by Michael C. Lowe | November 01, 2011
New Orleans
Last month, the 527-room Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, completed a $9 million guest room renovation, the hotel's first since opening in 2000. The property includes 35,000 square feet of meeting space and a 25,000-square-foot spa.
Hyatt Regency New OrleansThe 32-story Hyatt Regency New Orleans reopened last month following a $275 million renovation. The property features 1,193 rooms, more than 200,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and several food and beverage options (see "Hyatt Eats" column at left).

In August, the Louisiana Superdome completed an $85 million renovation, the latest part of an ongoing $336 million revamp that began in 2006. Enhancements include the expansion of the Plaza Level concourse and the addition of some 3,100 plaza level seats and two new club lounges.

The 98-room W New Orleans-French Quarter recently completed a renovation of its guest rooms, restaurant space and exterior. The property offers approximately 13,000 square feet of meeting space.

The 170-room Hotel New Orleans will become the Hyatt Place New Orleans Convention Center in 2012 after undergoing an extensive renovation and rebranding. The property, which sits directly across from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, includes a restaurant, a fitness center and 1,250 square feet of meeting space. The hotel will remain open during the renovation process.

The new 166-room Saint Hotel is scheduled to open next month with 1,450 square feet of meeting space, a restaurant serving modern American fare, a bar featuring live jazz, and a rooftop bar with panoramic views of downtown New Orleans. The property is in the historic Audubon Building, which recently completed a $45 million renovation.

Meeting Hotels
Among major properties in the city's Central Business District are the 1,616-room Hilton New Orleans Riverside; 1,290-room New Orleans Marriott; 1,193-room Hyatt Regency New Orleans; 1,110-room Sheraton New Orleans; 527-room Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans; 504-room Roosevelt Hotel; 494-room JW Marriott New Orleans; 479-room InterContinental New Or­leans; 423-room W New Orleans; 367-room Doubletree New Orleans; 324-room Windsor Court, an Orient-Express Hotel; 296-room Holiday Inn Downtown Superdome; 285-room Loews New Orleans Hotel, and 272-room Renaissance Pere Marquette.

For a more complete listing of properties in and around New Orleans, visit

Convention Center
The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center; exhibit space, approximately 1.1 million contiguous square feet; number of meeting rooms, 140; (504) 582-3023

Airport Transit
Louis Armstrong New Orleans Inter­national Airport, 10 miles west of the Central Business District and the French Quarter. Transfer cost by taxi, $33; by shuttle, $20 (roundtrip, $38)

Room tax, 4%, plus a $1-$3 surcharge per room, per night, based on room count; sales tax, 9%; total tax on hotel rooms, 13%, plus the surcharge

Dining Out
Nominated for best new restaurant at the 2011 James Beard Awards, Mondo features international fare with a New Orleans twist. The Crescent City cookery is helmed by veteran chef Susan Spicer, whose inventive menus include items such as Chinese braised duck leg with scallion cakes and bok choy. (504) 224-2633 

For French- and Italian-inspired takes on Southern fare, bring attendees to Herbsaint, which has received James Beard nominations for outstanding restaurant and outstanding chef -- Donald Link. Menu items emphasize locally sourced goods, including butter poached Gulf tuna, sauteed Louisiana jumbo shrimp with corn ariancini and bacon, and Louisiana jumbo lump crab meat with local pumpkin, radish and pepitas (pumpkin seeds). The eatery offers private dining areas for up to 50. A sister restaurant, Calcasieu, under the same ownership, can accommodate up to 250 people. (504) 524-4114

New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, (800) 672-6124