Inn on Broadway – review of an historic hotel in Rochester
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.