The Hilton Anatole Hotel is a big Dallas convention center hotel whose many facilities, fun events schedule and bargain, off-peak pricing make it a great value for families.
To put numbers to “big” we can say there are 1,606 hotel rooms and suites; 346,000 square-feet of meeting space including seven ballrooms; three swimming pools; tennis, racquetball and squash courts in an eight-acre garden; more than 1,000 pieces of art; and much, much more.
A Business Hotel that Likes to Play
More than 80% of guests come to work. In its many years at the heart of Dallas commerce, the Anatole has hosted more conventions, business meetings and local incentives than any other venue in town. Guests who come to play enjoy huge weddings, celebratory events, fine dining and big entertainment. We really found a million twinkling lights, free concerts in the lobby and visits from local celebrities at our Christmas visit.
The Hilton Anatole has a big personality, too. Decor throughout the vast beige stone property ranges from multi-tonne slabs of the Berlin Wall, to lifesize carved wood elephants, Ming vases worthy of owner Trammell Crow (a big Asian art collector) and contemporary sculpture in the eight-acre garden.
A portrait of the late President Reagan astride a horse, next to a Frederick Remington style Western sculpture mounted outside the 25th floor Ronald Reagan suite, says it all.
Room for the Whole Family and Then Some
As you can see from the video (see page 2), rooms are spacious and have an Asian flair and original artwork that place them a big cut above most convention hotel rooms. In addition to the 760 double rooms located in the hotel or The Tower, there are many king-bedded rooms that connect to them as well as 130 suites, most with pullout sofabeds. In-room amenities include a pod coffeemaker, large workdesk with two-line phones, wired and WiFi access (HiltonHonors members get free WiFi access, a big plus for families too), and lots of room to spread out. We found the staff pleasant and helpful throughout.
Three executive floors in The Tower share a pleasant lounge on the 25th floor, where a small selection of continental breakfast items and afternoon tea, plus some snacks, are complimentary throughout the day. Upgrading to this level is a great value for families who want to hang out together because it gives you a comfortable lounge as well. At our holiday visit, it wasn’t uncommon to find children in PJs having breakfast or playing board games there.
Christmas at the Anatole Activities and Attractions
Like everything else, Christmas at the Anatole Hilton is a big and diverse event designed to entertain visitors of all ages.
Free to anyone passing through are the many Christmas trees, wreathes and winter tableaux. At our family’s 2013 visit (read the account here), we sang along with Rudolph and his anamatronic reindeer friends prancing in their stalls, visited Santa’s workshop where elves were busy at work, and posed for photos under the tallest nutcracker in Texas.
For a nominal fee, the annual “Sparkle” festival provides extra activities at the hotel that will keep everyone busy, and on cold days many musical events are brought indoors to the meeting spaces. During the late November to early January holiday period, families can count on outdoor “Movie Mondays,” a big game on “Football Sundays,” a Candyland Bounce House, large skating rink with rental gear and free lessons provided by celebrity skaters, origami workshops, a marionette puppet theater, visits from animal trainers and their wards from the Dallas Zoo and many other activities. On certain dates, dogs are welcome to romp in the outdoor gardens and Santa hosts breakfast for photo ops.
More Family Activities All Year at the Hilton Anatole
Depending on when you visit, there’s likely some fun event or scheduled programming going on at this hotel. Just like Christmas, the Anatole does summer big. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, there are outdoor picnics, volleyball and croquet tournaments, and chefs turning out delicious Texas BBQ. Easter, Mother’s Day, almost any holiday is an excuse for the Anatole to put on a big show.
There’s always free access to the Verandah Health Club, where there’s a great big pool that kids will love plus workout facilities galore — including squash courts — for those over age 16.
Allow enough time to take the hotel’s fun 1-mile ArtWalk. Yes, there’s an audio track you can stream from www.AnatoleArt.com that takes just 27 minutes, and while the kids get their bearings at the large white marble Buddha or the Jade Entrance filled with remarkable jade sculptures, the lively narration keeps everyone moving around the hotel, indoors and out. It’s a great way to get a fascinating glimpse of Trammell Crow’s magnificent art collection, which you can supplement at the small and wonderful Trammell Crow Museum of Asian Art nearby in the Dallas Arts District.
Dining is a Big Dallas Event
The Hilton Anatole has a very good sports bar, the Media Grill, for burgers and salads, plus a pleasant Starbucks outlet if you want to have a light breakfast or lunch. But you’ll want to get out because Dallas has blossomed into a real foodie scene, perhaps driven by the many New Orleans families who emigrated here after Hurricane Katrina. Whatever the inspiration, the bubbling economy is keeping a wide variety of places at all price points busy.
We dined one night nearby at The Meddlesome Moth in the Oak Lawn District. It’s a fun casual brewery with flights of beer brewed in the least likely Texas towns, and food in the style of exotic tapas that’s become popular in Dallas’ new gastropubs.
We love the authentic local Mexican joints all over town for a quick midday burrito break. For something hipper, there are several branches of Torchy Tacos where you can get some great Tex-Mex at only $2.50 per taco plate and customize the toppings.
At night, it’s a very short drive over to the fun Bishop Arts District for nuevo Mexicano at Veracruz, or superb Italian at Lucia, among this neighborhood’s trendy and excellent international cuisine restaurants.
Trip Planning Details for a Hilton Anatole Getaway
The Hilton Anatole Hotel (214/748-1200) is located at 2201 Stemmons Freeway, Dallas, TX 75207, just off I-35. While the views reinforced the notion that we were in the middle of an industrial “nowhere” – in fact, the Hilton Anatole is located only 3 miles from downtown Dallas.
Here, Klyde Warren Park, the Perot Science Center and the art museums are among the major Dallas family attractions. It’s also close to the American Airlines Arena if you’re lucky enough to have Dallas Stars (hockey) or Dallas Mavericks (basketball) tickets.
Finally, the hotel is only 10 minutes from our favorite Love Field Airport, perfect if you’re flying Southwest Airlines. But if this is a big stop on your road trip, never fear. Parking is included in the Hilton Anatole room packages.
And the parking lot is big.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.