Before recently embarking on Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Dream from New Orleans, Louisiana, we had the pleasure of staying three nights at the lovely Hyatt Regency New Orleans. The newly reopened and reinvigorated property is a AAA Four Diamond hotel and recommendation of ours for pre- and post-cruise stays in the city.
Hurricane Katrina devastated the historic city of New Orleans, the Hyatt included, but when the Big Easy rebounds, it rebounds in a dramatic way. Just in 2014, the Hyatt Regency reopened as a modern statement of the city’s resilience to tragedy. After a complete overhaul and redesign, the resulting hotel is a gem of comfort, conveniently located just outside the French Quarter, adjacent to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome football stadium and a short five minute drive from the cruise terminal.
The newly relocated hotel lobby is handsome and inviting in decor and provides easy street access to the 1,193 guest rooms via a sophisticated express elevator system. The fascinating modern dispatch of the elevators relies on pressing your RFID-equipped keycard to a pad instead of calling the elevator merely up or down. A computer then calculates the most efficient elevator car to send your way for a ride directly to your floor or at most with very few stops, resulting in quicker access without stopping at every level. You can more traditionally call an elevator to reach other common areas as well.
The expansive lobby area stretches upwards into an open atrium that every floor overlooks with tower-length glass paneling letting light in from either side of the building. For a hotel built years ago, the effect remains very modern in design. The base levels include 200,000 square feet of event space, restaurants, a gift shop, an outdoor pool deck with bar and private cabanas, and Le Jardin Spa. The fitness center and Regency Club take residence on the top floor with great views over the city. As for entertainment, live jazz music permeates the hotel on Friday and Saturday nights.
Plenty of onsite dining options include a requisite Starbucks and quick bites from the Lagniappe Exchange gift shop. Pizza Consegna offers delivery-only service while sit down options range from Q Smokery & Cafe barbecue and Vitascope Hall bar fare to 8 Block Kitchen & Bar main breakfasts and lunches and Borgne from James Beard award-winning chef, John Besh. Vitascope Hall for one reflects the high-tech nature of the hotel with a fun atmosphere complete with interactive music choices called up from your smart phone like a modern jukebox. Homemade potato chips and an excellent selection of beers on tap make this venue an absolute winner, or there’s always room service too.
Of the 1,193 total rooms, 95 are suites including five Meeting Planner suites and four Presidential Suites. Regency Club and PURE hypoallergenic rooms are also available. Even standard rooms are very functional and comfortable. All rooms, for instance, feature plush Hyatt Grand Beds, Wi-Fi internet, 42″ flat-panel interactive HDTVs, refrigerators, coffee makers, and iHome docking station and alarm clock radios. Also of note are the available Hyatt express check-in kiosks and mobile app.
As at other newly remodeled Hyatt properties, the handsome and modern decor features dark polished furnishings offset with light bedding and seating. The geometric pattern in the maroon carpet grounds the living areas while colors continue to pleasantly lighten towards the ceiling. The beds are extremely comfortable with ample cushioning and soft sheets. Plenty of light can be let in through the window by day, but by night, a few more light fixtures would help to better illuminate the space.
The flat panel television is perfectly sized for the room and boasts an extensive interactive guide. The cabinets along the desk area come with lots of usable storage space as does the closet towards the bathroom and entryway. The chair by the window, with its light above and close proximity to the window, is a great spot for reading.
Good lighting makes up for the bathroom’s smaller size, and the inclusion of a curved shower curtain rod always helps to maximize bathing space. Modern aesthetics extend to the sink basin with a black countertop, mirrored face and open storage recess below. As you would rightfully expect, choosing one of the hotel’s suites affords even more space.
With the hotel’s traditional comforts and modern amenities, the Hyatt Regency New Orleans is a property that feels equal parts like home and space-age hub. Plus, the destination of New Orleans itself paired with a stay here makes for a wonderful time all the way around. So, as the locals say, let the good times roll!!!
For more information on the Hyatt Regency New Orleans and to arrange for your own stay, visit the hotel’s website here.
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: JASON LEPPERT