Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans tourist industry in 2005, but in 2007, "PR Newswire" wrote that a Zagat survey reported the city had completely revitalized major tourism areas such as the French Quarter, downtown and the Garden District. New Orleans nonetheless needs tourism for its complete financial recovery, and many hotels attract visitors by offering substantial discounts. New Orleans always had a fair share of cheap motels, but some of the local, independent hotels may offer better value. Listed rates are accurate as of November 2010.
Quintessential New Orleans Hotels
The French Quarter is the iconic New Orleans neighborhood. Clubs, cafes, shops and art galleries line its streets, and French-style iron balconies add charm to its buildings. Finding cheap lodging in this neighborhood is serendipitous, but not impossible. The Chateau Hotel, located in the heart of the French Quarter, has an elegant, parlor-style lobby. Floral, Victorian furnishings embellish its guest rooms. The outdoor patios overlook a courtyard and swimming pool. Rates, which range from $69 to $169, include breakfast. Hotel St. Marie, also in the French Quarter, has nightly rates as low as $58 on certain days. Regular rates range from $179 to$143. Rates include breakfast. Floral wallpaper, chandeliers and Louis XIV style chairs add authenticity to the room decor. The Empress Hotel, located two blocks from the French Quarter, is a no-frills hotel. It does not have a pool and it does not offer free breakfast, but nightly rates are as low as $35, which includes free morning coffee.
A Touch of Creole
Louisiana's Creole population descends from French, Spanish and Haitian settlers. Creole interior design marries the intricate ironwork of French decor to the brightly colored fabrics of the Caribbean. This design is evident at the Old Historic Creole Inn, located near the French Quarter. All of its rooms have private baths, but this is strictly a no-frills hotel with no pool, fitness center or room service. Breakfast is not included, but with rates that start as low as $49 nightly, you can treat yourself to a fancy breakfast at a local restaurant.
If you belong to any hotel affinity program, you can earn points at some of the inexpensive New Orleans motels that are part of larger hotel conglomerates. Days Inn, for example, is a subsidiary of Wyndham Hotels. The Days Inn New Orleans is 10 minutes from downtown, and the Days Inn Metairie is seven miles from the airport. Rates, which start at $79 for the Metairie location and $89 for the French Quarter location, include breakfast and Internet access. Super 8, also part of the Wyndham Rewards program, is the closest motel to the French Quarter. Its rates begin at $64, and include breakfast. Accor, the French hotel company that owns Red Roof Inn, also owns Motel 6. The Motel 6 New Orleans is 10.3 miles from the French Quarter. Rates at this hotel begin at $43.99, and include morning coffee and Internet access.
Hostel Hotel in the Garden District
Italianate, Greek Revival and Victorian mansions line the streets of the New Orleans Garden District, so budget lodging in this area is a surprise. The Bourbon House offers hostel and private accommodations, and provides free shuttle service from the Amtrak and Greyhound train and bus stations, free Internet access, a free all-you-can-eat breakfast and discount bicycle rentals. A youth director escorts young travelers on pub crawls. The common room has a pool table, a flat-screen TV, movies and organized social events. Rates begin at $11.26 per person for a four-bed private bungalow, and $16 per person for an eight-bed hostel with a shared bath. If you fall in love with New Orleans, Bourbon House has a three- to 12-month "work and stay" program, which pays a small stipend and provides free lodging in exchange for hostel management.