Braille Monitor                                                   May 2010

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A Quick Introduction to the Hilton Anatole Hotel

by Mary Ellen Jernigan

From the Editor: Mary Ellen Jernigan, chairwoman of convention organization and activities, has updated and revised her description of the Hilton Anatole Hotel to reflect changes to the building caused by temporary construction and variations in amenities available during the NFB's 2010 national convention in Dallas. If you are planning to attend this year's convention, you need to read this article. Here it is:

The Hilton Anatole consists of two main sections—the Atrium and the Tower. The Atrium section is further divided into Atrium I and Atrium II. At the lobby and mezzanine levels Atrium I, Atrium II, and the Tower are connected so that you can walk from Atrium I at the far east end of the hotel through Atrium II and into the Tower at the far west end of the hotel as if it were one building. During the time of our convention the entire central area of Atrium II at the lobby level will be undergoing substantial renovation. This renovation will not affect our convention operation in any significant way since a well-defined passageway will link Atrium I with the Tower. This passageway will run east and west along the south side of Atrium II at the lobby level.

At levels above the mezzanine, Atrium I and Atrium II are contiguous with each other but not with the Tower—that is, to reach the sleeping rooms, you must use either the Atrium elevators or the Tower elevators, depending on which section your room is located in. The Tower sleeping room elevators do not stop at the mezzanine level. The Atrium sleeping room elevators do stop at the mezzanine level, and you can reach the mezzanine level meeting rooms above the Atrium I lobby, the Atrium II lobby, and the Tower lobby. However, a flight of six or eight steps links the Atrium II mezzanine and the Tower mezzanine. If these steps are a problem, you can take a separate, single elevator that goes from the Tower lobby to the Tower mezzanine level. This elevator is located just west of the business center in the Tower lobby. At the west end of the Tower mezzanine is a stairway that leads to the Tower lobby. When you come down this stairway, you are facing east, and the Chantilly Ballroom is slightly ahead and on your right.

Atrium I is the farthest-east section of the hotel and sits slightly south of Atrium II. Think of the entire hotel as a high-top tennis shoe lying on its side with the sole running along the north side, the toe pointing west, and the open top to the south. The right angle formed where the back of the shoe meets the sole in the hotel's architecture is actually cut on the diagonal so that, when entering the hotel on that diagonal, you are facing southwest. Atrium I is much shorter in its north-south dimension than are Atrium II and the Tower on the east-west axis. After you step into the main entrance, a left turn takes you towards the check-in desk and Atrium I.

If you stand with your back to the check-in desk, you are facing west. Atrium I is on your left, and Atrium II is slightly to your right and straight ahead. The Atrium elevators, stairway, and escalators to the mezzanine-level meeting rooms are located just across from the Atrium front desk and main entrance in the general area where the two Atria join. Access to the temporary passageway between Atrium I and the Tower will also be located here.

The lobby level of Atrium I and the area south of the temporary Atrium II passageway contains several meeting rooms, a brand new restaurant called the Media Grill & Bar, and the Grand Ballroom, which is located on the south side of Atrium II. The Khmer Pavilion is roughly above the Grand Ballroom.

The point at which the Atrium II lobby joins the Tower lobby is just beyond the west end of the Grand Ballroom foyer. We do not know the exact configuration of this juncture at the time of this writing because of the renovations in progress. If any steps still remain by the time we arrive, a ramp will be in place for wheelchair access.

The Terrace Restaurant is located on the west wall of Atrium I. The Common Ground self-service café during the time of our convention will be relocated to the east end of the Grand Ballroom, immediately next to our Independence Market. The new Media Grill & Bar (which replaces La Esquina Cantina) is located just east of the Grand Ballroom. The Gossip Bar is located in the Tower lobby. The five-star Nana Restaurant is located on the twenty-seventh floor of the Tower.

The precise hours of operation for the various restaurants and food outlets are still under consideration. Sometime during the next few months the Rathskeller Sports Bar and Restaurant is scheduled to close permanently. This may or may not have occurred by the time of our convention.

The general plan is for fast-service breakfast and lunch selections to be available in the Common Ground and the Gossip Bar; a grab-and-go bag lunch station in a location to be decided later; a full-service à la carte breakfast menu and hot breakfast buffet in the Terrace restaurant as well as lunch and dinner buffets in the Terrace restaurant; a full-service lunch and dinner menu in the exciting new Media Grill & Bar; and five-star dinner dining in Nana’s.

The board meeting and convention general sessions will be held in the Chantilly Ballroom, located in the Tower lobby. Exhibits will be in the Khmer Pavilion. The NFB Independence Market and literature will be located in the Grand Ballroom. Breakout meeting rooms are located in all three lobbies and on the mezzanine level. An exit at the west end of the Tower lobby leads to the beautifully landscaped seven-acre Anatole sculpture park containing outdoor walking and jogging trails.

Now that you have reached the end of this article, go back to the beginning and read it again. It really will make more sense the second time through. When you get to the Hilton Anatole, you will be glad you did.

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