Did You Know?
The Jefferson Hotel was supposed to open on November 1, 1895, but at the last minute it was realized that November 1 was a Friday, and it was considered bad luck to start anything on a Friday. So the hotel was opened on Halloween instead.
From the time the hotel opened until 1937, rooms were just $1.50 per night. A room with a private bath was $1 more per night.
The Thanksgiving Day Dinner at the hotel in 1949 cost $2.50.
When Elvis stayed at the hotel in 1956, he brought his own television and the hotel manager was shocked that Elvis ate his bacon with his fingers.
In the mid 1950s, the hotel had a pink limousine to drive guests throughout the city.
The Jefferson has been in several movies including My Dinner with Andre (1981), First Kid (1996), HBO's Ironed Jawed Angels (2004), The American President (1995) and the recently discovered Rock and Roll Hotel (early 1980's).
Alligators once resided in marble pools in the Palm Court Lobby. Richmonders would vacation in Florida and bring the baby alligators home as pets. As they outgrew sinks and bathtubs, residents would bring them to live at The Jefferson. Tour the hotel’s public area and see how many alligators you can find today!
Thirteen US Presidents, including Harrison, McKinley, Wilson, Coolidge, Taft, both Roosevelts (Theodore and Franklin Delano), Truman and Reagan, both Bushes (George H. W. and George W.), Clinton and Obama have been guests at The Jefferson Hotel.
Legend says that Bill "Bojangles" Robinson was discovered by his life-long agent while dancing across the dining room at The Jefferson Hotel.
Frank Sinatra once entertained guests in Lemaire at The Jefferson Hotel with an impromptu performance after enjoying his dinner.
Artifacts from over a century of the hotel’s history are housed in a museum at the bottom of The Grand Staircase, including a photo of Elvis at the hotel's old lunch counter.
The priceless statue of Thomas Jefferson that stands watch over the Palm Court lobby has only left his post on one occasion. In the 1902 hotel fire, he was rescued from the building only to have his head bumped on the cobblestones. He took a brief vacation to Edward Valentine’s art studio where his head was reattached.
The Grand Staircase at The Jefferson Hotel has long been rumored to be the staircase featured in the iconic film, Gone with the Wind.
The Jefferson Hotel is often cited as one of the finest examples of Beaux Arts architecture still in existence today.
What People are Saying
About the Hotel
"From the moment guests enter, the details astound. A statue of Jefferson crafted in white Carrara marble dominates the check-in area. To the left is the Grand Staircase, said to be the model for the one Rhett swept Scarlett up in Gone With the Wind"
- USA Today
“When you arrive at The Jefferson, you know you’ve arrived…It’s a five-star space indeed that makes you feels so grand by so utterly dwarfing you.”
- Washington Post
“San Francisco has the Fairmont, Chicago has the Drake and New York has the Plaza. Grand hotels and grand cuisine are essential companions. In Richmond we have the Jefferson and Lemaire.”
- Style Weekly
“ . . . [arguably] the most beautiful [public room] of any hotel in the country . . .”
- Charles Kuralt, Sunday Morning Segment for CBS News
“I've dressed for dinner at the seaside Cloister and once drank a toast to Dorothy Parker at the Algonquin. The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, is pretty grand . . . But I’ve never seen anything, anywhere, as sumptuous or beautiful as the restored Jefferson.”
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Choosing a property that will impress attendees [the Fortune 500 Forum] who have likely stayed at some of the most prestigious properties in the world, is, of course, not an easy task. This year’s selections was Richmond, Va.’s Jefferson Hotel, a 262 room 1895 landmark designed by Carrere & Hastings and meticulously restored to its belle epoque splendor.”
- Meeting News
"As an example of beaux arts extravagance, the granite hotel [The Jefferson] is peerless."
- Southern Living
"Southern hospitality at its best. The staff is superb but laid back and unpretentious."
- Washington Post
"(The) best-kept secret of domestic travel."
- Forbes FYI
"Directly under the dome is an original life-size Carrara-marble statue of Thomas Jefferson, and off to the left of the main desk, down a grand staircase, is the bigger-than-life rotunda lobby. The 70-foot ceiling features another stained-glass skylight, this one from about 1907, and the faux-marble columns supporting it are embellished with plaster fruits and fronds — a grand setting for the hotel's Sunday brunch."
- New York Times