New Orleans Travel Guide
This hotel may have missed the mark with its insane asylum themed floor but the The W New Orleans is making the most of its location in the French quarter this Halloween with a "Feel the Spirits" package that is just the right amount of spooky.
The package includes a two-night stay in a Tarot-inspired guest room along with two tickets to the creepy Walking Cemetery Tour by Gray Line Tours and two Corpse Reviver cocktails from the hotel bar, SoBou. The Corpse Reviver is made with equal parts gin, Lillet, lemon and Cointreau and served in a glass misted with Absinthe, designed "to bring you back to life." You'll also be close to the city's Krewe of Boo Halloween parade on the 30th.
Rates for the package start at $391 a night on October 30 and 31st for a wonderful room and $401 for the Mega room with the tarot them. This room is actually available year-round so if you can't make to Nola for the Halloween festivities, you can go another time and have the same creepy experience.
[Photo: W New Orleans French Quarter]
Once again, hotels are going all out for Breast Cancer Awareness month, offering up pink cocktails, pink sheets, and pink-themed room packages.
Yet while we love the pink passion that hotels have this month (especially since costs for your pink hotel purchases go to a breast cancer awareness charity), we're really in love with this giant pink bra that's been hoisted upon the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans.
The 12-foot-high, 25-foot wide, 300-pound pink bra was constructed by artist Jonathan Bertuccelli of Studio3 inc. on behalf of the breast surgeons at The Omega Breast Center at The Omega Hospital in Metairie. It was raised up onto the hotel's exterior by crane on October 15, which was National Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day.
But the bra will get its moment to shine tonight as it will greet hundreds of breast cancer survivors who will be honored tonight at The Pink Gala, hosted by Omega Hospital and New Orleans Living Magazine, at the Windsor Court Hotel.
The bra will stay on the hotel until October 20. If you're in New Orleans, hurry by to see it!
[Photos: Windsor Court Hotel]
Hotel Rumors / Moxy Hotels / Marriott International / Marriott Hotels / Hotel News / New Orleans Hotels / → All Tags
We can't reveal our sources but there is word going around that a Moxy Hotel is being developed for New Orleans, which really could not be a more perfect city for the young and fun Moxy brand. It's also a favorite city for Marriott International.
The hotel company already has 18 Marriott-branded hotels in or just outside the city, with several more within an hour's drive. And every brand is represented there from Residence Inn to Couryard, Springhill Suites, Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott, Renaissance, Marriott and even the first-ever AC Hotels by Marriott in the United States. That hotel is opening next month.
It's been a while since we last checked in on the U.S. development plans for AC Hotels by Marriott but boy, are we glad we did. That's because we've discovered that the first AC Hotel for the U.S. won't be opening in Miami Beach.
Instead, Antonio Catalan's design forward boutique hotel concept will open inside the former Cotton Exchange Building in New Orleans in October. Miami Beach will follow in late 2014/early 2015 as will Kansas City.
So now, let's take a closer look at what to expect for the AC in NOLA. Looking at the hotel's website, there isn't much to go on from a visual standpoint. We've got a shot of the exterior of the building--a National Historic Landmark built in 1871, as well as a photo of the lobby, the AC Kitchen restaurant, the bar and the suave AC Lounge area, where all the action should be happening.
We're loving the glass bar that extends from the wall to the ceiling but we're also anxious to see a guest room too. Unfortunately, there aren't any shots of those but we do know that free WiFi will be found throughout the property.
The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans renovated its guest rooms and club level rooms last year, giving the spaces a modern luxury look that's still very New Orleans. Hello, silk purple armchair! But for the exterior, the hotel is going back in time.
The historic terra cotta facades of the Maison Blanche and S.H. Kress Co. buildings which make-up the Ritz-Carlton are going under an extensive restoration project this summer, worth $2 million, that will restore them back to their early 20th century look.
The Lucifer bathroom
With Mardi Gras just ahead (March 4), New Orleans is hard to beat as a place to celebrate. While there are no guarantees that what happens in New Orleans stays in New Orleans, the Saint Hotel wants it to happen there. With the debut of five new luxury suites their message is clear—play naughty. It’s OK.
We loved the Saint Hotel when it opened in 2012, and we love it still. Now a member of Marriott's Autograph Collection, the Saint continues its unique blend of approachable luxury with the soul of New Orleans. The design concept of the new suites is to the credit of the hotel’s owners Mark and Lorenda Wyant. They created the setting -- the rest is up to you.
The suites are named after archangels Christopher, Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Lucifer. Yes, Lucifer. Let’s have a look at the two Master Suites, the Archangel Lucifer Suite and the Archangel Michael Suite, which are about as different as night and day.
Recently, we've had hotel share their secrets for keeping royal families happy as well as their 10 commandments for keeping luxury hotel guests happy. Today, we've got a new set of tips from a hotel--The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans. But their list deals with a different kind of VIP--the film industry. And yes, that includes celebrities.
The Windsor Court has hosted pretty much every major film and music star from Brad and Angie to Beyonce (who stayed there for her Super Bowl performance last year) to Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, annual attendees of the Jazz Fest. And they typically stay in the hotel's best suite--The Presidential Suite on the 22nd floor.
With 2,700-sq.ft. of space, the suite has two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a full kitchen and dining room, two living rooms, a butler's pantry, a full entertainment center, original artwork, two private landscaped terraces and a baby grand piano that's been tinkered on by Billy Joel. Penthouse guests get to enjoy the perks of the hotel's Club Lounge which has dedicated concierge service and daily food offerings. Rates typically start at $4,500 a night which, let's be real, is chump change for these A-List folks .
But putting up celebs in the best digs is only part of the job. The rest is coordinating with the production companies, the assistants and the entourages.
Here, The Windsor Court Hotel's general manager, David Teich, dishes out his 10 Commandments for Hosting Film Stars:
1. First commandment to hosting celebrities, film industry and VIPs is that privacy is key. Treat all guests with respect – absolutely no photos, autographs, social media, etc.
2. Prior to arrival, it is important to have one key point of contact, i.e. a guest relations manager or customer experience manager, to ensure that all details/pre-needs are known.
3. Keep communication open with local production teams so the hotel knows of schedule changes as well as comings and goings of the guest.
Fashion Hotels / Hotel Parties / W Hotels / New Orleans Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Hotel Pools / → All Tags
Summer doesn't officially (like, calendar-wise) begin until Friday, but at W New Orleans, things have been heating up since the beginning of this month, when the hotel kicked off its "Adults/Swim" series—a weekly rooftop pool party with DJs, specialty cocktails and cabana packages.
Fashionistas will want to pay attention to this next part, though: on the last Sunday of each month, the Adults/Swim party will be followed by an exclusive poolside fashion show, presented through a partnership between W New Orleans and Fashion Week New Orleans.
Dubbed "Strut +Swim," the shows will take place on the fourth floor Wet Deck, featuring local designers, boutiques, and hair and makeup artists telling you exactly what to wear, how to wear it, and why it's trendy. (This could be especially helpful for those of you trying to revamp your wardrobe this summer—these guys are experts, after all). Different designers and beauty experts
Hotel Desserts / Hotel Restaurants / Sheraton Hotels / New Orleans Hotels / Louisiana Hotels / → All Tags
Last Friday seems the whole country went nuts over National Donut Day. Even we moseyed on by the Doughnut Plant at the Chelsea Hotel for our favorite tres leches variety (and get a free Classic Mini Cake doughnut with Carnival sprinkles!). Oh, and we may have taken advantage of the “buy a drink, get a donut free” deal at Dunkin’. Yeah, it was a good sugar-filled day.
However, if you live in New Orleans, you’re one lucky duck. See, every Friday from 9-11 a.m. for the rest of the month, the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel will celebrate the city’s original ode to the donut—the beignet—by serving them at their Roux Bistro restaurant for only $5 (regularly $7).
For those who've never tried one of these delectable pastries, know the treat, introduced in N’awlins in the 18th century, is a yeasty, deep-fried, square creation covered with tons of powdered sugar. Word to the wise? Don’t wear a black shirt while chowing down on these babies.
Some sad news for W Hotels fans, there's going to be one less W Hotel in the world. But great news for Le Meridien Hotel fans as Le Merid will take over the W New Orleans on Poydras Street (near but not in the French Quarter.)
The hotel was recently sold to the Chesapeake Lodging Trust for $65 million in April with a $29 million renovation expected to begin in April of 2014 (just after Mardi Gras) that will transform it into a proper Le Meridien Hotel. Here's what you can expect when the Le Meridien New Orleans opens in late 2014.
Le Méridien New Orleans will offer 410 fully renovated guestrooms and bathrooms as well as upgraded fitness center, rooftop pool and more than 10,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting facilities, ideal for weddings and business functions.
Le Méridien New Orleans will also feature the Le Méridien Hub™ experience, which re-interprets the traditional lobby into a social gathering place for creative people to converse, debate, and exchange.
And as dedicated Le Merid fans know, the Le Meridien UNLOCK ART program with its LM100 artist-designed key cards will also be in effect, offering not just cool key card souvenirs but also access to the Le Meridien affiliated cultural centers in Nola.
Just to be clear, the hotel is still a W New Orleans and will be until April 2014. We did a rate check for next weekend and you can get a Wonderful room for $194 a night or 10,000 SPG Starpoints. We bet those rates and Starpoints will increase when the Le Meridien opens.
UPDATE: We were informed after press time that the "privileges" for Courtyard guests at the Ritz Carlton come with a $25 fee when using the fitness center, pool, and spa (if not making an appointment)-- a resort fee, if you will. Disappointing, for sure and not our understanding when originally approached with this story. So, we now turn the question to you, reader: Is this still a deal you'd be interested in? Would you pay the $25 with the cash you save on the rate to take a dip or workout at the Ritz while staying at the Courtyard?
Looking for a deal at the Ritz Carlton? Aren't we all. But now, thanks to an emerging hotel trend, you can crawl out of the bowels of the Internet: In New Orleans, the cheapest room at The Ritz-Carlton is actually next door at the Courtyard.
"Say what?" We can hear your disbelief right now. But it's true! The two hotels are connected by a shared elevator, and guests of the Courtyard New Orleans Downtown/Iberville are allowed access to the Ritz-Carlton's fitness center and pool for a $25 fee (fee is normally $75 for non-Ritz guests). They can also charge back to their room at the Courtyard when hanging at the Ritz restaurants, lounges, and spa. We find this great for business travelers, their expense accounts, and anyone looking for perks that up their swag from mid-market to luxury level.
Property sharing among sister brands isn't exactly a new concept, but this is one of the first we've seen to offer budget and business travelers the chance to live well above their room rate. Prices for the Ritz start at $249 a night while the Courtyard will run you only $129 per night. Food for thought!
We've already talked about how good the Super Bowl was for hotels in the Big Easy, but will it be the biggest blessing of the year?
While the city used to judge the success of Mardi Gras by the amount of trash they cleaned up afterwards (seriously), they lean a little more on hotel performance these days. How does Mardi Gras stack up against the Big Game? New Orleans is still sorting through the hotel data from this year's Mardi Gras, but a look at the numbers from last year show one thing very clearly: The Super Bowl really was super.
A study that compared the peak days of each event showed that the Super Bowl drew much higher rates despite similar occupancy levels. High-end hotels had an average daily rate of $460 during the Super Bowl compared to an ADR of $265 for Mardi Gras 2012. The story was the same for "middle-class" properties -- $392/night for the Super Bowl and $273 for Mardi Gras. Those are pretty big rate gaps! It's also interesting to note that the "middle-class" hotels had a higher ADR than the high-end hotels for Mardi Gras. Guess that says something about the type of lodging visitors to Mardi Gras are seeking.