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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Trip Report New Orleans hotel - La Belle Esplanade - loved it!

Matt and Melanie were warm and welcoming, making us instantly comfortable and feeling right at home. Melanie greeted us with glasses of sweet (yummy) wine and biscotti to enjoy while Matt went over the details of New Orleans (it was our first visit). He gave us a map and spoke with us for quite awhile reviewing a plethora of local information – restaurants, things to see/do, walking tips, etc.

We first got a tour of the beautifully decorated home and yard/garden. We stayed in the Saints Suite. Our room was spacious and comfortable, nicely decorated - colorful, fun and eclectic! It had a large sitting room with TV, fully stocked fridge (no additional charge for snacks, water, wine, beer, water, etc.), coffee maker and then a separate bedroom. We had a private balcony with a table and chairs, a large private bath with claw foot tub (with the best bath towels I have ever had on any vacation anywhere!). Sink was outside the bathroom making it easier for us to both get ready at the same time.

Breakfast was fabulous! Every day they had several locally made specialties – breads, jam, sausage bacon/maple donuts (one of the best things I ate in New Orleans) and a homemade dish like muffaletta, crawfish quiche… For those picky eaters who just want Kellogg’s cereal or Greek yogurt, that is available too. We had an early tour one morning. When I mentioned that we would be missing breakfast, Melanie prepared a bag of snacks for us to take with us! Matt and Melanie sat at breakfast and chatted with everyone each morning – discovering what activities we had planned, giving advice, answering questions about area history – truly a lovely couple who make you feel like you have been friends for years. There was a newspaper available as well, for those like my husband who just want to read in the morning.

Don't let the location put you off, we found it to be excellent -it is a very safe area only a mile away from the French Quarter and close to CityPark. Quiet and peaceful (I can’t imagine trying to sleep in the French Quarter at night) on a beautiful street in a neighborhood that has great local restaurants and bars – where we had 2 of our best meals. We didn’t have a car but found the walk to the French Quarter and City Park to be lovely. The cab ride back to the hotel each evening was under $10 (about 5 minutes).

We also used the complimentary bikes to get downtown, tour the nearby cemetery and ride around CityPark and its sculpture garden. They are 1 speed Huffy’s – perfect to get from point A to point B, probably not so great if you planned to do some long bike rides (although the area is pretty flat). It was nice to see more of New Orleans than just the French Quarter.

We stayed 4 nights – I feel one would be hard-pressed to find a better stay or nicer hosts elsewhere. Just an all-around great experience. We will definitely stay here again when we return! Great vacation!

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