The biggest plus for Arkansas House is its convenient location on the boardwalk in Jasper. The next biggest plus is that it is clean and fairly well maintained. After that, there's not much else.
The owners need a class in "Hospitality 101". It was fairly difficult to find anyone to check us in. We pulled into the parking space in front of the property and then had to figure out whether to walk left or right to find the "office". Fortunately, we went left and then turned right to follow the boardwalk to what looked like an entrance. Once inside the door, we had to figure out what to do next...so we walked into the "great room" and found a sign on the breakfast bar telling us to pick up the phone and call a number (which was the restaurant). We were then told to walk to the restaurant to "check in". So I guess we should have walked "right" when we got out of the car!. Inside the restaurant a woman came up to us, we identified ourselves (she didn't), and were told to 'follow her to our room". So we followed along compliantly, but there was no "chatting up the hotel or the area". Turns out, the door to the suite foyer was in front of where we parked! The lady (still don't know who she was), opened the foyer door and told us to always keep it locked. She then opened our suite door, showed us the envelope on the table with our credit card receipts, handed us the key, and left. No overview of the suite or the hotel and its amenities. No mention of the time and location of the "continental breakfast". No discussion of the great room and its games or activities available. No mention of the beautiful garden out back. And nary a word about their "famous organic cafe". Not a word about the gift shop (in the cafe) selling local products and food items....NADA. Okay...I figured I was a bright experienced traveler...I could read the room directory or other "literature" in the room or great room. Imagine my surprise on finding nary a piece of paper or sign or anything explaining anything...anywhere! The only sign was the "no smoking in the room...else huge fine added to your credit card for cleaning".
I was there 2 nights, and I never once again saw the mystery woman (assumed it was the innkeeper's wife). Several times I saw a man (assumed it was the woman's husband). However, never once did he say "hello", ask how my stay was, ask if I needed anything, or even how I was enjoying the Jasper and Buffalo River area. The checkout was equally as strange...just leave the key in the room and close the door...okay, but what time was "checkout"? Very, very strange. I have never had an innkeeper experience quite like this; why would people who seem to HATE interactions with people be in the hospitality industry??? The front desk folks at a Days Inn or Motel 6 are more friendly, welcoming, and informative!
So enough about the lack of hospitality. The rooms are comfortable, very clean (a major consideration for me), and appeared to be well maintained. However, the 2 suites are located right on main street and can be quite noisy. I didn't want to open the drapes as the suite's 2 windows were right on the boardwalk; so the suite was very dark. The bed linens were organic cotton (nice) and the bed was very comfortable. However, I would have preferred having an additional pillow (found one in the living room closed and found a pillow case by rummaging around in the room's furniture). The shower and jetted tub were very nice
The continental breakfast was "okay". The buffet sign said the blueberry scones and cinnamon rolls were homemade...and they tasted like it (pretty good). The sign said the coffee was organic Costa Rican...and it was good. It would have been nice to have juice or granola...but oh well. Again, never saw anyone (other than other guests) the 2 mornings I was there...are the innkeeper's hermits or shy or afraid of people???? I guess I am just used to innkeeper's being ambassadors for the area and cheerleaders for their property.
Unfortunately, I didn't try the "famous organic cafe". It would have been nice to have a menu in the room as well as some indication of the cafe's operating hours/days.
All in all, a very strange and somewhat disappointing experience. If I am in Jasper again, I'm not sure if I would stay at Arkansas House...I may try the other places in town first.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Arkansas House Inn, Cabin and organic and wild food cafe' is the landmark resort in the upper Buffalo River national park. For those interested in lodging in classic Ozark architecture along with local, wild and organic food, this is a must stay property. Located on the banks of the Little Buffalo river, this 82-year old masterpiece of masonry is the place for climbers, hikers, floaters and other outdoorsmen and women, and people who want to just drive around to see the beauty of the mountains, enjoy watching our wild elk herd, and enjoy a great meal at our nationally-famous cafe'. Our cabin rents for 125-150 per nite, our suites are 85-99, our rooms 70-100. We even have a salon on site to pamper you after your outdoor adventure in the highest mountains between the Rockies and Smokies, the Artic & Arkansas River. ... more less