Club Wyndham Avenue Plaza is in New Orleans. I have not been to New Orleans in several years, so I was very happy to get the opportunity to return and experience more.
Video by Hungry Passport
Day One Travel and Arrival
For me any trip as far as New Orleans from Virginia starts with a flight. Luckily, the flight to the area was on sale, and they include only one stop with a short layover. Flight time and the layover the flight was less than 4 hours, which was a piece of cake. I did not even mind coaching it was such a short trip.
It is funny that the news and social media will have you thinking that every flight now has some major event happening. A passenger going crazy about this or that. My flight could not have been calmer. Even the weather worked with us and it was smooth sailing in the sky.
The pricing of flights seems to be even more of a game than it used to be. If you check a bag with most airlines, it can change the price of the entire ticket, or require a surcharge. If things get any higher, I might just start shipping a bag ahead via UPS. Often on trips, if I buy souvenirs or gifts, I have them shipped back home now by the store, when I fly. It just makes life easier.
The resort itself is at 2111 St. Charles Avenue New Orleans, LA 70130. This is at the intersection of St. Charles and Josephine, which made it easy to find and centrally located for the visit.
New Orleans, Louisiana is a town I love to visit but could never live in. There is much to enjoy and fall in love with in this city. It has such a unique culture that is unlike any other place in the United States. The architecture, food, music, and people are all so different from what we have back home in Virginia. However, the party atmosphere pulls me in here and I can not imagine working and being productive in a city as alive as this.
Follow along with me with the resort’s 360 tours as I take my first tour of the resort.
When you start the virtual tour, you view the patio just above the main entrance to the resort. Avenue Plaza has a grand entry and the valet stands right out in front on St. Charles Ave. I had rented a car at the airport to just make life easier on the trip.
After getting the valet’s help with the car, I headed through the doors and went to check-in. This was seamless and easy, as it always is when I book through TZort.
A few moments later, I was in my 1-bedroom accommodations. Here at the Plaza, they have studio and 1-bedroom units available. If you look at the 1-bedroom in the tour, you see a room much like mine. Spacious, having a comfortable living room area, and a nice bedroom. The bathroom was a little small, but the shower was large, so I was a happy camper. I like to have a sense of space and the ability to move around in the shower. Even if I do not sing in the shower while traveling, the room is welcome.
The room has a microwave, stovetop, fridge, and dishwasher. This all sits along one wall in the living area. Not a full-size kitchen, but if you were traveling on the cheap, you could prepare meals here without an issue. Given the food in New Orleans, I did not plan to cook. As I will not doubt share again, the food here is outstanding and uses tons of butter, cheese, and everything bad for you, but what tastes great.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- Ice Maker
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Hot Tub Outdoor
- Indoor Pool
- Internet Access
- Fitness Room
Next, I wanted to check out the rest of the resort and all it offers.
I headed to the pool area at this time just for a look. It was nice and maybe smaller than some but laid out very well and also included an outdoor hot tub. I could see spending time on either or both of those on this trip.
The fitness center was very nice and included a complete Cybex set with what must have been a dozen stations or more to help you work out every body part. There was also a generous selection of stationary bikes and treadmills, too.
Finally, my hunger pulled me into the on-site restaurant for an early dinner. Often, I go to onsite restaurants more for breakfast than any other meal. But this location just looked, so I wanted to try it out first thing for dinner.
Mr. John’s Steakhouse was the onsite restaurant, and it was just outstanding. I started with a French Onion soup that was just amazing. Then I chose the surf and turf and had a fillet and lobster tail. They must finish this in the broiler because it comes out sizzling and steaming.
Here my sides were even more impressive. I had the Freddie Mac & Cheese (Andouille, Crawfish Mac & Cheese) which personally I will dream about in the future. Than a Sweet Potato Mash Souffle, which was like a professionally finished sweet potato side unlike any other.
I know I am going in here with the description a bit, but just eat here and find out for yourself. Everything was maddeningly good. I could write 1,000 words about this meal and still never do it justice.
Then came dessert and I had to try to even if I could not finish them. I had the Crème brûlée and the New York Style Cheesecake each was like magic. Getting a good Crème brûlée is hard to do. This one was perfect. Just that right amount of melted sugar on top, and the great consistency. The chef here knows how to do the water bath.
Mr. John’s was a place that I must visit again. I have mentally added it to my bucket list. I may even come back on this very same trip.
After my amazing meal, I wanted to go head to bourbon street and some live music. Just to see how things were on the old party street tonight. During your trip, if you go to bourbon street you may have a ball, but you will be so happy you chose to stay at a resort away from all the madness. It is party central, and that is not where you want to stay or sleep on a trip. It is too loud, often smells like the wildest bar you can imagine, and is packed. None of that screams a vacation for me. So, staying at the Plaza but being able to visit was a treat.
I know myself, so I did not drive but instead booked an Uber on the phone and then headed over. After a few hours of the party with live music and more than my share of drinks, I headed back to the Avenue Plaza for some much-needed rest. Well, needed it if I wanted to do anything tomorrow at all.
Day Two Site Seeing
New Orleans has built back all the downtown areas since Katrina hit. However, I hear the 9th quarter still has homes that look like they did after the storm. The city has a charm and pace about it that is impressive. By night it is party central, by day the French Quarter can draw you in by its grace, and by the unique charms of the area.
Going back to the bourbon street area after more than a few drinks last night kind of feels like going back to the scene of a crime. Though now that I am older, I did not commit a crime. When I arrived around 10 AM, it was nice to see that someone had taken out the houses and cleaned the entire area from the party night before. They must have teams of people for this much like early mornings at an amusement park cleaning with hoses from the day before.
Which came first the chicken or the egg, well when it comes to the naming of Bourbon Street, you might think that it comes from the liquor. In truth, this street is one of the oldest in the United States and was named in 1721 by Adrian de Pauger. The street, then located in the colony of New France, was named for the French royal House of Bourbon (which bourbon, the drink, was ultimately named for). Bourbon streets’ unique architecture comes more from Spain than it does France, though thanks to a major fire in 1788 that destroyed most of the buildings in the area.
This just means as you look at the buildings on your trip through, you can see that while the names are certainly French-inspired and the layout is much the same, the buildings have a Spanish design and flow to them.
Bourbon Street was largely a red-light district until prostitution was outlawed and banned in the area in 1917. What was left was the desire to party, and it has never left the area. Already at just after 10 in the morning, you can see some places start to come alive again. Offering me and any other partygoer from the night before a little hair of the dog that bit them.
Never one to turn down a little hair of the dog when I feel a tad hungover, I stumbled into the first place I found and ordered a pint. It went down slowly but was just what I needed. What you would only find in New Orleans was that at 10:30 AM they were already honoring happy hour and it started at 9 AM at Brennan’s.
Stroll with a local
Next, since I enjoy local history wherever I go, I booked a guided tour of the area called Stroll with a local. Part of the offering from a company called Two Chicks walking tours. This tour company also provides private tours for groups and individuals. This tour would be me tagging along with the group.
This was a good tour but I imagine the nighttime tour that covers the early days of prostitution is a bit more entertaining and wilder. Each tour includes over a one-mile walk, so keep that in mind if long walks are an issue. For me, when we hit a 1.5-mile walk, I questioned my wisdom in doing this a little hung over.
After the tour, it was time to sit down and get a light lunch and some rest. For the meal, I stopped at Tujaques. Since 1856, they have been serving food here, so they must be doing something right. They have a 5-course meal here that was their only offering all the way up until 2013. So, when in the French Quarter, so much for my idea of a light meal.
1st Course–Shrimp Rémoulade
2nd Course–Gumbo or Turtle Soup
3rd Course–Brisket Appetizer
4th Course–Your Choice of Entrée
5th Course–Bread Pudding
This is a heck of a meal. I chose the gumbo and for the Entrée, I decided on the pan-seared gulf fish. From start to finish, the meal was perfect. The bonus is that instead of French-style service; you get the full New Orleans quality service and a great environment for your meal.
After my late lunch or very early dinner, I thought it would wipe me out, but the area seems to call to you as early as the late afternoon to reset your party clock and join in.
Instead of rejoining the party, I opted to use my newfound energy to go to the WWII museum instead. I never quite understand why the WWII museum is here instead of in DC, but this is indeed where it is located.
When you come to know that you purchase a ticket for the campus for your visit and a large campus it is. It includes 6 major sections and bonus areas too. The exhibits are first class and well worth your trip. When you write about travel and fun, the last thing you want to do is bring up controversy. So let me just say as a fan of history, that I think the movement by a few to destroy our national history and ignore the past only does us harm. A visit to a museum such as this can remind us of humanity’s inhumanity to other men. Remind us of the dangers of ideology, and the demands that those dangers place on good men and women to stand up and fight for freedom during times of war.
If we want to maintain peace, we must stay connected by the shared wounds of the past, and honor those who have sacrificed so much for the cause of freedom for us, and others around the world.
Our monuments, museums, and reminders of major events in our history are important and should be cared for. That is not a political statement it is an understanding that those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.
Day Three: Going to the Water
New Orleans, after all, is a port and a major part of its rich culture comes from the sea. I have booked an Oak Alley Plantation Tour that includes a full airboat tour as well. Airboats are loud, so I imagine this will be a stop-and-go kind of tour, so you can hear the guide at when on the airboat.
From the company website, you learn:
Part I: Oak Alley Plantation Tour
The Oak Alley Plantation is located 70 miles or about 1 hour and 10 minutes from the French Quarter. The pickup begins at 8:15 am. We use our sister company, “Alert Transportation” for the ground transportation service. The driver goes from hotel to hotel for the pickup service. We ask that you allow us up to 30 minutes for the pickup service. Pick-up will be curbside of your hotel. You will spend approximately 2 hours at the plantation. The house tour will be about 35 minutes in length. The Oak Alley plantation house tour is provided by plantation tour guides. The remainder of your time will be spent on self-exploration of the grounds. If you use your time wisely, you can grab a sandwich at the gift shop for lunch and still have time to walk the grounds. Our sister company, “Alert Transportation” will then bring you to the swamp tour dock for your next adventure.
Part 2: Small Airboat Swamp Tour
Small airboats go faster and a little more intimate with a smaller group. On this tour, you will experience the best of both: an informative swamp tour and a high-speed thrill airboat ride. You will travel at high speeds in the airboat, then slow down and stop for pictures. Your Captain will give you a tour of a lifetime explaining the culture, animals, and swamps. You may even experience a close encounter with some of the local swamp life. You will return to your hotel around 5:00 pm.
The website description I just shared does a great job of explaining what to expect. Especially from a timeline perspective. This combination tour is an ideal way to get a true feeling about the past, and have some fun in the process. The airboat ride was a ball, and the plantation was a glimpse of old-world wealth that few can imagine.
Steamboat Cruise and Dinner
I arrived back at the Plaza just in time to shower and change, then get to my last event of the day and the trip. A steamboat cruise and dinner on the water in a true paddlewheel steamboat.
I chose to go all in and do the dinner with the cruise, but you can opt for just the cruise itself. Though if you see the buffet, you will probably kick yourself for doing so.
My meal was great, and the ride was slow-paced fun on the water that was a joy to experience. I had been on this very cruise on my last trip except that it was brunch on a Sunday and that food was even better.
This trip to New Orleans was now coming to an end. But I would certainly stay at the Plaza again it was an amazing location, and thanks to TZort and tremendous value.