Thursday, August 27, 2009
There have not been any vacations this year.
It has been difficult to just find time for a few days away.
A couple of months back I received a kind invitation from the Hilton Jackson Hotel for Pam and I to be a guest for a one- or two-night stay.
We had looked and looked for the best time to take advantage of the offer. We decided since we would be going that way already on the weekend of August 14-16 to move Emma into the dorm at Southern Miss, it would be the best weekend for the brief getaway. My mom was kind enough to drive to Holly Springs and keep Erin, and Andy immediately had his weekend planned – staying with friends in Jackson.
The Mississippi Press Association, of which this newspaper is a member, has held its mid-winter conventions at the Hilton on County Line Road (just off I-55) many times.
The accommodations at the Hilton have always been great.
But this invitation was for Pam and I to experience the improvements that have made the facility even better.
Atop the list was the recent appointment of celebrity chef Luis Bruno to enhance the hotel’s food under a new health and wellness umbrella. And one of the highlights of the visit was visiting with Chef Luis (pronounced Loo-ey) and later listening to his presentation to a group of medical professionals.
For lunch that day we had a Thai grilled chicken salad with fruit parfait, very fitting for this new diet I’m trying to start, and tasty, too.
Chef Luis joked with the attendees about their dinner the night before – asking them how they liked their mashed potatoes. Turns out they were cauliflower mashed potatoes and no one recognized the difference.
Chef Luis is spearheading the Hilton’s shift to a more everyday, healthful, family-friendly approach to dining. It’s very relevant in our state, which was ranked as the nation’s fattest in 2008 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Rhonda Abraham, a member of the Hilton staff, took us on a tour of the renovated facility. The improvements at the hotel are throughout – from the lobby to the corridors to the guestrooms to the reception areas. They’re impressive changes.
All 276 guestrooms – including 11 suites, four executive level floors and 11 non-smoking floors have been redone.
Our executive suite was really nice – probably some of the best accommodations we’ve ever experienced.
We spent a good bit of time Saturday just taking it easy, including a nap.
We enjoyed breakfast Saturday and Sunday at Wellingtons. We dined Saturday night at the Hilton’s Huntingtons Grille. I always prefer seafood and chose mahi mahi. It was wonderful.
As we were dining, I noticed a couple walk in and I did a double-take. I thought I recognized the man. They sat nearby and later it came to me – Mike Dubose. He’s the head coach at Millsaps College. He played for Bear Bryant at Alabama, was an assistant coach in Tuscaloosa and served as head coach of the Crimson Tide from 1997-2000. As a Tide fan, I have autographed pictures of several coaches, including Dubose. He’s having lots of success at Millsaps.
The Hilton stay was relaxing and refreshing – just what I had been needing.
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