The Excelsior Hotel opened on East Markham Avenue in downtown Little Rock in November 1982. The hotel was developed by the Doyle Rogers Company and B. Finley Vinson, and constructed by the Pickens-Bond Construction Company.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock originally leased space on the lower level of the hotel facing the river to create the University Conference Center for continuing education and personal development seminars. The hotel also housed a Small Business Development Center. The first general manager of the hotel was Art Beaulier.
Paula Jones alleged that Bill Clinton used Arkansas state trooper Danny Ferguson to arrange a liaison with state employee Paula Jones in his Excelsior hotel room on May 8, 1991. The story of this alleged encounter first appeared in the conservative American Spectator magazine, and prompted a sexual harrassment suit by Paula Jones.
The Excelsior reopened as a Peabody Hotel in 2001 after a $40 million renovation.
- Margaret Arnold, "Revival of LR Riverfront Fosters Optimism About New Prospects," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, May 22, 1983.
- Kyle Brazzel, "Wallis Blair Allen," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, July 4, 1999.
- Evin Demirel, "His Projects Shape Capital City Skyline," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, April 3, 2009.
- Letha Mills and H. K. Stewart, Greater Little Rock: A Contemporary Portrait (Chatsworth, CA: Windsor Publications, 1990), 29-30.