Saturday, April 19, 2014

Westin New Orleans

Hotel Stay Details
Hotel: Westin New Orleans Canal Place 
Dates: April 18-19, 2014
Rate Paid: $170/night (including taxes) 
Points Earned: 977 SPG

I've been looking forward to this trip for quite a while. First, it came right after my father returned from his 12 night work trip away from us, so we'd get to spend a lot of time with him. Second, we were heading to New Orleans, one of the true unique cities in America.

We were staying in New Orleans, LA (NOLA) for just Friday and Saturday nights, but we wanted to try a few different hotels so my father split up the weekend between the Westin and the W New Orleans (on Poydras). There were some other Starwood hotels actually in the French Quarter (Four Points and W French Quarter), but we actually preferred staying a bit off the touristy areas. I mean, you wouldn't want to stay in Times Square if you were visiting Manhattan, right?

When you enter the hotel from the street, you walk to the elevators and go up to the massive lobby in the 11th floor.

The best part of the Westin lobby was the huge floor to ceiling windows overlooking the French Quarter and the Mississippi River.

Since it was New Orleans over a holiday weekend, we didn't expect to get upgraded to a suite (and we didn't). However, our flight arrived at MSY Airport at 9AM, so we were anxious to get into a room even though the normal check in time was 4PM. Fortunately, they could accommodate us and get us checked in right away. Jackpot!

We got into our 25th floor room with the same Mississippi River view as the lobby, but higher up. The room itself was pretty massive and could have used a couch at the car end to take up more of the space. But the desk was well appointed with plenty of electrical outlets for my father to plug in all his electronics.

And the bathroom was perfectly clean and well lit, which made my mother super happy.

Unfortunately, when it was around 11AM while we were getting ready for lunch in the French Quarter, we heard a lot of loud guys in the connecting room next door. Of course, it was locked, but there was NO sound proofing between our rooms, so their loud bachelor party cheers and screams were way too loud for my 2 year old's taste. So I did what I do best. I started screaming and yelling. They of course hear me and tried opening the door.

My father said he'd go down to the Front Desk and switch to another room. Fortunately, the Front Desk staff was more than happy to accommodate us. I'm sure they don't love the "bachelor party" groups of guys all wearing the same stripped button down shirts and dark jeans anymore than families with young kids do. So we packed up our things and got new keys to a room on the 24th floor.

The room was exactly the same but flipped around and had no connecting room next door. PERFECT! We just threw our things into the room and went out to enjoy the excellent New Orleans food waiting for us out there!

Speaking of food, the next morning, we decided to save some money and have a free breakfast in the hotel. Being a SPG Platinum, we were also entitled to complimentary breakfast. While Starwood only guarantees you to a "continental breakfast," at this Westin New Orleans, they give you a voucher which gives you their extensive hot breakfast buffet, complete with eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, french toast, fresh fruits, yogurt parfaits as well as some southern style grits.

When we got the breakfast bill, it had the full price for 2 buffets but were told not to worry because we had a Platinum voucher. When the bill showed up on our invoice at check out, only the tip was there. Service at its finest! Now, we're supposed to pick either (a) free breakfast or (b) the welcome 500 SPG points, but when my father checked his Starwood account a few days later, the bonus points showed up as well. Bonus.

The best part of the hotel was that it was in easy walking distance to the French Quarter, right on Canal Street. That was huge because it meant we didn't need a rental car the entire weekend. That saved us some cash since we didn't have to pay the outrageous prices for parking.

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