High rollers overnighting at Harrah's New
Orleans Casino and Hotel will find their suites come furnished with
a grand piano and a working fireplace. Their favorite chocolates
will be gift-wrapped, and fine wines will be chilled. And if Fido
is along, a doggie bag full of his favorite treats will be waiting.
But chances are
guests making more meager wagers at the casino won't be
disappointed with their accommodations, either. The standard rooms
at Harrah's new downtown hotel are spacious, with oversize baths
and first-rate amenities throughout.
The 450-room hotel
is attracting a nearly full house most nights, with an occupancy
rate of around 97%, according to Jim Hoskins, senior vice president
and general manager.
"Business is great
and getting better," said Hoskins. "The tourist areas of New
Orleans are 100% up and running."
are predicting business will be better this fall and winter and
into 2008, as New Orleans' recovery from Hurricane Katrina
On a recent visit,
Bourbon Street crowds were large and lively into the early morning
casino, gamblers were packed around the blackjack tables 24 hours a
The $170 million
hotel, which was under construction when Katrina hit, opened a year
ago this month. It is located across the street from the casino,
the only land-based casino in New Orleans. Both lie steps from the
"We've got the best
rooms in the best location in town," said Hoskins. "Once guests
arrive, there are many reasons that will keep them coming
service is one, and artwork is another. The entire hotel is
decorated with works by local artists and photographers focusing on
In the lobby,
there's a colorful John T. Scott woodblock picture of Louis
Armstrong blowing his trumpet in the lobby. An eerie photograph of
the St. Louis Cathedral shrouded in early morning fog hung over the
bathtub in my room.
rooms measure more than 450 square feet and boast spacious baths
with separate tubs and glass-enclosed showers.
The latest in
technology is available in all rooms, including high-definition TVs
with on-command interactive systems, dataport accessibility,
cordless phones and wireless, high-speed Internet. Each room has a
refrigerator and a safe.
Suites are located
on the corners of each guest floor and have separate sleeping,
living and bath areas as well as plasma TVs.
The all-suite 26th
floor is staffed by butlers who make sure rooms are stocked to meet
individual guests' tastes and specifications.
The hotel also has
a ballroom and meetings and boardroom space as well as a
well-equipped fitness area with a commanding view of the
Food is another
draw at Harrah's. Celebrity chef Todd English chose the hotel as
the site for his first French brasserie, Riche. (Be sure to advise
clients to try the scallops or the whole, cooked fish of the
Next door is 528,
English's jazz club, which is named for its address on Fulton
Street. The restored building dates from the 1850s and is protected
by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Inside the casino
are several other restaurants, including the Besh Steakhouse, a New
Orleans-style eatery whose 38-ounce, bone-in rib eye will challenge
even the biggest appetite. Bambu serves excellent sushi and other
There's also the
traditional casino buffet as well as several fast-food chain
The casino is a
huge draw in its own right, of course. Open 24 hours a day, it
covers a square city block and has 104 gaming tables, a 23-table
poker room and 2,100 slot machines.
casino's 500-seat theater, has musical and comedy shows
Room rates start at
$250 for a double room for two in the low, summer season. Prices
are higher in the fall, winter and spring, especially during Mardi
Gras or other festivals.
Call (800) 847-5299
or visit www.harrahsneworleans.com.
contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].