Four Points by Sheraton New Orleans French Quarter is Now Open

Four Points by Sheraton brand, a part of the Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide portfolio, has opened its newest hotel in New Orleans, US.

The hotel has been rebranded from an earlier The Inn On Bourbon, a Ramada branded property. The new hotel has recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation and is offering 186 guest rooms, around 4,000 square feet of meeting facilities, an outdoor pool, 24 hour fitness centre, complimentary Wi-Fi in public spaces, and free internet access in all guestrooms.

Brian McGuinness, the senior vice president, specialty select brands for Starwood Hotels and Resorts, said, ‘We are delighted to grow the Four Points brand in New Orleans with this excellent new option in the historic French Quarter. At Four Points by Sheraton French Quarter, guests will travel the way they like, with genuine service, classic style and great rates – all in an unbeatable location.’

The hotel is located on the grounds of the original French Opera House, which opened in 1859 to the public, and is within close distance of jazz clubs, the historic French Market, St Louis Cathedral, Mercedes Benz Superdome, and other entertainment venues. The hotel is also offering a full-service restaurant, Cafe Opera.

The hotel general manager, Beth Ables, said, ‘We expect that Four Points by Sheraton French Quarter will maintain its long-held reputation as one of New Orleans’ most popular hotels. With an exceptional revamp to join Four Points, we can connect with even more travellers, especially through Starwood’s game-changing loyalty programme, Starwood Preferred Guest.’

Top five carnival and Mardi Gras festivals around the world

Although Carnival and Mardi Gras are synonymous with Rio de Janerio in Brazil and New Orleans in the United States, the festival has its roots elsewhere. French for “Fat Tuesday,” Mardi Gras is a major tourist attraction in any city where it is celebrated.

HotelTravel.com Chief Information Officer Olivier Dombey said: “This is traditionally a wild event known for its flamboyant costumes, festive balls, loud music, and all-night partying, but it actually draws its cultural origins to rituals and traditions that date back thousands of years.

For travelers suffering from a case of Carnival and Mardi Gras fever, here is a brief overview of the top five festivals on the planet:

New Orleans Mardi Gras

For anyone in North America, New Orlean’s Mardi Gras is the big daddy of all carnival events. This celebration dates back to the 1730s soon after the city was first established. It has its own unique traditions of “Krewes,” “Big Chiefs,” and, of course, the throwing of beads. To find out how the action unfolds and where to wine and dine, read through HotelTravel.com’s “Mardi Gras: ‘Phat’ Tuesday’” event article. For the best hotel deals in town, also look through New Orleans Hotel Promotions starting from as low as US$45 per night.

Trinidad & Tobago Carnival

The Trinidad & Tobago Carnival is one of the most popular events of its kind in the Caribbean. It is famous for “Soca”, a drum and percussion-based Caribbean Calypso that gets participants and visitors grooving to the carnival beat. This festival truly has eclectic influences; find out all about it in HotelTravel.com’s “Trinidad & Tobago Carnival the Ultimate Rave” event feature. For the lowest rates around, scroll through Port of Spain Hotel Promotions that start from US$129 per night.

Rio de Janero Carnival

Rio de Janeiro Carnival is Mardi Gras’ “Mecca” in a country where almost every city or town organizes its own festival. There are way too many events on in Rio to list here; better to read through HotelTravel.com’s “Rio Carnival: Pure, Unadulterated Hedonism” event article. Rooms are still available, so make sure to check out HotelTravel.com’s Rio de Janeiro Hotel Promotions to find rates from US$49 per night.

Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras

Get your “gadar” on, as the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras is considered by many the top event of its kind in the world. Pop diva Kylie Minogue, the unofficial queen of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, is returning to the event for the first time in years. Read all about it in HotelTravel.com’s “Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras: Sydney Style” event article. For hotel deals throughout the three-week festival, look over Sydney Hotel Promotions with rates starting from only US$24 per night.

Goa Carnival

The Goa Carnival draws on its colonial Portuguese roots but has morphed into a very local and unique festival. To learn all about it, read HotelTravel.com’s “Goa Carnival Brings Partying to the Streets” event article and then discover Goa Hotel Promotions for last-minute rates starting from as little as US$11 per night.

Five Years After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans Tour Firms are Optimistic

Five years ago, one of the United States’ most prominent tourism destinations suffered a major PR meltdown. Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans, destroying a significant portion of city property and forever associating the large town with – you guessed it – disaster. New Orleans had previously been a major centre of tourism within the country, particularly in its Gulf Coast region.

But today, New Orleans is on the way back. The city is welcoming President Obama for his first tourism-based visit, aiming to raise awareness about the city’s current state and welcome visitors from other regions. The South’s party centre appears to have lost little of its charm despite being wrecked by the disaster – many of its residents believe the city has simply gained character.

However, the city has also had to contend with severe population and infrastructure changes in the wake of the disaster. Many of those who fled Louisiana are unlikely to return, both because of the immense damage to their property and the psychological effects of the disaster. The city, however, hasn’t taken the population change poorly – it sees it as an opportunity to start anew and change.

Today, the city is approximately eighty percent populated. Numerous homes that were completely destroyed in Katrina remain, almost untouched since the disaster itself. If New Orleans represents anything today, it’s a destination full of hope and optimism. Despite the immense damage, few of the city’s long-term residents seem bitter or unhappy. Simply put, it’s still charming.

It’s that charm that many hope will bring tourists back to New Orleans. The city has continued to attract tourists from within the United States and internationally, albeit a significantly lower level than it had before the disaster. Given the town’s reputation for opportunism and friendliness, it’s almost an inevitability that New Orleans’ tour firms will see an eventual return to health.