crowne-plaza-astorBuilt in 2002, the Astor Crowne Plaza has 693 rooms, including 28 spacious suites, strategically in the heart of downtown was one of the establishments that offered temporary shelter during Hurricane Katrina to hundreds of NOLA residents. We chose to stay here because of its proximity to local attractions, various entertainment and shopping venues as well as the trolley that stops directly across from the hotel on Canal Street.Designed in classical New Orleans style the wrought-iron doors lend a feeling of grandeur and bygone opulence. The lobby with its bar extension area looks inviting with velvet high back armchairs and several marzipan displays that are changed depending on the monthly events in town.

crowne-astor-bedroomThe hotel offers three types of guest rooms: Deluxe, Premier, and Executive. The main difference between the levels lies in the additional perks Executive room patrons receive a daily newspaper, turn down service, the usage of plush robes during their stay and access to the hotel’s Club Lounge offering a complimentary continental breakfast and evening Happy Hour with hors d’oeuvres and beverages.

Since we had visited New Orleans before and knew the location can be noisy during all hours of the day and night, we requested a high floor at booking. We were given an Executive-level room on the fourteenth floor overlooking Canal Street, which was incredibly quiet. The layout looked like a typical Crowne Plaza room which our autistic son found familiar and comforting. The room was fairly large with an easy chair ottoman combo, two queen beds (rather uncommon in NOLA) work desk and ergonomic chair. The beds boasted comfortable mattresses and clean linens. We found several outlets throughout the room to power up our electronics as well as a well-stocked mini bar fridge we did not use as there were multiple convenience marts next to the hotel on Canal Street to purchase snacks from

crowne-astor-bathHousekeeping

Even though I had called ahead to let the staff know if my feather allergy the front desk forgot to notify housekeeping. The situation was quickly remedied by Ms. White, head of housekeeping who personally supervised the complete change of bedding in the room, and an apology fruit basket sent to our room half an hour later.

Perks

We enjoyed the nightly supply of lavender spray left on our pillows to ensure a peaceful rest as well as the mini Cajun spice jar and delicious peanut praline; we took home as souvenirs.

Visiting during Mardi Gras

The hotel provides patrons with access to much sought-after balconies overlooking Bourbon, Canal and Iberville streets. Security during the carnival madness is further heightened by special ID wristbands given to hotel guests for easy entry into the establishment.

Tips for traveling with autism

If your child is noise sensitive ask for a top-floor quiet room away from elevators, conference rooms and the executive lounge. The room A/C and heating are set on eco-friendly motion sensor but housekeeping can override its programming to accommodate temperature-sensitive patrons.
Families traveling with kids who toss and turn during the night or younger ones should consider bringing a portable bed guard to prevent potential falls as the beds in the rooms are over thirty inches above the floor..

The hotel also offers

Hypo allergenic rooms with chemical free special cleaning linens for travelers with severe allergies, wheelchair accessible rooms with bathtubs (bath seats available upon request) as well as visual alarms, doorbell and TTY kits for vision and hearing impaired travelers

crowne-astor-decorSpecialty restaurant

The namesake of one of New Orleans’ best-known restaurant families, Dickie Brennan’s is lit by faux gas lamps and serves Louisiana cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Specialties include grilled Gulf fish and po-boy sandwiches, and: The Crowne Plaza’s is home to one of New Orleans top restaurants ‘Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House’ serving mouthwatering Louisiana cuisine all day . Our personal favorite is their Happy Hour with five bucks specialty cocktails and oyster appetizers.

Parking

Since the valet parking staff can sometimes get quite busy with arriving or departing groups, it might be a good idea to call downstairs for your car ten minutes ahead of time especially if your child gets ‘antsy’ while waiting.