A weekend convention I was attending was held in New Orleans recently. I was pleased to learn it was to be held at the Hyatt Regency since I have low-level status with them as a result of my Chase Hyatt credit card. I was even more pleased to learn that this is a category 4 hotel, which meant I could use the free night certificate that I earn each year simply by paying the annual fee on the card.
We arrived about 8:30 PM after the long drive from Memphis. Valet parking is $40 per night so we opted for the self-park around the corner that was $25 per night. Fortunately the self-park garage has direct access to the hotel so this made it quite convenient.
Though there wasn’t much of a check-in line, I still went to the elite line where I was the only person and once a staff member was freed up, she called me right over for assistance. She did thank me for my loyalty and confirmed I’d asked for an accessible room. When I said that I didn’t really need that (it was just what had been assigned to me when redeeming the certificate) she proactively decided to look for an upgrade. I was assigned a room on the 11th floor and even given club access. That was great because as a Discoverist, I don’t normally get free breakfast but because she’d assigned me a suite, I now had it!
Getting to the elevators from the front desk is a little bit of a trek because this is a convention hotel so while the front desk was on the ground floor, it was actually necessary to take escalators up to the third floor to be able to reach a point where we could get on the elevators.
The elevators in themselves are a bit tricky but fortunately there was a staff member on hand to assist, as there was both evenings were there while lots of folks were checking in. (Smart move, Hyatt.) We weren’t the only ones learning how to make them work! There are two banks of elevators: A/B/C/D and E/F/G/H. Both sets go to level 3 (the main level) and level 5 (pool) but A-D are for the lower sets of floors while E-H go to the higher sets. And only F and G go to the 32nd floor where the club and gym are found.
To access a floor, you scan your room key underneath the keypad. It will automatically light up your floor but if you want to go to a different one (like the club) then you select that button instead. Once it knows which floor you want, it will assign you to one of the elevator cars. This usually worked pretty well. The only time things were really crowded was when we were all heading downstairs to the convention at once.
The hotel is shaped a bit like an X but the “legs” of the X curve a bit more than the ones of the letter do. I followed the signs toward my quarter of the X. The entire atrium is open and you can look right down on one of the restaurants. I kept walking almost to the end of the hallway before coming to my room, 1124.
The door opened into a hallway with the closet immediately to the left, followed by the bathroom.
At the end of the hall was the living area that featured a sectional sofa (not a sleeper, however) with a desk and a wall-mounted TV. Mine was a connecting room so to the far left, beside the desk, was the connecting door.
To the right was a wall with an open doorway into the bedroom. I had a king bed with two built-in side tables. Against the wall between the living area and the bedroom was a tall chest upon which the TV sat. The chest contained the mini-fridge (with 2 liter-size bottles of water – complimentary thanks to my Discoverist status) and the safe.
On one bedside table I found this note. I think this is a great idea, even though I did not use either product. This hotel is right beside some venues that could be used for concerts and noise could be an issue at times. The hotel has implemented a quiet period in its hallways after 9 PM but we all know that can be ignored if there are intoxicated folks around.
You’ll notice that I did not describe any sort of chest with drawers and that’s because there wasn’t one. There was no luggage stand either, though there were a couple of stools/footrests in the living area that could have served the purpose. I’ve heard that some properties are skipping chests with drawers because people tend to leave more things behind in drawers.
There were a couple of shelves below the safe in the bedroom and inside the closet were several shelves on one side and there was the overhead shelf that ran the length of the closet. There was also a laundry hamper in the closet, not something I believe I’ve ever seen before in a hotel. The whole arrangement just struck me as strange but since I was only there for two nights it didn’t bother me too much.
The bathroom had the vanity and sink on one side (I liked the stainless features), the toilet in the center and the walk-in shower on the other side. My first complaint about the bathroom was the lighting. It was extremely dim and yellow. Yes there was a lighted makeup mirror which helped up close, but the wall lights gave the whole bathroom a sickly glow. My other complaint is the water pressure. I thought perhaps it was a fluke on Saturday morning when there wasn’t much pressure but I had the same issue on Sunday. I like a very strong shower pulse and this just didn’t get it done, especially since the water at this hotel is EXTREMELY soft, which meant it was quite difficult to get the soap off your hands and body whether taking a shower or just washing your hands. The shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and bar of soap already occupied the shelf in the shower. It’s nice that the shelf is big enough to accommodate all that at once. But that still left me nowhere to put my razor and shave gel except on the floor. An additional shelf would be a good step up as would some sort of low shelf to prop my leg while shaving.
Toiletries were KenetMD brand which I have typically associated with Hyatt Place and Hyatt House. I liked that there was a choice of a bath bar and bath gel. The shampoo and conditioner weren’t great but got the job done.
I only sat on the sofa for a little bit but in looking at it later it seems to have been well-used during its life and refreshing the seat cushions wouldn’t hurt.
The bed was quite firm but was still very comfortable. I loved that there were two easily-accessible plugs on either side of the bed!
The desk also had easy-to-reach plugs on its side. Kudos for that!
The thermostat was easy to operate and thankfully could be set below 68F. I like to sleep in a cold room and that made it much easier. I was a little amused/frustrated that in the mornings when I’d turn the thermostat up, that I had to bump it up just a few degrees at a time. If I tried to jump straight from 66F to 72F, it would turn on the heat instead of just allowing the room to gradually warm.
I was thankful for the upgrade but I do think there are a few small things that could be done to improve the experience.
The pool is located on the 5th floor and you must use your keycard to gain access. From there it’s down a flight of stairs so I don’t know if it’s totally handicap accessible though there may be an entrance from a different direction. The pool deck is fairly large and from 8-10 on Saturday mornings there is some sort of free exercise class there. The deck is right amid a number of tall buildings so I don’t know how much sunlight it actually gets. But the famous New Orleans humidity was in full force, even at 8 AM.
The gym is on the 32rd floor, across from the Regency Club. The room follows the curve of the building and offers views of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (home of the NFL’s Saints) and the Smoothie King Center (home of the NBA’s Pelicans). There were a number of treadmills, some elliptical machines, a few bikes, a reasonable selection of weight machines as well as hand weights and other assorted accessories. I got there just before closing time and it was empty on Friday night but each of the next two mornings there were several folks making use of it while I ate breakfast.
The Regency Club is also on the 32nd floor and offers city views in the opposite direction from the gym. I was disappointed in the selection as there was not much in the way of hot food at all. Oatmeal and grits were the only hot foods. There were about 5 kinds of cereal and a good selection of fruit, both bite-sized and whole, and a small selection of pastries and breads. Several types of juices were available as were coffee and tea, but that was it. Breakfast is offered 5:30-9:30 AM Monday-Friday and 7:00-10:00 AM on the weekends.
They offer mid-day snacks 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM and hors d’oeuvres 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM daily but I did not visit during either of these times. I should have gone been there during our convention’s one long break as it wasn’t long enough for a proper lunch and all the grab ‘n go places had huge lines. Wish I’d remembered this was open!
The Hyatt Regency New Orleans is on Loyola Avenue and is super-convenient to the Superdome and the Smoothie King Center. However there’s not a huge selection of restaurants in the area (or so I was told) and that surprised me. For the one night I had dinner, we ate at the in-house seafood restaurant, which was quite good and fairly reasonably priced (that is to say, a little more than I’d spend if I was just going out by myself for dinner here at home).
If our convention selects NOLA as its site for next year, that will be fine with me and I would be happy to stay here again.