By Mary Gallagher
A wonderful southern city with loads of history, fine dining and my favorite Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond is a favorite stopover when traveling up and down the East Coast or a one tank roundtrip from so many places.
Now while we’re all watching our pennies to cover the cost of gasoline the hospitality industry is doing its best by offering significant savings for road travelers. There is no reason to compromise quality when choosing an overnight accommodation option in historic Richmond just five minutes from the north-to-south thoroughfare of I-95, as the Jefferson Hotel is offering a special one-night “Halfway to your Holiday” rate.
For only $195 per room, guests can spend the evening being pampered at one America’s most luxurious hotels. The “Half way to your Holiday” offer is not valid on consecutive days, but does extend through September 3, allowing vacationers to stop in Richmond on the north and south legs of their journey.
I’ve been able to stay at the Jefferson several times and always found their complimentary self-parking feature easy and the courtesy and helpfulness put forth by the staff from bellman to housekeepers to front desk superb.
The hotel is convenient to Richmond’s many historic sites, Carytown for shopping and restaurants and the Shockoe Slip area. Each time I visit Richmond I find something new to check out whether it’s a newly restored historic site or perhaps another gallery on the fast changing Broad Street. If the weather is bad go to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts or any of the other fine museums here. If it’s a good time to be outside explore the old Hollywood Cemetery and the famous Lewis Ginter Botanical gardens as well as walking the Fan District and other old neighborhoods.
Built in 1895, one of The Jefferson’s most famous stories (and there are many) stems from a traveler who was returning north after spending time in Florida. While originally enamored with a baby alligator he purchased, upon arriving in Richmond he realized that it didn’t make such a great pet. So, he left it in the hotel’s then-lobby pool, and a tradition began. Other alligators were deposited at the hotel, where they remained until 1948.
The Jefferson Hotel is one of only 31 hotels to carry both the Mobil Five Star and the AAA Five Diamond ratings. It comes replete with rich tapestries, antique replica furniture, embellished faux-marble columns, a 70-foot high ceiling with a stained-glass skylight, and a magnificent sweeping staircase hauntingly similar to the one in Gone With the Wind or the perfect place to sweep down in your bridal gown.
In addition to its lavish 262 guest rooms (mine have always been quiet) and 18 opulent meeting/banquet rooms, The Jefferson also includes two restaurants: Lemaire and TJ’s.
My friends that live in Richmond love to come here for a glamorous Sunday Brunch. Yahoo and various other internet sites rate the restaurant Lemaire as 4* with rave reports.
* For information on visiting Richmond: www.visitrichmond.com
* For information or to make reservations at The Jefferson: www.jeffersonhotel.com or call 800-424-8014.