Renovated Crowne Plaza offers packages for frugal foodies

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The recently renovated Crowne Plaza Astor New Orleans in the French Quarter is tempting foodies and wine aficionados bound for the annual New Orleans Wine and Food Experience festival, or Nowfe, later in May with two special package stays.

The 693-room hotel, built in 2002 and renovated to the tune of $11 million in a post-Katrina rehab that wrapped up at the end of 2008, is offering the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience 101 deal, priced at $101 per night for deluxe accommodations and free valet parking, and the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience Grand Tasting package, which -- priced at $181 per night, with a two-night minimum -- also includes two tickets to the festival's Grand Tasting event on either May 28 or 29.

Both Wine and Food Experience packages are available May 27 to June 1. In addition, the hotel is offering a free valet parking package, for one vehicle per room, per night, through June 30.

"Our packages are some of the most economically priced ones Nowfe is offering," said Don Zimmer, director of sales and marketing. "And location-wise, we're only a block away from the Royal Street Stroll, the major event on Thursday [May 27].

"The free valet parking is a nice savings, also, as parking is a bit of a commodity here in New Orleans," he added.

Polishing the Crowne

This year's New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, one of the nation's premier culinary festivals and fundraising events, runs May 25 to 29. Some 75 city restaurants will team up with 175 wineries to present 1,000 vintages paired with local delicacies. Highlights include seminars, dinners and tastings, including the two Grand Tastings, to be held on the floor of the Louisiana Superdome.

And guests can go gourmet without leaving the Crowne Plaza Astor, located at the confluence of Bourbon and Canal Streets, as it's home to Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House Restaurant and Seafood Bar, one of the city's most popular restaurants.

The 665 rooms and 28 suites received a top-to-bottom updating as part of the hotel's "We're Polishing the Crowne of New Orleans" renovation campaign. All units got new wall coverings, drapes and furnishings, including Sleep Advantage bedding with pillow-top mattresses and luxury linens and duvets. Accommodations also feature in-room safes, two dual-line phones with voice mail, high-speed Internet access, hair dryers, irons and ironing boards, CD players and coffee/tea makers.

Hotel services include a 24-hour business center; fitness room; outdoor pool and terrace; and concierge services.

For more, visit www.astorneworleans.com and www.nowfe.com.  

This report appeared in the May 3 issue of Travel Weekly.

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