The Curtiss Hotel and Chez Ami Are Open and Bringing It

Food & Drink, Food & Drink News, Where To Stay


Written by Brett Llenos Smith

Published on July 14, 2017

Curtiss Hotel / Photo x Christopher Lestak

Wedding receptions are not reality. They’re decadent parties that have to end, usually after the closing notes of Donna Summer’s “Last Dance.”
At the new Curtiss Hotel though, the amount of lavish amenities makes the building feel like a wedding reception that goes on and on and on. And that’s a good thing. A very good thing.
Just pulling your car off of Franklin Street and walking up to the vestibule, you’re greeted with cascading waters and a wall of greenery.

Walking up and into the side entrance? You’ll step into a historic terra cotta hallway with tile floors, vintage art nouveau benches and perfume wafting through the air that smelled like limousines, Sunday brunches, summers at the cottage in Canada, sailing anywhere comfortably and the best sepia-toned memories of your life.
The old Rat Pack standards lilting out of the sound system on my recent visit completed the killer wedding reception vibe. But in reality, all of these sensations were the ghosts of Buffalo’s Glory Days, finally being able to breathe free again after decades of yearning.

Curtiss Hotel / Photo x Christopher Lestak


Curtiss Hotel / Photo x Christopher Lestak

Curtiss Hotel / Photo x Christopher Lestak

The hotel also featured marble flooring, crystal chandeliers, more art nouveau decor, custom artworks and moderate patina in places, which stamped the place with bona fide authenticity.
Despite all this refinement, the Curtiss is still a hotel, and in July that means ‘come as you are,’ with many people passing through in casual clothes. I even spotted a few guys wearing shorts, the ultimate Dad Casual article of clothing.

Though I showed up unannounced, Director of Sales Jodi Benson was kind enough to give me a brief tour that included a peek at the unfinished VUE, the hotel’s rooftop patio (which we were not allowed to photograph). The patio stretches along two sides of the building’s rooftop and the views are among the best in downtown Buffalo: You can see City Hall, Lake Erie, the new courthouse, the Liberty Building, Electric Tower and even the windmills in Strykersville far off in the distance.
Once it’s complete, the patio will feature an indoor-outdoor feel, retractable roof, heating in places and a circular fire pit with tiered seating around it. It’ll also have a full bar and a menu of small/ sharable plates, like raw oysters and charcuterie boards. There’s also a pizza oven up on the roof and seated guests will be able to have meats grilled tableside on heated rocks.
*UPDATE: Vue is officially opening Friday, August 11, 2017*

Curtiss Hotel / Photo x Christopher Lestak

Curtiss Hotel / Photo x Christopher Lestak

Downstairs the extravagance and amenities continued. Outside of all 67 hotel rooms is touchscreen technology developed specifically for the building that can be used as a Do Not Disturb sign, doorbell or way to contact the concierge service downstairs.  In the recently-excavated basement, there’s a fitness center, men’s salon and two massage rooms.
Oh, there’s also a Roman bath and spa on the first floor that extends outside the building.
One big reason most people will be walking into the Curtiss Hotel is the Chez Ami restaurant. Inspired by a former supper club located on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo’s heyday, the decor in the restaurant takes a more modern turn than the rest of the hotel and the restaurant’s bar – literally turns. It completes one rotation per hour; slow enough that you won’t give your lunch the old heave-ho, but fast enough that you sit up and take notice.

During the opening week, Chef Vincent Thompson, formerly of the Buffalo Chophouse, put out a very approachable menu with some classics (pizza, burger, steak) and some foodie touches (compressed melon, beef tartare, aged duck).
Pro-tip: Try the pasta, which is made fresh, in-house with a pasta extrusion machine imported from Italy.
With so much to choose from at the Curtiss Hotel, it’s nice to know you don’t have to wait for the next wedding reception to enjoy decadence, pampering, and refined experiences.

Curtiss Hotel

210 Franklin St, Buffalo, NY 14202 / (716) 954-4900

Written by <a href="" target="_self">Brett Llenos Smith</a>

Written by Brett Llenos Smith

Brett Llenos Smith is a freelance writer based in Buffalo’s Allentown neighborhood who has been covering local food and culture for Step Out Buffalo over the past six years. As someone with a multi-ethnic background, he has a passion for exploring and understand the many diverse corners of Western New York.
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