Also known as the Vieux Carré, the French Quarter is the oldest section of New Orleans. Bounded by Canal Street, Rampart Street, Esplanade Avenue and the Mississippi River, the Quarter is only seven blocks wide by 13 blocks long. The Quarter is easily walkable, making the exact location of your hotel almost irrelevant. Discount hotel rooms abound, particularly at the Quarter’s independent hotels.
The French Quarter Collection
The French Quarter Collection consists of 10 properties scattered throughout the French Quarter. The hotels are historic in nature, housed in buildings that have existed since the 1800s. Look for distinctly New Orleans touches such as walled courtyards and wrought-iron balconies. The Bourbon Orleans was built on the site of the old Orleans Theater, and is reputed to be haunted by multiple spirits. The Inn on Bourbon sits on the site of America's first opera house and offers balconies that directly overlook Bourbon Street. As small, independently owned properties, the hotels are significantly less expensive than their larger neighbors, with average rates well under $100 per night (2010 prices). Rooms in the larger chain hotels along the edge of the Quarter regularly sell for $150 to $200 per night.
Numerous chain hotels offer properties along the outskirts of the French Quarter. Among the best deals are Holiday Inn and Best Western. The Holiday Inn New Orleans French Quarter is on Royal Street, best known for its art galleries and antique stores. Built in 1847, the Holiday Inn Chateau LeMoyne is on Dauphine Street, just six blocks from Jackson Square. Located across from historic Armstrong Park on Rampart Street, the Best Western French Quarter Landmark is in the quieter residential section of the French Quarter. The hotel is just a short walk from the heart of the action, including the Bourbon Street nightclubs and the family-friendly Audubon Aquarium. All three hotels offer such full-service amenities as secure off-street parking, concierge services and on-site dining options. Rates vary by season, but are generally less than $100 per night (2010 pricing) rather than the $150 to $200 rates at nearby chain hotels.
The French Quarter is dotted with independent properties. Most hotels in this category are small, containing fewer than 50 guest rooms, and offer basic budget-motel amenities. The Chateau Hotel, at the corner of St. Philip Street and Chartres Street in the residential section of the Quarter, offers valet parking and a swimming pool, both of which are relatively rare in budget-priced French Quarter properties. The Andrew Jackson Hotel, nestled among the antique shops of Royal Street, has a traditional Creole courtyard, an element that is typically filled with native plants and comfortable seating and surrounded by high walls that provide a buffer from ambient noise and pedestrian traffic. The hotel also features elegant wrought-iron balconies. Rates vary dramatically by season, but are often the lowest in town, regularly dipping below $70 per night (2010 pricing).
When to Go
New Orleans in general and the French Quarter in particular are driven by a year-round calendar of events. Mardi Gras is arguably one the best-known festivals in the world, but such events as the Satchmo Summer Festival, Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest in the spring and the fall Bayou Classic also draw thousands of visitors. It can be tough to find a room at all during special events, and rates generally skyrocket. It is not unusual for a room that typically sells for $75 per night to cost upwards of $250 per night during special events. Book a refundable room as early as possible, but continue to watch the rates. If a property does not sell out, rates often drop drastically at the last minute. While special events turn up the volume on New Orleans' legendary party atmosphere, quieter periods reward visitors with the opportunity to mingle with locals and absorb the city's history and culture. Early summer is historically the slowest season, offering warm weather and vastly discounted room rates. The two weeks immediately following Thanksgiving allow visitors to enjoy the Christmas festivities without battling crowds or paying inflated prices.
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