Category Archives: New Orleans hotels

New Orleans "Direct Connect" Hotels From Hotelmine

The French Quarter

New Orleans is the crown jewel of the south.

New Orleans, with its unique atmosphere, is one of the most popular US destinations, particularly during its magnificent Mardi Gras celebration in late February or early March. Its oldest district, the French Quarter (Vieux Carré), has a wealth of architecture that portrays its colourful history.

Here are just a few of the many hotels in New Orleans that you will find at Hotelmine.  Don’t forget when you decided to book your guest room you will be dealing directly with the hotel and not an online travel agency.

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New Orleans Hotels

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Travel to the Gulf Coast may rebound by 2013

With the summer tourist season coming to a close after Labor Day weekend, destinations are scrambling to keep businesses afloat and hang on to the region’s 400,000 travel industry jobs. Some are trying discounts, special concerts and celebrity-endorsed commercials inviting residents to visit attractions once seen as havens for out-of-towners in their hometowns.

BP gave millions to the region for tourism promotion — $25 million to Florida and $15 million each to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama — though most of that money already has been spent with little effect.

“Once perceptions are formed, they take quite some time to change,” said Geoff Freeman, executive vice president of the U.S. Travel Association, a national nonprofit trade association. “One of the best examples was after Katrina — here we were in 2010 and we were only now ready to get to 2005 levels.”

The association commissioned a study by the Oxford Economics forecasting group that projected the disaster could cost the region $22.7 billion by 2013. With a $500 million infusion from BP to promote tourism, they estimated that figure could drop to $15.2 billion. The group also said travel to the Gulf Coast wouldn’t rebound until at least 2013.

Communities known for their beaches or charter fishing appear to have suffered most, while a few others managed unexpected increases after an anemic recession year.

Tracy Louthain, spokeswoman for the Beaches of South Walton on Florida’s Gulf Coast, said summer occupancy was down 30 percent from last year. The agency is offering a bonus for travelers who book three-night stays in the area from now to the end of September: $250 gift cards to the Silver Sands Factory Stores or for future travel on Southwest Airlines.

In Alabama’s Dauphin Island, known for its sugar sand beaches and bird sanctuaries, 90 percent fewer people booked summer rentals compared to last summer, said Mayor Jeff Collier.

“We were hoping it was going to be our year to come back after the hurricane (Katrina),” he said.

Other cities with more attractions showed increases over last year. New Orleans began 2010 as the country’s top tourist destination, said Kelly Schultz, vice president of the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. But after a flurry of news reports on the oil spill from New Orleans, officials spent much of the $5 million from BP assuring people oil wasn’t in their city, Schultz said.

One print ad featuring a couple strolling with cocktails in hand read: “In New Orleans, Things are Normal. Well, Our Normal.” Another with a photo of a large fried shrimp sandwich teased: “There is no Moratorium on Shrimp Po-Boys,” referring to the ban on deepwater drilling after the rig leased by BP exploded and spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf.

“It’s our most important industry, and it’s an image-driven business,” Schultz said of the $5 billion a year tourism industry.

Miami spent the bulk of its $1.25 million from BP reminding overseas visitors that its beaches were clean. The first six months of hotel occupancy increased 8.1 percent over last year, and the South Florida city’s typically busy winter season also is expected to be strong.

“Could this year have been better had the oil spill not happened? Anecdotally the answer is yes,” said Rolando Aedo, senior vice president for marketing for the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Other communities had deceptively high occupancy rates because BP and federal officials were stationed nearby.

“I think we’re one of the overlooked victims,” said Leon Maisel with the Convention and Visitors Bureau in Mobile, Ala. “We have an elevated false economy because we were the staging area for the response team.”

Spill response workers may have filled the hotels, but that left tourists with nowhere to stay. And that meant no one was spending money on attractions such as the USS Alabama Battleship and the Mobile Carnival Museum. The state has launched a series of commercials featuring celebrities from Alabama, including actress Courteney Cox and singer Taylor Hicks, reminding families to return to beaches they’ve known for generations.

The plan after Labor Day, Maisel said, is to go after convention business, continue advertising attractions and set up new draws, such as a series of arts weekends.

“Right now our brand is ‘go coastal’ and that’s almost like saying ‘go toxic,'” he said. “Our brand has been damaged … we’re going to have to rebuild and re-inform.”

Hyatt Regency New Orleans set to reopen in 2011

The Hyatt Regency New Orleans, which became a familiar symbol on television of the city’s damage from Hurricane Katrina, will be renovated and reopened in the fall of 2011.

According to Hyatt, all 1,193 rooms will be renovated, along with 53 suites. A redesign calls for 200,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space, two restaurants, two bars and a coffee bar.

The current hotel ownership group acquired the Hyatt from Chicago-based Strategic Hotels & Resorts Inc. after the 31-story building sustained heavy wind and water damage during Katrina in August 2005.

Hotelmine Travel Planner – New Orleans

A heady confluence of the haughty European and the boisterous third-world, New Orleans is often referred to as the northernmost Caribbean city.

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Precious architecture stands alongside careening overloaded junk trucks, sumptuous delicacies tickle palates while offal in the streets offends the eyes. Never be in a hurry, and any time you step outside, be ready for a meandering conversation with a total stranger.

The spiritual and cultural heart of New Orleans is the French Quarter, where the city was settled by the French in 1718. You can easily spend several days visiting museums, shops, and eateries in this area. Yet the rest of the city’s neighborhoods, radiating out from this focal point, also make for rewarding rambling. The mansion-lined streets of the Garden District and Uptown, the aboveground cemeteries that dot the city, and the open air along Lake Pontchartrain provide a nice balance to the commercialization of the Quarter. Despite its sprawling size, New Orleans has a small-town vibe, perhaps due to locals’ shared cultural habits and history. Families have lived in the same neighborhoods for generations; red beans and rice appears on almost every table on Monday; people visit cemeteries and whitewash the tombs of their departed on All Saints’ Day; and from the smartest office to the most down-home local bar, New Orleanians are ready to celebrate anything at the drop of a hat.

It’s a great city to walk around, anchored by the beguiling French Quarter and the adjoining faubourgs (originally, ‘suburbs’). Despite the city’s bawdy reputation, it’s the moment when things are quiet – late afternoon when everyone is at the hotel getting ready to go out, early morning when the light explodes on the city and work crews come out to spray away last night’s sins – that New Orleans reveals its subtler charms.

When to Go

With the possible exception of July and August (unless you happen to thrive on heat and humidity — and some really exceptional hotel deals!), just about any time is the right time to go to New Orleans.  The best time of year is December, before and during Christmas. The town is gussied up with decorations, there are all kinds of seasonal special events, the weather is nice — but for some reason, tourists become scarce. Hotels, eager to lure any business, lower their rates dramatically, and most restaurants are so empty that you can walk in just about anywhere without a reservation. Take advantage of it.

New Orleans Districts Guide

French Quarter: the oldest, most famous, and most visited section of the city. Most tourists will want to center their visit here. Those who explore other parts of town as well will find the city offers additional treats. Many old-line restaurants are in the Quarter, along with music clubs, museums, antiques shops, and drinking establishments.

Central Business District: What many cities call “Downtown” (though in New Orleans this term is often used to refer to a different part of town downriver). Adjacent to the French Quarter; has many attractions. The “CBD” has high-rise hotels and some excellent restaurants, along with many museums (the National D-Day Museum, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Contemporary Arts Center) and a gallery district on and around Julia Street. Includes the “Arts District” and the “Old Warehouse District”.

Uptown: 19th century residential section upriver, take the St. Charles Avenue streetcar. Uptown includes the “Garden District“, which is more noted for its Victorian architecture than gardens. Also contains some of the City’s best local restaurants, and the Audubon Zoo. Magazine Street hosts some 80 blocks of antique stores, art galleries, interior designer studios, and clothing stores ranging from funky thrift shops to upscale boutiques.

When in New Orleans…