Tuesday

Family Hotels in Virginia: The Jefferson Richmond, VA First Impression Summer 2016 - Pet-friendly Hotel

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The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review Historic Hotels of America
Given the fact that The Jefferson survived not one, but two fires, it was not surprising to see that all the candelabras were fitted with electric bulbs, but one can image how beautiful it would have been with real candles back int he day!

The Jefferson Hotel Overview

The Jefferson Hotel is one of the Historic Hotels of America and happens to be located in Richmond, VA, known both locally and nationally for its rich roots and exceptional service. The Jefferson has hosted a number of notable guests over more than 100 years since it first opened its doors in 1895--presidents, actors, musicians, etc. While it has seen its fair share of devastation, including several fires, it has managed to rebuild and maintain its prominent position in Richmond. Perhaps one of the most unique and interesting facts about the hotel--at least to us--was that alligators (yes, real alligators!) were at one point kept in the marble pools in the Palm Court--the last of which died in 1948 (Old Pompey was his name).

We recently went on the first of several summer road trips, making a stop for a couple days in Richmond where we got to experience The Jefferson firsthand! Overall, it truly was a lovely hotel and one we're excited to share with you.



You can learn more about The Jefferson or book your stay on their site.


The Jefferson Hotel at a Glance:
  • Centrally located in the heart of Richmond
  • 9 miles/15 minutes from Richmond Airport
  • Recently renovated guest rooms described by The Jefferson as "richly residential"
  • Beautiful renovated marble bathrooms in guest rooms include soaking tubs, dual vanities, water closets, etc.
  • 26,000 sq. ft. of function space (popular especially for weddings in the area)
  • 2 signature restaurants--Lemaire Restaurant (new as of 2009) and TJ's Restaurant & Lounge
  • Popular champagne brunch offered on Sundays
  • Indoor pool with adjacent outdoor rooftop deck
  • 3,400 sq. ft. fitness center
  • 24-hour room service 
  • Complimentary transportation provided within 2 miles of hotel (this includes transport to Belle Isle, which we'll discuss soon!)
  • Extremely pet-friendly (including dogs of all sizes--our big lug of a golden stayed with us)
  • Access to Greater Richmond YMCA with stay
  • Bicycles available to guests
  • Electric car chargers available


Location

The Jefferson was centrally located in Richmond within 15 minutes of the Richmond Airport and less than 2 miles from Belle Isle. We were easily able to walk to several parts of Richmond from the hotel for food and to take in some of the surrounding area. Keep in mind that given how large Richmond is we'd recommend driving to Carytown (popular for shopping and dining) if you have children with you as it's a 45+ minute walk each way. We drove to Carytown and found it quick and easy with plenty of parking!


The Layout

The Jefferson had a very intuitive layout with the lobby on the main floor by the street-entrance and six floors of guest rooms with an indoor pool and connecting rooftop patio on one of them. Parking was available via self-park ($12 overnight) or valet ($20 overnight), which was adjacent to the hotel. Both restaurants were located in the lower portion of the hotel (one on the same level as the main entrance and one on the lower level) along with Gators Goodies and Gifts (the hotel gift shop). There were two elevators right near the doors of the main entrance (super convenient if you travel with a dog) and we found them to be extremely fast--on par with elevators in many NYC hotels we've stayed in.


Grand Premier Room First Impression


We had the pleasure of staying in a Grand Premier room, which was appointed with two Queens, a sitting area, an armchair, cash bar and coffee station in the entryway, attached dressing room with a walk-in closet and a large bathroom. These rooms were also available with a single King. Grand Premiers were the largest of the non-suite guest rooms and even with 2 adults, 2 boys (that move around enough for 6) and a 75 lb golden the room felt incredibly spacious.

We had 2 windows in the bedroom that faced towards Bell Isle and provided an amazing view of the city and sunset.

The room was very comfortable overall and I think it could work for families with children older/larger than ours as well!

The Jefferson Richmond, VA Family Travel Review


The Beds

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

We read that along with fresh room renovations came new beds and we could definitely tell! The beds were reasonably firm, but comfortable, and linens were very soft--we all slept really well both nights. The pillows were incredibly fluffy, but not the type that deflated into pancakes the second you put any pressure on them. We're a bit particular with our pillows if you hadn't gathered based on our past reviews!


The Sitting Area

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

The sitting area included a table and two chairs on one side of the room with an armchair on the opposite side. If you're traveling with a family of four and prefer not to sit on your beds when you dine in your room (we rarely do if we can help it), there was an additional table and chair in the dressing room aside from the two by the table and the armchair.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review


The Dressing Area

More room is never a bad thing in our opinions when it comes to traveling as a family, so the dressing area was a welcome addition to our already-spacious room. In addition to a vanity table, mirror and chair, the dressing area also had a fairly large closet with a full-length mirror, rods for hanging things, several drawers and a safe for valuables.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
Plenty of storage room for our suitcases, bags and purchases during our stay. The safe was a standard size compared to what we normally see in most hotel rooms--large enough to fit my 13" macbook, a small bag of meds and a few little odds and ends. It was not large enough to fit my DSLR in it.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review


The Bathroom

I think if you asked the boys about the number one thing they look for in their hotel rooms they'd say (second only to having their own room) a big bathroom with a soaking tub worthy of long bubble baths is a must for them! The Jefferson did not disappoint in this area as our room had a very large bathroom with a standup shower, large soaking tub, water closet, double-vanity sinks and Molton Brown toiletries (one of our favorite brands to see in a hotel). The bathroom was beautiful with marble throughout and fresh looking features.
 
The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
For those unfamiliar with Molton Brown, their bath products are really great quality and while not all of the scents appeal to us, we generally find them to be to our liking!

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
These bath towels were not only very large, but extremely soft with an intricate pattern on each. Does anyone else take note of the bath towels? Some feel like 50 grit sandpaper, while others feel like heaven!


Dog-Friendly Factor

The Jefferson has been the most dog-friendly hotel we've visited to date. Not only did they allow dogs to stay with guests, but they did not have any restrictions on size, which was nice to hear given that our golden is a solid 75 lb ball of shedding fluff! In additional to having beautiful, pet-friendly rooms, The Jefferson offered dog-walking and dog-sitting services--these could be scheduled through concierge. We initially intended to have Shadow dog-sat for a bit while we explored Carytown, but he was so overwhelmed with being in a new city that we were concerned he would miss us too much and ended up keeping him with us. Shadow is an extremely sensitive boy, so we're very careful to make sure he's comfortable. For a less co-dependent pup it would definitely be worth checking out these services in our opinions!

As far as taking shadow out to go to the bathroom we found it to be extremely easy. Elevators were located directly next to the main doors and there was a nice large grassy patch we were pointed to near the side-street adjacent to The Jefferson. It was well-lit so that even at night we found it comfortable to visit. 

Shadow felt very at home with us at The Jefferson as you can clearly see!

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review


Additional Amenities: Cash Bar, Coffee Bar & Daily Weather

We often find that it's the little details that really set a hotel apart for us! One of the things Patrick and the boys (yes, they're funny like that) always observe is what type of coffee makers rooms are equipped with. They're big fans of Nespresso pods above all other brands, which The Jefferson generously supplied.

Note: A good rule of thumb for the cash bar and coffee bar at The Jefferson when we were there was that everything on top of the cabinet was complimentary and everything inside was not. This may help explain the difference to young guests!

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
This was located in the little entryway of the room. As you know, we're big fans of complimentary water and The Jefferson offered several bottles.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
We love when hotels leave these little weather forecasts for us! We check religiously ourselves, but since the weather can be fickle, it's nice to have a heads-up. The boys were in love with the mini chocolate bars, too!


The Welcome (with a side of folklore)

The Jefferson was kind enough to leave us a lovely gift in our room, which included some local treats! The books, which our oldest zoomed through as soon as he got his hands on them, were written by a local author and centered around the Richmond area. One even mentioned the tale we heard when we arrived about the alligator that supposedly wandered away from one of the Palm Court fountains and was mistaken by a guest as a footstool! I believe all of these items were available in Gators Gifts. We popped in one night, but unfortunately they had already closed so we didn't get to see everything, though the boys did fall in love with some cute plush alligators they had and we noticed they sold full-size bottles of the Molton Brown soaps provided in guest bathrooms. Definitely take a peek during your stay--so many cute things!

Thanks again for the treats, guys. :)



The Indoor Pool

While The Jefferson offered its guests complimentary access to Greater Richmond YMCA during their stays, they also had a decent-sized indoor pool with a connected rooftop patio. While we didn't have time to use it ourselves (we were extremely busy doing as much as we could in the time we spent in Richmond--watch for our upcoming post on that!), we did take a peek!

I don't know what it was specifically about the pool area, perhaps the wooden lounge chairs that reminded me a bit of the wooden deck chairs on the Titanic coupled with the elegantly draped curtains, but it had a somewhat vintage feel to it that was quite lovely. 

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
The day we arrived in Richmond it was raining and overcast on and off, so although there wasn't sun, we still found the rooftop deck to be really peaceful and pleasant to hang out on for a few.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
The view (looking up) from the rooftop patio.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
That looked like such a look balcony to look out from! Another view from the rooftop patio


The Rest of The Jefferson

The Jefferson was a decent sized hotel with a lot of historic charm and unlike many modern hotels we've visited (that barely have space for anything more than a tablet at a table for check-in, let alone any space for wandering), it had a lot of beautifully appointed, grand, common areas--including an impressive Palm Court and fantastic lobby on the same level as the main entrance. If you stay at The Jefferson and have any downtime, we highly recommend doing some exploring with young guests as there is a lot worth seeing in our opinions!

Quick Note: The Palm Court used to house an impressive variety of palms from Central and South Africa when the hotel was first built under the watchful eye and heavy wallet of Lewis Ginter.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
The candelabras definitely caught our eyes! They gave the entire hotel a very elegant, vintage feel.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
Easily one of our family favorite's--the Palm Court level of The Jefferson.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
These columns were so ornate, we spent a decent amount of time studying all of the little details--while I spent a lot of time trying to snap a shot that did them justice!

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
The furnishings, the balconies--pure elegance!

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
Don't forget to look up!

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
A view from the entrance to Gators Gifts. One could make quite an entrance on those stairs! For me, it would likely include a trip or fall with my accident-prone self. ;)

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
Beautiful, isn't it?

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
View from the top of the stairs on the lobby level.
To the left of the stairs (if descending them from the lobby level) there was a little nook filled with historic artifacts, awards and newspapers detailing The Jefferson's long and exciting history. We love things like this (yes, the boys included), so we spent some time pouring over everything.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
The boys saw those railings and immediately wanted to movie-slide down them, thankfully they settled for walking!


The Lobby

Past an alligator (don't worry, he was harmless) and through some large double-doors, we stepped into the Lobby and immediately took a moment to slowly take in everything. From the beautiful stained glass ceiling to the stately marble statue of Thomas Jefferson (of course), the Lobby provided an amazing first impression of The Jefferson, its style and historic richness.

We were greeted by friendly staff members, with extra attention spent on our golden, Shadow. To say The Jefferson was pet-friendly is an understatement. The Jefferson was absolutely dog-loving.

Check-in overall was a breeze and we were provided with a quick overview of the locations of a few things within the hotel, some amenities (such as the complimentary transportation, bicycles, etc.) and even a bag of snacks for Shadow! Although Shadow has a lot of allergies and was unable to eat them, it was an extremely thoughtful touch.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
Possibly the most beautiful lobby ceiling we've seen to date!

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
Hello, Thomas Jefferson! Quick fact, this statue actually lost its head while being hurriedly moved during the first fire The Jefferson suffered and was later repaired.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
The Jefferson was so clever! They had lights pointing into the stained glass windows from outside (we walked past the lights on our way from the pool and discovered their secret) so that they were always beautifully glowing.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
The main doors and the beautiful entryway chandeliers.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
They're certainly not short on accolades.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
We thought this was so fun--an antique key-drop from back in the day!


The Jefferson from the Outside

The Jefferson was just as impressive outside as it was inside! We had some fun exploring the exterior on our second day as you'll see below.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
So thankful the weather was really beautiful our second day there because the exterior photographed beautifully!

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
It was 90 degrees and extremely sunny our second day at The Jefferson, so we stopped to cool off by the fountain. Who knew we'd end up wrestling alligators?!

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA Family Travel Review
Watch out! That alligator has a taste for little boys laced with ADHD mischief!


Final Thoughts on The Jefferson

The Jefferson provided us with an amazing stay overall. Not only was the hotel beautiful and rich with history, but it maintained a warm and friendly atmosphere from start to finish.

We loved how dog-friendly they truly were (it was certainly more than an afterthought used to lure in families traveling with pets) and appreciated all of the additional amenities they offered guests. Had we not been traveling to so many places during our stay, we definitely would have taken advantage of the complimentary transportation to nearby areas (within 2 miles).

All of the services we received were quite good--concierge was helpful, the lobby was cheerful, etc. We did notice that housekeeping did a great job for the most part on our room, but left a few things on the floor that must have fallen out when they emptied our bathroom trash. This may have simply been an oversight, given how great the rest of our housekeeping services were.

Valet was incredibly helpful and quick--one of the stars for us, personally! Otto (I hope I'm spelling his name correctly) was a lovely man at valet that we found to be exceptionally friendly and accommodating. We hope your arm his feeling better! There was another young man at valet that we had a nice chat with as well (I'm sorry we didn't catch your name!) that was actually heading up to our neck of the woods for a wedding--hopefully that went well.

If you're traveling with young guests and a dog we think the Grand Premier Room is a fantastic option with plenty of room to relax in. While you may want to consider a suite if you prefer separate sleeping areas, the Grand Premier was easily one of the largest double-Queen rooms we've stayed in, especially with 2 adults, 2 boys and a large dog--full house!

The Jefferson offered elegance without tackiness alongside old school, first-class service and historic appeal--a winning combination for us. Overall, we were impressed and would gladly return to The Jefferson if ever in Richmond again!

You can learn more about The Jefferson or book your stay on their site.

Has your family been to Richmond, VA before? Have you stayed at The Jefferson?

Keep an eye out! We'll be posting our "48 Hours in Richmond with ADHD Kids & Canine" feature soon, highlighting what we did, where we ate and where we shopped.


Note: This stay was hosted by The Jefferson. All opinions are our own based on our experience and have not been influenced by the hotel.

20 comments:

  1. Wow! What a beautiful hotel! I love that it's pet-friendly, too!

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    Replies
    1. Right? It was so refreshing! So many hotels aren't dog-friendly or they cut-off the weight at 25 lbs aka 1/3 of our guy's weight. ;)

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  2. I love the dressing area and bathtub in your hotel! I always want a place to store my clothing.

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    Replies
    1. We're the same! I like to keep things organized and separate when we travel--less chaos that way. lol

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  3. What a truly gorgeous hotel! It looks spectacular and I love that they are pet friendly. I always have pets and traveling is generally a hassle because of it. It's nice to know we could bring Reese with us.

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    Replies
    1. It's so true! Talk about stressful when things aren't really set up for your pet. We were really pleasantly surprised!

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  4. OMG this hotel is GORGEOUS!!!!!! I love that you were able to bring your big dog, too. Most only allow small dogs!

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    Replies
    1. Exactly! We've found very few hotels that cater to larger dogs, which stinks. And yes, completely gorgeous inside and out!

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  5. what a gorgeous hotel and I love that it's pet friendly!

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  6. What a beautiful hotel! I love everything about it, especially the fact that it was pet friendly. So cool!

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    Replies
    1. Totally agree! I love historic hotels that have been upkept well. Not a cobweb in sight, but plenty of charm. :)

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  7. Wow! What an absolutely breathtaking hotel! I am always drawn to the ornate, older ones. :) And that bathroom! Love that marble stand alone shower.

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    Replies
    1. Right? That bathroom was lovely!

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  8. Looks like a wonderful stay! I love how classic the decorating is!

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  9. Wow, the architecture alone is GORGEOUS! What a beautiful place.

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  10. This hotel looks so amazing!

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    Replies
    1. It was a really great stay!

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