‘It’s probably better than we’ve ever seen’: Mardi Gras hotel bookings strong after sabbatical

By TYLER FINGERT

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MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) — Final preparations are underway at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel ahead of Friday’s first parade. Their spot on Royal Street is a prime location to watch Mardi Gras return to the port city.

Inside there is a lot of excitement as they expect the next three weeks to be huge in terms of bookings.

“I would say it’s probably better than anything we’ve ever seen,” said Kent Blackinton, general manager of the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel.

Blackinton served as general manager at the Riverview for 14 years. He’s seen a Mardi Gras or two and he thinks this year will be big after COVID canceled the fun last year.

“We’re almost full this weekend, we’re very close to being full next weekend and obviously we’re very full this past week,” he said. “I really think these are probably the best Mardi Gras bookings I’ve seen.”

The guests are equally enthusiastic. Some of them are local, but others used to live here and just couldn’t miss the fun.

“I haven’t been here in about three years, thanks COVID, but I also brought a friend of mine this time and it’s her very first time at Mardi Gras, so it’s super exciting to bring someone. one who has never seen this crop,” said Christine Kirby.

“We all like to come here every year and party, it’s just a lot of fun,” said Susan Hopkins. “The floats are pretty; balls are fun.

With the floats expected to start rolling soon, many are already thinking about some of the pitches they’ll be catching.

“Who doesn’t want a MoonPie?” When I was a kid I remember singing the song MOONPIE, MoonPie MoonPie fly to me,” Kirby said.

Blackinton said they don’t expect personnel issues to play a big role in the coming weeks.

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