History

Built in 1925 by the Little Rock Hotel Company, the Lafayette Hotel was one of Arkansas’s finest. St. Louis architect George D. Barnett designed the eleven-story hotel in the Renaissance Revival style with decorative terra cotta detailing, arched windows and projecting copper cornice with dentils. The hotel initially contained 300 fireproof rooms, each with running water, which rented for $2.50 per night. Little Rock decorator Paul Heerwagen was responsible for the building’s interior design. The lobby and mezzanine areas featured marble floors, red gum paneled walls and columns, and an ornamental plaster ceiling with intricate stenciling. The Great Depression caused the Lafayette Hotel to close its doors in 1933. Years later Southwest Hotels, Inc. bought the hotel and renovated it with a modernized feel, opening the doors again in 1941. Despite another remodel in 1953, Southwest Hotels, Inc. closed the Lafayette Hotel in late 1973 unable to keep up with the competition. In the early 1980s, the lobby and mezzanine areas were restored to their original grandeur. Today the first floor is available for special events, and the upper floors serve as office space and condominiums.