125th Birthday Brings Celebration and Discounts to The Empress!

June 18th, 2013 by Lisa

empress-mobileWe have donned our party hats and blown out the candles for 125th birthday of the Hornibrook Mansion, also known as The Empress of Little Rock.  We want to invite everyone to join in this momentous celebration, so we are offering a summer birthday special!  Between now and Labor day if you stay two or more days, we will take 25% off of your room price!

The Empress of Little Rock was originally built in 1888  by Saloon Keeper James H. Hornibrook and is known regionally as the finest example of Gothic Queen Anne architecture. Totally restored into Little Rock’s most award-winning bed and breakfast in 1995, entering the Empress of Little Rock is like taking a step back in time. With an authentic peek into Victorian opulence; Whether you are lounging in our gentleman’s parlor or soaking in an antique claw foot tub (original to the house!) you are sure to feel as if you should don your petticoats or top hat and ride off in a horse and carriage. But don’t mistake historic as dated, as The Empress offers the finest of modern day conveniences including featherbeds, museum quality antiques, state of the art hydro massage spa showers, steam and aromatherapy and first class business amenities including wi-fi and on site conference center. Located at 2120 Louisiana Street, The Empress is open to the public for tours Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Groups by pre-arrangement.

The Empress of Little Rock is the subject of numerous magazine articles including Delta Sky Magazine, Southern Women, Southern Living, Arkansas Times, National Geographic Traveler, Country Inns, Victorian Decorating Lifestyles, Victorian Homes, and programs on HGTV. For further information, please call (501) 374-7966.

Have You Tried any of Our Add-on Packages???

June 11th, 2013 by Lisa

If not, now is the time!  Up the romance of your next visit by having breakfast delivered to your Suite by our bow-tied butler (or an aproned maid).  Have an icy bottle of champagne waiting in your room in a silver server upon arrival.  How about chocolate truffles, or strawberries stuffed with sweetened cream cheese and then dipped in chocolate and rolled in hazelnuts!?!  If you want a more substantial meal waiting for you, try our Bridal Supper, with crusty bread, pate, gourmet cheeses and condiments, fresh fruit and a decadent dessert.

We can also arrange for you to go sailing on Lake Maumelle, take a carriage ride through the Quapaw Quarter Historic District, visit a romantic waterfall or have a couples massage in the privacy of your own suite.

Ask us about any of our charming add-ons and we will be happy to make your romantic dreams come true!  Call The Empress at 501-374-7966.



Beautiful Spring Weddings!

May 30th, 2013 by Lisa

We have had several weddings at The Empress over the last couple of months and would like to say congratulations to all of our beautiful brides and grooms!  Whether in our Victorian Parlors surrounded by amazing antiques or in our Secret Garden filled with the sight and scent of hundreds of flowers, our weddings have been gorgeous!  We hope that all of our summer wedding couples are just as happy with their big day!

the-empress-little-rock-wedding-2 justin and juliana brooke and pj aisle boal wedding cake

April Showers brought May Flowers!!!!!

May 7th, 2013 by Lisa

They are here, they are here, they are finally here!  A stroll through the Empress gardens is now a must do event, as Spring flowers are in full bloom.  Every corner you turn brings a new assault of beauty to your eyes (and often your nose) as flowers bloom on bushes, in planters, in beds, around swings and climbing up columns.  The exciting thing is, there are many more to come.  Our fig tree is just now putting out leaves and will soon provide fresh fruit for breakfast.  I am impatiently awaiting the hydrangeas, as they are my absolute favorites!  But in the meantime, there is so much to see that my daily stroll through the gardens is the very best part of the work day.

fountain and flowerssign and flowerspink flowers and steps











rose close upfence flowersred flowers


Spring is finally Springing!!!

March 28th, 2013 by Lisa

Great Outdoor Adventure at the Big Dam Bridge, Little Rock, Arkansas

a beautiful sunset on The Big Dam Bridge

Whew! I thought Spring would never get here…now I know not to trust that groundhog ever again!  With warm weather finally coming to Arkansas, some of our packages that include outdoor elements are becoming VERY popular.

Our Great Outdoors Package includes biking, hiking, picnicing and massages (sounds like a perfect weekend to me).  We include bike rental for the RiverTrail, an amazing  trail that is crowned by the Big Dam Bridge, the U.S.’s longest pedestrian only bridge.  Then we direct you to Pinnacle Mountain for a lazy hike by the Little Maumelle River on the Kingfisher Trail, or a more strenuous climb up the mountain on the East Summit Trail.  We provide you with a champagne picnic for one of your excursions, and granola and bottled water for the other.  Relax afterwards with a massage in the privacy of your room…a perfect weekend!!!riverfest logo

Memorial Day and Riverfest are also coming up very quickly!!!  If you haven’t already made plans to come into Little Rock for Riverfest, do it now!  There is no better place in Arkansas to be that weekend than at it’s largest outdoor music and food festival.

The Empress offers a special package to those coming to town to enjoy the music, the fun and the fireworks (the Osborne Family Fireworks are always an amazing show).

Package includes:

  • Three nights in the room of your choice (Rates vary by room)
  • Three gourmet two course breakfasts by candlelight
  • Three Day Pass to Riverfest
  • Registration to the Rock-N-Stroll 5K  (registration required by Friday, May 27th for T Shirt)
  • Fireworks and Symphony Preformance on the Grounds Sunday, May 29th
  • All the rest and relaxation after the Events you need in the gardens or the porch swing at The Empress

A High Tea for The Most Special of Ladies…

March 20th, 2013 by Sharon Welch-Blair

teacupsBecause we think Mom is so special, The Empress is throwing a party just for her on Mother’s Day!  Join us for a Grand High Tea with home made English Scones, clotted cream and lemon curd, dainty gourmet finger sandwiches, elegant desserts, and specialty tea all freshly prepared and served with Victorian Pomp and Circumstance.  Finish with our specialty hand-dipped chocolate covered cherries.

Converted in 1995 to The Empress of Little Rock Small Luxury Hotel and Conference Center, the mansion has an amazing history…which we will happily share with you!  Step back in the past for an hour of genteel tea and good company during which your hostess will introduce you to the Victorian beginnings of The Empress!  So don your gloves and wear your hat.  This is an occasion to celebrate, share with your Mom, and remember

Join The Empress and P. Allen Smith for an Unforgettable Weekend!

March 6th, 2013 by Lisa

daffodil tourP. Allen Smith is an award-winning designer and lifestyle expert, AND host of two public television program, “P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home”, “P. Allen Smith’s Garden to Table” and the syndicated 30-minute show “P. Allen Smith Gardens”  His Garden Home, located at Moss Mountain Farm, is offering Open Tours throughout the year.  Through the month of March, he will present his beautiful daffodil gardens.  All tours include a lunch and a guided tour of the house, gardens and farm.

Join P.Allen Smith and The Empress for an unforgettable weekend. This special package includes a two night stay at The Empress of Little Rock, 20% off of a carriage ride through Little Rock’s Quapaw Quarter Historic District and a bottle of champagne! Add a 3rd night for only $79.00!


 Daffodil Tours:

March 7, 2013

March 8, 2013

March 14, 2013

March 15, 2013

March 21, 2013

March 22, 2013

March 28, 2013

Channel 11 Features Chef Sharon for Valentine’s Day Red Velvet Souffle

February 7th, 2013 by Sharon Welch-Blair

Red Velvet Souffle

Reel in your Valentine with this decadent Red Velvet Souffle

Be sure to watch tomorrow morning on Today’s THV Morning Show at 6:45 to catch Sharon’s favorite Valentine Recipe.  It will delight your special someone with a gourmet surprise you make yourself and you’ll look like a professional, and it’s not very hard!!  Check out the video below.Here’s the recipe:

Red Velvet Soufflés With Whipped Sour Cream

1 Tbsp butter

3 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 (4-oz.) bittersweet chocolate baking bar, chopped

5 large eggs, separated

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 Tbsp. milk

1 Tbsp. red liquid food coloring

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 6 (8-oz.) ramekins with butter. Lightly coat with 3 Tbsp. sugar, shaking out excess. Place on a baking sheet.   Microwave chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 minute to 1 minute and 15 seconds or until melted, stirring at 30-second intervals. Stir in 4 eggs yolks, ¼ cup sugar, and next 3 ingredients. (Discard remaining egg yolk.)

Beat 5 egg whites and salt at high speed with a heavy-duty electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add 2 Tbsp. sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold egg white mixture into chocolate mixture, one-third at a time. Spoon into prepared ramekins. Run tip of thumb around edges of ramekins, wiping clean and creating a shallow indention around edges of mixture. (This will help the soufflés rise.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 24 minutes or until soufflés rise and are set. (A long wooden pick inserted in centers will have a few moist crumbs.) Dust with powdered sugar; serve immediately with whipped sour cream.

Whipped Sour Cream    Makes about 2 cups

¼ cup whipping cream, ½ cup sour cream, 2 Tbsp. sugar

Beat together all ingredients at medium to high speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer 45 seconds or just until lightly whipped and pourable. Serve whipped sour cream immediately.

Valentine’s Love Is In The Air…

February 4th, 2013 by Lisa

Valentine wrapped in ribbon


Enjoy a four-course meal and wine with your sweetheart at a candlelit table for two on Saturday, February 16, 2013.  Listen to the strains of romantic music as you are served our decadent red-velvet soufflé and then return to your room for a relaxing soak in your jacuzzi or to snuggle in front of the fireplace.

This dinner is only for guests of the Empress and is $100 for guests staying two or more nights and $125 for those only staying one night.

We hope to see you at The Empress,for Little Rock’s most Intimate Victorian Valentine’s Getaway!




Book two nights at regular rate for the month of February in any of our Suites-Hemingway  Spa Suite, Chatelaine Anniversary Suite, Majestic Spa Suite, Victoria’s Secret Garden Spa Suite, or  Hornibrook Suite and you and your CUPID will receive your choice of:

CHAMPAGNE VALENTINES PACKAGE– Champagne in an elegant silver server, scented votive candles, and delectable Valentine’s chocolates or

SWEETHEART CHAMPAGNE BRUNCH– A sumptuous, two-course, gourmet breakfast served in the privacy of your own room by a bow-tied butler. Your lace-covered table will be complemented with a romantically lit candelabrum, crystal, silver, china and champagne breakfast cocktails.

*Champagne Brunch is only available in the Hornibrook, Washburn-Welch & Murray rooms; Hemingway, Majestic Victoria’s Garden and Chatelaine Anniversary Suites.


Wedding Traditions…”Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue”

January 17th, 2013 by Lisa

something old newborrowblue


This week is a busy wedding week for us here at The Empress.  We have a wedding rehearsal on Thursday and a beautiful Princess-themed wedding on Friday.  Then we move directly into Arkansas’ largest bridal event, The Arkansas Democrat Gazette Bridal Show, on Sunday.  With so much wedding fever in the air, I started wondering about the wedding traditions that we adhere to.  What do all of these traditions symbolize?  So I did some research on the ever popular “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue” and found that it was a ceremony for luck that began in Victorian times (perfect for us here at the Empress and our love of Victoriana!).  Each item in this sort poem represents a good luck token for the bride – if she  carries them, it is said her marriage will have good fortune


Something Old: The old item has several different meanings,  but one general theme: a link of continuity from the bride’s past. Some say this  is a desire to remain connected with your family even after you established a  family of your own. Other sources say it represents the life you are leaving  behind. Another idea is that the tradition of family values and the connection  family brings is being passed down to you. It is safe to say that all of these  assumptions are correct; the bride is leaving behind her past to start a new  beginning, but not to forget where she has been. Things you can use for the  something old theme are: jewelry from your mother, grandmother or  great-grandmother, an old wedding photo from your family, a love letter from  your father to your mother, a picture of your parents in your purse, an old  handkerchief, a childhood pillow to hold your rings, a piece of lace sewn into  the hem of your gown.

Something New: means optimism and hope for the future. It  conveys the message that you and your husband are creating a new union that will  endure the test of time. Many brides choose to use their wedding gown, flowers  or rings to symbolize the “something new” in this tradition.

Something Borrowed: Again, there are several meanings behind  borrowing an item from a friend or relative. Some sources say borrowing  something is borrowing happiness from a happily married woman, so that their  happiness will carry over to the new bride. Other sources have said it is  symbolizes the love and adoration you have for the person from whom you have  borrowed the item from. If you borrow an item from your happily married  grandmother or mother, you can fulfill both of these meanings. Doing this lets  your parents (or grandparents) know that you admire their marriage and the  respect they have for each other and that you hope to have an equally happy  marriage. The borrowed item also signifies to the bride that she can always  count on her friends and family for support. Items that can be used for the  something borrowed theme could be: family jewelry, a prayer book from your  mother or grandmother, strands of pearls, or your parent’s cake cutting set.

Something Blue: The color blue has been connected to  weddings for centuries as a symbol of love, modesty, fidelity, good luck, purity  and loyalty. Many brides incorporate this color into their clothing, by either  wearing a blue stoned jewelry item or wearing a blue garter. However for a  modern spin, you could use blue toe nail polish, blue eye shadow, a blue ribbon  tied into your flowers, blue underwear, even wear light blue shoes! The  possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination