LOUISIANA Travel Guide
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.
The Ravens are Super Bowl Champs, and the Beyonce-Destiny's Child reunion certainly got plenty of folks talking, but New Orleans hotels came out on top, too.
A few fast facts to brighten up your Monday: during the week of January 27th leading up to the Big Game, occupancy rose from 46.6% to 71.1%, and the average daily rate jumped 125.9% to $289.03, according to data from STR.
Meanwhile, the U.S. hotel industry as a whole benefited from the Super Bowl, with occupancy up 3.6%, and RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) increasing 9.8% to $57.06.
While it makes us sad that a city as great as New Orleans had an occupancy rate well below the national average prior to the Super Bowl, it just goes to show how important it is for cities to take advantage of major national events. Everyone wants to take a vacation, but they sometimes need a little push and motivation. Props to the hotels this year who pulled off Big Game parties and promotions (and boo to the hotel room scalpers like this guy hawking a room at the Wyndham Barrone Plaza for $3,000/night).
The next big sporting event for the hotel industry is baseball's spring training in Arizona and Florida, which starts next month. We've already mentioned one such promotion in our mancation story, and hopefully more will emerge as the date gets closer.
Hotel Openings / Hotel Rebrandings / New Orleans Hotels / Four Points by Sheraton Hotels / Free WiFi / → All Tags
Although we are a little tardy for the party, we had to let you all know that the Four Points by Sheraton French Quarter opened its doors in June on the very party-friendly Bourbon Street.
The space formerly called the Inn on Bourbon was previously owned by Ramada. Now rebranded as The Four Points, the hotel has 186 rooms, a swimming pool, a 24-hour fitness center, copy/fax center, and free WiFi. Of course, location means everything in New Orleans, and the hotel is in the middle of the action. It’s walking distance to several of the French Quarter’s hot spots, or should we say cool spots, like the House of Blues, the Saenger Theater, Armstrong Park and the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. Harrah’s Casino is only a mile away.