Spotlight On: Hotel Henry

Buffalo, New York / 1 hour and 55 minutes from Toronto

Buffalo, New York / 1 hour and 55 minutes from Toronto

An old insane asylum gets transformed into a luxurious, wedding-worthy hotel

Author: Jessica Huynh

Photographer: Cody Turner


Hotel Henry is an original-concept hotel in Buffalo, NY that opened its doors to the public this May. However, the architectural structure of the building dates back to the 1870s, when it was built with the most advanced psychiatric treatments of the time in mind. Hotel Henry was once the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane before it was abandoned in the 1970s and deemed a National Historic Landmark by the state. In 2006, a mandate was formed to restore the building, and after 3+ years of glossy, high-end renovations, it's now Hotel Henry Urban Resort and Conference Center: an 88-room boutique hotel chock-full of amenities. Its bones may be rich with history, but its plush interior is modern design at its chicest. 

While some ghostly believers might stay away from this history-steeped landmark, our explorer Cody Turner had the opportunity to be the only guest in the entire hotel for the night before its official opening. 

"I have nothing but great things to say about Hotel Henry and their very welcoming staff," Cody says. "The design of the hotel was meant to allow for a lot of sunset to enter the rooms - and it does!" 

Preserving the hotel's original windows is evidence of the meticulous attention to detail that went into the $80 million restoration. The windows were a key element of architect Henry Hobson Richardson's original design, based off revolutionary advances in psychiatry by Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbridge. Kirkbridge insisted that fresh air and sunlight played an important role in the treatment of patients in an era when the mentally ill were often hidden away in cells and basements. (Many psychiatric centres adopted this practice soon afterwards.)

Vaulted ceilings, luxe quilted headboards and pops of honey-yellow distinguishes this castle-like hotel from its cookie-cutter competitors. 

"You can really see how well they accomplished that with how decked out the interior is," Turner notes. "Every floor and every room has some sort of beautiful art on display. They have a giant ballroom, several conference rooms and lobbies, two separate wings with bedrooms, and an entire floor just for luxury suites filled with pre-existing wood."

Located in Buffalo's Urban Resort Neighbourhood, popular tourist destinations is just steps away.

"[Buffalo has] some great craft breweries, small intimate cafes and restaurants, and lots of friendly members of the community," Turner says. "I was even lucky enough to witness a small rainy day that ended in a beautiful sunset and a rainbow across the [hotel] property."

Hotel Henry is an example of how modernity and history can be perfectly harmonized and repurposed for today's shifting hospitality landscape. Drop by for a cocktail, stay the weekend, or even get married here—it's that nice. 



444 Forest Ave, Buffalo, NY 14213



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