Hyatt Regency Tulsa
Where: Tulsa, OK, USA
Long story short: Downtown living for uptown tastes
Short story long: Unlike Gene Pitney, I was never more than a few hours from Tulsa, but I was determined to get there and, very much unlike him, not get waylaid by some one-night stand who scored lucky on the juke box in some degenerate café.
Reader, I made it, as might Gene have done if one of the most commodious hotels in town had been waiting for him.
If a large chain hotel can indeed be nestled, then The Hyatt Regency in downtown Tulsa is nestled not only in the heart of the business and arts district, walking distance from a suitably comforting range of restaurants and performance spaces, but also close to an acoustical oddity called the Center of the Universe, a small circular area where sound behaves in unusual ways.
According to Atlas Obscura, “Imagine dropping a small pin and expecting to hear a tiny “tink” as it hits the floor. Instead, the sound the pin makes is more like the loud crash of a gong.” I sincerely hoped people wouldn’t be testing out this phenomenon throughout the night.
My previous knowledge of Tulsa consisted more-or-less of “isn’t that the place with the big hands?” (There’s a pair of huge bronze hands commissioned by evangelist Oral Roberts, who once dreamed of a 640 foot-tall Jesus), but the city unshockingly had more to offer and turned out to be a very pleasant surprise.
On a grey weekend during the post-Christmas lull (and during what was, according to locals, the first really cold weather of the year), my travelling companion and I felt a bit as though we had the city to ourselves. “We didn’t realize it would be so COLD!” a group of large blonde tourists repeatedly told me during one elevator ride. People in Austin (where I live) complain when the mercury drops below about 60, and I, equipped with the learned predictions of several internet meteorologists, was not entirely taken by surprise.
The Hyatt offered a very warm and comfortable shelter, from the lobby (where there are striking sofas looking like a cross between a tagine and a circus tent) to our top-floor suite overlooking the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, which I can only hope that the locals refer to as the TuPAC.
The Hyatt frequently hosts touring performers; upcoming productions included such trustworthy Broadway turns as Kinky Boots and Rent. Our suite was spacious and comfortable, with a decadent bathroom by which I mean BOTH a duo shower with wall jets AND a luxurious tub encircled with washcloths folded into approximations of sea life. 75% of my enjoyment of hotels comes from the opportunities they give me to take my bathing to the next level, and the Hyatt did not disappoint.
Tulsa’s downtown is entirely walkable from the hotel, although on this particular chilly weekend, my travelling companion and I seemed to be the only ones taking advantage of that fact.
The Hyatt is less than a mile from a belly-tempting range of eats and drinks, both up and down in terms of scale. Topeca Coffee, a local roaster, serves good espresso and snacks in the lobby. The Tavern, located in the cool Brady Arts District on (literally) the other side of the tracks, has high-end pub fare, good cocktails, and - to my knowledge - the world’s best mac and cheese (though I pledge to continue my investigations in this field).
The Fur Shop is a great dive bar that hosts music and comedy events, including shows during the Blue Whale Comedy Festival in September. Also, don’t miss brunch at the delightfully-named Dilly Diner.
The Hyatt is set to undergo a renovation in the next few months, and is hooking up with a new spa partner (can we say spa-ing partner? No? Man, there’s no pleasing some people). It’s a very comfortable night’s stay in a cool downtown that’s easy to get around. Gene Pitney, you really missed out.
Champagne tastes: The suites, as touted above, really do lend themselves to bathroom indulgence.
Shandy pockets: Being downtown, you can save a small fortune in cab fares.
HYATT REGENCY TULSA WEBSITE
Ella Gale was a guest of the Hyatt Regency Tulsa.
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