I struggled writing this review of the New Orleans Downtown Marriott at the Convention Center as  I really wanted to like the hotel for its location but came away feeling  underwhelmed by the lack of luxury and dated décor.

Built in a renovated 19th century cotton mill in a location that borders the Warehouse/Arts District, the Garden District and the French Quarter the New Orleans Downtown Marriott at the Convention Center is in a super central spot opposite the sprawling New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center as its name implies and within walking distance to all those historic neighborhoods have to offer including the National World War II Museum, Mardi Gras World, and the Port of New Orleans’ Julia Street Cruise Terminal.

My Halloween arrival found the spacious lobby scaled back to a fraction of its former size which a letter left in room 1405, a “King Guest Room”, explained was due to a renovation project that started the day prior and is scheduled to end in April, 2020. This work  came a complete surprise to me as the construction work wasn’t noted on the Marriott website or sent out by email.  The work to transform guest rooms, restaurants, lobby and meetings rooms is limited to 9 AM – 5 PM  on weekdays and 10 AM – 5 PM Saturdays with no work undertaken on Sundays.

The room while far from hideous is dated and so overdue for an overhaul.

photo by author

photo by author

While my stay was very early in the construction project, I encountered no noise impact or restricted access.

The view from room 1405 is of the convention center and the Crescent City Connection (CCC), twin cantilever bridges that carry U.S. Highway 90 Business over the Mississippi River.

photo by author

While the hotel features a pool it’s tiny and unheated so unusable much of the year when temperatures drop below 16 Celsius or about 60 Fahrenheit. The view if the best thing about the pool deck which along with the adjacent fitness room are accessed with a guest room key card.

photo by author

Breakfast at the hotel was not included in my room rate and at USD$19 for a breakfast buffet is on the pricey side so I walked a few block to the Two Chicks Cafe for a hearty cooked-to-order “Cafe Breakfast” for USD$8.50.  The Cafe opens daily at 7 AM which came in handy as I had some early morning rendezvous.

After packing up by bags and getting ready to leave for the lobby to check-out at the end of my three night stay, I noticed a fleck of blood on the bed sheet and not having suffered a cut was sure it wasn’t mine making me feel a little queasy wondering how long it been there escaping my notice and that of housekeeping. The last-minute discovery however sort of summed up my impression of the hotel as not being quite up to four-star Marriott standards and more befitting  the moderate Courtyard brand. The location makes for a good base from which to explore the heart of “The Big Easy”on foot  but I would give it a pass until the construction work is completed.

Pros

  • Central location within walking distance to historic French Quarter and Garden District and opposite New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
  • Mississippi River views from higher floors
  • Noted local restaurants within blocks offer an alternative to on-site Wolfe’s Restaurant and Wolfe’s Bar
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi for Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program members; USD$10.95 for non-members
  • Starbucks off the lobby

Cons

  • Extensive renovation project underway as November 2019; construction noise may impact some rooms
  • Tiny, unheated outdoor pool
  • USD$39 daily fee for valet parking
  • Busy with large convention groups

 

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