I stayed at the Royal Sonesta during Essence Music Festival. The hotel is centrally located on Bourbon Street and is approximately a 20 minute drive from the airport ($33 for two people in a cab or $20 per person on the shuttle) and about a 15 minute walk from both the Convention Center and the Superdome. The staff was extremely polite and professional and we had no issues during our stay. I suggest asking for a room that faces the back of the hotel or else you’ll be hearing the Bourbon Street crowd throughout your stay – after a certain hour, you have to flash your key to enter the hotel. They have a restaurant on the lobby level called R'Evolution and we had both breakfast and lunch/dinner – both meals were extremely good and the drinks were strong. They also have a PJ’s coffee shop in the lobby – while convenient, it was extremely overpriced and we found ourselves walking the 2 blocks to the CVS on Canal for certain items. As for the guestrooms, they were large and well appointed but the furniture was a little dated. The bathrooms were completely renovated and there were hotel robes for use during our stay. The bed was comfortable and there were large, flat screen TVs in every room. My stay at the Royal Sonesta was comfortable and I’d recommend it if you don’t mind the hustle and bustle of Bourbon Street.