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The Excelsior House
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Jefferson
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 7 September 2012

Doing some catching up on reviews from travel the past few years and a return to Jefferson last month made me realize a review of this hotel is long overdue. Jefferson is fortunate indeed that this hotel was saved and restored. As a note, this hotel is not for someone who has difficulty with stairs unless they stay in one of the rooms on the main level. The stairs are narrow and make a 45 degree turn midway up.

First, obviously, it is an old hotel and has a very interesting history that greets one at the door when you look down to see a curve worn into the threshold by countless feet over the years. Artifacts and historic documents are on display in the lobby. Guests are free to wander through the main areas and a small courtyard at the back of the hotel. There is also one to the side of the hotel which my husband and I found very pleasant on a warm autumn night. We sat, amazed, at how quiet the city was once night fell. A very relaxing moment indeed!

Overall, the age and even the age of the renovations/restorations show in this hotel. If you do not book one of the historic (downstairs rooms and one or two upstairs overlooking the courtyard) there is nothing that makes the rooms stand out. It just feels old. While the rooms are relatively clean we have found some dust and bug issues that should be caught during regular, professional cleaning. The amenities are modest. The beds are very comfortable. However, the bedding and curtains show their age and the general feel is worn and outdated. Yes, I say that knowing this is supposed to be historic and 'old' but mature guests would recognize the color schemes, fabric patterns and linen from thirty years past. There is definitely a difference.

Because the city is so quiet at night, staying in a room at the back of the hotel may find you waking up at various times through the night because of the noise from the trains and sudden banging and clattering from behind the hotel where the post office workers handle deliveries and toss containers around.

The main doors are locked at night. However, guests are given a key so they can come and go as they please. Whether we have visited during low occupancy times or have always been fortunate in having considerate neighbors, I could not say, but were rarely aware of them unless passing them in the lobby.

Breakfast has always been a real treat. If you visit this location you should try it at least once.

Customer service has always been a mixed bag during our visits. In the past their staff has been friendly and considerate and always seemed happy to answer any questions we might have. However, the past two trips have shown us a different side and we have been made to feel we are interrupting them or were a nuisance. Needless to say, questions or concerns were not welcomed. The message seemed to be "Don't bother me unless absolutely necessary". In fact, this last trip we simply packed and left early in the morning. The place left us feeling tired. When we went downstairs we couldn't find anyone to check us out (the staffer who had planted herself on the sofa in the reading/television area seemed to have disappeared) so we got tired of waiting, left our keys on the desk and hit the doors.

Do we recommend this hotel? Mmm... Yes, try it at least once with the knowledge that not everyone's expectations or tastes are the same. Enjoy the courtyards on a balmy evening and browse the case in the lobby. Have breakfast here if you are a guest. If the employee working that day is the one that gives the tour of the Atlanta Jay Gould Railroad Car, take the tour and then tell me about it. I never have found one who 'had the time'.

Stayed: August 2012, travelled with family
5  Thank TopazMonkey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
TheExcelsiorHouse, General Manager at The Excelsior House, responded to this reviewResponded 10 September 2012

Please DO COME BACK and visit us again. Jefferson is a quiet little town and history and tradition are out stock and trade. Sometimes it may be a bit quiet around here, especially during the middle of the week but know that our only reason for being here is to try to make your "time off" and "special time" with us as comfortable and enjoyalbe as possible without intruding into your privacy.
When you do visit us again, please identify yourself and ask for me (Karl). I'll be sure that you are treated to our "Plantation Breakfast" and we'll have one of the Garden Club Ladies give you the Grand Historic tour of all of our properties here in town. ,,,Looking forward to seeing you again!!

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142 - 148 of 176 reviews

Reviewed 12 June 2012

Dear Miss/Mrs. Mary Keasler and Miss/Mrs. Pat Daniel,

My name is Jim Baldwin. I am a repeat customer and have been a very vocal fan and advocate of your establishment and services, the Excelsior House Hotel in Jefferson, Tx. for a number of years. I have referred numerous people who have also had the pleasure of indulging this historic and delightful facility over the past 15 years or so. Due to circumstances it has been 3-4 years since I have been able to journey to your fare city to enjoy another stay in the Rutherford B. Hayes room. It was with great excitement and anticipation that I was able to schedule an overnight stay in that same room this past weekend, on Saturday, June the 9th. I wish to relate to you my experience that took place on Saturday afternoon and evening on my wife's and my arrival to the Hotel at 3 pm.

My reservations were made approximately a week and a half prior. My wife and I arrived around 3 pm which to my understanding was well past the allowable check-in time. I had specifically requested to be allowed in the room on schedule or even earlier if possible as I knew I would be quite fatigued and would want a nap before dining. You see my work schedule kept me up all night on Friday night and I would have no rest on Saturday until arrival at the Hotel. When I spoke with Michael, the desk clerk, he checked us in and gave us the key. While we were finalizing the check-in, another guest who had overheard our discussion, came to the desk and informed us that his key gave him access to the Hayes room (213), and that it was not ready. Michael, the other guest, my wife and I went upstairs to examine the room. It was indeed very unready. The bed was unchanged/unmade and the room was dirty. We did not examine in detail but Michael, very professionally and apologetically, offered us a different room, or would prepare the Hayes room for us. We informed him that we wished to stay in the Hayes room and that we would go and eat early and return later. Again mind you, I was exhausted. My wife even drove the three and a half hours from Dallas as I didn't feel safe to drive. He also insisted that we accept a discount of $50.00 on the cost of the room. We felt very gracious about this and believe that this was an appropriate gesture.

At 6 pm my wife and I returned to the Hotel to settle in for the evening. Perhaps you can imagine our disgust to enter the room and find the bed VERY unprofessionally made, with mattress exposed, over sized sheets installed very crooked and untucked, with folds and wrinkles on the top, blanket and comforter untucked and crooked and the pillows stuffed very sloppily in the slips and haphazardly piled on the bed. At this point we examined the room more closely and found debris on the rugs, (loose soil or crumbs of some sort) between the bed and the bathroom. We also found urine and pubic hair on the rim of the toilet, hairs in the shower, and soiled and disheveled bath and face towels. I have pictures of all of the above.

Returning to the desk we explained the situation to Janie, the clerk on duty at this time, and asked her to come up and examine the room. She said she would and also offered us another room, or to clean the Hayes room. She blamed the situation on "new and inexperienced house keeping staff." We insisted that she look at the room and that because our hearts were set on the Hayes room that we would prefer that it be prepared for us. At this point she said she would and also stated, unbelievably, that she, "doubted that we would be satisfied with that, considering we had already been refunded $50.00 and still were not satisfied." This ladies is unconscionable. How unprofessional and lacking courtesy is it to speak to a paying guest in such a manner? Was she deciding for us that we were just going to be chronic complainants about any and everything? Mind you, we did not snibble about dust on baseboards or faded or threadbare linens and blankets as other guests in you reviews were concerned with.

At this point my wife and I both felt as though if we were to stay in your Hotel, other considerations would be appropriate. I am amazed that accommodations for a comped night were not sought by your staff. Even if they are not authorized to offer this it seems as though they would advocate for us. But this was not the case. We were told repeatedly that "I'll clean the room for you, but it won't satisfy you." We accompanied Janie and her friend, the elderly gentleman, up to the room and attempted to point out our concerns. Janie became very irritated and continually interrupted me saying she would clean the room, and what more can we expect.

Please let me tell you what is appropriate to expect: Mr. and Mrs. customer, I do sincerely apologize. This is totally inappropriate and you deserve much better. How can Excelsior House regain your trust and make your stay pleasant and memorable? What will be necessary to make this right? That is not what we encountered. When I attempted to be understood by Clerk Janie and sought acknowledgement that all of our concerns would be addressed she interrupted me once more and told me she's doing all she can and knew that I wouldn't be satisfied and that she would not argue with me anymore. Ma'am and Ma'am, I was not in an argumentative spirit. I just wanted to be understood and assured that the atrocity of the condition of that room would indeed be resolved. At that point I addressed Clerk Janie's friend as I felt as though if he did not have a professional relationship with the Excelsior House, he should not be present during this exchange. I inquired of Mr. Elderly gentleman who he was and what business he had there. He only replied that Janie had asked him to help. I asked him then would he please suggest to Clerk Janie that she at least hear me out and not continue to interrupt me. At this point he became very obnoxious and putting his finger in my face, (literally inches from my face), and told me that I have made this his business by speaking to him. Remember, I attempted to understand what business he had in my business and he would not tell me. At this point I asked him to please leave my room. He refused. He refused 3 requests to leave my room that I had paid for. At this point I picked up my belongings and walked out of the room. As I departed I overheard the man say he would "kick my (--)." I walked back into the room and confronted him in disbelief that this is how my wife and I are being treated. I was raised to believe this is inappropriate language to use in front of ladies AND gentleman. This was also a threat to my safety and well being.

I ask you, is this your policy? Is this how you welcome guests? Upon receipt of my refund my wife and I went in search of accommodations.

On this morning, June 11, 2012 at 9:10 am I telephoned Mr. Carl Fredrick(s), the Hotel manager to express my concerns. Let me tell you ladies that this had to be the very lowest point of my entire experience with your employees. Mr. Fredrick refused to allow me to relate my story to him, continuously interrupting me and even telling me that "I don't care what your side of the story is." I was never permitted to complete a single concern without him interrupting me. When he asked me what I expected him to do about this I told him I wanted him to hear me out and understa.......and once more interrupting me told me he didn't want to hear me out. I am in total shock and disbelief at this point. Mr. Fredrick then informed me that I had threatened Clerk Janie and she had to call the police. What on earth is in these people's minds? I only raised my voice when Mr. elderly, non-gentleman would not leave my room and then threatened me. I never, nor would ever stoop to threatening anyone in such a situation. This is insane and an absolute lie. Now, I ask you, how is it fair and reasonable and professional to not hear a customers concerns, yet to verbally walk over me and tell me "his side" of the matter. Mr. Fredrick then, unprofessionally, hung up on me.

Ladies, allow me to inform you that as a counterpart in the industry, as an owner of a Bed and Breakfast myself, I cannot believe what I have experienced. I understand that mistakes happen. But NEVER, EVER, have I passed blame to a subordinate or treated guests so atrociously. There have been occasions when I have found it appropriate to comp my guest's stay, under much less ridiculous circumstances. It appears obvious to me that Mr. Fredrick has little concern for the welfare or the success of your endeavor with this foundation and maintaining a superior lodging facility in a beautiful, historic environment. And how can he and a clerk be so emotional and unprofessional as to speak to and treat their guests in such a manner? And how professional is it to have a non-interested party present and treat a guest as Mr. non-gentleman did? Perhaps this is the level of service that you expect of your staff. If so I will cease barking up this tree. If not I would be very interested in your response. Until then, please know that I will NEVER make plans again involving your facility and I WILL provide all of the negative details of this incident with all of my friends and family, ESPECIALLY those who still frequent your establishment. My wife and I are offended and aghast at this treatment.

Thank you for taking the time to hear me out.

Jim Baldwin

Room Tip: Be cautious
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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25  Thank 12sawyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 14 July 2012

Whenever any individual expresses this level of discontent with their Excelsior House experience, we cannot help in our reaction but to feel a deep and gnawing sense of personal pain and disappointment.
It is clear that regardless of the sequence of circumstances that ultimately manifested themselves in this expression of anger and vituperation, we, as representatives of this proud and historic organization have not demonstrated in our response to our customer, especially this customer - "our finest hour".
As Manager I can only humbly, and honestly express our continuing committment to as "perfect customer service" as we can provide and ask that as an honest expression of our heart that every customer of the Excelsior House, past and future, accept that this entire organization and service staff is totally committed to the highest level of customer satisfaction and service that as imperfect human beings we are capable of delivering.
Please accept as our purpose for being, that in serving the public and this Historic Tradition we try constantly to do our best and that that is the goal we always strive for. We are all imperfect, but in the face of that reality still will continue to strive to achieve your trust in every instance.

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Reviewed 5 June 2012

We stayed on a Monday night so they gave us a break on the rate but it was still almost $100. The staff is very friendly. The hotel is quaint and charming. It is and extremely old building so this might not be the place for you if you want everything to be perfect. There is a pretty courtyard in the back. Don't miss the fish and turtles in the fountain. We enjoyed sitting outside and watching them. The room was fine and everything was clean. The tub was a little stained but like I said it's old. Over all we had a nice stay and felt welcomed by the staff.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Dawn G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2012

My wife and I stayed at the Excelsior House for one night (Saturday night, 5-26-12) in room #207.
Seriously, if I had guests coming to say with me and I had to put them up in the room we stayed in, I would be apologizing to them about it. It was that bad. I would be embarassed to have guests stay in a room like that. The room was dirty with dust and grime at corners of the room and on the baseboards. The door handle kept coming off. The sink wabbled. The "shower" had no curtain. The dresser tilted at about a 25 degree angle. Nothing about the room decor matched. It was just a bunch of old hodgepodge furniture that needs to donated to a thrift store. The bedspread/pillow shams were old and worn. The bed was very uncomfortable and the pillows were lumpy. I understand that there is a certain "charm" expected when staying in an old building, but the was no charm here, only age. I did notice a couple of other rooms with doors open that looked somewhat better than ours (at a glance). But this room either needs to shut down or updated and improved. And we paid $120 plus tax to stay in the room. FYI, be very cautious about booking a room here, and DEFINATELY do not get #207.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank dan h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 May 2012

I am a descendant of people who helped build Jefferson and have stayed at the Excelsior House over 50 times in my 67 years. I spent 4 days in Jefferson with 3 friends from 5/17 - 5/21. I wanted to stay at the Excelsior but my friends prefer B&B's so I took them into the hotel hoping that the tour would change their minds. The man I spoke with, Michael, was putting cloths on tables and was very brusque and rude when I asked about the tour. When I asked about the times for the tour he said, "1:30 if I have the time..." I have always been so impressed with the gentility of the ladies who have been behind the desk in the past but this man was rude, blunt, and had no time for us. Thus he lost 4 paying guests for 4 nights and my friends, who said they would never stay there, missed the opportunity of experiencing that great place. I was disappointed and very embarrassed. I had raved about the Excelsior the entire 4 hours it took us to get to Jefferson. What a tragedy has befallen the Excelsior.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with friends
    • Service
4  Thank Carol Ann K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 May 2012

My wife and I decided to stay the night here at the spur of the moment rather drive the 3 hrs back home. Being a Sunday night, we were able to choose any room we wanted. We chose the Diamond Bessie room since it had the door leading to the court yard whenever we wished to step out. The rooms are furnished with nice antiques and the stay was interesting. We will probably stay at a B&B the next time we go to Jefferson and yes, we will definitely be coming back to town!

Room Tip: I would choose to stay in the Grant or Lady BIrd room or somewhere else in town.
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Moore9827
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2012

Older Historic Hotel with a unique southern charm. Great location to walk around downtown and our room was very nice with a nice courtyard to enjoy.
Well worth the money and we'd go back again.

Stayed: April 2012
Thank Steve48Texas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Excelsior House

Address: 211 W Austin Street, Jefferson, TX 75657-2253
Region: United States > Texas > Jefferson
Amenities:
Free Parking Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Jefferson
Price Range: £49 - £93 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The Excelsior House 3*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The oldest and most historic Hotel in the entire State of Texas. Currently owned by The Jessie Allen Wise Garden Club. 15 Historic rooms. Desk Manager on duty 24 hours a day ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Excelsior House Hotel Jefferson

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