Arrival/Check-In: Less than a year old, the 12-story Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel’s beige exterior and simple lines belie its modern interior. After being greeted by a valet (complimentary self-parking was abundant), we entered the glistening lobby and spied the check-in desks — three massive wooden dressers encased in clear plastic. Above each hung sculpted tree branches illuminated with blue lights. Contemporary seating surrounded the fireplace, and the hip bayou décor, anything but predictable, incorporated references to Louisiana, with paintings depicting oysters on the half shell, pelicans and jazz musicians. The staff promptly issued us room keys and another one to access the Concierge Lounge.
Guest Quarters: Arriving at our room, we were surprised to find housekeeping staff still inside cleaning it. They were just as surprised to see us. After profusely apologizing, the team worked quickly to finish preparing our room.
Our king guestroom on the third floor was a comfortable 340 square feet. The foyer included a built-in wooden cabinet with a coffeemaker and an empty mini fridge. A chartreuse chair sat beside a large floor lamp. Another built-in cabinet contained a small desk and a flat-screen television. Bedside tables flanked the bed, and the lamps had handy reading lights. The large bathroom was done in white alligator-patterned wallpaper except for one red accent wall which listed the definitions of words one might encounter in the Bayou State, printed as though from a dictionary; guests can use the facilities and simultaneously learn that “faisdo-do” (fay-doh-doh) is “a street dance derived from European religious festivals.”
Services/Amenities: The 256-room hotel has a business center, eight large meeting rooms and a 7,500-square-foot ballroom. Tallulah Crafted Food and Wine Bar, located on the first floor, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and hosts a variety of specials such as “Manly Mondays,” when beer is $3, burgers and fries are $5 and strip steak or osso buco is $25. Casually elegant, Tallulah’s seating is intimate. The menu features indigenous cuisine such as Louisiana organic pecan liquid praline-topped pancakes with cinnamon pumpkin butter or Bayou Benedict with tasso ham, smoked tomato hollandaise and poached crawfish tail. Just steps from the restaurant, the outdoor pool with tall fountains and a courtyard patio with bar are popular spots. The hotel is situated between the Mall of Louisiana and the upscale Perkins Rowe lifestyle center, which makes the complimentary (within three miles of the hotel) shuttle especially appealing.
The Experience: Given its proximity to Louisiana State University, downtown and the state capitol, the hotel is convenient for business or leisure travelers. The inspired interior, with contemporary artwork created by mostly local artists, is unmistakable Louisiana luxury.
- Less than 10 minutes for check-in
- Separate tub and shower
- Large vanity
- High-quality towels
- Powerful, unattached hair dryer
- High-quality bed linens
- Large, flat-screen television
- Large desk with convenient outlets
- Large, complimentary laptop safe
- Complimentary in-room WiFi
- Complimentary bottled water
- Stocked minibar
- Ample lighting
- In-room coffeemaker
- Iron and ironing board
- On-site restaurant and bar
- 24-hour room service
- State-of-the-art fitness center
Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel
7000 Bluebonnet Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
tel 225 215 7000
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I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
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