MS Travel Guide

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Free WiFi, Supper And A Little Christian Charity At The Days Inn Natchez

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  Site Where: 109 Highway 61 South [map], Natchez, MS, United States, 39120
August 9, 2011 at 2:03 PM | by | Comments (0)

Aint nothing like a good old stereotype, and our recent visit to the Mississippi Delta pretty much ticked them all off. Awesome accents? Check. Disquieting levels of hospitality? Check. Catfish on the menu and blues singers on every corner? Hell, yeah.

One thing we hadn’t ticked off to start with was the “Southerners are God-fearing” stereotype, but that changed when we reached Natchez and saw this ad for the local Days Inn.

Nothing unusual about a national chain offering a seniors discount, or a freebie. But broadcasting its Christian status with the fish symbol? Not something we’ve seen before.

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Who'd You Rather: Ike Turner Or John Lee Hooker? The Choice Is Yours In Clarksdale

Where: 615 Sunflower Ave [map], Clarksdale, MS, United States, 38614
August 4, 2011 at 10:31 AM | by | Comments (0)

All this week, Julia Buckley will be taking us down the Blues trail in the Mississippi Delta and giving us the lowdown on the hotel scene. So kick off your blue suede shoes and get comfy.

If you only have time to stay in one Delta town, it’s probably going to be Clarksdale – there’s more to see and do there than the other places. And if the lux Lofts at the Five and Dime are out of your budget’s league, as they were for us, then you should do what we did and go for The Riverside Hotel.

The Riverside oozes blues history - so much so that it even has its own blues marker standing outside. So if you want to immerse yourself in the music, this is where to come. First up, the sober history: the building was originally Clarksdale’s Afro-American hospital, and it’s here that blues singer Bessie Smith died after a car crash (according to legend, she was refused entry to a closer, white hospital).

Then in 1944 the building was extended – think doubled in size – and converted into a hotel by the redoubtable-sounding Mrs ZL Hill. Being Clarksdale’s only African-American hotel during segregation meant that every black artist who came to Clarksdale (and there were many) stayed there. John Lee Hooker, Ike Turner, Muddy Waters, Robert Nighthawk, Aretha Franklin’s dad, etc etc. Even JFK Jr stayed here when he came for a blues festival.

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No Blues And No Biscuits, But That's A Good Thing

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  Site Where: 501 2nd Street [map], Indianola, MS, United States, 38751
August 3, 2011 at 9:50 AM | by | Comments (0)

All this week, Julia Buckley will be taking us down the Blues trail in the Mississippi Delta and giving us the lowdown on the hotel scene. So kick off your blue suede shoes and get comfy.

Indianola is a place that many people seem to skip when they’re in the Delta. We made this mistake our first time, too, with a drive-through visit to the (incredible) BB King Museum. This time, we decided to stay overnight – and were recommended the Blue Biscuit Bungalows.

The Blue Biscuit itself is a blues bar open at weekends opposite the BB King Museum in downtown Indianola. As a bar, it’s pretty and charming; but as a place to stay, it’s one of the best in the Delta.

You have two options: one, a shotgun cottage that, unlike the Tallahatchie Flats, has been done up: painted yellow outside and converted into a modern house inside with awesome kitsch everywhere (yes, Elvis is in the building). That’s out on the road by the bar.

The other option is the one we stayed in: the summer house. It’s tucked away in the owners’ garden, by the pool and next to their main house. So your bed is about 10ft from the swimming pool. While we’re on the subject: swimming pool. Mississippi Delta. Two things we never thought we’d see together. Wow.

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Clarksdale's Lofts May Cost More Than A Dime, But They're Probably Worth It

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  Site Where: 211 Yazoo Avenue [map], Clarksdale, MS, United States, 38614
August 2, 2011 at 10:26 AM | by | Comments (0)

All this week, Julia Buckley will be taking us down the Blues trail in the Mississippi Delta and giving us the lowdown on the hotel scene. So kick off your blue suede shoes and get comfy.

So you want to visit the Mississippi Delta, but the Tallahatchie Flats seem just a little too dirty, you don’t want a chain motel, and the Alluvian, lovely as it is, could be anywhere. Never fear, though – you shan’t be robbed of your authentic Delta experience. You just have to move an hour north of Greenwood to Clarksdale. There, you’ll find The Lofts At The Five And Dime.

Although the Lofts are the swankiest places to stay in Clarksdale, they’re not exactly a hotel – they’re six mini apartments above the old Woolworth's building in downtown Clarksdale. They’re all owned privately but rented out pretty much permanently. All this really means to you is that you get a full kitchen, living room and washer-dryer included with your bedroom (score), that each loft looks different from the next (fine) and that, occasionally, you’ll see marks of the owners (in Loft D, for instance, there was a photo of the family in the bathroom).

You won’t feel all adrift as you might in a normal apartment, though, because the whole outfit is overseen by Bubba O’Keefe (to be honest, it’s really worth staying there just to say you’ve stayed with a man called Bubba). If we tell you Bubba is the epitome of southern hospitality, you probably won’t believe us, so we’ll just tell you that we met him as he was showing a guest – and, now, a friend – round the WROX museum in town, which he owns, and our quick museum tour turned into a two hour sit down and chat on the original sofas upstairs where Ike Turner used to work and Elvis popped in to play. Amazing.

So, yeah, Bubba will be your friend/concierge in town. Don’t worry about that.

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Second Time Around, These Delta Shotgun Houses Gave Us The Blues

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  Site Where: 58458 County Road 518 [map], Greenwood, MS, United States, 38930
August 1, 2011 at 12:10 PM | by | Comment (1)

All this week, Julia Buckley will be taking us down the Blues trail in the Mississippi Delta and giving us the lowdown on the hotel scene. So kick off your blue suede shoes and get comfy.

It’s almost exactly two years since we visited the Mississippi Delta to follow the Blues trail, and we were so entranced by what we found there that we’ve spent the last two years fantasizing about a return. Finally, two weeks ago, we made it out there, and for old time’s sake, we chose the Tallahatchie Flats in lovely little Greenwood as our first stop.

Last time, we adored it – comfy bed, gorgeous setting and, the Flats’ jewel in the crown, their fantastic manager Les. This time, though, we couldn’t help but be a little disappointed, and not just because it turned out Les was no longer chez Tallahatchie (he’s been replaced by an equally nice lady).

No, what bugged us this time was noticing that the cleaning standards had gone down a steep hill. Last time we’d noted that our bathroom sink could have been cleaner; this time, it wasn’t just the streaky sink that was the problem; the toilet didn’t look as it if had been cleaned, the shower almost certainly hadn’t (it had the label off someone’s facecloth on the dirty shelf, and we had to rinse black dirt from the shower tray) and the entire bathroom smelled a little, err, steamy.

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Buy Everything But The Bed (But Try The Bed) At The Alluvian

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  Site Where: 318 Howard Street [map], Greenwood, MS, United States, 38930
August 25, 2009 at 4:45 PM | by | Comments (2)

We’re always suckers for hotel tat – whether it’s nicking a pen and notebook from the room, buying branded crockery or saving up for one of those Kimpton animal print bathrobes.

So imagine our excitement when we popped in to see the posh Alluvian hotel in Greenwood, Mississippi and found that, as well as the beds in the rooms (which we couldn’t hunker down on, what with not being hotel guests), there’s a bedroom for visitors to try out in the hotel shop across the road.

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Back To Basics, Shotgun Style: Inside The Tallahatchie Flats

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  Site Where: 58458 County Road 518 [map], Greenwood, MS, United States, 38930-7324
August 21, 2009 at 3:59 PM | by | Comments (0)

Nostalgia is a wonderful thing. Not only can it make you think fondly of the bad times (Wham! reunion, anyone?), it can also make spending the night in a little shotgun house off a cornfield in the Mississippi Delta sound like a good idea. So when we found out about the Tallahatchie Flats - a collection of six original plantation cottages, transported to a field outside Greenwood, Mississippi - we had to go straight there.

Room Reaction:
We asked for the cheapest cottage – which costs $65 – but the manager/all-round man about the flats, Les, upgraded us to the bigger Red House, worth $85, because he’d already turned the air con on in that one. Nice! So we ended up with a choice of four beds (a king in the master bedroom, two singles in the second bedroom, and a sofa-bed in the living room) and a living room, dining room and kitchen as well – plus two porches to sit on and chew tobacco.

It was big, but don’t expect luxury – it’s as you’d expect a shotgun house to be, with plain wooden floors and walls, old pictures of JFK and Martin Luther King on the walls, and a seriously teeny bathroom. But the bed was comfy and we slept like logs – the only noise out here is from the frogs outside (don’t underestimate them, though, they’re loud little buggers).

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Embassy Suites Gets a 'Suite' New Mod Look

March 4, 2009 at 4:41 PM | by | Comment (1)

While Jaunted clearly seems to be a fan of Hyatt Place, longtime Embassy Suites loyalists will happy to hear that the brand is getting a new look in some of its hotels. At the new Embassy Suites in Jackson, Miss. location (the first in the state), guests will experience a "hip casual" decor throughout from the guest rooms to the Flying Spoons cafe where guests can order a light snack, a full gourmet meal or grab a fancy latte on the go.

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Hard Rock Biloxi Views Remind Us of Smooth Jazz

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  Site Where: 777 Beach Blvd. [map], Biloxi, MS, United States, 39530
December 18, 2008 at 2:14 PM | by | Comments (2)

We are suckers for a room with a killer view.  We find that we are even more likely to forgive some minor hotel inconveniences if we can stare out the window at something pretty--yeah we are that shallow. Let's help out our fellow hotel mavens by uploading rooms with killer views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. We will feature our favorites in this space from time to time. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number of the hot view.

Casino Jones stopped by the brand new Hard Rock Biloxi in Mississippi this fall and snapped this shot of the surprisingly breathtaking sunset view from a deluxe suite at the casino hotel.

We've gotta agree that looking out at the Gulf of Mexico lookin' like this sounds a bit more appealing than catching views of the neon-y Vegas Strip, and a view like this is more likely to bring the sort of Sunday (evening) rehab needed after spending a whole weekend at a casino — and that's definitely not offered by insane pool parties and scuzzy tattooed celebrities offered by its older Vegas cousin.

In order to keep anything from tainting our enjoyment of this view, we're going to go ahead and pretend that we forgot Kid Rock played the opening of the hotel last year. This soothing view reminds of a slow jam or a lil' smooth jazz.

[Photo: Casino Jones on Flickr]

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Room With an Anti-View: Bland Outlook from Jackson Marriott

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  Site Where: 200 Amite St [map], Jackson, MS, United States, 39201-2404
June 26, 2008 at 9:15 AM | by | Comments (3)

You know the scene. You open the door to your brand new hotel room, run over to the window, open the blinds and bam, you are hit with the anti-view. Maybe you are looking down a dirty alley, witnessing a drug deal, staring at an air shaft in the face, or seeing a brick wall. Whatever you are viewing it is not extremely pleasurable. Help out your fellow hotel mavens by uploading your anti-views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number with the not-so-easy-on-the-eyes view.

Avoid a room on this side of the Marriott Hotel Jackson in Mississippi unless you have a particular fascination with parking lots. Personally we'd rather stare at closed curtains than look out over these pretty bland buildings and endless rows of cars.

The Marriott Jackson website does freely admit that the hotel is in the heart of the business and government district, and since they've just done a multi-million dollar renovation, the inside must be looking much better than the view. Rates start at $139 a night with romantic getaway packages (romantic view not included) from $149 including champagne and strawberries.

[Photo: Jim Frazier]

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Harrahs To Rolls Out Buffett's Margaritaville in Biloxi

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  Site Where: U.S. Hwy. 90 [map], Biloxi, MS, United States
June 4, 2008 at 9:45 AM | by | Comments (3)

The other week we found out that the Trump Marina Hotel would turn into a Margaritaville Hotel & Casino which we thought would be the first one to open. Yet Hotel Maven PalmettoSon pointed us to the Margaritaville already in the works in Biloxi, MS.

Jimmy Buffett and Harrah's have paired up to build a massive hotel down there, one of the metro areas in Mississippi hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina.

The hotel chain plans to spend more than $700 million this summer building the hotel, casino, restaurant, and cabanas, with a final budget of more than $100B. (Thassright, billion.)

The hotel will have 420 rooms in addition to the 378 rooms from the existing Casino Magic property which will be fully renovated. A full-service spa will be included (we foresee a Margarita salt scrub treatment happening here) and of course, a state-of-the-art Margaritaville Restaurant that anchors the entire property.

The hotel won't be completed until 2010 but for fanatics and parrotheads, check out the hotel's Construction-cam.

Tell us: Would you stay in a Margaritaville Hotel & Casino or are you Hooters all the way baby?

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Hard Rock Biloxi Opens for Business Ahead of Schedule

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  Site Where: 777 Beach Blvd. [map], Biloxi, MS, United States, 39530
July 5, 2007 at 5:20 PM | by | Comments (0)

What is going on today? First Andre Balazs pulls the inverse of hotel hype, now we hear the Hard Rock Biloxi has reopened six days ahead of schedule. Incredible!

The hotel casino which was heavily damaged during Hurricane Katrina opened last Saturday and Eric Claption's infamous guitar even flew in for the early opening. Yet also thrown into the mix of rock n' roll relics are the ones that were previously shown in the casino hotel after getting swirled around in stormwater. So it goes something like this:

Behind thick glass is a large black and white photo that stretches perhaps 12 feet, depicting what the resort looked like a few days after Katrina. Also behind the glass are water-damaged and mud-covered pieces that were recovered. Some were returned by residents, others washed back up near the building.

So it's almost like a mini-Hurricane Katrina museum.

As for the hotel rooms, the Hard Rock has 318 guest rooms, with 42-inch plasma screen televisions, touch-screen phones, Bose music systems, wireless internet and Aveda bath products. There's also a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, an Aveda spa, a 12th floor lounge, and a Ben & Jerry's ice cream shoppe inside.

Meanwhile, the opening weekend concerts are still on, starting tonight with a performance by 3 Doors Down and culminating with Kid Rock's show on 07-07-07.

When we checked, rooms were sold out this weekend and next but we did find a room on July 12 for $269 a night.

[Photo: Anna_Bencze]

Related Stories:
· Rock relics: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi boasts thousands of pieces of memorabilia from music legends past and present [Press-Register]
· Kid Rock to Rock Hard Rock Biloxi [HotelChatter]