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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Kenner, Louisiana / Hilton New Orleans airport (MSY)

February 2014, Sunday night, 1-night, King guestroom #656

Status perks and check-in
We arrived at the New Orleans airport Hilton in the morning after our Carnival Sunshine cruise. The agent said that there is a $25 charge to check-in early. I expressed surprise, since the last Hilton I had stayed in, the Palmer House Hilton, does not charge Gold status guests this fee. I asked if we should come back to the front desk after noon, or when. She said that check-in time is 3:00 p.m. She then asked if we were going to go someplace, and I said that we had planned to just hang out at the hotel until our flight home the next day. After a brief pause, she said that she would go ahead and check me in. The agent also provided two bottles of water, and an Internet access code for complimentary Internet.

Guestroom 656 is located on the top floor near the end of the hall. It faces away from the airport and overlooks the back roof and parking lot. The guestroom was a decent size, and it was well soundproofed.

The large closet at the entrance contained a safe, hangers, extra bedding, and a folding luggage rack.

Coffee supplies, which included individual pods and liquid creamer, and a microwave, were on a small table next to the closet. The coffee maker was a single-serve type machine, which could brew one or two cups as a time. I like that Hilton properties (including DoubleTree and Hilton Garden Inn) usually always have this type of setup for coffee outside of the bathroom.

The bathroom across from the closet was not very large, although it was sufficient. Bath amenities, a hairdryer, and good quality towels were provided. The bath amenities by Peter Thomas Roth included shampoo, conditioner, lotion, a grooming kit, facial soap, and a massaging bath bar. 

The shower was a tub/shower combination with a shower curtain on a curved rod.

The bedroom area contained a king size bed, nightstands, flatscreen TV on an armoire, desk and chair, a lounge type soft chair, and one end table. There were lamps on the desk and nightstands. An alarm clock was located on one of the nightstands, and a steel ice bucket and glass glasses were provided on the end table.

The HVAC unit could be turned off, which I always like overnight. The bed and pillows were very comfortable, although I thought the guestroom needed to be remodeled. 

The carpet and furnishings in the guestroom looked tired and smelled stale. In fact, the room had such a stagnant smell, that I called housekeeping a few hours after we had arrived to ask if they had some room freshener they could spray. An employee arrived within a few minutes and sprayed something in a couple of corners of the guestroom. I do not know what kind of spray was used, although it must have been very strong. The guestroom immediately smelled better, and she only sprayed about three or four small squirts. The employee was professional, and she understood why I had called. She said that if the spray did not help, to let her know, and they would assign us a new room. The fresh scent did wear off after a while; however, the guestroom smell was not unbearable, so I did not request a different guestroom.

room 656

I did not take a photo of the guestroom diagram on the door, because the guestroom sizes shown were not accurate. The diagram showed all of the guestrooms as the same size, and there is a large lounge type room across from the elevator on this floor, as well as an executive suite around the corner. The large room looked like an executive lounge; however, the hotel website does not offer executive rooms or an executive lounge. The door to the large room room was open in the morning, and there was one person seated inside. I did not observe any amenities set out. I suppose that the room could have been an executive lounge with limited hours.

Food & Beverages
We visited the hotel lobby lounge, Second Line Sports Edition, twice. Once for beverages shortly after check-in, and later for something to eat. The sign in front of the lounge said to ask about the daily specials, so we did. Both times, we were told that the lounge does not offer any specials. We asked again the second time, because we had only ordered beverages during our first visit, and we thought maybe the sign was for food specials. Our food server told us that the sign is old, and that they have not offered anything that is not on the menu for a long time.

The menu item pricing was somewhat inflated, as is the case at many airport hotels. The least expensive glass of red wine on the menu was $9. I had expected the cost to be similar to the cruise ship pricing, and I was surprised that it was more. I ended up ordering a Bloody Mary without knowing the cost. We were pleasantly surprised when we got the bill, and it was less than a glass of wine. The flavor was good. The men with me both had draft beers, which they were happy with as well.

My husband and I ordered the turkey wrap with fries to split the second time that we visited. The price for this item was a bit over $12. The portion size was generous, and the flavor was good. The service was excellent during our meal, and we did not have any complaints about the service earlier in the day.

There are two chain restaurants near this hotel. Subway is located in the Shell gas station next door, and we had breakfast there. The food was fresh, and the service was excellent. IHOP is located in the Days Inn on the other side of the Hilton. There is a parking lot between the Hilton and the IHOP, which looked like it might have been offsite airport parking. I did not see a sidewalk on the side of the road; however, there is room on the shoulder of the road, and the distance is very close. 

Pool area
This hotel had a decent outside pool sitting area. There were loungers, tables with seats, and a gazebo. When we had decided to stay an extra night after our cruise, we had hoped we'd have one last day of warmth to enjoy before heading back to cold Michigan. Unfortunately, mother nature did not cooperate, and it was a rainy, cool, and dreary day. We thought we might still use the hot tub; however, we changed our minds after looking at the tub. The tub looked neglected, and in need of cleaning.

Fitness center
The fitness center located next to the pool contained several cardio machines, a water cooler, and restrooms. We did not use the fitness center, and I am sure that there were more included items than what I have listed. We only walked through the fitness center to get to the pool, and to look for a scale. We initially thought there was not a scale in the fitness center; however, my husband said that there was one in the Men's restroom.

Business center
We observed one computer and a printer around the corner from the lobby, which did not work. There were at least two computers and a printer in the lobby by the front desk; however, the printer was not working at the time of our stay. The front desk agent told me to use the computer behind the bell stand to print our boarding passes.

Shuttle and misc.
The airport shuttle service was on demand, and it was very quick. This hotel is located across from the airport, and it only took a couple of minutes to get there. Our son took the shuttle a few hours after we had checked in, and we took it the next day. 

This hotel has several meeting rooms and ballrooms. There were sitting areas inside the hotel and in the courtyard. It looked like this had been a grand hotel at one time, although it looked tired at the time of our stay. The public areas looked like they needed to be refurbished, just like our guestroom. 

I overheard the front desk agents talking with other guests on the telephone about the $25 early check-in charge. We got a great rate on our hotel room, and the hotel must make a good portion of it's income with the early check-in charge. Just be aware of this, if you are arriving our departing outside of normal check-in and checkout times. Hotel parking is complimentary.