I’m a fan of W Hotels.  Of course, there’s a lot to be said for redeeming SPG points and staying for “free” – but the love affair doesn’t end there.  The hotels are invariably located in the midst of the hustle-and-bustle, have nice bathrooms, comfy beds, funky public areas, and – thanks to a deal with Acura – dedicated SUVs to drive guests to where they need to be.  From Istanbul to Hong Kong to New York, I’ve been in-residence, en suite at various W properties all over the world. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love a nice luxury hotel (the Crillon, the Gritti Palace, the Tower Suites at Wynn Las Vegas – j’adore ‘em all), and within the next decade I’ll most-likely be aging out of the W milieu; but for the time being – until (comme mon père) I start kvetching about the decibel-level in the lobby or how poorly lit the hallways are – I’m willing to forgo free-pressing and butler-service for the W experience.

Take the W New Orleans-French Quarter.  Its 98 rooms and suites are located right on Chartres Street, between Bienville Avenue and Conti Street.  This ideal location places the hotel a mere two blocks from the 24-hour party on Bourbon Street, with the art galleries and shops of Royal Street as a buffer.  The incredible disparity of venues within walking distance – from the Bombay Club to Big Daddy’s – is nothing short of mind-boggling.

The rooms are de rigueur for W – a bit Spartan, but spruced-up with nifty thingamajigs and shiny whatsits – and equipped with the W Heavenly Beds and bathroom amenities by Bliss Spa, as well as large LCD TVs.  There’s a fabulous courtyard area that includes the pool (aka “WET”) and numerous seating areas. 

But what really sets the W New Orleans-French Quarter apart is Staci Worthman.  The hotel’s concierge (though they use the term” W Insider”), I can’t recall a time in the week that I was there, when Staci wasn’t – and she smiled the entire time, bubbling-over with that charm for which the Big Easy is known.  I must’ve bombarded her with dozens of requests, errands and tasks; and whether it was securing a first-floor table at Galatoire’s, for lunch on Friday (they don’t take reservations, and people start lining-up at 9:30am), purchasing a charger for my new BlackBerry (I’d left mine at home), or recommending the best place to call for late-night Po’Boy delivery (Verti Mart) – Staci was available on her mobile, seemingly at all times, to ensure we had the best vacation possible.

“Whatever/Whenever” indeed!

W New Orleans-French Quarter
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