We may be sliiiiightly biased, but we say The Hotel Lafayette in downtown Buffalo is the best place to stay while visiting the city. As many of our followers know, us Buffalovebirds live in the Hotel and post pictures here and there on our Instagram and Twitter of our building space to share with others.
Guy bird was one of the first tenants (literally) to move in to the newly renovated Hotel back on May 1st, 2012 before it was even fully finished and open. Wanting to make home in downtown, he got wind of the project and set up a tour to get a feel for the apartments. We stepped inside the ‘ruins’ of the Lafayette Tap Room in March 2012 and were greeted by the man himself- Rocco Termini. Well, that was an exciting surprise! Where else will you receive a tour from the developer himself?? He is one cool man. Hard hat intact, he led us through dirt floors, tarps, and piles of tools- getting our exercise to the top floors with no electricity or elevators running quite yet. The space was phenomenal- large, historic, iconic…
We snagged a floor plan that we loved on spot and have not looked back since. Watching the transformation the rest of 2012 was wild- the lobby, Pan Am, Butterwood, Mike A’s- all turned in to exquisite spaces…we got to meet the hundreds of artisans recreating the tile on the floors, working on intricate ceiling and hallway with Tuscan scagliola techniques, labor loaders for the hotel rooms, the discovery of a former speakeasy underneath the first floor (now Butterwood Sweet & Savory)…It was fascinating chatting with the workers and learning what they were doing and how many hours they worked to restore the building of this French Renaissance-designed icon.
Today, the Hotel can easily be labeled as ‘the building that started the Renaissance of Buffalo’ (in our opinion). We definitely had the beloved Elmwood Village, Delaware, and Chippewa areas- but here was a destination that was the game-changer.
On the first floor, you step in the Art Moderne lobby of the Hotel with fireplaces to warm you, furniture design by Room of Hertel Ave., original elevators, and two wood inlay murals that were discovered behind the old walls. Entrances to Woyshner’s Flower Shop and the beauty bar of Groom Service give you access to grabbing some flowers or perhaps receiving a makeup how-to. Anatomy (a gorgeous dress-making shop) and City Lights Studio photography make home here as well, offering soon-to-be-wed couples a chance to have an ultimate wedding destination at the Hotel Lafayette. Pan-American Grill sits to the right where you can enjoy a cold beer and wings in several spaces while watching a game (our fav being Teddy Roosevelt’s game room because…fireplace). Down Peacock Alley you pass Mike Andrzejewski’s Art Deco Bourbon & Butter and a private dining event room, the Crystal Ballroom, AAA Room, and Grand Ballroom. Wedding events, private parties, dinners, and galas fill these spaces non-stop which makes it a perfect party destination in downtown Buffalo. Floors 2 and 3 hold the boutique hotel rooms and suites for guests visiting the city and also attending the events inside the Lafayette. The rooms are spectacular! Have you seen them?? The interiors were designed by Michael P & team from Room and feature mural photography of the Pan-American Exposition that took place in Buffalo, NY in 1901 on an entire wall (yea, we need that in our future home for real). Double-sided fireplaces, lounging couches, barn doors, rain showers…they are the best rooms in the city for a unique and beautiful room to stay in, hands down.
On secondary levels are two event rooms titled the Greenhouse Room and Courtyard Room, the latter is adjacent to an outdoor enclosed courtyard with cafe string lights, modern seating, and exposed brick walls from the building. The apartments are set up similar to the suites in the hotel space and have large windows that fill your rooms with sunshine and cityscapes.
The fun, and also fattening, experience of living in the Hotel is being able to order food from the downstairs restaurants and picking it up in order to take back up to your room (goes for hotel stays, too). We had to end that quickly (and by ‘quick’ we mean like…two years in…) as we noticed our pants were really snug. It is too easy to run down and get some cheesecake to go from Butterwood’s bakery. We are not complaining. Except for those pants that ‘shrunk’ in the wash!
There is nothing we love more (besides dessert downstairs) than bringing family, friends, and visitors to the Hotel Lafayette and showing them around. There have been numerous strangers we have given ‘tours’ to, who were very excited they received an inside scoop and experienced more than they thought they would have coming in to the building.
After the Hotel opened in 2012, we watched the surge of downtown take more chances. Restaurants such as The Lodge, Osteria 166, Oshun, the team of Rocco and Mike A’s Tappo and Dog e Style, The Archer, and (716) have popped up rapidly due to the growth of the city and it shows no sign of stopping (GOOD). Canalside has developed in to an outdoor family destination for all seasons- boasting Concert Series, outdoor movies, free yoga, and now the Ice Rinks for the winter. RiverWorks, located in Silo City area, is the up-and-coming destination of covered ice rinks which is now home to the Queen City Roller Girls, curling, and open skate; a future entertainment venue complete with an upcoming brewery and beer garden. The West Side is swelling with the likes of Martin Cooks, BreadHive, Black Rock Kitchen & Bar, Horsefeathers Market, Pho Dollar, The Black Sheep (movement from former Elmwood Village of Bistro Europa), and Resurgence Brewery all which are so incredibly amazing that you do not know where to begin. We have noticed many young professionals coming in and STAYING because they love every aspect of Buffalo: ethnic cuisine, outdoor events, winter to-do, beautiful parks, bike-friendly roads, gorgeous places to live, and the non-stop growth of new business and restaurants.
Living at the Hotel, we are able to walk to Canalside, First Niagara Center, the Cobblestone District, Chippewa, Main St. to enjoy numerous theatres, Sabres games, concerts, and huge events such as Taste of Buffalo. If we get tired, we take the subway home from Canalside. Did you know it is free to ride above ground? If you come from the northtowns, you can park at UB on Main St. and ride it anywhere from Shea’s Theatre to Harborcenter. (small cost for underground) How easy is that?
We can watch the fireworks out our window from Coca-Cola Field, home of the Bisons baseball team. We can attend the new restaurant openings. Watch the cranes move about the skyline. Bike to Outer Harbor and walk the paths through Tifft Nature Preserve and Times Beach Nature Preserve where the city deer hang out 10 feet from you. We can kayak through the Grain Silos, feel our abs burn on the stand-up paddle boards, hit up every food truck possible at Larkin Square during Food Truck Tuesday, enjoy the water on Liberty Hound‘s outdoor patio, grab ice cream at The Hatch while watching the sun set over Lake Erie, hop over to Canada within minutes to stroll through Niagara-on-the-Lake, shop local in Elmwood Village and Hertel Ave., jog through the stunning Forest Lawn Cemetery, and get pizza delivered from Casa Di Pizza on a whim. We hit up Puerto Rican, Hispanic, Thai, Vietnamese, New American, Japanese, Ethiopian, and Balkan cuisine on the regular and hang out at festivals like the Taste of Diversity, Italian Fest, and the art festivals in Allentown and on Elmwood. We are a 10 minute drive from the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo Science Museum, and the Botanical Gardens. This isn’t even EVERYTHING.
We can go on and on- and we will in future posts. The point is- Buffalo, NY is becoming (once again) an outstanding city with beautiful places to stay, exciting things to do, and incredible places to eat. It is where the younger generations are staying, where parents can bring the kids, and where you can plan a weekend getaway. There are endless ideas, smiling faces, and so much more coming up. If you have not come to downtown recently, mark it on your schedule. You do not want to miss out on this.