Most first time visitors to New Orleans want to stay in the French Quarter. While this area has its charms, I prefer to stay nearby, in a quiet area where I can still access most the city easily. The Omni Riverfront New Orleans fits the bill. Right across the street from the new Riverwalk development, with restaurants and outlet shops, and the Convention Center, the hotel is also a short stroll from the warehouse district and one of the city’s top new restaurants, 2014 James Beard winner Peche.
The Omni has a super friendly and helpful staff (though one insisted, incorrectly, that the streetcar fare is $1.50; it’s currently $1.25 and you need exact change) who gave us umbrellas and a running route along the water.
The boutique luxury Omni hotels used to only offer free Wi-Fi to rewards members, but now everyone gets it free (though the rewards program is worth it; it is free to join and you get a free room after just 10 stays, along with other perks like free coffee delivered each morning).
Excellent location; walk to the streetcar, the French Quarter, The Louisiana Children’s Museum, National World War II Museum, Audubon Aquarium, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium and paddlewheel boat tours.
Omni hotels deliver a glass of milk and a chocolate chip cookie at night if you have a child staying with you. We had our 17 year old, but she’s still technically a child, and the baby of our family, so she relished the free snack.
For younger kids, there is an Omni Kitchen Kids Backpack filled with family-friendly activities.
What doesn’t work
Our room didn’t have a mini fridge, but one night, when we were changing for dinner, housekeeping delivered bottled water and ice.
We stayed in a Deluxe Double room, with two double beds. The beds and sheets were wonderfully comfortable, but we didn’t sleep our second night – at 3 am, our phone rang. Of course, this can happen anywhere, but it’s always so sad to bolt awake in the middle of the night and not be able to return to sleep. Other than that, the room was incredibly quiet and the dark curtains completely blocked the light.
The bathroom, a tight squeeze for three, had one sink, plenty of soft fluffy towels and good amenities: shower gel and soap, mouthwash and cotton balls and Q-tips.
Working off those New Orleans calories
The tiny fitness room was a disappointment; one treadmill didn’t work, and the other didn’t have a TV screen, Neither did the lone elliptical machine.
There was a decent assortment of free weights, but no mat and very small, though soft, towels. There also isn’t a lot of room to spread out. My husband and I were exercising in the room with two other people and we were knocking into each other.
But the Omni will deliver a fitness bag to your room; mine had a yoga mat, a 5 pound kettle bell, a pair of 1 pound weights (ha!) and 3 small colored balls that I didn’t know how to use. The mat was great for stretching out after a run.
The hotel has a very nice gin bar, with artisanal cocktails and outdoor seating or couches inside. In the morning, the bar sells fruit, pastries and coffee for a quick breakfast. There is also a restaurant, Fulton St. Bistro.
Though the hotel is on Convention Center Blvd, use the back entrance on Fulton Street. The quiet cobblestone street leads to a pedestrian only area with bars and restaurants, and it’s a nicer walk to the French Quarter than Convention Center Blvd.
Disclosure: I was a guest of the Omni Riverfront. Opinions expressed are my own.