The locals call it “Nawlins”: roll it around your tongue, practice it out loud, try it with an American accent; it's going to come in very handy when you visit the party town of New Orleans. This multi-cultural, multi-faceted city in the Deep South of the United States of America will blow away any ideas you had about it before you arrived. It's a little bit European and a little bit African; it's got a Caribbean vibe and a whole lot of soul.
Still in recovery mode from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the city's maxim of “let the good times roll” has safeguarded mass tourism, which has always been so vital to this fascinating destination on the Mississippi River.
The jewel of Louisiana, hotels in New Orleans continue to attract visitors from all over the world who are keen to see the sights and help to get this great city back on its feet. And there is plenty to see and do here, with a handful of attractions completely unaffected by the waters and a huge number of those that were now back in business thanks to hard work and dedication.
Explore the city on foot or hop aboard a streetcar to reach the outer suburbs. Music plays at almost every turn (it is the birthplace of jazz), the smells of French-Creole cooking drift out into the streets, and the sound of a celebration is never far away.
New Orleans has a fine mix of budget hotels, mid-range accommodation and luxury hotels, at locations all around the city.
Many New Orleans hotels are centred on the party-fuelled grid-patterned streets of the French Quarter, where people having a good time relax on beautiful balconies, horse-drawn carriages carry snap-happy tourists, and the buskers are cool saxophonists. This is the place to stay if you like to have a good time and don't mind a bit of night-time noise.
The CBD (Central Business District) is home to many business-style hotels, which means good rates can be found at the weekends, though evening entertainment is thin on the ground here.
Just to the west of the French Quarter is the lovely Garden District, where glorious historic homes have been converted into stylish and comfortable hotels.
Hotels near the airport might appear to be a great bargain, and if you're only jetting in and out they most certainly are, but the location is quite a hike from the French Quarter so you might end up spending more on public transport costs than if you'd paid for a more expensive hotel in the city centre.
All the big names are in town whether you want a motel or a more traditional hotel. Check out hotels from W, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Wyndham, La Quinta, Loews, Ramada, Sheraton, InterContinental, Fairfield Inn, Econo Lodge, JW Marriott, Renaissance, Best Western, Comfort Inn, Crowne Plaza and Hampton Inn.
Top five attractions
This historic neighbourhood has an old soul but a young spirit. Bourbon Street is party central, while pretty Jackson Square draws crowds with an appreciation for beauty and architecture.
Mississippi steamboat ride
All aboard the SS Natchez to be transported back to the days of steam travel. Take a day trip or a dinner cruise and re-live the magnificence aboard this famed steamboat.
City Park is one of the oldest, most visited and loveliest parks in America - it is bigger than New York City's Central Park.
A famous musical venue in St Peter Street, in the French Quarter, this historic jazz club is open nightly and to all - even children can join in the fun.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas
Located on the river off Canal Street, there are exhibits displaying species from all over the world at this fantastic family attraction.
Mardi Gras; February/March: This is the party to end all parties in the “Big Easy”; hotels are always in huge demand during this event so book as early as possible.
Tennessee Williams and the New Orleans Literary Festival; March/April: The writer of 'A Streetcar Named Desire', among other notable works, is celebrated alongside other influential writers during this event.
Satchmo SummerFest; August: New Orleans' jazziest son, Louis Armstrong , AKA Satchmo, is saluted every year with live jazz and a host of great parties.