So It Turns Out I’m More of a Luxury Traveler
My review of the Biscuit Palace.
Over New Year’s week I traveled to New Orleans with some of my favorite people. I had two weeks off work (the longest time off since my surgery!) and it was my first multi-night out of town trip in a long, long time. Overall the trip was fun, and I will talk about that later, but first I have to review the Biscuit Palace, the unfortunate place we stayed.
Now, originally there was supposed to be a larger group going – eight of us in total. Everyone but me had been to NOLA previously, so they had suggestions and ideas about where to stay. For some, money was tighter than for others. So based on cost considerations and past visitor recommendations, we settled on a place called The Biscuit Palace, in the French Quarter. It bills itself as
“a quaint guest house located In the heart of New Orleans French Quarter between Bourbon and Royal Streets”
Its website also states:
“Please Note: We are a guest house, not a full service hotel or B&B, thank you”
which I took to mean that there was no daily room cleanups, and no food available on-site, both of which things are fine with me. When I have stayed at B&B’s in the past the “breakfast” portion always makes me feel odd, I don’t necessarily like being waited on, and wherever I am the idea of someone coming in and making my bed while I am gone gives me the skeeves. So that was all fine with me. I don’t need daily service, just a comfortable place to lay my head.
In the end, money and scheduling troubles prevented some of our companions coming along. Turns out we could have booked rooms at a slightly nicer place than The Biscuit Palace, but by that time we would have lost our deposit if we wanted to change.
I am sorry to say that despite my friends’ recommendations, The Biscuit Palace was a dirty, dirty craphole.
Some parts of its crappiness were not to be helped. The building is old as balls, and so you knew ahead that the plumbing wouldn’t be top rate, and the design of the building meant that to get to our “suite” you had to climb two flights of stairs that looked like this:
There were 44 stairs in total, and they were old, with dips and divots and they were narrow and twisty. I knew ahead of time to dread that, but honestly the stairs did inhibit my willingness to go out as much. Knowing I had to get back up and down those stairs if I wanted to so much as run across the street for a hot dog really kept me in the room more than I would have liked. Once I was in, I was in for the night. Also, how are you going to go out drinking when you know you have to traverse those stairs when you get back in? All I need is to break my leg and/or neck on those things in a drunken tumble.
So then we get to the room. Oh, the room.
So I was traveling with a couple, and they got the main bedroom area. It was very pretty:
But the room I was in. Ugh. Looking back I didn’t take an overview shot of it (which was mostly because I didn’t want to think about it while I was in it) but I did find a pic someone else had taken, and you can get an idea about the state of it from the pictures I do post.
First of all it was filthy. I mean, deep down grime. Not because it’s an old building, but because no one had troubled to do more than cursorily clean it in ages and ages, and it showed. All of the light fixtures were missing bulbs, or not plugged in, and the overhead fan light didn’t work at all. I am convinced this was purposeful, to keep people from seeing the dirt.
The description of the room said there was a day bed, which is true. However, either the floor or the day bed or both were tilted, meaning that whenever you sat or laid on the bed, you were in danger of rolling off. The mattress itself had to be either the cheapest mattress created or 35 years old, because it was nothing but bare metal coils with some fabric covering. If the floor hadn’t been so dirty, I am convinced it would have been more comfortable.
Also, the linens on the bed were not white or nice or of the type I’ve been accustomed to in guest accommodations. The sheet had a brown pattern, and there was no mattress pad. See the bare mattress in the picture above? That’s because every time I rolled over in this godforsaken tilt-a-bed, the sheet slid off one end and I ended up touching bare mattress. Quintuple ugh.
Also, see those completely nasty-ass pillows there? Those were the throw pillows or something, but they would be rejected as filthy by any third-rate degenerate frat house in the country. Here’s a closer look.
There were other fiber-fill pillows on the day bed, but immediately on resting my upon them, I was suffused with the odor of a thousand other people’s sweaty nightmares. Those pillows stank like a million old dorm rooms.
My first night in the room I laid a scarf of mine across the pillows, but I kept having to roll over to escape the sensation of sliding off the bed. When I rolled over my scarf would slip, and I’d smell the rank pillow stench. Then my leg would touch bare mattress. I had such bad skeevy dirty feelings that I got up to take a shower. The shower was just as filthy as everything else, with a moldered old plastic curtain covered in white mineral deposits, green-tinged plastic curtain rings, and barely any water pressure. After I attempted to wash myself, I stepped out of the shower and grabbed a towel to dry my face. The towel was completely mildewed. My face and body were now covered in mildew stink. I burst into tears. I had to take a pill just to be able to sleep. None of my nights sleep improved after that, at all. I spend the rest of the trip chronically sleep deprived.
Here was our daily towel delivery, by the way. The next set of towels we got was not only thread-bare and mildewed, but also stank of cigarette smoke.
Other notes upon check in – there was hair in the refrigerator, and the coffeepot had an old used filter and grounds in it.
Here are some more photos of the room I was sleeping in:
Now, I am the first to admit that I am a really sensitive person. I knew that a trip to a crowded city like New Orleans at a busy time like NYE would tax my reserves. What I didn’t count on was that I wouldn’t have any comfortable refuge or retreat in which to recharge. When the place you’re staying is hard to get in and out of, dirty and uncomfortable, there is no place in which you can restore your energy, or rest. As the trip wore on I felt myself getting more and more frazzled. I just wanted some peace, or a hot clean shower, or a decent night’s sleep so that I could get ready for walking on cobblestone streets and dealing with crowds the next day. But I never got that. The gross state of our accommodations really impacted my enjoyment of the trip, and I resent that. Several times I thought about trying to find a new place to stay, but I knew that would have been expensive and hard to do with the Sugar Bowl in town. I also didn’t want to seem histrionic, since the foul place didn’t seem to bother the people I was with quite so much (to be fair, their room was much nicer, and their bed was not on a slant, or filthy and smelly. Also, they have traveled in third-world countries.)
To add to the general awfulness of it all, the last two days we were there, the humidity spiked, and when ascending/descending the stair cast, both the wall and the stair railing were actually slick and slimy. That’s not the fault of the place, that was just NOLA climate and the fact of an outdoor stair case. But it made it even more precarious to climb up and down, because there was nothing solid to hold onto.
There were some nice things about the place, it had a pretty courtyard.
and the views were nice
But overall, I would have had a much more restful and enjoyable trip if I could have retreated in the evenings to a place that was easy to access, clean and/or comfortable. By my last day there, all I wanted was to be home and soaking in my own hot tub. I am sorry that my first trip to New Orleans was… not ruined, but severely impacted by this place.
I really wouldn’t recommend The Biscuit Palace to anyone who is in any way concerned with cleanliness or comfort. If you need to stay in the French Quarter and price is your top consideration; if you are part mountain goat and have served time in a Thai prison camp, this place will seem decent in comparison. Otherwise? Keep looking.
Later – good stuff about my trip, I promise.