The Mansion on Delaware Avenue
414 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, N.Y.
The Pitch Originally a private home when it was built in 1869, the Mansion has undergone several incarnations since then. It has been transformed into a 100-room hotel, then purportedly became a brothel, later a French restaurant (Victor Hugo’s Wine Cellar), and finally, after lying dormant for close to 25 years, to the luxury hotel it is today.
And luxurious it is. With a US$3-million renovation, the contractor was able to restore many of the original details of architect George Allison’s work, and its Second Empire design. Referred to as “The House of Light,” it has more than 175 windows, including 14 large bay windows. Guests enter through a raised portico flanked by two Corinthian columns on either side, and pass through large double wooden and glass doors. Immediately inside, there are two large high-ceilinged salons on either side: the fireside salon with its original black walnut hand-carved moulding on the left and the white moulding of painted ash in the billiard salon on the right. Here, complimentary cocktails are available nightly (5 to 7 p.m.), and then a generous continental breakfast is served in the morning.
The hotel’s 28 rooms and suites vary, reflecting the challenges of converting a single family dwelling to a multi-use hotel. Some accommodations have high ceilings, other ceilings are slanted. Many rooms have gas fireplaces, all have granite in the bathroom and flat screen TV over the sink, and each room has either a whirlpool bath or waterfall shower with heated floor.
What We Love Phillip Seymour Hoffman once stayed here, as did Laura Linney, Hillary Clinton and Faith Hill — though not altogether. But the service here is so down-home mid-Western friendly and welcoming that you don’t have to be a dignitary or a Hollywood actor to benefit. (All guests receive personalized business cards for their stay with their name and “In residence” printed on the front.) The Mansion’s 24-hour butler service includes complimentary chauffeuring to anywhere within a three-mile radius (first come, first serve) from 7 a.m. to midnight, and arrangements can be made for spa services in your room. Free overnight pressing and shoe shining is available, as well as a turndown service on Friday and Saturday nights, replete with a plate of [two] cookies.
Don’t Miss The surrounding area. The Mansion is centrally located within walking distance of funky Allentown and Elmwood Village, and a short drive from the iconic Albright-Knox Art Gallery, which has an excellent exhibit of Monet and the Impressionist Revolution, 1860–1910, on until March 20. Buffalo also boasts the second oldest zoo in America, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House Complex.
Rooms from US$195 per night