Help me decode New Orleans hotel locations!
September 10, 2013 12:35 PM   Subscribe

I'm somewhat last-minute booking a trip to NOLA, and have never been before, so I'm floundering a bit in sorting through my hotel decisions. There's tons of advice on where to eat, but very little on where to sleep! Which we do plan to do at least once. ;) So dear MeFites, where should the boy and I park ourselves between beignets?

Hotel locations on the major booking sites seem to chiefly be:

-Central Business District
-French Quarter
-Garden District

I know very little about the city, so I'm not really sure what's desirable/undesirable amongst these. Details:

-Trip is NOT for business and I do not need to be near Superdome, convention center, or airport.
-I am told that I will hate Bourbon Street with the fire of a thousand suns, but
-I totally want to hear lots of music and eat ALL THE THINGS.
-I will not have a car.

What neighborhoods are my friends? Which are my enemies? Any recommendations of specific hotels are welcome, as well, but the budget is somewhat low--$150/night is probably the most I can do. (Chain hotels are totally fine, we can get character elsewhere)

I know, I know, "let me direct you to Google," but I am in a massive hurry for silly reasons, and would prefer the opinions of experts--particularly recent opinions, as lots of my friends have tons of advice but haven't been there since Katrina. Much obliged, I shall feed you all andouille sausage in spirit.
posted by like_a_friend to Travel & Transportation around New Orleans, LA (21 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I had a good experience at the Monteleone, which was a very nice quality hotel for a good price in a great location. There is no way to go wrong with that place. If I could have done it over again, though, I would have looked for a boutique hotel.
posted by deanc at 12:39 PM on September 10, 2013

All of the things you'll want to do in or near the French Quarter are directly accessible and walkable from the CBD. Canal Street is the divider between the two. FQ hotels will probably in general be a little swankier, CBD hotels will be a little more business traveler. That's a gross oversimplification but hey, it'll do.

Here's a real short answer: if it has an address on Canal St. anywhere in the 100-800 range and it suits your dollar amount you'll probably be just fine. If it's in the area southwest (aka upriver / uptown) of Canal St. then that's in the CBD and it'll also be fine.

My friend who comes to New Orleans with great frequency always stays at the InterContinental on St. Charles near Poydras, if you want a specific recommendation.

[Garden District will likely be a touch swankier and require you to ride the streetcar to get downtown and that's not a bad thing but a CBD or FQ hotel will be closer to your expected first-time New Orleans visit destinations]

not NOLA-specific: don't forget to check prices online and then call to make a reservation. Often times one is cheaper than the other but you won't know until you have the numbers from both sides.
posted by komara at 12:50 PM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

Business Quarter or French Quarter.

I stayed out in the burbs and this was NOT a good idea.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:16 PM on September 10, 2013

Any one of those neighborhoods would be totally fine.

If you imagine three neighborhoods in New Orleans right in a row - the French Quarter is where most of the Main Tourist Stuff is, and then the Central Business District is the neighborhood just west of that, and then the Garden District is the neighborhood just west of the Central Business district. Both times I've been to NOLA I've stayed in the neighborhood just west of the Garden District, and it's been totally fine in terms of getting myself to the French Quarter, or anywhere - even when I was there for Mardi Gras and they shut down all public transit because a parade was coming through, I walked all the way to the French Quarter and it was fine. I was also able to get myself to other farflung parts of the city; the streetcar is pretty good. You could also consider the neighborhood Faubourg Marginy, which is one block east of the French Quarter.

As to whether to stay on Bourbon Street - yeah, listen to the people who say "don't". You can get yourself to and from the Quarter on the streetcar pretty easily, or on foot in a pinch. If you really really wanna stay in the Quarter, pick another street to stay on because drunken jackasses outside the door will be annoying. In fact - you may even get sick of Bourbon Street in general; yeah you want to see a whole lot of music, but there is music everywhere, and you may find that Bourbon Street is almost like where they put the most touristy and overhyped venues so they could get the touristy people out of the way of the serious music fans. And as for food - honestly, one of the best meals I had last time I went was at this random bar next to my hotel where someone was dishing up red beans and rice out of a big pot in a back room for cash only. There will be food EVERY. WHERE.

A tip about transport - I had trouble hailing a free taxi last time, so I think you usually need to call ahead and reserve a car rather than flagging them down.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:30 PM on September 10, 2013

I've stayed at the Country Inn & Suites right next to the Quarter several times. Believe it or not, it's quite nice.
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 1:46 PM on September 10, 2013

We stayed at the W French Quarter, and it was pretty great.
posted by booknerd at 1:52 PM on September 10, 2013

Hello, from the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, right next to the Superdome! (Only here because gingerbeer is here for a conference and this is where the conference is.) Since I'm on vacation, I've been wandering and although I'm far from an expert, I think I can say that you can totally hear and eat all the things if all the things you want to eat and hear are in the Quarter and you don't have to stay there. I've been going to Cafe du Monde for my daily tourist cafe au lait and beignet fix and it's a 20-minute walk, no problem. This city is flat, so walking is easy.

I did walk down Bourbon St yesterday, because, and pretty much no one was awake and about yet except people who work there and it smells like a frat basement after the worst party ever. So yeah, don't stay there if you don't want.
posted by rtha at 1:55 PM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

We stayed at the Hotel Place d'Armes a few blocks from Bourbon St and Jackson Square, very peaceful and charming, with a beautiful courtyard. In your price range for some days. I'd vote for staying in the French Quarter, just for soaking up the atmosphere.
posted by Sybil Stockwell Oop at 2:32 PM on September 10, 2013

If you had posted this next week, I'd have recommendations for you, since I'm going to New Orleans this weekend :)

I'm staying at the Bienville House. It looks nice and was reasonably priced. It got good reviews on yelp and it has some kind of deal going on right now where the rooms are discounted (google "bienville summer rates".) I did a ton of research before I booked and I really hope it turns out to be a cool place!
posted by silverstatue at 3:08 PM on September 10, 2013

I'm sitting in the French Quarter as I write this, and I think just about any hotel in your price range with decent reviews in the CBD or French Quarter will suit you. I'd suggest the French Quarter, for the architecture/atmosphere. The CBD is fine, but walking around the French Quarter, you're hit with that "wow I'm in New Orleans!" feeling at all times, which is nice. You'll also be close to Frenchman St. which is probably where you'll want to go for good live music. If you want to check out the Garden District or anything uptown, you can get on the St. Charles Ave streetcar, which starts at Canal.
posted by MadamM at 3:29 PM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Stay at the Creole Gardens. You'll be glad you did.
posted by woodvine at 3:39 PM on September 10, 2013

I've been to nola around 15 times (my bff lives there) and my recommendation as someone who hates bourbon street with the fire of a thousand suns) is to stay somewhere in the garden district (which has amazing architecture, historic churches, gardens and Audobon Park) and ride the streetcar down to the quarter to explore there. It's fun, cheap and you're better off being somewhere quiet when you're sleeping rather than where all the action is.

Also, when you're at Cafe Du Monde, there's a secret takeout line towards the back (closer to the river). Get your beignets and coffee there and go sit right on the river and eat them and spare yourself the line. Also, go to Royal Blend.
posted by softlord at 4:13 PM on September 10, 2013 [3 favorites]

We stayed in an airbnb room in the Merigny (close to the French quarter), and I thought that neighborhood was worth seeing. The houses are nowhere as grand as the garden district, but they had a charm that I loved waking through every day on the way to the quarter/streetcar/CBD. I can drive through a rich town nearby in NJ to see expensive houses or go to the city to see a modern business district, but nowhere near where I live is there a quirky colorful neighborhood the charm that the Marigny has. Plus all the bars with live music on Frenchmen street were a 5 minute walk home at night on the way back from eating too many beignets at cafe du monde.
posted by at 5:36 PM on September 10, 2013

I like the Garden District. It's easy to get to anywhere in the city but it's also sort of quiet. I've stayed at the Mckendrick-Breaux B&B and the hosts are lovely.
posted by 26.2 at 6:11 PM on September 10, 2013

I've recently been to New Orleans, and I wholeheartedly support komara's suggestions. Stay in the Central Business District, it's safe and very quiet at night. Parts of the French Quarter can be somewhat bustling/noisy at night.

I stayed in the InterContinental Hotel which was very pleasant - even a little luxe for my used-to-suburbia sensibilities- and it was only four walkable blocks from the western edge of the French Quarter. For going Uptown, the St. Charles Streetcar stops outside the front door of the hotel. Plus I got a SMOKIN' deal on the room, around $100/night, through one of the discount hotel booking services, either Hotwire or Priceline.

If you'd like to stay at a boutique bed-and-breakfast, with a local proprietor and personal attention, I highly recommend the The Green House Inn, in the Lower Garden District / western edge of the Central Business District. So relaxing! Centrally located: walkable to the WWII museum, one block to Magazine St bus headed toward Upper Garden district, and about 5 blocks to St. Charles streetcar. I will warn you that while the Green House Inn is totally lovely, some of the immediate surrounding properties are still awaiting their turn at gentrification, though the area is very safe. Also, if you stay in a B&B, be aware that New Orleans city law prohibits *ALL* B&Bs from serving a hot breakfast - I was told it was a non-competition law to favor New Orleans restaurants. Lastly, the Green House Inn is "adults only" because of the European-style pool = ok to swim or sunbathe nude. I thought this was a big plus, but ymmv.

Lagniappe: If you are there on a Thursday night, spring for a cab to & from the Bywater to go see local legend Kermit Ruffins play traditional and updated jazz at Vaughan's Lounge.
posted by Ardea alba at 7:20 PM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

Monrose Row!
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:41 PM on September 10, 2013

I stayed at The Burgundy B&B (in Faubourg Marigny) which put me about a 10-15 minute walk from all the awesome live music on Frenchmen Street and from the French Quarter itself. Highly recommended. So freaking convenient.
posted by cadge at 8:46 PM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

I live in the CBD less than one block from Canal and Bourbon. The Monteleone is right behind my building and looks nice but any of the chains located on or close to Canal between Bourbon and Poydras are just fine.

Serapuzra Fgerrg [rot13] is far and away the best neighborhood for music imo. It's a bit far to walk though so I'd take a short cab ride instead.

Definiitely take the St. Charles streetcar for a cheap tour of the Garden District and to get off of your feet [and for the welcome breeze coming in through the windows] - hop off anywhere that seems interesting, the outgoing and return tracks are right next to each other once you are in the Garden District so you don't have to worry about finding your way back.

There are lots of art galleries on Royal St. which runs parallel to Bourbon if that's your type of thing. Food is everywhere - smaller, funkier places just off the beaten path are, as always, better.

I don't know where you hail from but New Orleans is actually fairly safe and heavily policed as long as you stay near the tourist areas.

The answer to the question of where you got your shoes, is "on my feet" [you'll thank me later].
posted by vapidave at 8:51 PM on September 10, 2013 [5 favorites]

I recently stayed at B & W Courtyards (warning - noise) on Chartres in the Marigny and they are wonderful. Good location for food and music, but in a quiet residential street. Excellent breakfast, lovely rooms, fantastic hosts who are generous with information.
posted by you must supply a verb at 4:02 AM on September 11, 2013

I lived in Nola for a long time. All those neighborhoods are fine. Garden District is more cute and residential. CBD is a little more "business downtown" than "ooooooh downtown" but if the hotel is affordable it's not a bad choice. New Orleans a small city so it's really easy to get anywhere (although I would avoid staying outside the city).

I've stayed at the InterContinental several times - it's quite nice and not terribly expensive. I stayed at Le Pavillion last time. It's historic and "haunted" so a lot of people like that - I thought it was a little too "historic" for the price (i.e. there was no bathtub and the place smells musty). My mom and I stayed at the Avenue Inn once and that is really cute. It's "historic" but in a cute way, and the proprietors are so sweet.
posted by radioamy at 10:54 AM on September 11, 2013

We stayed at the Inn on St. Ann in May of this year, and it was absolutely wonderful. Located on the northwest side of the French Quarter, it is a pleasant 10 minute walk straight to Jackson Square, and it is just across the street from Louis Armstrong Park. The room was clean and nicely furnished. In the evening we could relax in a private little courtyard. I highly recommend it.
posted by ReginaHart at 9:31 AM on September 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older Tips/strategies/advice to improve my intermediate...   |   Older, plumper, faster, stronger: asthma, jogging... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.