Andy and I had gotten a great flight deal to New Orleans. The timing was great as we could leave directly from work and arrive in New Orleans late that evening. Since hotels in the downtown area were quite expensive, Andy and I decided that to save some money we would get a hotel by the airport and head downtown in the morning.
Booking Our Hotel through Priceline
Even by doing my standard search for hotels, I was still coming up with roughly $100 a night for hotel rooms around the airport. This seemed high to me and I decided that our best option would be to get a hotel through Priceline. Priceline’s name your own price tool, an opaque pricing system, would save us some money. The downside is that we wouldn’t know the name of the hotel until our bid was approved. Once booked, there are no refunds or changes on the reservation.
I placed a $50 bid for a 2 star or higher hotel. Priceline told me that there was a very low chance of being accepted, likely to encourage higher booking bids, but it was accepted. I was told that my hotel was the Extended Stay America, Kenner. To say that I was disappointed was an understatement. True, it was a 2 star hotel and I didn’t pay much for it, but I expected a more traditional hotel. Even though we weren’t excited, we said it is only 1 night and we would make the best out of it.
Our Stay at the Extended Stay America
The worst part of the hotel was that there was no airport shuttle meaning that part of the savings that we had by going through Priceline was lost as we needed to pay for a taxi. We were further frustrated when we learned that a quick 5 minute ride would cost us a flat rate of $18, not the $10 or less that we had estimated.
We were greeted by a friendly agent who was very fast at checking us in. She gave us a key and informed us that we would be in a smoking room on the 2nd floor. Honestly I didn’t even know that smoking rooms existed anywhere anymore! Since neither of us smoke, we inquired if we could get a non-smoking room but were told that they were completely booked for the night and since we booked through Priceline, we signed up for any available room. We begrudgingly headed up to our room and hoped that the room wasn’t too smoky.
The smell of smoke was in the room but luckily was more of an old stale smoke vs. fresh smoke. In a stroke of luck, before we had left on our trip I read an article that New Orleans still allowed smoking in bars, with a law eliminating this starting April 22, 2015. Upon reading this article, I brought a small spray bottle of Febreze to ensure that our clothes wouldn’t smell smoky. This came in handy as we were able to spray our clothes before we left the hotel.
The room itself was clean which was a relief. Everything was very basic, with minimal amenities. So basic, that Andy had to go to the front desk to get shampoo as only soap was provided in the bathroom. Should you stay longer than 1 night, don’t expect housekeeping as they only come once a week. Even though there was a kitchenette, there was nothing in the cabinets. If you needed any dishes or cookware, you had to check it out with the front desk. I assume this is so things don’t get stolen and help the cleaning staff more quickly turn the rooms as they don’t need to do a physical inventory every time a guest leaves.
Neither Andy or I slept well the night we were there. The pillows had absorbed the smell of the smoke and the comforter was slippery and kept falling down, leaving us with just a sheet on. In the morning we were both eager to take a quick shower and get out of there!
The grab and go breakfast that was included in the room was the worst spread that I have seen. It was coffee and tea with pre-packaged granola bars, muffins and fruit. We grabbed some granola bars to have as snacks but headed next door to Sonic, our go-to road trip restaurant, for breakfast.
Upon returning from breakfast, we asked the agent to call for a taxi. The cab came quickly and was the flat fare rate for taxis from the airport to the downtown area.
If I were to stay by the New Orleans airport again, I would spring for a hotel that had a shuttle from the airport. Hopefully with the smoking ban, the issue that we had with the smoky room will be a problem of the past. Even though the agents were nice, I wouldn’t recommend this hotel unless you’re interested in low frills long term accommodations.