Buffalo Opens Hotel in Abandoned Asylum

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Visitors to Buffalo looking for unique accommodations may find more than they’ve bargained for in the new Hotel Henry.

The 1870s-era, brick-and-stone complex of 11 buildings was once home to the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane. Now, part of the complex is home to Hotel Henry, an 88-room property where guests sleep in former patients’ rooms.

But don’t expect scenes from a horror film. First, famous architects Henry Hobson Richardson and landscape designer Frederick Law Olmstead were behind the original Gothic design. And the first head doctor of the hospital, Thomas Story Kirkbride, was ahead of his time when it came to caring for patients with mental illnesses. Rather than locking them up in cells, he believed light, space and fresh air were keys to treatment.

The property fell into disrepair and shut down in the 1970s; renovations began in 2013.

Now, the hotel sports a bar and restaurant called 100 Acres, plus scores of nooks and crannies for reading, relaxing or catching up on work. Rooms are well designed, with calming colors and modern industrial décor.

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