To whet your appetite, here's a short excerpt:
In the mid-19th century, peer-review websites were, of course, the stuff of a madman’s dreams, but luckily we have the published diaries of affluent travelers (surely the travel blogs of the day) to give us some insight as to how the older hotels and boarding establishments operated. Lady Emmeline Stuart Wortley, an English poet and writer, stayed at a hotel called The Verandah in 1849. She wrote about it in a book which documents her travels in the United States between 1849 and 1850, a book which bears the unswervingly literal title of 'Travels Within the United States During 1849 and 1850'.
Here’s what Lady Wortley had to report: “We are at a very splendid and comfortable hotel called The Verandah. It reminds me of a Parisian one. The St. Charles is the largest of all the hotels in New Orleans but it is much crowded, and we were recommended to try this, as it is quieter, and thus pleasanter for the ladies.”
Lady W. goes on to praise the St. Charles at some length, implying that she actually would rather be staying there, then damns the Verandah with faint praise and ends with a complaint about the price: “The attendance at [this hotel] is admirable, and all the arrangements excellent. But the charges are much higher than usual in the States.”
She then relates a rather tedious story about being harassed by “a little Swede” at dinner (someone from Sweden, not the root vegetable). In any case, she is by and large quite impressed by the place, especially the “airy apartments” as they saved her from “an early termination from these frying- pan temperatures.” She was being dramatic then, of course, but her early termination sadly did come just five years later, when she died of dysentery while traveling in the Ottoman Empire, an unfortunate case of out of the frying pan and onto the pyre.