Hilton New Orleans Riverside Review: Good Location, Poor Service Make for a "Meh" Experience

This is a 100% honest, 100% authentic Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel review. Dadtography was not compensated in any way for this post.

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I recently had an opportunity to visit New Orleans, LA on a work-related trip. I hadn't been to "The Big Easy" since 2008, so I was really looking forward to reconnecting with the city and a change of scenery. I was excited when I booked my stay at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans, as I've traditionally had good experiences in Hilton hotels in the past, and I liked the consistency in the experience I've had in the past with Hilton.

First, here's a bit of history on the Hilton Riverside New Orleans.

That's one of the biggest things that I love about New Orleans that Orlando and central Florida just doesn't quite have - history. The Hilton Riverside was completed in 1977, is 29 stories tall and is the 20th (tied) tallest building in the city. Source: Wikipedia.

The exterior of the hotel isn't the smoked glass high rises that are being built now. It looks as through it's made out of a rough textured concrete. That's not a bad thing and is really just a factor of when it was built. The hotel has character and, like the city, has been through quite a bit over the years.

Looking for more ideas of things to do in New Orleans? Check out our post!

21 Awesome Things To Do On Bourbon Street, the French Quarter, and Downtown New Orleans

What was our first impression of the Hilton New Orleans?

My first impression of the Hilton Riverside is actually of its location. To me, it was ideally located right next to the Mississippi River and Riverwalk, shopping, casinos and other walkable attractions. I love walking when I'm in cities and the location was ideal for what I wanted to do while there.

My second impression was walking in the front revolving door to the hotel. The entrance to the hotel is a bit awkward, where you come in the front door and then you must take an escalator or elevator up a floor to the front desk. I don't recall the signage being very good indicating that fact as well, but I made it to the check-in desk eventually.

How was our check-in line and wait times experience at the Hilton New Orleans?

The check-in and check-out at the Hilton Riverside was easily my least favorite portion of my entire stay. At check-in, there were around 12 - 15 people in line. I got lucky and was one of the first in line at the time.

As more people stacked up, the hotel didn't add more desk agents. Of the two desk agents that were present, only one was accepting walk-up check-in guests. The other agent was dedicated to Hilton Honors customers.

I waited approximately 20 minutes to check in, which isn't terrible. But I had just gotten in from the airport, my flight was almost an hour late and I skipped lunch because I anticipated eating dinner in New Orleans that night. Needless to say, I was hangry by the time I finished, went upstairs and stashed my stuff and eventually found something to eat.

Checking out was even worse than check-in. I think one conference was ending while another was just kicking off in the hotel so the line was very long - wrapping well outside the defined wait line. There were easily 50 people in line, but again, only 2 people staffing the desk. Long lines aren't as much the issue, but the lack of willingness or ability of the hotel to accommodate more guests during "rush" periods seemed to be a significant issue.

I've since reached out to Hilton regarding this issue and I'm hopeful they'll be willing to work with me to fix the issue.

What's the staff like at the Hilton New Orleans?

With only a few exceptions, this is another one of the areas that I feel the Hilton Riverside New Orleans fell short of my expectations.

The staff wasn't very nice nor very accommodating.

They weren't apologetic nor did they even appear aware of the long lines guests were waiting in.

They never smile.

They barely acknowledged me in passing in the halls.

I even called down because I left my toothpaste at home (one of my "tests"). They sent some up - one packet, good for one brush. My stay was for 2 nights. Too much trouble to send enough for the duration of my stay, I guess.

[bctt tweet="@Hilton #NOLA staff won't wow you with their hospitality. #travelblog"]

How was our experience with the executive level rooms at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside?

I booked an "executive level" room for my stay because it was only a few dollars more than the regular rate. I was in it for the views, to be honest. I brought my camera with me and hoped to get some good night shots from my window.

The view I had was supposed to be a river view room. I guess it was, but their version of "view" and mine are different. You could see the river if you turned your head far enough. I guess that's just like "ocean view" vs "ocean front".

I should have known better.

I also had an issue with the air conditioning. It wasn't a major issue and my stay wasn't long, so I didn't bother calling down about it. I came up during the day on my last day to find a maintenance person checking it out. He said the units were known for needing to be below 70 to cool. I just slept with the covers off for a few nights. 🙂

Hilton New Orleans Riverside - Executive Level
Hilton New Orleans Riverside - Executive Level

Summary of my stay and final thoughts for this Hilton New Orleans Riverside review.

The hotel itself is not likely to dazzle you with its charm. The location is good (be careful walking alone after dark, though) and there's a lot to see within walking distance.

The staff don't seem to enjoy their jobs very much and generally weren't very nice or even all that accommodating.

The executive level room that I stayed in was nice (see photos below), but I've seen reviews from other rooms that aren't as happy with their experience.

Overall, I meant what I said in my tweet above - I'd love to return to New Orleans again soon, but I don't think I'll be staying at the Hilton Riverside.

Have you stayed at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside before? What's your favorite hotel in downtown New Orleans?

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