W French Quarter – Courtyard
By Frank – @dugup46 – Prior to discovering award travel, I spent very little of my life in a hotel. Hotels were seen more like a “once a year luxury,” rather than the almost second home they are now. I never spent much time analyzing the differences in amenities, hospitality, food choices, and other aspects of a hotel; however, now that I typically travel somewhere every other month (thanks to sites like this), I am much more particular about my hotel choices. So be sure to check out below why I select W Hotels from Starwood over their other brands for my hotel of choice…
What is Starwood?
Before I jump in on why I like Starwood, some of you may be asking, “What the heck is Starwood?” Well, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide is the “mother” company that owns at least one brand of a hotel you’ve seen in just about every city you’ve ever visited. The largest brands are Westin, Sheraton, The Luxury Collection, the W brand, St Regis, Le Meridian, and others. Since their point program is the Starwood Preferred Guest program, many people (including myself) will just refer to them as SPG properties. As of last year they owned just over 1,200 hotels worldwide. Also, they were just recently purchased by Marriott. When that purchase finalizes, Marriott will become the largest hotel chain in the world. Now that you know what Starwood is, let’s get down to the meat of the article.
W French Quarter – Hotel Lobby
Reason 1 – You’re actually treated like a guest
My lead-off paragraph says I haven’t stayed at a lot of hotels. While that is true, I always feel like a guest when I stay at W Properties. I have found that the W brand really goes above and beyond in welcoming my fiance and I on our travels. Whether it’s the W San Francisco, W French Quarter in New Orleans, or any one of their other 75 properties – you can always count on amazing staff. You just get the feeling that everyone there, from the bellhops to the front desk clerks to the (fantastic) concierge, all the employees just really seem to enjoy working there. Something as small as a smile on the employees’ faces can make a huge difference in the way guests are interacted with and treated as a whole… they just do it right! It’s really a difference you have to experience to see.
W French Quarter – Fabulous Room
Reason 2 – The decor and feel of the W brand
Just look at these pictures! Most hotel brands are just so… cookie cutter. The luxury ones are overly lavish and the affordable ones are just… bland. Well, I’m sorry I’m not a fan of the 1850 Victorian Era! I want something fun, and the W brand delivers! Each hotel is wildly different in their decor, yet all share the same target audience. “Swanky” and “Hip” are the two adjectives that come to mind when describing the W Hotels. If you’re staying in San Francisco, you will be greeted with the engaging, electric feel of the city but still have room to kick back with some of the people you met in their spacious lobby. If you’re staying in New Orleans, you will be surrounded by the musical elements and voodoo tradition that are so deeply engraved there.
W French Quarter – Witches & Black Cat Hallway
Reason 3 – Fifth night free through the SPG program
I know this one may be cheating, but I really love SPG points. While the points aren’t the easiest to get through credit cards, they are super valuable, and they do go a long way. You can also combine points with anyone sharing your address! A strategy would be having you and your significant other sign up for the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest credit card which gives you 25,000 SPG points each. Then you move your points from one account to the other. Finally you can book your trip, let’s say, to Washington D.C. for the Fourth of July! What better place to see America’s Birthday than our nation’s capital? For only 48,000 points you could stay FIVE nights at the W Washington D.C. where rates already exceed $389 a night! That’s a value of $1,945 from two credit card sign up bonuses!
W French Quarter – Courtyard Pool
As of early 2016, the W Brand had 75 properties world wide. Whether you’re looking for a summer retreat to Seattle or a winter vacation to the beaches of Koh Samui, the W brand’s reach is vast. The lady and I just got back from the W French Quarter for New Year’s Eve (all the above photos), and we currently have the W Seattle booked for the Fourth of July. Be sure to check the trip reports for an in-depth review on all of our stays!
If you could travel to any W property, which would you visit? Comment below!