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“A charming, old-world hotel experience.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Archer House

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The Archer House
212 S Division St, Northfield, MN 55057   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Northfield
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“A charming, old-world hotel experience.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2008

My overall experience at the Archer House was above average--even approaching excellent--but that does not mean everybody's experience would be. This place definitely is not for the kind of traveler who looks for stuff to complain about in a hotel. It is a fun, charming, historic place with a great deal of character, but it is not long on luxury-type amenities. Boomers, think of the Shady Rest, of "Petticoat Junction" fame.

The standard rooms are exceptionally small. Each room is different from every other, and each has its own theme and name. Not surprisingly, the photos on the hotel website make the rooms look a bit larger than they actually are. In my room, Room 217, the bathroom area was really just a corner of the room itself, with only a curtain (albeit a thick, luxurious one) to separate it from the rest of the small room.

My room was clean and in a good state of repair, and on the day of my checkout I was able to get a pretty good peek at five or six other rooms on the second floor to see that they were in good shape as well. The room had a good temperature control system, which was a must for me in the bitter cold of Northfield in February--not for the reason you would think, but because public facilities there have a tendency to run more heat than is comfortable to me.

The rooms have cable television with lots of stations to choose from, but no HBO or Movies on Demand. This was not a big loss for me, since I was not in Northfield to watch TV or movies in my hotel room.

The Tavern Lounge on the first floor is a really nice place to have a drink or two and visit with the locals. People are exceptionally friendly in this small midwestern college town.

The Tavern of Northfield, in the basement level, is probably Northfield's favorite breakfast spot, and with good reason: It serves up excellent traditional American breakfasts, made entirely from scratch, efficiently, and inexpensively. While I did not have dinner at the Tavern, its menu was inviting, and I would say it is the best traditional sit-down dinner alternative in Northfield proper.

There is a coffee house in the same building as the hotel where hotel guests can get a free cup o' joe or, for a few bucks, a fru-fru coffee drink. I did not take advantage of this amenity, as I was completely taken with the Blue Monday coffee house just a half block down on the other side of the street, where it seems everybody in Northfield gathers on a Saturday or Sunday morning. There is also an Indian restaurant in the same building as the hotel, which I did not try, but which has an excellent reputation.

The Archer House gets a lot of use, and this shows in the common areas, particularly during the winter when people track snow, gravel, and salt onto the carpets and the stairs. The hotel lobby is nevertheless a cozy, inviting spot to read a book, wait for a friend, or chat for a few minutes with one of the friendly hotel staff.

I would definitely stay here again on a visit to my son at Carleton College, but if my wife and I were traveling together we might need to upgrade to a bigger room.

  • Liked — Charming, old-world style hotel
  • Disliked — Small room
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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74 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2008

We recently stayed at the Archer House in the Anniversary Suite. Most reviews describe the hotel as quaint and cozy. The Anniversary Suite has a sitting room, bedroom, and bath with a double whirlpool. We thought it would be romantic...it's called the Anniversary Suite, after all. In reality, the hotel is best described as worn and our room was awful for $190 (weekend).

Upon opening the door we were greeted by 2 large spots on the carpet. The sitting area had 2 wing back chairs, 2 metal cafe style chairs and 2 other straight back chairs. It was quite dark, even during the day. It's not a place I'd want to hang out for any period of time. The lighting in the room was provided by 4 lamps that used the kind of lightbulbs one normally finds in chandeliers; the ones shaped like flames.

At the end of the sitting area were two closets in a small dark hallway. There were no overhead lights in the hallway nor inside the closets so it was impossible to see inside them at night. Not that there was any need to since there was nothing but a stale old blanket in one of them. No hangers, no iron (but there was a holder!), nothing useful.

The bedroom was serviceable, although I have to wonder why they only have a queen bed in the Anniversary Suite. Why not a King? The pillows were hard (all two of them) and the bedspread looked like it had been in use for many years. The sheets were the saddest of all. They were worn to the point that they were actually pilled, like an old wool sweater. And, scratchy. There was a TV in the room, but it was placed perpendicular to the bed, so you couldn't really watch it while in bed. I don't know why they don't put it in the sitting room. Along with a couch, while they're at it.

The bathroom looked like nothing had been done to it in 30 years. The fixtures were old and worn and the tub and sink were crackled around the drains. The sink drain was missing the plug. The glass doors of the tub had water spots on them. The tile grout was cracked and discolored. We decided to avoid the bath all together. Fortunately, we were there only one night and got out as early the next morning as we could. Oh, and the bathroom was open to the bedroom, so no privacy at all.

All of the window shades were installed so that the pulls faced the OUTSIDE. So, you have to reach under and around and pull awkwardly. The windows in the sitting room were fogged over with something, but it wasn't condensation or frost. Also one of the window latches was broken so you couldn't close the window completely. The sills were grungy (by this point, no surprise).

The hotel shares space with an Indian restaurant. The food there is great, the problem is that the smell permeated the hotel and our room (not as much as the lobby). There is also a tavern in the basement. We were awoken at 1:00 AM by patrons who were continuing the party on the street outside the hotel. The parking lot for the hotel is in the back and to get inside you have to walk through the basement area where the kitchen is located. The elevator was dirty, the floors were disgusting, and the stairs had broken bottles in them. The sign to the hotel is not obvious and we ended up in the kitchen on our first attempt. I would recommend taking the walkway around the side of the hotel and going in through the front. It's less depressing that way.

I have to say that this was the first time in many years of traveling that my husband and I both said the same thing upon arrival, "what a dump". If we had not had a gift certificate we would not have stayed. It's really sad because the staff was nice (although one desk clerk was a bit scatterbrained) and the hotel has potential. I would never recommend this hotel to anyone I know and if you plan on staying there I would ask to see the rooms first before handing over your credit card because the web site's photos are too tiny to really tell what the rooms look like.

  • Liked — On the main street in town and close to an incredible coffeehouse Goodbye Blue Mondays
  • Disliked — The hotel
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Travelers are raving about these Northfield hotels

1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2007

I had a lovely weekend at my friends' wedding and stayed at The Archer House. I was pretty content at checkout --- despite the hefty bill. Unfortunately, when i returned home, I found that in the rush of packing for a timely checkout I left something behind. I contacted the hotel by phone and spoke with someone who said that my property was nowhere to be found. She said she'd look into it and get back to me. She didn't. I emailed later that week and received no response. I was just hoping that the staff would have the integrity to return items that are inevitably left behind by guests --- or, at least, handle the problem in a more graceful and respectful way.

  • Stayed October 2007, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pasadena, California
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2006

Last weekend I stayed one night in the Archer House, having taken my daughter to visit Carleton College (right across the street). The Archer House was really charming and I will stay there again if she decides to go to Carleton, but next time I will be more careful in choosing my room.
I booked my room over the phone with the Archer House. As you can see at the hotel website, it has two distinct varieties of rooms - the $75 rooms and the more expensive ones. I was given a list of vacant rooms and looked at the website to see what they looked like. Without any intimate knowledge of the hotel, I chose the Archibald room (2nd floor, $75). Once I got there, I found it to be unacceptable because there was no view from the window and because there were large exhaust fans immediately outside it, producing a loud humming noise. I went to the front desk clerk and asked if there was another room available as I found this one to be not very pleasant. As it happened, there were no small rooms available, but they put me into one of their large rooms, the St. Olaf (2nd floor, $120) which overlooked the main street (Division Street) and the town library. It had just been redecorated and was beautiful. The main street is noisy during the day but quiets down nicely at night.
The rooms are smaller than you might expect. In the Archibald, there was a queen size bed and barely enough room to walk around it. The bathroom was tiny with just enough room to squeeze a toilet, sink, and corner shower. The St. Olaf was considerably larger because it is a two room suite, but each of the rooms itself was tiny. The bedroom had a double bed because there wouldn't have been room for a queen size bed. There was a single daybed in the other room. In addition, there were a couple of comfortable chairs and a small table with chairs. The bathroom was large enough to comfortably contain a toilet, sink, and whirlpool tub. The fixtures were old and I'd estimate that they hadn't been refurbished in several decades. Though clean, they were stained.
My experience with the rooms was just limited to two. But based on it I'd advise you to choose your room carefully. If the brief website description of the room doesn't specify river or library view, it doesn't have a view at all. I will avoid such rooms if I return there again. Another review says to avoid all river view rooms on the 2nd floor. That may well be true in general. I did not go up to the 3rd floor but the rooms up there should all have adequate views as there is nothing blocking their windows. If I return to the Archer House in the future, I will request one of the smaller rooms with a full bed (and a view) since the queen size bed takes up too much room. If I have my husband with me or if I feel like being really comfortable then I will request one of the larger rooms. The small room was really pretty claustrophobic.
This is an old hotel with a more modern addition built on to the back of it. (It is this modern addition that causes the blockage of the views on the 2nd floor river view side.) This addition contains an elevator that accesses every floor. As far as I could tell, it is possible to get to every part of the hotel without climbing stairs. Though the entrance is raised from street level, there is an entrance ramp. There should be no accessibility problems.
Though TripAdvisor lists Archer House under its B&B category, it doesn't offer breakfast so it isn't a B&B. But there are restaurants and a coffee shop right in the same building where you can get dinner or breakfast. The hotel is special because of its historic and charming character but don't expect the rooms to match the size and perfection of modern hotels. I will stay here again because I enjoyed the character and because the location, right on Northfield's main street and across it from Carleton, is great.

  • Liked — Charming hotel, friendly and accomodating staff.
  • Disliked — 2nd floor river side rooms have blocked windows, noisy exhaust fans.
  • Tips/Secrets — Request 3rd floor rooms or library view. Larger rooms are much better.
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2005

My husband & I have also stayed many times at Archer House. Although it has been a couple of years, I am sure not much has changed. That's a good thing! It's charming. The least expensive rooms are very small, but they are cozy. We prefer the 'street' side as opposed to the 'river' side if you book the second floor. Can be quieter if you want windows open. River side has the resturant roof fans outside and we didn't care for the constant humm. Staff has always been great. The hotel is a great place to just relax and wander around town. Be sure to do that! A must is the Tavern Restaurant (yes, it is in the basement). The food is good. We always enjoy walking 'downstairs' for breakfast and again later for dessert.
We hope to visit during the Christmas holidays again.....the hotel (all of Northfield) was so nicely decorated.....WONDERFULLY COZY and RELAXING!

  • Stayed December 2003
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2004

I have stayed at the Archer House in Northfield, MN.It was one of the most relaxing times I have ever had. I loved the rooms because they gave you the feeling of living many years ago when life went at a slower pace and things were less hectic. I have and would recommend it to anyone looking for a relazing get away. I will be going again soon, just to unwind and forget all the bad things that are happening in the world. Thanks for a great stay.

Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Archer House

Address: 212 S Division St, Northfield, MN 55057
Location: United States > Minnesota > Northfield
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Northfield
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 36
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Also Known As:
The Archer House Hotel Northfield
Archer Hotel Northfield
The Archer Hotel

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