I booked a week's stay at the Avalon to coincide with the first weekend of Jazz Fest 2012. As many of the other reviews tell you, this hotel is out of the way, "out in the east" off Interstate 10. There were few choices as I reserved in March and anything closer to downtown or the French Quarter was booked up or prohibitively expensive. For Jazz Fest, book in January they tell me and your options are many.
From the Avalon it's a $30 round trip cab ride to the French Quarter and a $100 round trip cab ride to the N.O. Int'l Airport. If you're part of a tour group or in town for a convention and have arranged your own group transportation, booking the Avalon may save you a few dollars. Otherwise, for a single person like me meeting friends daily either at Jazz Fest or in the Quarter, getting around basically ate up whatever money I had saved staying there. And forget about renting a car; parking is slim to none downtown and in the French Quarter and quite expensive.
The major factor in my booking the Avalon was that I was told the hotel offered a shuttle to and from Jazz Fest and even to and from the Quarter (for $20 round trip or $27 to Jazz Fest, to French Quarter and back to the hotel). This shuttle ONLY ran for the three days of Jazz Fest (Fri, Sat & Sun) so I was forced to take a cab for the days before and after Jazz Fest when I wanted to go and explore downtown or meet my friends for dinner, etc in the French Quarter.
NOTE ABOUT THIS SHUTTLE....the pickup and dropoff point in the Quarter was at THE CHEVRON GAS STATION on Basin Street, four blocks from Bourbon Street and eight blocks from Jackson Brewery, Cafe du Monde and the heart of the Quarter. The prospect of walking all the way back across the Quarter back to a gas station to await pickup is not convenient and I wouldn't call it safe either.
Part of the reason for this arrangement is that this shuttle service is privately owned, with a limited number of vans and drivers, serving about five hotels around the city. Call for pickup and you wait, sometimes up to an hour or more. Despite the inconvenience, the drivers were very friendly and informative. One driver even offered up a cool tip on grabbing some of the best home cooked soul food in New Orleans right outside Jazz Fest (at "Momma's House" - thanks Marlin!). For $8 I got a loaded take out container and never ate better.
A note about the hotel. Built in 1972, it looks and feels every bit its age. That is to say it's clean and functional, but lacks modern amenities,especially in-room internet access (there is a business center on the 7th floor with two PCs and on-again, off again connectivity and the printer does not work), My king bed was VERY comfortable, a saving grace.
In the shower it was impossible to get a constant temperature. It was like chasing your tail trying to get the temp *just* right, only to step in and moments later get practically scalded or cold-showered. It reminded me of how my mom used to make me and my brothers take shorter showers as kids by yelling "time's up" before turning on the hot water in the kitchen, giving us the the cold boot. But I digress.
I complained to hotel personnel and they suggested I shower earlier or later. Obviously a problem throughout the hotel. I can't imagine how the retirees who just rolled in off the tour bus were going to feel tomorrow morning.
I'll be back to New Orleans next year, hopefully for both weekends of Jazz Fest. There are so many other things left to do! The Avalon is an experience I will not repeat, however.
- Also Known As:
- Best Western Avalon Hotel New Orleans
- Best Western New Orleans
- New Orleans Best Western
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