Winter Retreat in a Penthouse–at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo
It was the ultimate winter retreat. An overnight in a luxurious penthouse atop of a landmark hotel–the Hyatt Regency in downtown Buffalo, New York. The week before, Buffalo had been hit with one of the worst snow storms ever–but you wouldn’t know it. In the downtown area–the streets were clean–the snow did not make any impact.
Like most Torontonians, I had grown up hearing about Buffalo on daily basis because some of our main television channels are Buffalo-based. I had been numerous times to the area for cross border shopping as well. But this was my first trip to Downtown Buffalo. And I must say–it has a lot of potential.
I immediately liked the hotel which stands regally on a patch of land right in the heart of downtown, surrounded by storefronts. The historic building was originally designed in 1924 as the Genesee office building by noted local architect E.B Green. In 1983, when it was turned into a Hyatt hotel, the integrity of structure was preserved by adding onto the building through the addition of a glass atrium.
The lobby is enhanced by the wall of the original office building and classic touches such as high ceilings, vaulted windows and a chateau-like roof, all add to the hotel’s sophistication. The smell of steak from the award winning Green Steakhouse immediately made me hungry as we checked in.
It was a Sunday night and it felt like a ghost town, but Concierge Kyle Johnson went out of his way–staying on duty till we arrived and escorting us to our penthouse suite, all the while explaining his recommendations for dinner and sight seeing. We were looking forward to being driven around in the Mercedes-Benz Shuttle that came with the room, so we planned to dine outside of the hotel.
Striking Living Room of Penthouse Suite
The 1500 foot suite was grander than I could have imagined. There were soaring ceilings and solid masculine decor that screamed comfort and decadence. The main living space had a comfortable seating area with two leather chairs flanked by two sofas. The cold grays and browns were tempered by the numerous fur pillows and the softest of red throws–immediately inviting relaxation. The 65 inch TV in this area was primed for film watching and there was a long solid wood dining room table in the far part of the room, for dining or business.
In order to make sure that guests, whether leisure or business, are comfortable–the hotel provided well stocked kitchenettes in two different areas of the suite. Every drink imaginable with in the fridge–all kinds of juice, some wine and soda pop, along with milk and cream for coffee and tea-something I always crave in a hotel.
There was a nespresso coffee machine, a wine fridge and a microwave along with drawers full of interesting coffee and tea pods to try. We were instantly excited to spend the night in this beautiful penthouse. The evening views of Buffalo were pretty and the windows really opened–another pet peeve of mine: hotels where the air feels stale.
The suite boasted pretty chandelier lighting which is a nice accompaniment to plush living room furnishings and custom artwork: black and white vintage photography of downtown Buffalo.
There were many interesting details–right down to the etching of Buffaloes on the water classes. Other touches include Art Deco-inspired mirrored dressers and desks. In addition to the master bedroom, living and dining room, the suite also featured a walk-in closet filled with accessories, along with another bedroom and bathroom at the other end of the space.
There was definitely enough room for me, my husband and my son to stretch out and relax. I tried out the fitness center, which was well equipped and the rooftop pool. My only complaints are about its slippery floor but it would be lovely in the summer, when the weather allows for sunbathing outside.
The next morning, we had breakfast in the hotel dining room and it was quite delicious. I was impressed by the menu expressing a commitment to organic and local produce. They serve turkey sausage mixed with feta and cranberries and steel cut oats as well as a mean corned beef hash. We gazed outside onto Main Street and were struck by how quiet it was out there. Kyle had explained to us that the city was experiencing a resurgence but the pace was slow and steady.
Apparently, in the 1980’s, city planners had decided that having a pedestrian mall on downtown streets, with no cars allowed, was the way to go. Transportation needs were met by a light rail system that went up and down the main streets. Well, in the 2000’s, people were ready to admit that the experiment hadn’t worked. We could see the almost empty trolley cars going up and down the main drag. Yet we kept hearing about restaurants, clubs and attractions that were popular–you just had to know where they were and how to get there. Not always simple for tourists.
We did have a chance to drive along the waterfront and admire the efforts to create a new leisure space for residents and tourists. There are many interesting cultural and architecturally significant sites to visit in Buffalo. What is missing is the feeling of a bustling downtown and fluent, attractive street fronts. But it is certain that Buffalo is on its way; with numerous projects on the go to enhance and rejuvenate what was once a thriving city. The Penthouse at the Hyatt Regency offers one more reason to visit. The regal treatment and comfort provided here will leave you remembering your stay and looking forward to a return visit.
If you Go:
To book the Hyatt Regency Buffalo for a room or the penthouse go to:http://buffalo.hyatt.com/en/hotel/rooms/suite.html
Thanks to Katharine Nichols of huronpr.com for setting up our Winter Retreat and to the Hyatt Regency Buffalo for hosting us!