When we took our road trip through Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia and back again, we used an option that Expedia has which is basically a mystery hotel offer. You take the cheapest rate they have to offer from their 3 star hotels and you have to pay before the hotel name is revealed to you. In Lexington, this worked out well for us and we ended up at the Clarion Hotel. However, we took the same option in New Orleans and I can’t say that we fared as well as we did in Lexington.

The mystery hotel was the Days Inn New Orleans, which is located right across the street from the airport in Kenner. We’ve stayed at Days Inns before and although they’ve never been our ideal hotel chain, they’re typically good enough for wherever we need to crash that night. Saying that, I was glad we only had to stay there one night. Our usual hotel in New Orleans was booked that night and we would be staying there the rest of our trip.

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I think the best place to start is with the confusion that occurs as soon as you enter the parking lot. It appears that the hotel shares parking with the neighboring airport parking company and there’s a gate that blocks the majority of the hotel parking lot. You don’t really realize what’s going on when you first arrive so after you check in, you’re stuck finding parking in the very small lot that is not blocked by this gate. It wasn’t until later after we’d left the hotel and came back that we discovered you could use your key to get through the gate.

Unfortunately the room that was this special rate was also a smoking room. Surprisingly it didn’t stink as I’d expected. However, it was on the backside of the hotel overlooking the parking lot, a pile of old patio furniture and trash as well as a train switching station. This is a video from the walkway in front of our room at the back of the hotel:

Access to the room was a bit inconvenient as well. There is one elevator (that was quite dirty) and if you’re room is on the other side, you have quite a hike. Or, you can take the stairs up to the third level, but if you have a large suitcase, this isn’t really an option.

Inside, the rooms weren’t too bad. They looked pretty decent, although the carpet had definitely seen better days. The television was pretty old though considering that even older hotels have made the switch to flat screens. The beds were of decent comfort, about what you would expect from a hotel of this quality.

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The bathroom was nothing special. The towels were small and thin and felt like sandpaper. The sinks were separated from the shower/toilet room, which could have been a bit cleaner, but wasn’t too bad overall.

The air conditioning was one extreme or the other. At night we opted for extreme, since we would rather be cold than hot. One area of concern was the fact that the door wasn’t sealed well; it had a lot of light showing through between the door and the jam.

The hotel did have a pool. We didn’t use it, as we didn’t bring our suits on this trip, but with the number of kids that were in it, the people yelling back and forth between the upper hotel rooms and the pool patio, we probably we wouldn’t have used it. It was too busy and too loud for our liking.

Overall, we weren’t too impressed. It was a chance we took going with the “mystery hotel” but we didn’t think it would be too bad considering what we ended up with in Lexington, but obviously it’s definitely luck of the draw and this time we didn’t get so lucky. You also get stuck with whatever room is on special and in this case, it was a smoking room at the back of the hotel in a very inconvenient spot. Either way, I definitely know that we won’t be paying to stay here again.