70113 Travel Guide
We love us some Big Blue, but we have to admit: we really wanted to see the New Orleans Saints take on the Pats on Sunday. (And, duh, beat them.) Even without New Orleans in the Super Bowl, we wish we were there to get our Game Face on at the Hyatt Regency New Orlean's Vitascope Hall.
This is one of the best hotel sports bars we've ever seen. It's not a dive full of aggressive sports fans; it's actually quite sleek looking. But more importantly, it is designed with perfect game-watching functionality.
There are big leather bar stools with seat backs lining the bar with front-on views of the flatscreens and there are lots of leather couches in various configurations scattered around the room. The prime spots for football games, though, are these semi-private booths with their own flatscreens...
We already took you on a tourof the guest rooms at the back-in-business Hyatt Regency New Orleans--and told you all the gourmet tailgating goodness that can be found at the hotel's bars and restaurants.
As for the reason your minibar is empty, we decided to let the Hyatt Regency NOLA's GM explain. We caught up with Michael Smith at the hotel's 24-hour market Lagniappe Exchange, which factors heavily in his plans not to rip off his guests at the minibar.
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It's no secret that the eatin' and drinkin' in New Orleans is out of this world. Also, on game days, there is tailgating aplenty around the Superdome—and, now it's reopened, the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. But inside? There's even more yumminess to be had.
Our gallery has a little visual sampling of what's on offer, and here are the important deets on where to eat in the hotel:
8 Block Kitchen & Bar: Named for the eight blocks of Upper Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, the Hyatt Regency NOLA's signature restaurant is helmed by executive chef Eric Damidot, who joined the hotel from Caesar's Palace in Vegas. His menu is farm-to-table driven and blends international foodie favorites with traditional New Orleans flavors. Breakfast options include Fried Oyster Eggs Benedict and Beignets. Lunch and dinner specialties include She Crab Soup, Rotisserie Coq au Coin Farm Chicken Gumbo, Garlic and Pepper Crusted Gulf Shrimp and a Muffaletta sandwich.
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We love a new hotel opening. But what's even more exciting is a hotel reopening—especially when it's one as symbolic as this. On October 19, the Hyatt Regency New Orleans finally threw open its doors again, after a four-year top-to-toe refurbishment.
The hotel was badly damaged during Hurricane Katrina—and a highly visible sign of the storm, situated right behind the Superdome. Its return has locals beaming with pride and it couldn't come at a better time, with tourists back in force in Nola, and a slew of big events on the way, including the BCS National Championship in 2012 and the Super Bowl in 2013.
We checked in over the weekend, when the hotel was abuzz with Saints fans who filled up a large percentage of the 1,193 guest rooms. Here's our first peek at the hotel and an Executive Suite room. We'll have more on the hotel and its public spaces later this week...
The hotel, which was damaged heavily by Hurricane Katrina (see these photos on MSNBC) is still going ahead with an October 19 reopening date to show off its $275 million redesign and restoration. Room rates are also holding steady at $239 a night for a queen bed, which hasn't changed since we last checked on it in May.
About the only gripe we have with this place now is that we just wish there were better photos up on the website but instead there are just renderings. We hope that changes soon.