Hotel Group: Starwood Hotels (a subsidiary of Marriott International)
Hotel Category: Category 4
Hotel Status: Gold
Booking Type: AAA Rate
Room Type: Superior King
Date of Stay: December 2017
The hotel was originally constructed as a Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza for the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition. Throughout its history it has been a Four Points by Sheraton, W New Orleans, Hotel New Orleans Downtown, and finally, after a $30 million renovation, it became Le Méridien in late 2014.
The hotel consists of 423 rooms and suites with a rooftop pool, fitness center, three restaurants, and bicycle rentals for a fee. Overnight valet parking is $45+tax.
I booked an ADA accessible King room for a AAA rate of $144.94. During check-in, I was upgraded to a Superior King room per my gold status. Something I should have done and I recommend you do, if you hold the AmEx Platinum charge card, is book through AmEx Fine Hotels Resorts. I would have ended up getting a $100 food credit along with free breakfast for the same price. Another way to book this property is using 10,000 Starpoints since this is a category 4.
I arrived at the hotel late after a long flight back from Montréal and, surprisingly, the reception area was buzzing with a ton of people waiting to be checked in. After standing in line for few minutes I was greeted by a friendly front desk agent. I inquired about an upgrade to a corner room which he said they were out of, but instead offered a Superior King room which I was happy to accept. The whole process took less than four minutes.
The lobby area is what they call the Hub. In the hotel’s own words, they describe the Hub as transcending the traditional lobby into a place where creative minds can gather, converse, debate, and cultivate a new perspective. Take that for what you will. I personally did none of these things, but the seating was quite comfortable.
Superior rooms range from 275 to 301 square ft. I was in room 2208 on the 22nd floor. The door leading to the room was in a corner space next to the corner rooms. It was like a little nook with four doorways right next to each other. It’s really a poor design considering every time one of the other three people in the other rooms left you can easily hear their door slam. Here’s the floor plan to give you a better idea.
The room itself was small but felt very comfortable. The two things I loved most about the room was the 55in TV and the couch under the window. The couch was such a relaxing place to rest because the AC was blowing directly on the couch and it rained the whole stay so I could just lay there and listen to the rain pat on the window.
The bed was outstanding, with a pillow top mattress wrapped in 250 thread count sheets. Both nightstands had easy access to outlets. I did find it a bit odd that the nightstands didn’t match each other but I suppose that’s the eccentric look Le Mérdien goes for.
The minibar was beside the dresser with an extra mini refrigerator in the dresser below the TV. The prices were high. $4 for a 12oz can of soda and $4.50 for a Kit-Kat bar that’s not even king size is shocking. There are times when these prices are ok, for example, when you are on a small island in the middle of nowhere or perhaps in a $1000-a-night hotel in a major city. I can justify the prices then.
The work desk was on the opposite side of the dresser with easy access to outlets along with the Mr. Coffee machine. They want to charge a premium for the minibar but hey can’t offer me a better in-room coffee machine than this? I’ve seen better in 2.5 star hotels.
The premium in-room wi-fi was decent. It’s certainly not worth the $15 per day they are asking.
The views were overlooking the Warehouse District, also known as the Arts District. I know it’s not the best view but something about New Orleans just does it for me. If you are in search of the best views in the city, I suggest going to Hot Tin rooftop bar at the Pontchartrain Hotel.
The shower was a bad design where you had to get half way in the shower to turn the water on subsequently dousing your body or whole arm in cold water. On a good note, the robe was comfortable.
The toiletries were Malin+Goetz, the same as Delta Airlines. The hairdryer was a ConAir 1875 without any attachments. I love the toiletries but the hairdryer needs to be upgraded.
The outdoor pool is on the 4th floor. The lounge chairs are on a first come, first serve basis but the Cabanas require reservations. I’m not sure how much they are during off months but during the hotter months, starting in April, they are $350 for up to six people and come with one bottle of liquor, mixers, water, fresh fruit, and chips and salsa. Locals can also come to the pool for a small fee. I’d much prefer hotels limit pool access to hotel guests, especially considering the size of this pool. I’m sure it can get crowded quite easily.
The 24-hour fitness center is also on the 4th floor but in a separate building behind the pool. This is one of the more spacious and attractive hotel gyms I’ve seen in a while. All the equipment is state-of-the-art with plenty of weight and cardio machines.
There are three restaurants inside the hotel; LMNO, Longitude 90, and Marche. The only place I dined was in the bar at the Hub. I started with the Bloody Mary deviled eggs. I’m usually a big fan of deviled eggs, but these were not for me. 6/10. Then I ordered one mini sandwich, the details of which I can’t remember, but I know it wasn’t very good. 6/10. And lastly I had the drunken wings. They were supposed to be whiskey smoked with a crystal hot sauce and brown sugar glaze, but I can tell you from the lack of flavor they couldn’t possibly have been. They tasted like your plain bar wings with little to no sauce. The best advice I can give you is go out to eat. New Orleans is arguably the best food town in the U.S. in my expert opinion. 😉
Here is a sample of the room service menus.
I’ll give service a 7/10. The service at the bar was pretty weak. I ended up not getting my last beer because of slow service, but the real problem was getting my final bill corrected after I had checked out. I checked my bill before I left, and everything was fine but a few days later they sent an updated version with two minibar items on it. I had nothing from the minibar, so I called to have it corrected, and I was told it would be taken care of. Five days later, it wasn’t. I called again and accounting was gone for the day so I had to call a third time. This time I spoke with a front-desk supervisor who said he would take care of it. Five or six days later, I had still not received a refund on the charges, so I asked SPG on Twitter if they could assist. After all that, I finally received my money back. I do want to reiterate that all this took place around Christmas time, so I know things take a little longer during this period. Nonetheless, housekeeping should have never put the charges on the bill in the first place.
There are a lot of good hotels in New Orleans and this one probably doesn’t crack the top 10 but if the price is right, I would stay here again. The room was comfortable, the gym is one of the best in the city, and the pool is decent. I would just recommend keeping an eye on your bill a few days after checking out to make sure they got it right.
What are some of you favorite hotels in New Orleans?