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Inn on Broadway – review of an historic hotel in Rochester

by Jun 10, 2019New York

Rochester seems a little bit like a small town in a big town, with a walkable town core snugging the Genesee River and filled with history. When visiting Rochester, you could of course stay in any number of chain hotels, but why bother when the Inn on Broadway bed and breakfast boutique hotel offers such historic, charming accommodations smack in the middle of town.

Inn On Broadway Facade

The Inn on Broadway in Rochester currently offers 25 rooms that are a range of traditional hotel type to deluxe rooms and even large luxury suites. You get all the basics of free Wi-Fi, parking, high-end bathroom amenities, and a free continental breakfast.

What you also get, however, is convenience to explore or do business right in Rochester’s downtown while feeling a bit like royalty when walking in or out of the Inn on Broadway. It is located in the city’s trendy “East End” Theater District, within walking distance of museums and other sites.

Inn On Broadway Grand Entrance

In its past life, the dramatic 1909 building housed The University Club of Rochester – a glamorous setting for balls and galas, while the upstairs rooms served as short- and long-term accommodations for members and other men (yes, yes, men) in town for work.

Foyer Inn On Broadway

Bright rooms, big and small

The hotel rooms are bright. From the polished wood to sparkling bathrooms and crisp bedsheets. Sure, the bathrooms aren’t going to be expansive like you may get at a large chain hotel, but they are still renovated and large enough – again, with the dash of charm that only history can add.

We were lucky enough to stay in one of four elegant suites, and ours had a large soaking tub that simply begged for a little indulgence on an unusually cool, drizzly spring evening. As it is a historic building, furnishings may differ from room to room so ask if you want something specific like a tub, fireplace or desk.

Inn On Broadway Luxury Suite Bath

Despite being in downtown, the Inn on Broadway in Rochester is on a street that is not terribly busy come weekends or evenings, meaning you still have your peace in a room if your windows face the street. The beds in all of the rooms are queens or kings, all overflowing with pillows, with luxurious-feeling duvets and mattresses that are not too hard or too soft, albeit a bit lumpy from the feather top. Now, the bed in the suite was so big and high that I wanted a stepladder so consider that in your choices.

One positive was the lack of any kind of bogus hotel “facilities fee” that we hate so much – you know, those daily fees where you pay for what the hotel says is free…. One negative was the too-loud music piped into the hallways until quite late. It filters into the rooms so if you have an early night and are sensitive to disturbances like this, it could be bothersome.

Amenities and good eats not lacking

Wi-Fi is of course the No. 1 amenity for many business travelers, and it operated at the hotel well … almost. In some larger rooms – like my suite – it was difficult to get a signal back at the desk, limiting work efficiency. Planning for hotel-wide upgrades were underway at the time of our visit in mid-2019 with promises of improved service. Other amenities include bathrobes, in-room coffeemakers and large flat-screen TVs.

Inn On Broadway Traditional Room

A traditional room at the Inn on Broadway is hotel size, but still has a dash of charm.

Also at the hotel is an area tradition: Tournedo’s restaurant. It is an elegant steakhouse known for special events, such as holiday brunches and weddings. We did not dine there, but it was packed, and the spread for the Mother’s Day brunch was astounding! It is the only restaurant in upstate New York, the hotel says, to feature in-house dry aged beef as well as an extensive wine list.

Brunch Inn On Broadway

Desserts are always a must at an indulgent brunch.

With this kind of glamorous history and sharp customer service, the rates are not going to be the least expensive in the downtown area, but they are still relatively comparable. Plus, you get to leave behind cookie-cutter rooms and lobbies for character and historic spirit. If, however, you are someone who prefers the expected found in chain hotels, then the sometimes quirky charm at the Inn on Broadway may not be for you, including an occasional “frayed edge” or scuff that comes from many, many years of wear.

Expansion on the way

Kicking off this year is a huge expansion, too, with completion forecast for Spring 2021. The large parking lot adjoining the hotel is going to house an “annex” to the Inn on Broadway main building with nearly three times the rooms in the current building. Management’s goal is to keep the historic feel while adding modern touches such as microwaves and fridges in some rooms, as well as outdoor terraces, and larger event spaces.

Parking will move underground, and Tournedo’s restaurant will move into the new space with the intent to maintain its current feel. The beauty of course of an expansion that is adjoining is that the current operation can operate without disturbance or construction noise.

Our stay at Rochester’s Inn on Broadway was lovely, providing a super convenient location for exploring the walkable downtown Rochester core. Plus, with parking on-site, it would be easy to have a car and get out of town for excursions into the Western New York area.

Luxury Bath Inn On Broadway Dumont

Dumont really enjoyed a glass of bubbly with his soak in the large tub.

Be sure to check out these other things to do New York State

Rochester is such a cool city. But there’s a lot more to see in New York. Head north and visit Niagara Falls. Or head east and discover the amazing Adirondacks. Start your tour by visiting Albany, the state capitol. Read our story 24 hours in Albany – fascinating walk through time. From there head north toward Plattsburgh. To discover things to do, read The best of the Adirondack Coast – top things to do in the Adirondacks. Do you like food? We certainly do and there is no better way to experience great food than with a cooking class where you get to eat what you make. Read The Art of Pi: Making pizza at Carriage House Cooking School. Of course, you’ll want to visit New York City, but did you know some of the best views of Manhattan are from New Jersey? Read Great things to do in New Jersey + best views of Manhattan.

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Find more things to do in Rochester

Visit Genesee Country Village and go back in time in New York State’s largest Living History Museum located just outside Rochester. Or head to Niagara Falls, less than two hours drive away.

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Inn On Broadway In Rochester Review

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Disclosure: I was fully hosted at the Inn on Broadway as part of a North American Travel Journalists Association media trip. The review, opinions and ratings here are our own, and are not approved, provided, or otherwise endorsed by the hotel.

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Rating the Inn on Broadway in Rochester

90%

Our Rating: Our hotel ratings will tell you what we think of an individual property and are not a comparison to other hotels in the area. They are valid at the time of our visit. Things can change, of course, but we hope not with properties we love! We frequently pay for our hotel stays, and will disclose whenever we receive discounts or comped room nights as a part of a hotel stay. Our ratings are a percent, with 100% being perfect and 0% some place not even a rat would stay. We rate cleanliness (e.g. dust on the windows, dirt under the beds, unclean bathroom fixtures, etc.), comfort (e.g. taking into account quiet, how comfy the bed is, if there is a nice robe, a comfy chair, etc.), amenities (e.g. free parking, breakfast included, free Wi-Fi, free bikes, fitness gear, workout room, pool, etc. -- and are not fans of hotels who say they include things, but then charge a facilities fee!), location (e.g. how easy is it to get around by foot, bike, and car), and value (e.g. how much we feel we got in return for the amount charged).

Cleanliness | Upkeep
80%
Comfort
85%
Amenities
90%
Location
100%
Value
95%

14 Comments

  1. We are more guesthouses and homestays but when we do stay at hotels, we always try to find hotels with characters like this one. The uniqueness of each room, the details of the decoration, all incredible. And I would also be soaking in that tub hours long, with bubbly or not!

    Reply
  2. I love to see Dumont enjoying his creature comforts! In fact, if we were to stay there, I think he’d be fighting my husband for time spent in the tub; I’m sure he could get through at least a couple of novels while topping up the hot water in that splendid tub. Me, I’m loving the elegant furnishings. (And brunch is never a bad idea either. Especially when brunch means dessert too.)

    Reply
  3. The Inn on Broadway looks lovely, and I’ve honestly never really considered Rochester before as a destination. I’m glad to hear that it’s got a central core that’s great to walk in; I’ll have to research more and hopefully check it out someday soon! The main entrance isn’t the only thing that evokes the image of royalty; that dessert table does, too! Tournedo’s sounds so good as well. I’d be sure to book a reservation, especially if they were packed when you visited.

    Reply
  4. A delightful article!! I love reading about old buildings and hotels that are able to hold on to their charm and personality. Your photos really capture the beauty of this place. Old world luxury and indulgence is something all of us craves. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  5. O, wow! What an amazing historic hotel. I still can’t get over how gorgeous that bathtub is. It’s great that the hotel is central yet quiet so that you can get a good night’s rest. I like that wifi is free and not an extra fee which a lot of hotels like this end up charging for those type of amenities.

    Reply
    • Oh, wow – that’s kind of what I said when I stepped into the room, yes! The real benie was really being able to walk everywhere. we LOVE that!

      Reply
  6. It sounds fantastic with a sense of historic, old-world luxury. How could you resist soaking in the claw-footed bath and pretend you’ve stepped back in time! I also like the bonus of not having to pay for extras that are sold to you as being included. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
    • The history also makes it quite interesting of course. I’m not really a big bath person, but who could resist??

      Reply
  7. I am loving the decor inside this hotel! I love staying at places which has charm and is a bit quirky. Reminds me of an historic European hotel to be honest and its my kinda stay. 🙂

    Reply
    • yes, indeed, it has the European, Old World Inn feel, which makes it quite divine.

      Reply
  8. Well that’s what I call stylish stay! Not only the free-standing bathtub is the real eye-catcher, even in the lobby, I would not feel so comfortable. Sit there and watch people … drink coffee … relax.

    Reply
    • yeah, stylish for sure! It all feels kind of like grandma’s house or something!

      Reply
  9. This is the kind of hotel I look for when traveling. I much prefer boutique bed and breakfast types to hotel chains (although sometimes I stay in those when they *happen* to be the better option to either use or rack up points. But I love the location of the Inn and prefer to be near the action so I can walk everywhere. I like that breakfast is included and that they don’t have any extra fees. I, too, hate when everything is “free” but then you get hit with all these “property/resort, etc fees”. Free, huh? Glad to hear they are doing an expansion and are planning to make the wifi stronger, also something I look for. I do love how bright the rooms are too!

    Reply
    • It is a lovely inn, with a real “homey” feel. yes, you can rack up points at others, but they can be so cooke-cutter!

      Reply

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