Room at the Inn: Mississippi B&B’s offer guests unique travel experience and unrivaled hospitality

MS Mag Sept Oct 2013Mississippi Magazine
September / October 2013

When hustle and bustle of life becomes overwhelming, there is no better escape than a quaint bed and breakfast.  B&B’s offer a variety of exclusive amenities that you aren’t likely to find at other accommodations, such as personalized service, unique surroundings, and the ability experience a destination on a more intimate level.  Because of Mississippi’s unrivaled hospitality, we invite you to get to know a few B&B’s that are sure to provide and experience that will meet every expectation.

The Fairview Inn

In order to experience the true flavor of Mississippi’s largest city and all it has to offer, The Fairview Inn in the historic Belhaven neighborhood of Jackson is the perfect setting.  Built in 1908, this Colonial Revival mansion is Jackson’s only AAA four-diamond small luxury hotel.

Peter Sharp and his wife Tamar purchased the Fairview in 2006.  According to Sharp, hospitality “runs in his blood.”  He began his career at age 14 and has worked in hotels and resorts all over the world.  When the couple decided to purchase a bed and breakfast of their own, they looked at 14 different inns across the Southeast before agreeing that the Fairview was the right fit.

“[The Fairview] looked like it had the most potential,” explained Sharp.  “I saw an opportunity for success.”

The Fairview was already a fully operational B&B by the time the Sharps came on board, boasting eighteen guest rooms.  Two months later, they opened Sophia’s Restaurant, a French-inspired fine dining restaurant with an intimate, romantic dining room in a garden-like setting.  Recently, they transformed the house’s original library into The Library Lounge, where guests can enjoy unique cocktails, micro-brewery draught and bottled beer, fine wines, and healthy appetizers.

“We have all the amenities of a hotel, but with the feeling of a bed and breakfast,” Sharp adds.  “You will not get a cookie cutter experience here.  We offer a very personalized environment.”

Guests can relax in one of the inn’s luxury rooms or suites, each decorated according to a different theme and accented with period antiques and collectables.  The expansive outdoor deck and gazebo, which overlooks The Fairview’s gardens, is the perfect spot to read a book or enjoy a glass of wine.  However, for those that require some serious pampering, nomiSpa is right on the grounds and provides relaxing massages, facials, and manicures and pedicures.

Says Sharp, “We are in the business of romance.  When you check-in, you feel like you are going back in time, but we have all the modern amenities.”

The Z Bed & Breakfast

The Z Bed & Breakfast, known as “The Z” for short, is named after owners Annie and Brittany Zeleskey.  The sisters purchased the house after moving to Oxford from Texas to attend The University of Mississippi.  Opening a bed and breakfast was something the pair always dreamed of doing, but thought they would have to wait until later in life to fulfill their dream.  However, as graduation neared for Brittany and Annie prepared to begin her senior year, the sisters contemplated whether they should turn their dream in a reality.

“We were nearing the end of college and we had no commitments,” said Brittany Zeleskey.  “We though, let’s do this and see what happens.”

The Zelesky’s completely renovated the 54-year-old, 1900-square-foot cottage.  It features three bedrooms, each with a private bathroom; full kitchen; wood floors; and beautiful modern décor.  Upon check in, guests can expect to receive homemade goodies and sweet tea.  If the weather is nice, relax in one of two front porch swings or cozy up to a warm fire in the backyard fire pit.  The home is within walking distance of historic downtown Oxford and less than a mile from the Ole Miss campus; however, if you want to travel a little further, the inn also includes two bicycles in its list of available amenities.

The Zelesky’s also provide a full homemade breakfast as well as wine and cheese in the evenings.  While they accept reservations with as little as 24 hour notice, they do point out that football season and summer orientation are their busiest times.

“Owning a bed and breakfast has been really awesome.  We have such great guests and we love to meet people and hear their stories,” Brittany adds.  “The house is very comforting, which allows people to feel relaxed.  We try to do everything we can to accommodate our guests’ needs.”

Oak Crest Mansion Inn
Pass Christian

From the moment Chase and Erin Moseley laid eyes on the 1920’s mansion that would later become their bed and breakfast, the grand old house slowly weaved its way into their lives and their hearts.  A native of Meridian, Chase Moseley always had a fondness for the Mississippi Gulf Coast and dreamed of owning a home on or near the Gulf of Mexico.  The couple toured the house and the adjoining property, which had been on the market for several years, but decided the mansion would be more of an undertaking than they were will to invest at the time.

A few years passed, and in the fall of 2007 the Moseley’s began to hear rumors that the mansion was going to be torn down to make room for residential development.

“I decided it was time I either saved the house by buying it myself, or never drive down Menge Avenue again,” Mosely said.

The Moseley’s immediately began a series of much needed renovations and repairs.  The main house officially opened the following summer with five luxury suites, each with its own private bath, gas fireplace, and period furnishings. Each suite is named after a famous Mississippian, such as William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, and Nicholas Christian L’Adnier – the town’s namesake.  Later, the two-bedroom carriage house was opened followed by three suites in the Maison Portage.  The 12-acre property also features well-manicured gardens, a gazebo, pergola, two fountains, quaint chapel, and a 25 ft. x 55 ft. swimming pool — the oldest in-ground swimming pool in Mississippi.

“We like to say that Oak Crest is where history meets luxury.  Because the house had such a long standing history in the community, we tried to maintain the original architecture of the home while integrating it with modern amenties,” explains Mosely.

He adds, “You really get a sense of getting away when you come here.  It’s very quiet and very scenic.  However, we are only five minutes from the beach, 10 minutes from the casinos, and 24 minutes from New Orleans.”

Court Square Inn
Holly Springs

The Court Square Inn in Holly Springs is another example of how a historic building has gained new life.  The Italianate building dates back to 1865 and began as a small town pharmacy.  It would later earn the distinction of being Holly Spring’s first soda fountain.

When Tim and Lisa Liddy bought the building in 2004, it was being used as storage by the current owners.  The Liddy’s purchased the property without really having any concrete plans as to what they were going to do with it.

“My husband is a big history buff and an active member of the Holly Springs Historic Preservation Commission,” Lisa Liddy explains.  “He decided it was time to put his money where his mouth was, or in this case, his heart.”

It was Liddy’s brother-in-law that suggested the couple turn the building to a bed and breakfast.

“He had owned a bed and breakfast in New Orleans that closed after Hurricane Katrina,” said Liddy.  “He still had all the furnishings from his inn and told us we could have it if we wanted it.”

After three years of renovations, the Court Square Inn opened its doors in January 2007.  The inn features three luxury, apartment-style rooms.  Each has its own private bath and kitchen with views of the Marshall County Courthouse and Holly Springs town square.  The building also features a second-story balcony where Liddy says guests enjoy relaxing on a warm evening or sipping a glass of wine.  One and two bedroom units are available, making it perfect for a girl’s weekend or romantic getaway.

Holly Springs is also just a short drive from Oxford and the University of Mississippi, making it very popular during football season.

“We have a lot of return customers,” Liddy adds.  “People like the privacy, the New Orleans vibe of the inn, and the service they receive when they come here.”

Inn on Whitworth

When John Lynch and his family moved to Brookhaven in 1995, he had a strong desire to become an active member of his new community.  A history enthusiast, Lynch became interested in preserving Brookhaven’s historic town square.

In early 2011, he purchased a two-story, 12,000-square-foot building in downtown Brookhaven.  Originally constructed in 1895 as the Cohn Brothers Mercantile Store, the building had seen numerous other businesses come and go throughout its 116-year history.

Renovations began almost immediately, including construction on the façade to bring the building back to what it originally looked like back in 1895.  Lynch opted to keep some of the features of the building that made it unique, such as the antique heart of pine floors, 19th century skylight in the lobby, and the huge century-old walk-in vault reminiscent of the building’s days as a mercantile store.  After eight months of construction, the Inn on Whitworth opened in November 2011, with seven luxury first-floor guest rooms.

“It’s a very unique space,” says Lynch.  “It’s not your typical inn located in a Southern home.  It’s a really cool space in a really cool historic building.”

Despite its historic roots, the interior of the Inn on Whitworth more closely resembles a modern boutique hotel.  Each room features thirteen foot ceilings and unique artwork by Mississippi artists Dr. Kim Sessums and Ed Williford, along with spacious modern bathrooms with glass walk-in showers, and either queen or double beds.  Sleek, modern furniture and light neutral colors give each space a calm and polished look.  Nestled in a secluded area, the inn’s “jacuzzi” room is the perfect romantic retreat.

“When guests stay here, they really get a flavor for downtown Brookhaven and that really contributes to the aesthetics of the inn,” said Innkeeper Sallie Williford.  “Guests find the decor very serene.  They can also expect very personable service.  We do everything we can to accommodate everyone’s needs and requests.”

The Old Place Bed and Breakfast

If escaping the fast lane is what you are looking for, the Old Place Bed and Breakfast on the outskirts of Amory may be just what you are looking.  The bungalow-style farmhouse was built in 1925 by the grandparents of owner Jimmy Glenn.  Glenn’s grandparents raised their family in the three bedroom house and as the children grew up and moved out, their childhood home eventually became known affectionately as “The old place.”

In 1999, Jimmy and his wife Theresa inherited “the old place.”  By then the aging house had been abandoned for over 30 years.  The couple vowed to restore it; however, they faced many challenges.  The house had no central heat and air, no indoor plumbing, the original roughhewn log walls had no insulation, and the house still had the original electrical work that was installed sometime in the 1930’s.

At some point during the renovation, a family friend suggested turning the house into a bed and breakfast.  When it came time to name their new inn, there was no question what it should be called.  In 2000, after a year of construction, The Old Place opened for business.

The home, which sits on 43 acres, still features the original wood burning fireplaces in all the bedrooms and living room, original pine floors, original glass window panes, and original handmade bricks.  Guests can enjoy a good book in the comfortable wicker furniture on the porch or partake in some “pet therapy.”  There are plenty of animals living on the property, including sheep, donkeys, geese, horses, and two Great Pyrenees.

“We are located within the city limits of Amory, but you would never know it.  We have a lot of space,” says Theresa Glenn, who manages the inn full-time.  “I love meeting our guests and they really seem to appreciate what we have here.”