Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center
What We Love
- Frederick Law Olmstead–designed grounds
- An architectural museum and art space on the lower floor
- Sustainably sourced eats at the hotel restaurant, 100 Kitchens
- A pair of copper-topped, 180-foot towers that adorn the main building
What To Know
- The hotel’s South Lawn is open to the public
- The property is one of two teaching hotels in New York State, affiliated with Cornell University
- Some of the suites here contain bathtubs and seating areas
- Buffalo State College is located right across the street
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Sprawling brick-and-red-sandstone landmark building turned boutique hotel, on the site of an abandoned sanatorium
If this former 19th-century insane asylum seems astonishingly regal, it’s because the head physician, far ahead of his time, once insisted that light and ventilation went hand-in-hand with a patient’s healing process. Tasked with preserving this Gothic castle, Deborah Berke, the dean of the Yale School of Architecture, opted to keep the expansive spaces—including 200-foot corridors and a chapel-turned-banquet room—intact. Berke’s especially noteworthy upgrades include a bravely reimagined entryway, a glass vestibule with symmetrical stairs that lead to the lobby, and 88 guest rooms (each combines two former patient quarters) which retained the original 18-foot ceilings but are now decked out with textural art and cashmere throws. Build in some extra time to get to the bar and restaurant, though be warned—the endless, chandelier-strung hallways mean you’ll most likely take an unintentional detour or two. But do go for the biodynamic wine list and hyper-local fare. Much of the produce, such as the roasted mushrooms that flank your polenta and the hazelnuts in your pesto, comes from a nearby farm.
In the Area
With neighbors that include the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (a neoclassical building that was featured as part of Buffalo’s 1905 Pan American Expo) and the Burchfield Penney Art Center (dedicated to talent from Western New York), the hotel’s Rockwell Road location puts guests in the thick of Queen City’s creative revival. The area is also known for its natural beauty, thanks to a dazzling mix of parks and lakes which can be accessed through the property’s onsite bike trail; the pedaling path also leads to nearby Elmwood Village, filled with coffeehouses, pubs, and independently-owned boutiques. If you don’t want to stray too far, the urban resort’s nine-acre green space is ideal for kite flying and picnicking during the summer months.
How to Get There
We were in town for a family wedding and thought the Hotel Henry looked good online, but the photos online do not do this property justice. If you are a history or architecture buff, this is the place for you. Also, if you appreciate art, this is the place for you. I love this property. It is still in the process of sorting itself out. The hotel occupies a third of a relict built in 1880 for a state mental institution for a more modern and humane way to treat those types of disorders. To walk around the entire structure takes quite a lot of time and gives you a sense of the immensity of this building. I cannot imagine the amount of work, time, and money that went in to developing HH. The rooms are comfortable and beautifully appointed. The only downside was lack of dresser space and no real closet. The bathrooms keep the retro-institutional chic. The ceilings throughout the property are about 2 stories tall making the guest rooms feel larger than they are. The hallways seem to go on forever and you get a workout going back and forth from the main entrance to your room or anywhere else in the hotel. The 100 Acres Restaurant is really good! And so is the coffee shop and bar. I loved exploring!
The negatives were lack of staffing at the hotel which was apparent on a Sunday. Thank you to Chris (I think that was his name) who literally does everything - front desk, housekeeping, overnight clerk - he helped us find an amazing room after the weekend when we wanted something quieter. The other hotel staff at the desk were not so interested in the guests, more like art gallery employees. The welcome bags for the wedding were missed for many of the rooms that were carefully put together by the bride and groom on Thursday. When I pointed it out to the staff on Saturday, day of the wedding, they said that guests checking in early on Friday didn't get them because they had not received them at the desk yet, but they had. When I asked to have them delivered to the room, the girl at the desk was obviously put out and said she guessed she could do that. I offered and she said she would. Needless to say most family and friends didn't get those bags. It may seem like a small thing, but they were right there and a simple alert on a reservation usually fixes the issue. The other thing was housekeeping - specifically toilet cleaning seemed to be an issue in all 3 rooms we stayed in/looked at. When I brought it to the attention of the Rooms Manager, it was quickly fixed, but you cannot miss that. And these are the reasons I cannot give a 5, but I would definitely return. I LOVE this hotel. It is stunning, overall clean, restaurant and other F&B was great and most staff was engaging. I'm so delighted that this building is alive again!
Attended for a work conference for a week. Staff where very attentive, room was beautiful, modern but felt like home. The ceiling and windows were very high which made it feel spacious, the hallways were something from an old art gallery and the views outside beautiful with all the snow falling. The food at the restaurant was delicious and the conference areas served the meetings very well. Only one small thing, there was no water in the room which I thought was quite strange. Other than that, a great stay.
This hotel used to be the old Psychiatric hospital which was abandoned for many years but is now a beautiful hotel that reminds me of Harry Potter. The building is magnificent and the rooms are large and well appointed.
Rooms are very large and the decor is beautiful. Everything is new and very clean! Beds are very comfortable. Very well isolated, I couldn't hear any noise from the corridor or next room.
My room was facing the back and, regretfully it was also where the garbage container is located and the garbage truck came at 6:00am on the Thursday to pickup the garbage, which made a lot of noise.
There was no magnifying mirror in the bathroom and the tv remote's battery was so weak that I had to stand close to the tv for it to work. I went twice to the front desk (which is far away since this is a large hotel) but they could only offer me another remote which had the same problem (original batteries in the remote) since they didn't have spare batteries.
There is no mini-bar or mini-fridge in the room...
weekly breakfast could be improved (not much choice) but the weekend brunch is apparently very good.
All in all, I loved my stay at this hotel but for the price that I paid I expected a little more. I'm sure that they will improve in time :)
Stayed at The Henry March 2019 and the hotel's architecture and design are superb. Long hallways, high ceilings, and a perfect mix of restored charm and modern touches. The room itself was nice, had a great tv, and good lighting. There is no bluetooth sound system and furniture/decor was a bit mismatched.
Location is great if you're wanting to visit the Albright Knox museum or take a 10 mins ride into downtown. The bar had a great cocktail list and vibe, and although we didn't eat or drink at the coffee shop or restaurant, they were packed and we will look forward to doing so on our return.
Elia at the front desk was kind, knowledgable, and professional. She gave us great recommendations that contributed to our stay. However, the other employees need further training to ensure a better customer experience overall. Other things that would make for a better stay include umbrellas for rainy weather, staff that are aware of (and enthusiastic about) historical tours of the hotel property, and better signage both in the hotel and on the property (e.g., we had to search for the lobby/check-in and found it challenging to locate the front entrance). Parking was also an issue as the lot closest to the entrance was full at times due to conference guests.
Overall, 4 stars since the architecture and design of the common areas is something to see.
This hotel is so much fun to explore! The rooms are very up to date and refreshing yet outside of the rooms you can still see bits of the original walls and doors untouched from when this building was still in operation. The breakfast (specifically the bacon) is delicious! I plan on going back without even staying over night for the brunch alone. The staff is great as well and very helpful.