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Richmond, Virginia: Splurge at the Jefferson Hotel

I don’t often splurge on hotels. It just seems like a poor use of my travel budget. As long as a room is reasonably clean, reasonably located, and reasonably priced, I’m happy. It’s rare that I spend more than $100 a night for a room in all but the world’s most expensive cities. In the United States, the major three-star chains are more than adequate.

My plan for our recent trip to Virginia was to spend three nights at a Doubletree near the airport in Richmond. I stayed there once before years ago. It was perfectly acceptable. Kathryn said she wanted someplace a little nicer, though. So I looked around a little bit and found out we could get the Jefferson Hotel, a landmark, historic, five-star hotel in the center of Richmond, for $179 a night. If we prepaid.

I don’t like prepaying for a hotel, but I decided to jump on this. I’d been to the Jefferson Hotel once for a Christmas party, but never to spend the night.

The Jefferson Hotel opened in 1895. Judging by old photos we saw hanging in the lobby, the facade, at least, hasn’t changed much at all. The main lobby features an elegant staircase dropping from a mezzanine. It’s easy to imagine a debutante or a newly married couple making a grand entrance at a reception. A marble statue of Thomas Jefferson is the centerpiece of the hotel reception lobby, located on yet another level above the staircase.

The room was anything but typical. Only one type of room was available at the rate we booked. It was an interior room with two double beds. It didn’t come with a view. Although the room wasn’t a suite, it was laid out in such a way that we entered into a small lobby, with the bathroom to one side, the closet to the other, and a seating area directly in front of us. To the left was the desk area. To the right was the sleeping area.

The hotel has the usual five-star amenities, including an evening turn-down service. We missed the turn-down service the first night because we had the do-not-disturb sign on the door. We received it the other two nights. There’s a chauffeur service for getting around the city center, but we walked or took our rental car everywhere. The only thing missing in the room was a coffee maker. However, we discovered they have coffee for guests in the lobby all morning. It was a lot better than the crap most hotels put in rooms.

Anyway, the hotel was well worth the splurge.