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New Orleans Trip 2024

My girl friend was travelling to New Orleans for a work conference and I invited myself along, seeing as I have never been and have always wanted to. And here, she was kind enough to offer me free accommodations at her work paid for hotel room.

For the most cost effective option, our flight with American Airlines left at 7am on the Easter Monday Holiday: April 1st, 2024. And as an international flight, and without me having Nexus or preferred boarding I arrived 3 hours earlier, only to wait for the boarder guards to start their shifts. This was the first flight of the day so lines were minimal and the airport traffic slow.

I am use to waking up early and eating early so I grabbed a sandwich from Joe & the Juice, wanting to avoid the played out Tim Hortons. I ordered Joe’s classic sandwich with chicken, avocado, pesto, and tomato and was extremely impressed. The bread makes all the difference, crispy and hearty. I will have to go back and try the tuna one, which I was later informed that it is the one not to get.

Fast forward, we boarded the plane and were smart enough to book the emergency exit row for the extra leg room. Although there is no option to lean back our seat. We only got an hour nap in before we were awaken by the flight attendants and the beverage cart. Our flight ticket included alcoholic drinks so we took advantage with a mimosa featuring a mini bottle of sparkling.

When it came time for our second drink, we were informed that they had ran out of all spirits, which I found odd for a flight ticket that we paid more for, for the ability to drink. My travel savvy mate was cunning enough to ask the flight attendant for more, who went to get us two cups of white wine from first class.

She also made friends with our seat mate, who was travelling for work and her American Express gave her access to the Centurion Lounge, which includes additional access for up to two others. So when we landed for our connecting flight in Dallas, we followed her. She kind enough to be our guide, leading us to the lounge via the airport’s internal sky train, and telling us how to get to our departure gate, eventually.

After a wave of our host’s boarding pass and no need to check ours, we were in. It was busy and bustling mid day, but we were still able to get seats and there were plenty of food and drinks to go around.

We missed the ice cream cart, but took full advantage of the buffet. An assortment of cold salads, rice, sautéed vegetables, and baked chicken. No real stand outs, food to fill with enough flavour to finish.

Although the real pull is the open bar, where if you can see it, they can mix with it. We had 6 cocktails in total here, requesting high balls as well as asking for shots to be poured right into cups of espresso and their self help teas and punches.

Fast forward I drank my fill to be knocked out and sound asleep during our connecting flight from Dallas to New Orleans. A comparatively breezy flight, when looking back to our first.

However, I would only wake from my upright nap with a head ache and nausea after eating and drinking too much. But at least we made it to the Big Easy safely.

Within the airport there was a live jazz band to greet arrivals, and it was easy enough to claim an Uber ride to our hotel.

My friend had two different hotels booked, both within the heart of the city, both central to everything, within walking distance to sights and attractions in any direction.

The first was the Intercontinental New Orleans. I found it had an old world charm bathed in a golden dim. Yellow shades on the chandelier and yellow tiles under foot to greet you in the lobby.

Our room was on the 11th floor, two queen beds awaited us with a view of the the city and a skyscraper smack dab in that line of view.

At the distance more towers of grey, as far as the eye can see. Just as well, as we would not be spending much time in the hotel room anyways, and were only here for one night.

The bed and bath rooms were themed in the same golden yellow and black warmth as the lobby. Little accents made the difference from the trim around the duvet cover to the dark wood coffin-like headboard. From the patterned carpets to the artful photos of the lively New Orleans night life, framed on the walls.

There was marble and tile in the bath and crisp linens on the bed. Complimentary hair and body washes, lotions, and soaps from a French brand in the shower and by the sink. The shower had a rainfall head that we couldn’t figure out how to use, so settled on the hand held wand for a more cumbersome clean.

There were plenty of towels and even more storage space with closets, drawers, and a desk to spread out across. Shame that we weren’t staying here for more than one night, as this was the nicer of the two hotels.

And they also had a fitness centre and roof top pool for guest use, however we didn’t get the chance to utilize the latter given how long we took to settle and that they close it at 7pm.

Our stay included a complimentary breakfast, which we attempted to take advantage of the next day. We were directed to the lobby restaurant Pete’s when we checked in, but now the staff were not aware of the policy nor could find out. So we were told to go back to the front desk to inquire. There, they claimed we had a $35 breakfast credit and that it does not include tip.

This was more than enough to cover the $29.95 breakfast buffet, which I explained to the waitstaff who gave me a container to pick and scoop what I wanted into. They had a wide selection of pastries and precooked eggs, bacon, hash browns, and pancakes to pick from. As well as a customize your own omelet station. I took my fill, however when I walked out I was stopped and asked to sign for my small box, to have it charged to the room. My girl friend said she would short it out later and we did just that, still
tipping for the little help we got, but because it is a cultural expectation at this point. Not one I agree with, but more on that later.

On this first night we would visit a couple of bars and grab a few quick bites, although I will be covering each in their own post.

Fast forward to our next hotel. Also located in the French Quarter, we would spend the rest our time in New Orleans at the Marriott; which was actually the hotel hosting my friend’s conference.

Less old world splash, and more functional space, set up to receive a large group of people with double the front desk staff on hand. A spacious lobby rotunda with bar and pantry to receive guests. And 6 elevators that allowed for direct to floor speedy travel.

We also got a better view here with a look at the city across staggered roof tops. The room was non-descript with a standard look. All the little luxury touches like fan folded facial tissue, personal care kits, an ionic hair dryer that I took for granted were missing here.

The complimentary products felt like drug store purchases, not wrapped and bundled for that sanitary feel.

And the shower was just a head with low flow and minimum water pressure. When we settled in, we discovered that the safe didn’t even work and had to be replaced.

Overall, this was a very basic hotel room, but at least it suited our needs and the beds gave us good sleep.

Stay tuned for what we actually saw and did on our trip, across the next series of posts.

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