The historic Richardson Olmstead Campus, in the heart of Buffalo’s museum district, is home to the new Richardson Hotel. Transforming spaces long occupied by a mental health facility, the hotel writes an exciting new history for a fascinating destination.
A stunning testament to Buffalo’s ongoing transformation, the debut of The Richardson Hotel speaks to the beauty of the city’s past and its future. Among historic ruins reimagined, The Richardson Hotel inspires by creating a luxury experience for travelers that honors history without dwelling on it.
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The Richardson Hotel
The showpiece of the ongoing renovations of the 42-acre historic Richardson Olmstead Campus, The Richardson Hotel occupies one of the most intriguing and misunderstood historic areas in Buffalo. The grounds of the now-hotel were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Buffalo’s nearby Delaware Park as well as, famously, Central Park in New York City.
The expansive property, declared a National HIstoric Landmark in 1986, was formerly home to the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane for almost a century. In 1974 the property was abandoned and fell into disrepair for years.
After decades of abandonment, the main administrative building and two former residential wings for patients reopened as Hotel Henry. Hotel Henry was shuttered during the pandemic, with The Richardson Hotel opening in its place in 2023.
Despite maintaining much of the look and feel of the former Hotel Henry, The Richardson reimagines the space and brings back even more cherished, historic details. Hallways have been transformed with painted details that harken back to the original design, discovered in the restoration work of the hotel. Colorful photos of Buffalo’s highlights and attractions adorn the walls.
The Richardson Hotel History
Key design features of the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane that originally occupied that space make it a particularly stunning destination for hotel guests to enjoy.
Wide hallways and grand spaces were designed to give residents space to congregate and connect with each other. Large windows and high ceilings were designated to bring in the maximum natural light and breezes thought to play an important role in the healing process for residents. Expansive gardens were areas for therapies and reflection.
Many of the other buildings on the campus remain in disrepair or are only partially in use, but there are plans to redevelop the entire space while sticking to the campus’ history and character. After all, this is a registered National Historic Landmark.
The Richardson Hotel Rooms and Suites
Today, The Richardson Hotel is home to 83 rooms and five spacious suites that welcome guests in unforgettable style. Maintaining historic details while bringing modern sleekness to storied spaces makes the experience of staying in The Richardson Hotel feel like a one-of-a-kind retreat unlike any that visitors will find in Buffalo.
The impeccable mix of history and modernity in The Richardson is breathtaking and elevates the guest experience significantly. Rooms and suites are arranged in two wings, which housed residents who lived on the campus during the hotel’s former life.
Guests can choose from a mix of king and queen room configurations, all featuring the stunning natural light and high ceilings that make the building such a showstopper. Modern bathrooms, coffee machines, televisions, fast wifi, and all the amenities make for the perfect stay.
The five unique suites at The Richardson Hotel are particularly impressive. Located on one of the building’s top floors, each suite is home to gorgeous and historic features like original wooden beams. Plenty of space and expansive bathrooms with soaking tubs make suites a popular upgrade.
Read More: 10 Best Hotels in Buffalo
Dining at The Richardson Hotel
In addition to its welcoming guest rooms, The Richardson Hotel also offers a number of on-site dining options that have quickly become favorites with both guests and locals. Cafe Calvert, the hotel’s welcoming cafe and breakfast eatery, even includes a service window, so guests or passersby enjoying the outside of the Richardson Olmsted Campus can pick up a coffee or pastry, all made locally.
The hotel is also home to Bar Vaux, which offers small plates and an impressive array of beer, wine, and craft cocktails. It’s a relatively small space, but is popular even with locals, making it well worth a visit even if you’re not staying here.
The Richardson will also welcome a full-service fine dining restaurant, Cucina, slated to open later this month. The Italian-inspired kitchen will feature steak and seafood.
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Buffalo’s Next Chapter
During an exciting spring and summer season of new growth and development in Buffalo, the debut of The Richardson Hotel feels particularly fitting.
As the city writes its next chapter with exciting things to celebrate, like the reopening of Buffalo AKG Art Museum, the new developments at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, and more, the start of something new amidst one of the city’s most historic areas is more inspiring than ever.