John Warner Smith is the second University of Louisiana at Lafayette graduate in a row designated Louisiana Poet Laureate.
Starting in the Fall, UL Lafayette students studying hotel and restaurant management will have a new classroom – the Hilton Garden Inn.
The 153 room hotel in University Research Park will host an Open House Wednesday evening as part of its Grand Opening celebration. The hotel officially started accepting guests at the start of 2006.
“ We’re proud to be a part of such a fine university like UL Lafayette,” said Tommy Vervaeke, hotel co-owner. “We’re also excited about being a part of the university’s world-class research park.”
Located at the corner of West Congress Street and Cajundome Boulevard, the hotel will feature more than 2,000 square feet dedicated to an educational training facility. This will include space for classroom teaching as well as training with the latest industry technology. Areas for audio, video and training equipment along with a faculty office will also be provided.
“ Students will be able to receive real-world experience while they are working towards their academic goals,” said UL Lafayette President Ray Authement. “The Hilton Garden Inn will provide a wonderful and unique opportunity in all aspects of hotel management for our students.”
Students will shadow all levels of hotel management including front desk work, night auditor and maintenance. In addition, students will also receive unique training in restaurant management from Pan-Asia, a free-standing restaurant.
Located next to the hotel, the restaurant will feature Asian dishes with a Cajun flare. Last year, the restaurant was voted the number one Asian restaurant by Mississippi Magazine.
“ The restaurant will provide the opportunity for students to experience different methods of cooking like using a tandoori oven. This is a clay oven used in Asian and Indian dishes,” said Vervaeke. “This is truly a unique opportunity for students. Not too many students get to experience this sort of cooking.”
The restaurant is expected to open in the coming months.
Features of the Hilton Garden Inn include 153 rooms with an indoor swimming pool, business center and exercise room. In addition, each room has high speed Internet access.
“ This whole project has been wonderful,” said Vervaeke. “We’re proud to be a part of doing something for the students and we’re proud to be in this community.”
Vervaeke along with Dr. S.L. Sethi are owners of the hotel. Developers are Jackie’s International and ProImage Property. Hotel architect is Roy Hendrick and the construction company is Certified Construction Company.