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Destination: New Orleans

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When was the last time you considered New Orleans as a destination for a meeting, event, or incentive?

For me, it had been three years since my last visit, and this time, I did things a little differently. I wanted to stay outside the storied French Quarter… with the caveat that everything was within easy walking distance.

I decided to try the ACE Hotel New Orleans, located in the revived Warehouse District – where it is many decibels quieter and much easier to get a great night’s sleep. Talk about a property that exceeded my expectations! This property is perfect for corporate meetings, events, and unforgettable incentive programs. During my stay, there was a pharmaceutical company hosting an investigator meeting (it is pharma friendly) – so I witnessed firsthand that the meeting space that can beautifully accommodate “meet & feed” for 125 people (general session, four breakouts, and even a private exterior courtyard).

Where do I begin describing the unique features of this hotel?

  • Most impressive was the 9th floor pool terrace that offers an incredible view, while feeling like you are in a “secret garden” that can be privatized for events.
  • Among the three restaurants, the one that stood out was the Seaworth Oyster Bar – complete with a patio in which you can serve up a traditional crawfish boil in an authentic setting.
  • The Stumptown coffee house, a wonderful experience for anyone looking to satisfy their caffeine fix, is attached to a super cozy common space that feels like a living room.
  • The hotel houses a musical venue that screens vintage movies during the day and hosts musical acts in the evening (the hotel has their own booking agents dedicated to bringing a variety of bands).
  • The sleeping rooms have loft-tall ceilings, and contain a full bar, retro fully-stocked fridge, and even a turntable with vinyl records to listen to tunes the way they were meant to be heard!
  • The French Quarter is just a fifteen minute walk from the front door, or hop on the street car that stops right in front of the hotel (you can get a 24 hour pass for just $3… bring cash).

New Orleans and its surrounding area makes an ideal incentive destination and is jammed packed with unique experiences. Take a step back in time by doing a historical event at a nearby plantation, taking an airboat ride in the bayous, and ending with a fais do-do evening with locals. Discover all historical aspects of the French Quarter by participating in a custom created scavenger hunt that will allow participants to “self-explore” the city and see the key highlights. Learn to cook… learn to dance… even do a “super natural” tour of the Crescent City. The options are endless!

Don’t even get me started on the evolution of the food and music scene. It is so much more than creole cooking (although the étouffées, gumbo, and jambalaya are sublime!) and jazz (between the street performers and new speakeasies – there is a wide variety of live music).

I left the city feeling renewed and with an entirely fresh perspective – New Orleans should most definitely be at the top of your list when it comes to placing a program. If you think of New Orleans as only a party city destination, there’s so much more you need to see and experience. With its rich heritage, art galleries, incredible historical architecture, food, entertainment, and so many opportunities for unique, authentic experiences, there is something for everyone.

Let MCI USA help you design your next meeting, event, or incentive in the Big Easy – and rediscover the unique, memorable gem of New Orleans, leaving your attendees with a spectacular experience.

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