Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Research Mission - New Orleans

Back in the winter, before we had even begun to dream about Lafayette Flats, we were suffering from a bad case of cabin fever and booked a trip to New Orleans for the Spring. It turned out that the first week of May was a questionable time for us to take a trip since we were by then right in the middle of doing all of the legwork necessary to buy our building, but airlines don't care about such matters and they certainly weren't going to refund our long-booked tickets so we decided to use the trip as a fact-finding opportnity and booked a vacation rental apartment.

We were very fortunate to find anywhere to stay because we had unknowingly booked our trip during the New Orleans Jazz Heritage Festival (Jazzfest) which is second only to Mardis Gras in the number of visitors to the city. So nearly all the hotels were full and those that did still have rooms were asking a premium price for them. VRBO.com (Vacation Rentals by Owner) came to our rescue and we found a great little place off the beaten path. Named "The Gates" this cute apartment was located on the ground floor of the owners' home and was a very well executed vacation rental.

The d├ęcor of the apartment was very much in line with our tastes and we took away several good ideas that we very well might employ at Lafayette Flats like nice unbreakable wine glasses, reusable shopping bags, local information and guides from a local insider's perspective and a chalkboard for guests to leave messages for future guests. We also liked the Mrs. Meyer's Cleaning products and unusual but useful items that were there for our use (like yoga mats). The owners also had a few really nice reused and repurposed items like a galvanized trash can inverted and used as a nightstand.

We also found a great idea for open shelves in the bathroom were guests can organize their belongings.

No place is perfect, though, and we took away a few "don'ts" too, like a perhaps too-cozy shower stall and area rugs that were a little harsh on bare feet.

So despite the bad timing, we really enjoyed our NOLA trip and learned a lot about the vacation rental biz. We hope that it pays off for our guests.

You can see The Gates information on VRBO.com by clinking this link. If you are planning a trip to New Orleans, we highly recommend this place.

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