School is round the corner but we’re hankering for a last hurrah so we checked into the Hilton Anatole for a Summer at the Anatole staycation weekend. We’ve never considered a staycation until we had kids. The ease of packing light, not traveling too far as well as saving extra pennies on airfares or gas money now makes sense.
Located right on busy Highway 35, the Hilton Anatole seems an unlikely candidate for some rest and relaxation. However, the recent 125 million dollar renovation has converted the 1606 room hotel into an Asian themed oasis deep in the concrete jungle. “It feels like the Crow Collection,” comments Beefcake as we peruse the exquisite Asian art upon check in. His instincts are right. There are over 1,000 pieces of artwork peppered throughout the hotel with many works loaned from Trammell and Margaret Crow.
The Asian theme quietens down the noise from outside with plenty of open spaces like the 7 acre outdoor sculpture garden which transforms into a playground during the summer months with volleyball, badminton, croquet, bocce ball and even an old fashioned slip n’ slide.
On Friday evenings, dive in movies and S’mores are offered poolside while on Saturdays, a calypso band entertains as Anatole chefs fire up the grill for guests.
On our way to dinner at the Media Grill + Bar, the kids stopped to admire the stunning “Nebula” sculpture by San Francisco sculptor Reuben Margolin that appears to be soaring above the two reflecting pools.
The Summer at the Anatole package lets kids (under 12) eat free with the purchase of an adult entree. The kids menu consists of the usual suspects of pizza and burgers but with a gourmet take under the helm of Anthony Bombaci who was recently promoted to Chef de Cuisine for the entire Anatole complex.
Beefcake chose a succulent braised short ribs with goat’s cheese polenta and I demolished my grilled halibut in a fresh brioche bun and spicy slaw.
For fast foodies, Counter Offer offers guests a quick bite or a to-go option of fresh salads, sandwiches, Starbucks coffee and pastries. Sushi is served in the evenings. Unfortunately for us, the much awaited Ser is not slated to open till October so those stunning views from the 27th floor will have to wait for another time.
Our luxurious 1 bedroom suite decked out in a beautiful Asian theme was a departure from our norm. Pikelet & Lollo loved lounging around in their Murphy bed in the adjoining room while watching tv.
On the first day we did our own art walking tour of the sculpture garden and artwork inside and on the second, we visited the nearby Arts District and whiled away an afternoon at the Dallas Museum of Art. Our evenings, were spent playing family bingo that we brought and by bedtime, the boys passed out happily.
And the best thing about staycations is that when it’s over, it only takes 15 minutes to get home.
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Take a short trip downtown to the Dallas Arts District for some world class museums and performing arts facilities. For kids, we particularly love the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas World Aquarium and Nasher Sculpture Center. We also can’t wait for the opening of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Januaru 2013.
The hotel is in close proximity on some of IttyBittyFoodies’ fave family friendly restaurants. Check out Carbone’s Fine Foods for great American Italian fare, Nosh Euro Bistro & Tei An for those with high-end gourmet taste buds, Maple & Motor for some of the best burgers in town, Pho Colonial for Vietnamese and Chocolate Secrets for crepes and chocolate delights.
Thank you Hilton Anatole for hosting IttyBittyFoodies on our first staycation.