Check-In: The lobby of the New Orleans Marriott received a $60 million makeover and it looks fantastic. It is huge though. Like almost a Vegas-casino type of huge. When we were given our room, the front desk clerk told us they were all out of king rooms. So we had to settle for twin beds. Sometimes, we don't mind this--more storage space. But for a minute, we panicked about having a smoky room. This is a city of vices after all. But thanks to the Marriott Smoking Ban, our fears were put at ease.
Room Reaction: While the lobby has been renovated and looks great, the rooms are a little behind in guest room decor. There were some bright colors on the bed and a strange rug pattern. Everything was super clean though which made us feel a bit better. And after our freaky room number, nothing too out of the ordinary happened here.
Amenity Madness: The hotel room came with all the amenities we could want or need. Like a stack of fluffy pillows and plenty of towels in the bath. We even spied an iron and an ironing board in the closet as well as a full-length mirror. The TV however was one of the boxy ones in an armoire.
Internet Connect: Here is where frustration begins. For starters, the lobby has free wireless internet. It usually works pretty fast and since the lobby has all this brand new and stylish seating area with drinks and food service, it's not a bad place to work.
But in your room the internet is wired only and you must pay $14.95 a day for it. Grr. Luckily, the hotel gives you an ethernet cable that you can use free of charge.
We actually got a chance to meet with the hotel's sales and marketing director who explained that the Marriott Hotels chain is very concerned about offering free internet in the rooms because they just don't feel they can offer a network that guards consumers safety. Until that is achieved, you will be wired in Marriott hotel rooms.
Also, we couldn't find an outlet under our desk so we plugged our power cord in an outlet being used by a floor lamp and prayed that it would stretch far enough to the desk. It did.
Location, Location, Location: The hotel is on Canal Street, a central thoroughfare. Bourbon Street and the French Quarter is a few quick blocks away. Everything is in walking distance with the exception of the convention area and Magazine and Frenchman Streets. The hotel also has a 5 Fifty 5 restaurant (there's that number again!) inside which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, the 55 Fahrenheit bar serves cocktails, wine and some light fare.
What We Liked: The location. The Starbucks inside the hotel. The crazy but efficient lobby elevators. You press your floor at a keypad in the elevator bank, then an assigned elevator opens for you and other passengers going to nearby floors. Room service for breakfast was quite good and quick.
What We Didn't Like: The room decor. The ginormous size of the hotel.
Bottom Line: This hotel frequently has seriously low rates like $99 a night or $89 a night. If you are in town to experience New Orleans for a pleasure purpose, this hotel has what you need. Starbucks, clean rooms, and a great location. If you are in town for a business trip, you may not feel that comfortable working out of your room.
Disclosure: Our trip to New Orleans was at the behest of the Marriott Hotels of New Orleans. We stayed at the New Orleans Marriott on Canal Street where we paid for our own room.