Hotel Review

5-Night Summer Stay at Aqua Kauai Beach Resort

On the island of Kauai, there are several hotels, resorts, and rental properties of all sorts for travelers to book for accommodations. Whether you're planning on staying on the North, South, or Central shores, there is a place for every type of traveler.

For my trip, I stayed at the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort which was just a short distance away from the Lihue Airport. Before getting my rental car situation figured out, I was conveniently picked up from the airport and shuttled to the resort upon arrival. I was greeted by towering palm trees as we pulled into the circular driveway and the friendly staff of Kauai Beach Resort. Check-in was a breeze and I was off to my home (room) for the next five nights!

Honestly, I didn't spend a ton of time at the resort during my stay, so I only explored the property a little bit and when I wasn't out enjoying all that the island had to offer, I was asleep. I did stop by the pool before getting ready for Kauai Fashion Weekend on Saturday for a burger, fries and Mai Tai at the resort's Driftwood Bar & Grille.

I would definitely recommend Aqua Kauai Beach Resort for younger travelers who are looking for something affordable and the full resort package of amenities and services. Also, groups of friends and/or families are perfect for this property as well. There's something appealing for everyone here!

Learn more about Aqua Kauai Beach Resort and start planning your trip to Kauai!

Hotel Review | The Troubadour, A Joie de Vivre Hotel in Downtown New Orleans

We checked out of our first hotel of Essence Festival weekend early after a negative experience, but luckily we were able to find a lovely room at The Troubadour just less than 3 minutes away walking distance. As terrible as our situation was, I was a little afraid to check-out during such a busy and booked weekend, but it all worked out.

Just half an hour before 3PM, we called to make a reservation with the front desk and were in our new room by 3:15PM. I'd seen several photos of The Troubadour while planning the trip to New Orleans and fell in love, but decided to go with "the other hotel" -- mistake. The experience at The Troubadour was exceptional. Everyone was personable, the property had plenty of charm with its '20s art deco-inspired design, it was clean and I felt far more comfortable overall. Needless to say, it surpassed my expectations.

Young adults who appreciate a more modern style hotel would love this chic property! It's not like a Ritz-Carlton (as far as style) or anything, but I think it gives you a youthful New Orleans vibe and it's totally Instagram-worthy. Check out the room:

This was my first time in New Orleans and I really wish I had more time to explore the property, but this will be my first choice when I return! I'd love to try the dining options and the chill-looking rooftop bar. An excellent first stay at The Troubadour for sure! It seems that depending on when you plan to go, prices aren't incredibly expensive either. I'd recommend this spot for anyone going to New Orleans for a girlfriends getaway or a weekend Baecation. It's very updated and designed with the millennial in mind!

Learn more about The Troubadour, A Joie de Vivre Hotel

Hotel Review | Catahoula Hotel in Downtown New Orleans

If you're looking for beautiful, convincing photos of this hotel, then you will not find them here on my blog as this is not a positive review and my experience was quite negative; therefore, this will not serve as any type of positive advertisement on my platform. If you're looking for the sugary shxt, go to their website or any travel booking site. I also reached the 1500 character limit for a review on Expedia where I booked the room, so I decided to share my raw experience here because I absolutely needed more.

The Story

My best friend and I arrived at Catahoula Hotel during Essence Festival weekend. The rates were pretty close to others in the area for such a busy holiday weekend with a handful of large events going on and the photos were beautiful online...but then we checked in. My issue wasn't with the size of the rooms or aesthetic -- it was with the service and (most of all) cleanliness.

First room: We checked in early at around noon on Friday so we could quickly get to an event we were scheduled for shortly after. Once we got back, I took a shower and switched into some comfy clothes for the time being. I pulled back the covers and plopped down. After a few minutes or so, I began to notice multiple tiny bugs in our bed. I'm not sure if they were fleas as it is a pet-friendly hotel or bed bugs...but either way, they were BUGS. Immediately, we both went to the front desk to alert the staff. The man at the desk honestly didn't even seem very surprised -- this should have been a red flag, but I was in a good mood and enjoying New Orleans outside of the hotel experience. He did switch our room within a few minutes and we were able to move our things immediately.

Second room: After gathering our belongings and moving to our new room, we checked the bed for anymore bugs. Luckily, there were none in this room. Upon entering, I noticed that the room was bigger which I thought was great and the open shower wasn't directly in front of the bed this time allowing for more privacy...but we were just happy to be in a room with NO bugs in the bed.

Early the next morning (Saturday), we went out to the New Orleans Natural Hair Expo and came back to the hotel afterwards with our purchases before grabbing lunch. I noticed that the beds had been made up while we were gone, so I started taking photos of the room since I planned to write about the overall experience and feature [here] on the blog. After I was done, we were sitting on the bed figuring out our plans for the rest of the day when my eyes zoomed in on an incredibly dirty pillow on my best friend's side of the bed. Somehow I'd missed it while taking photos, but now that I look back, it was definitely there. I couldn't believe someone would make a bed and leave noticeably dirty linens.

Catahoula Hotel New Orleans dirty pillow

On a trip, the cleanliness of where I stay is incredibly important to me especially when I'm paying good money to stay there and this disturbed me. First the bugs in the bed and, now, a dirty pillow left on the bed. I tried to control my emotions in the moment and take in the situation before making my next move...then decided to call the front desk. I explained to them that the bed was made with dirty pillows while we were gone and the ONLY response I got was, "would you like for us to bring you new pillows?" Well...DUH! 

Again, no apology and any indication of surprise in the employee's voice. Why the hell was everyone so damn nonchalant?! I replied, "yes" and that was the end of the conversation.

We probably waited for about 10 minutes and no one seemed to have a sense of urgency to bring us new pillows or to come check the room. Eventually, after getting tired of waiting, I went to the front desk to make my dissatisfaction known, ask for a refund AND to check-out ASAP. The two employees at the front desk seemed fairly apologetic at that point, but I refused to have us pay almost $300 per night for THAT kind of service. 

Update: As of Tuesday, July 3rd, our money for the second night was successfully refunded.

The Verdict & Our Solution

We were able to get a room at The Troubadour just around the corner for basically the SAME rate and we received much better service. Interestingly, this was my first choice for a hotel when I first started planning. Note to self: trust your gut! | Read about our experience at The Troubadour and see photos, here.

I would not recommend Catahoula Hotel to any of my friends or readers planning to travel to New Orleans. It's cute in aesthetics as a boutique hotel that gives you the hipster essence of "NOLA" and all, but they really should get the cleanliness, service and attention to detail together like...YESTERDAY. I'm still kinda upset that we wasted the first of our two nights in New Orleans here, but at least we know where to stay next time.

Disclaimer: This stay was paid for with our own money. It is not and was never sponsored. All thoughts and opinions are 110% my own.