). The circular entrance is a grand affair with columns and palm trees (there is a Greek Revival character that is carried into the lobby). The hotel is essentially a business hotel with a narrow, functional lobby and little enclaved desks in dark wood. The rooms are located in four buildings that retain the some of the theme of the old property by their cast iron fixtures and non-standard shaped interior spaces. The rooms are not large, but they are sleek, new and functional, with those along the back of the property (facing Fulton Street) taking a rather strange parallelogram shape. There are rooms in the old rice silo that are slightly larger (called “extended kings”). Wyndham New Orleans at Canal Place (see our separate listing for this property). The Whitney, 610 Poydras Street, New Orleans, LA 70130. 504-581-4222 - www.wyndham.com. Specifications – 97 rooms, 23 suites, restaurant, fitness room, business and audiovisual services, meeting services, two-line telephones with data port, full hotel amenities. Wyndham Bourbon Orleans, 717 Orleans Street, New Orleans, LA 70116. 504-523-2222. Specifications - 216 rooms, 50 suites, restaurant, pool, ballroom, 5 conference suites, banquet space, full hotel amenities. Wyndham Riverfront Hotel, 701 Convention Center Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70130. 504-524-8200. Specifications - 202 rooms, 2 suites, restaurant, bar, modem lines in rooms, business services, fitness room, full hotel amenties.
Marriott - The Canal Street Marriott is roughly across from the Sheraton and easy to spot from many places downtown. This monstrous, ochre-painted structure is more reminiscent of convention visitor excess than the easy grace of traditional New Orleans. Enter under a huge round chandelier and you will be confronted by a profusion of gift shops, hotel-style restaurants, ATM machines, multipurpose telephones and clanking escalators leading to acres of conference rooms and business facilities. If you are looking for any sign of personality at the Marriott, perhaps look for the grandfather clock curiously orphaned at the far right side of the check-in area. A convention planner favorite, this massive hotel offers full service and direct access to Canal Street, and is located at the edge of (a somewhat less vibrant part of) the French Quarter. The restaurants are not exceptional. 555 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70140. 504-581-1000 - www.marriott.com. Specifications 1,290 rooms, 54 suites, 3 restaurants, 2 bars, pool, meeting rooms, fitness room, parking, full hotel amenities
J. W. Marriott - Right on Canal Street, this used to be Le Meridien and was bought out by Marriot as a welcome addition to it's New Orleans selections. This is a large, modern hotel with an arcade cut through out to Canal street. It has a small circular driveway and small lobby alive with fountains and lights that are deployed engagingly over angular marble, brass and glass fixtures. Reception is off to one side under pyramids of cut glass chandeliers. J.W. Marriott is equipped to cater to business guests with a full array of business services and meeting rooms. The structure is high enough to offer great city and river views. 614 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130. 800-950-1363. Specifications - 494 rooms, 7 suites, restaurant, parking, fitness center, message, shops, business services and meeting rooms, full hotel amenities.
Courtyard by Marriott - The Courtyard on St. Charles Avenue near Canal Street is in a great location near the center of the Mardi Gras celebration. Note that a second Courtyard has opened in the warehouse district across the street from the Embassy Suites, near the Convention Center and just down Julia Street from Emeril’s famous restaurant. Particularly with respect to the newer property, the Marriott Courtyard facilities are fresher and more inviting than many of the other convention warrior hotels. The St. Charles location is an easy walk to the Quarter. By comparison, the warehouse district property is a bit far for a walk to the Quarter, but there is better parking, a more quiet setting, and even a nice breakfast area with exposed beams. Marriott Courtyard St. Charles, 124 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130. 504-581-9005 - www.courtyard.com. Specifications 140 rooms, restaurant (breakfast only), pool, fitness room full hotel amenities. Marriott Courtyard Convention Center, 300 Julia Street, New Orleans LA 70130. 504-598-9897. Specifications - 202 rooms, 18 suites, conference suites, pool, parking, full hotel amenities.
Hyatt Regency New Orleans - The New Orleans Hyatt is a modern convention palace in good condition located out near the Superdome with a huge interior atrium and glass elevators. The hotel is popular and well appointed in a chain hotel fashion, but after a stay at the Hyatt with its huge, antiseptic services and fixtures, you may have a lingering doubt that your hotel was really in New Orleans at all. There is little to see within walking distance except a second-rate southern shopping mall. Those rooms facing the tired, old Superdome have perhaps the least inspiring views. The Hyatt operates a trolley service to the French Quarter because it is too far to walk, but you will probably not find this service convenient to serve the Bourbon Street party spirit because it stops running at 11:00 p.m. You can save yourself some trolley frustration by hailing a cab, ever present in the interior drive through area. The surrounding neighborhood is not particularly pedestrian friendly, unless you would like to visit the public library or pay a parking ticket at the municipal buildings. If you are in town for a ball game, however, this is one of the best and most convenient Superdome hotels. The restaurants are not exceptional. 500 Poydras Plaza, New Orleans, LA 70113. 504-561-1234 - www.hyatt.com. Specifications - 1,184 rooms, 100 suites, 4 restaurants, bar, pool, fitness center, parking, full hotel amenities.
Inter-Continental – The Inter-Continental is a huge, well-run, well-appointed, full-service hotel that caters to a lot of upscale convention traffic. It is a bit far from the Quarter, but within reasonable walking distance. In terms of its commanding appearance, the Inter-Continental packs more of a punch than the other chain hotels in this section. The impressive gold and black marble façade encases a circular drive up to the front door; dual escalators take you to reception and a spacious second floor lobby. You can enjoy a jazz trio at night and an atrium breakfast in the morning. The building is too packed into the business district high rises to offer comprehensive city views, but there are balcony rooms available over a tranquil public rooftop area on the 5th floor. There is a VIP section with improved quality features and services. The Veranda restaurant, with its numerous theme dining rooms, is well regarded. 444 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans LA 70130. 504-525-5566- http://new-orleans/interconti.com/index.html. Specifications - 484 rooms, 20 suites, 3 restaurants, bar, pool, fitness room, parking, full hotel amenities.
Doubletree - The Doubletree adjoins the Windsor Court Hotel on a narrow spike of real estate with excellent access to Canal Street, Canal Place mall, the French Quarter and Harrah’s casino (the Doubletree is actually in view of all these attractions). This Doubletree is one of the more spare and unimpressive of the Canal Street chain properties, but it is serviceable, offers a game staff and commands a prime location. If you get a corporate rate you could do a lot worse than the Doubletree and the central location might make your stay. The restaurant is not exceptional. 300 Canal Street, New Orleans LA 70130. 504-581-1300- www.doubletreeneworleans.com. Specifications - 363 rooms, 15 suites, restaurant, bar, pool, fitness center, parking, full hotel amenities.
Holiday Inn – The tried-and-true tourist chain Holiday Inn weighs in with four downtown New Orleans properties (there are more properties further out of town). All four properties suffer from a certain anesthetized Holiday Inn quality in their typical décor and staffing, and even the typical look of the guests. The two French Quarter properties have good locations and the best property, the Spanish decorated Chateau LeMoyne, has a nice, balcony-terraced central courtyard with pool. James Gallier, who designed the old New Orleans City Hall, built the Chateau LeMoyne building in 1847. Most of the suites in Chateau LeMoyne are reproduction Creole cottages that front the pool. The Chateau LeMoyne has, by far, the best Holiday Inn location: Dauphine Street, which is quiet, a little bare in appearance, but only a block from Bourbon Street and nearby to some excellent restaurants on the upper section of the Quarter. The Superdome Holiday Inn location is the most drab and least desirable central New Orleans location (unless you are in town strictly for a ballgame). It is across a main thoroughfare from City municipal buildings and unreasonably far from the French Quarter. The Holiday Inn Select is across from the Convention Center and a bit far away from anything except for Mulate’s Restaurant (see section on Cajun dancing). Unless you have an event at the Convention Center, the Select location may prove awkward and a bit distant for French Quarter visitors. The Holiday Inn French Quarter offers adequate, mainstay hotel features, including drive-in parking. The heart of Royal Street and the epicenter of upscale New Orleans antique shopping are only a hundred yards away, but this particular section of the Quarter is populated with some tired retail stores and low-end restaurants. None of the Holiday Inn restaurants are highly regarded. If you book with the Holiday Inn, book the property that you want specifically by name because there are several discount properties out of town that the agents are always trying to unload to keep rooms open for booking at the downtown properties. Holiday Inn Downtown - Superdome, 330 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans LA 70112. 504-581-1600 - www.holidayinn.com. Specifications - 297 rooms, 4 mini-suites, 3 suites, restaurant, bar, pool, parking, full hotel amenities. Holiday Inn Select (Convention Center) - 881 Convention Center Boulevard, New Orleans LA 70130. 504-524-1881. Specifications - 167 rooms, 3 suites, restaurant, bar, pool, fitness center, business services, coin laundry full hotel amenities. Holiday Inn - French Quarter, 124 Royal Street, New Orleans LA 70130. 504-529-7211. Specifications - 276 rooms, 56 suites, restaurant (T.G.I.Fridays), indoor pool, fitness room, parking full hotel amenities. Holiday Inn - Chateau Le Moyne - 301 Dauphine Street, New Orleans LA 70112. 504-581-1303. Specifications - 160 rooms, 11 suites, restaurant, bar, pool, parking full hotel amenities.
Best Western - This modest hotel chain surrendered a nice property on Bourbon Street (The Inn on Bourbon), which is now owned by Ramada (some older guidebooks list the Inn on Bourbon as a Best Western property). Best Western still boasts two New Orleans properties and a key New Orleans presence in the upscale Parc St. Charles (which is on a main Mardi Gras parade corner and has Gerard’s Downtown, a respected local restaurant). The French Quarter New Orleans Hotel at 920 North Rampart Street has a poor location, across the street from Armstrong Park and in a northerly section of the French Quarter that can be unsafe at night. This hotel is not recommended. However, in August 2001 Best Western bought The Historic French Market Inn which has operated independently on Decatur Street since1989. The Historic French Market Inn is a modest hotel, but the location is safe and central to the French Quarter. The Parc St. Charles is a high rise, modern-looking hotel is located five blocks from the French Quarter, a bit far perhaps for a summertime stroll, but the walking route is straight up St. Charles Avenue and the street car line, so it is impossible to get very lost in your commute to the Quarter. As an added bonus, the distance to the Superdome can be covered on foot by inspired sports fans. The Historic French Market Inn, 501 Rue Decatur, New Orleans, LA 70130. 504-561-5621- www.bestwestern.com. Specifications – 117 rooms, 5 suites, pool, courtyard, full hotel amenities. The Parc St. Charles, 500 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans LA 70130. 504-522-9000. Specifications - 120 rooms, 2 suites, restaurant, bar, meeting rooms, pool, fitness center, full hotel amenities.
Hampton Inn – There are several properties of this chain in the greater New Orleans area, some of them quite far out of town. For the purposes of this guide, there are two modest but serviceable properties in central New Orleans, one in the Central Business District and one at the cusp of the Garden District uptown on St. Charles Avenue (be sure to double check the location of your Hampton Inn when you book or you could get an ugly surprise when you check in to your hotel in a featureless Louisiana suburb). The Business District location has tidy rooms. It is well situated across from the old Cotton Exchange building. The walk to the French Quarter is on the long side, but intrepid visitors could manage it and the geography up Carondelet Street along the streetcar tracks is simple. The uptown property also has a nice location, and as the level of hotel competition deteriorates in uptown New Orleans, the Hampton Inn begins to look like a pretty good option. The uptown property is slightly better appointed than its downtown associate and has great uptown features – it is simple to find on St. Charles Avenue, offers good access to uptown points of interest, and features a drive-up area to rescue arrivals from hectic St. Charles Avenue. Because Hampton Inn has some bowzer properties in the outlying areas of town, it is worth stressing that you should confirm your specific location. One location, the one at 1201 Convention Center Boulevard, sounds deceptively close to the action but it is too far from the Quarter for easy use. Hampton Inn New Orleans, 226 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, LA 70130. 504-529-9990 - www.hampton-inn.com. Specifications- 186 rooms, 2 suites. Hampton Inn/ St. Charles, 3626 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70115. 504-899-9990. Specifications - 100 rooms, 10 suites, pool, full hotel amenities.
Embassy Suites – Embassy Suites has a fairly inspired warehouse district location that is near the convention center and famous Emeril’s restaurant, but is too distant from the French Quarter for novice New Orleans travelers to walk. The hotel is built on the site of an old warehouse so some rooms have floor to ceiling windows (though the views are limited). The rooms are suites with a separate living room and sofa bed. Rooms benefit from the young age of the hotel, although they have decor straight out of the Embassy Suites catalogue. But inspiration shows from the chic location (the old Warehouse District was revitalized in the 1990s), and from the special appointments. The entrance and reception areas are a cut above the usual Embassy Suites offering. There is a French Quarter-theme atrium over which the facing rooms have balconies (there are 16 floors, the lower eight enjoy the atrium). Some rooms even have obstructed views of the River. The restaurant is not highly regarded. 315 Julia Street, New Orleans LA 70130. 504-525-1993 - www.embassy-suites.com. Specifications - 25 rooms, 347 suites, restaurant, bar, pool, fitness center, meeting rooms, parking, full hotel amenities.
Ramada – The Ramada has expanded its New Orleans properties in recent years. Ramada has an uptown property on St. Charles Avenue that is near to (and compares with) the Pontchartrain Hotel, but without the venerable bar and appointments available in the latter. The St. Charles Ramada is easy to find and tends to book up later than the downtown hotels. In the French Quarter Ramada bought The Inn on Bourbon Street from Best Western, a purchase that greatly fortifies the list of Ramada properties in New Orleans. The Inn on Bourbon Street is dressed up for the Bourbon Street location, but this property seems weighed down from the high volume of tourist traffic. This property has several floors of balcony rooms that wrap around Bourbon Street and quieter Toulouse Street. There is a central courtyard and pool; the rooms facing the courtyard are the most tranquil in what can be a busy and boisterous hotel (it is worth noting that balcony rooms facing the interior courtyard, and those along Toulouse Street can be had at a substantial discount over those along Bourbon Street). The rooms and appointments are mostly the same as they were in the Best Western era. Also in the French Quarter is the smaller Ramada property Hotel Chateau Dupre Decatur Street with 54 rooms and meeting rooms large enough to accommodate 45 guests. The restaurants offered in the Ramada properties are not highly regarded. Ramada Plaza Hotel - St. Charles, 2203 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70140. 504-566-1200 - www.ramada.com. Specifications - 132 rooms, 7 suites, 1 presidential suite, restaurant, bar, parking, full hotel amenities. Inn on Bourbon Street, 541 Bourbon Street, New Orleans LA 70130. 800-443-4675. Specifications - 186 rooms, 2 suites, restaurant, piano bar, parking, pool, full hotel amenities. Ramada Hotel Chateau Dupre, 131 Rue Decatur, New Orleans, LA 70130. 504-569-0606. Specifications - 54 rooms, meeting rooms, in-room modems, safes, full hotel amenities.
© Copyright 2006 Chris Cloud.
Last update: 9/5/2006; 8:33:32 PM.