By Amalia Otet, Associate Editor
One of the city’s landmark hotels, Hyatt Regency New Orleans, will re-open its doors Oct. 19 as the anchor of the vibrant Sports and Entertainment District.
Opened in 1976, a year after the Superdome, the hotel was an integral part of New Orleans’ downtown hospitality sector for almost 30 years, until 2005 when it was terribly hit by Hurricane Katrina. Following a $275 million renovation, Hyatt Regency New Orleans emerges as a premier meeting and convention hotel, boasting 200,000 square feet of state-of-the-art event space, strikingly sophisticated guest rooms and amenities.
The current owner, Poydras Properties Hotel Holdings–a hospitality venture that includes AREA Property Partners, Poydras Hotel Members L.L.C. and a subsidiary of Hyatt Hotels Corp.–bought the 31-story building in 2007 from Strategic Hotels & Resorts for $32 million, as reported by the Times-Picayune.
Ideally located at 601 Loyola Ave., adjacent to the New Orleans Superdome and New Orleans Arena, blocks from the French Quarter, Morial Convention Center and Mississippi River Front, the newly enhanced Hyatt Regency will feature 1,193 all-new guest rooms, including four presidential suites and five residential-style meeting planner suites, a restaurant by a nationally recognized chef, a 2,000-square-foot Starbucks coffee shop, a 24-hour fresh market and more. The property will employ 800 people.
“Hand-in-hand with Hyatt, we are dedicated to making the rebirth of the legendary Hyatt Regency New Orleans a reality, and today we could not be more proud,” said John Jacobsson, of AREA Property Partners, in a press release. “Setting new standards in the hospitality industry, we are confident the hotel will play an integral role in continuing to attract new visitors to New Orleans and will support the monumental economic resurgence of this great city.”
Another hotel dramatically affected by the massive 2005 storm, the 18-story, 1,032-room Grand Palace Hotel on the corner of Canal Street and South Claiborne Avenue is going to be demolished on Nov. 20 to make room for the $1.1 billion University Medical Center. The newly approved hospital is slated to be complete by early 2015, according to a Times-Picayune story.