I can't comment much on what people thought of the Connie refit back then since I was still fairly young, but I personally loved the design. It seems to be almost universally accepted now though, a lot of people seem to love the design. One gripe I have is the dull paint job they gave it in later films, in TMP it had a pearlesque paint job, almost self illuminating, I think they started to dull the paint job in Wrath of Khan and every film after that had a duller paint scheme. But it became that design became a fan favorite, I distinctly remember a collective gasp in the theater when the Enterprise A was unveiled at the end of IV.
I like the 2009 Enterprise as well though, I think I read somewhere that in new timeline the Constitution Class was delayed 10 years or so, so I guess this design has refit elements already there.