A Modern Oasis In The Heart Of Nola's French Quarter

Out with old, in with the new. There's a new kid on the block – or, more aptly, quarter – as the Hyatt Centric French Quarter has unveiled its new look and feel. While the four-floor hotel itself isn't new, it's shiny and fresh after recent renovations. Although New Orleans' French Quarter is known for having that antique charm, Hyatt gave the inside a modern feel with updated rooms, a fresh coat of paint, and contemporary carpeting throughout.

Before settling into the hotel to see the changes, we checked out what's trending in the neighborhood to collect some recommendations for you.

The American Bicycle Rental Company
There's more to New Orleans than the French Quarter. Of course, you can Uber or hop the trolly, but the weather was right, so we opted for two wheels. If you're looking for similar freedom, rent a ride from The American Bicycle Rental Company, which is a five-minute walk from the Hyatt Centric French Quarter. Recommended rides: Canal Street, Esplanade Avenue, and City Park.

Willa Jean
A five-minute cycle from the American Bicycle Rental Company is a Willa Jean, a neighborhood hotspot. It's a restaurant and bakery, focusing on fresh, local, and creative dishes. From a wild mushroom flatbreads to a burrata-artichoke dip to alcoholic slushies, share a couple of appetizers before zeroing in on an entrée.

Dirty Coast Press
If you're shopping for a souvenir, Dirty Coast has some cool apparel with a twist. All of their swag has double-meanings in the messaging with a tie-in to New Orleans along some play on words like 'Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler'. They call it the secret handshake, so if you're wearing their gear – anywhere around the world – someone who is from New Orleans will be able to connect the dots.

Checking into the Hyatt Centric
After our day of exploring, we shifted toward relaxation at the Hyatt Centric.

It's not all common for a hotel in the French Quarter to have a peaceful pool area – or a pool at all – but the Hyatt Centric French Quarter does. We found some serenity in the updated area, unwinding on the new loungers.

The nearby courtyard is also lovely space to unwind and get away from the buzz downstairs. The landscaping has been redone and the area has a really nice ambience – especially when the sun sets. There are low-hanging lights and a small fountain streaming, and it just feels like a cozy backyard. The spot will be used for happy hours in the future.

Updated Rooms
As the afternoon sun beat down, it was time for a proper nap before the evening activities. We moved into our room, which now has a trendy new look. With highlights of grey and white, the accommodation feels modern and sleek. The rooms now feature some upgraded amenities, including Keurig coffeemakers, Drybar Buttercup hair dryers, and the nature-conscious Bee Kind soaps and shampoos. The alarm clocks with USB ports are handy for bedside phone charging, and the new mattresses were perfect for our afternoon doze.

Hotel Dining Options
Onsite are three dining outlets: Powdered Sugar, which is mostly a grab-and-go spot for your sundries; Batch Bar, for some light bites and delicious infused bourbons; and Red Fish Grill, which offers some great New Orleans-style comfort food.

The Red Fish Grill has also undergone a recent renovation, with an emphasis on the "comfort" vibe. It's very New Orleans: homey, bustling, and unpretentious. Make sure to request Ike as your server – if you can. He's quite the character; no, really – he's actually a character. He serves at the restaurant full-time, but he's also appeared in small parts on True Detective, American Horror Story, and other HBO shows.

And if you feel like staying in, the hotel has a light collaboration with GrubHub. The foodie experts at the hotel have curated a list of the nearby hotspots, and you can rely on the recommendations. Even better, when you order, you don't have to leave your room and go to the lobby for pickup – as you would if you were in a different hotel – as the staff will deliver your meal to your room.

If you do feel like heading out for dinner, try Maypop, a sleek new hotspot that's about a 10- to 15-minute walk from the hotel. It's an Italian-Vietnamese fusion restaurant, which might sound odd but when you start thinking about the noodle-pasta connection, it makes sense. New Orleans has a very vibrant Vietnamese population, and this is a refined restaurant to get a taste.

We also suggest swinging by Toups' Meatery, where chef Isaac Toups' meat-centric dishes are sure to impress.