“Allow me to explain why you won’t have to worry about a thing while you’re here…” With those soothing words, I am checked into The Mansion on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, New York, where it soon became apparent that I certainly would not need to worry about a thing during my stay as every hotel staff member delivered the kind of attention to detail, pride in service and knowledge of the area that allowed them each to act as a Staff Butler—which is what they’re called.
The Mansion on Delaware Avenue is, indeed, on Delaware Avenue, right in the heart of one of the city’s most vibrant shopping and arts areas. And it is, indeed, a mansion. Built as a residence in the 1800s, the building has had a storied and somewhat checkered past (one theory has it that the building operated as a brothel for a while, complete with a discrete tunnel connecting it to one of Buffalo’s most distinguished men’s clubs).
In 2001, after millions in renovations, the building, which is registered with the Historical Society, opened as a 28 room luxury hotel. The result is a carefully orchestrated blend of contemporary and classic. The original molding and ceiling details have been painstakingly restored but the rooms are decorated with carpets featuring big bold designs and thoroughly modern paintings and sculptures on loan (and for sale) from local galleries. The only time the proprietors seemed to misstep in their dance with contemporary and classic was with the cutlery, whose handles were so hiply curved that it was nearly impossible to use the knives, forks or spoons.
When I arrived at my Fireplace Premium room (unfortunately some of the fireplaces in the hotel are non-working) I was greeted by two awe-inspiring solid wood doors so massive that I could barely open and close them. The bathroom, which was big enough for a vanity stool to fit neatly by the sink, sported two types of Frette robes (one terry and one waffle weave, take your pick) plus a three-head shower, jet tub and one elegant snapdragon in a curved vase. And the eucalyptus, peppermint and rosemary scent of the hotel’s Essential Elements bath products was so addictive that I must confess that I took a bottle of the body lotion with me when I checked out and I’m hoarding it like the ambrosia that it is.
Other in-room features, like 18’+ ceilings, a motion-sensing light in the closet (that automatically turned on when the door was opened and turned off when it was closed), live plants, an insulated coffee maker and extremely flattering full-length mirrors (note to other hotels: the secret is to hang them or prop them against the wall so that the bottom comes out toward you slightly) were enough to make up for the huge portable A/C unit noisily working away in one corner of the room.
Rates include an eclectic breakfast buffet. One morning bagels and lox and yogurt and granola were on offer along with spring rolls and broccoli rabe, and breakfast is served on the pool table in The Billiards Room, one of the two ground floor drawing rooms. There is no in-hotel restaurant but the kitchen will happily deliver room-service 24 hours a day and produces food so good that many of the area’s most elite weddings, reunions and other functions are booked and catered in the hotel’s event spaces. Perhaps because they don’t have an on-site restaurant, the hotels butlers will transport you to and from area restaurants free of charge–after they’ve made the reservation for you, of course.
Other charming complimentary touches include personalized stationary and calling cards and overnight pressing and shoe shine (a service I’m glad to see more and more hotels offering). Not to mention homemade cookies at turn down and cocktails on the house from 5-7 pm, though a few snacks to go along with the libations would make this event even more enjoyable and relaxing.
One evening, after a lovely glass of merlot in an equally lovely Reidel glass, I called on one of the hotel’s Butlers with a vexing dining question. In a city famous for its Buffalo chicken wings, where should I go to sample them? Of course the Anchor Bar was a must since they claim to have invented the things. But I wanted to conduct a head-to-head taste test. So, on the advice of the Butler, I headed to Gabriel’s Gate after sucking sauce off my fingers at Anchor Bar. My advice? Gabriel’s certainly has more space and a more restaurant-like atmosphere complete with a very relaxing backyard while Anchor Bar is, well, a bar with a restaurant area. But if it’s the food that matters most to you, head to Anchor where the wings were bigger, meatier and juicier. Then head back to The Mansion on Delaware Avenue and sleep it off!
The Mansion on Delaware Avenue
414 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, New York 14202
Phone: (716) 886-3300
Our review of this hotel was originally published by iTraveliShop
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