Hotels

Hotel Review: Intercontinental New Orleans

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I’m a big fan of Intercontinental Hotels even though I’m no longer a Royal Ambassador with free mini-bar benefits, so I was excited to be returning to Intercontinental New Orleans I’d stayed at 2 years prior.

My friend had made the reservation, but I had no problem adding my Priority Club number online. I’d worried that would erase her name on the reservation, but all the subsequent email communications and confirmations showed her name as the primary guest.

A few days out I accessed the reservation and saw they’d already upgraded us to a balcony room based on my Ambassador status. Yay!! I’d had a suite last time as a Royal Ambassador, but it was on a low floor without a balcony but a view directly into the adjacent parking garage. This room sounded like it might be even better.

Reader DaninSTL had  a good suggestion of calling ahead to ensure our room was still available post-hurricane, which helped us avoid check in drama. The room was still available, but the lady at the front desk was insisting my friend wasn’t on the reservation and she needed to be added, this despite her name showing on email confirmations as the primary guest. I called to “give permission” for her to check in and was underwhelmed by the slightly belligerent tone I got L

After the call we also saw that when the reservation had been upgraded it had changed to 3 occupants and a $30 a day extra charge. Not wanting to deal with the front desk again, I called the general priority club reservations line and got everything quickly straightened out.  They saw my friend as the primary guest and had no problems removing the 3rd person.

Actual check in apparently went smoothly (my flight didn’t get in til the next day) and we were pretty pleased with the room and the welcome chocolates and fruit plate.  The following assessment should not be taken as a criticism of the property but more a run down of what to expect for your visit. For $109-149 a night on a very busy holiday weekend, it is definitely a value.

A value, but a series of contrasts and inconsistencies. The outside of the hotel looks like an office building, the interior halls are very light and bright featuring whimsical pink designs painted on the doors that clash with the carpet.

The rooms themselves are rather dark – in the heart of downtown surrounded by tall buildings, it’s going to be hard for any room to get a lot of sunshine or a view. The rooms are furnished with pretty ornate furniture and a wide variety of patterns – wallpaper (2 types), carpet, bedskirt, and curtains all different– that I found a little overwhelming.

The balcony is plain, but spacious and overlooks a courtyard, if you look down 🙂

I loved having it because it gave me space to work early in the morning without waking my friend up. The mini bar had enough room to store personal food or drinks which came in handy.

The bathroom was very ornate and the shower featured a nice deep soaking tub. The amenities were the new Agraria series which I loved the smell of but didn’t care for how limp the shampoo made my hair.

There were small inconsistencies throughout the room though that belied its ornate appearance and 4* ranking. The hair dryer was one of the smaller, older models. The coffee maker only had coffee and no tea options. The second day our bath mat and hand towels were never replaced even though tips had been left for housekeeping each day. (We could have called to ask for replacements but were too tired and just made do). And yet the complimentary water for Ambassadors and New York Times were delivered without fail every day.

There was no turn down service the night I arrived but the next night (the day with no fresh towels) one of the beds was turned down with mints (but not the other).

The website had indicated there was a nearby health club for $55, but it turned out they had a really great one for free on the top floor. Lots of windows, lots of machines and weights.

The pool was also on the top floor, accessible by walking through the workout area. I loved the fact there was a bathroom attached to the pool area which didn’t require a wet trek through the gym. The pool is on the small side and only 4ft deep, but it was nice to a have a place to lounge in the muggy sunshine. Note, because of the tall buildings, the ideal sunning hours are probably 10AM-2PM.

During the stay, I had trouble logging on to the complimentary internet so called Tech Support. They answered quickly and it turned out it was an intermittent problem across the hotel where some folks’ name and room # would be recognized and others’ wouldn’t, so he offered to go ahead and log in all devices that might need the internet, so that was cleared up quickly.

All in all, I enjoyed the stay. The location was excellent and the price couldn’t be beat, it just didn’t quite live up to a 4* ranking. I am definitely willing to make some allowances for it being 2 days after the hurricane came through though.

Drinks in New Orleans
In Search of Praline Bacon
Dinner in New Orleans
Labor Day Brunch in New Orleans
Getting from the Airport to Downtown New Orleans 

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Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

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  1. Pingback: Dinner in New Orleans

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