It was eleven years ago that I first interviewed Karen Powell about her [then] new B&B on Elmwood Avenue. The Elmwood Village Inn, or Honu House, was something that Karen had dreamed about, and the end result was nothing short of fabulous.
Over the last decade, Karen has been successfully running the B&B, but recently decided that it was time to retire from the business. Seeing that I had been the first to spread the news about the opening of the four room inn, Karen and I felt that it was àpropos for me to announce her intentions to sell the business. Karen hopes that someone is waiting in the wings to take over, what she considers, is a vibrant, fun and profitable lifestyle venture (and adventure).
Since first opening Honu House, Karen has had the pleasure of meeting countless travelers, who have gravitated to the inn for a number of reasons. The inn’s location on Elmwood Avenue is one of the main attractions, while the stunning interior is another. Each room of the house (prices range from $110 to $150 per night) looks different and acts different. At the same time, they all have lavish charm that Karen infused from the start. A night’s stay at Honu House is simply magical, and Karen has had nothing but rave reviews since opening.
The configuration of Honu House could be considered a typical B&B scenario, but there’s something a bit different here. Karen’s own accommodations can be found situated behind a wall of books that acts as a secret door. There’s also a basement area that could be transitioned into a flat. Each and every nook is filled with natural light and meditative colors. Soothing would be a word to best describe the interior.
There’s a galley kitchen and full bath on the first floor, along with a dining area and a common living area. Back when she first started off, Karen would make full breakfasts for her guests. But over the years, travelers have changed their morning diet regimens to fruit, toast, etc. For those looking for larger meals, Elmwood Avenue beckons.
Each of the rooms is equipped with state of the art bathrooms. Depending on the night’s stay, guests have access to a jacuzzi, views onto the street, a loft-like setting, etc. There is no poor choice when it comes to staying at Honu House.
One of the most interesting aspects of the inn, is that not many people are aware that it is an inn at all. There is no sign out front. Karen says that she has been able to maintain a 65% occupancy without doing any marketing, including not having a sign. She told me that the bookings are mostly repeat stays, or word of mouth. To her, that’s all she ever really wanted – to meet people, to make some money, and to live a B&B lifestyle in a house that resembled her peaceful and inquisitive nature. In recent years, knowing that she was coming to the end of her B&B career, Karen has created a more automated approach to the B&B. It means that she doesn’t have to meet and greet each and every person, unless she wants to. Modern technology means that there are new and inventive ways to run these types of temporary stays.
Karen’s new dream is to build a micro house on the city’s West Side. That means that she’s looking to sell the business. She believes that there is someone out there who has been looking to live the B&B life, in what could be a turnkey setting. She is willing to sell the house within the range of $650K and $850K depending on what sort of arrangements are made. She’s conceded to let go of the furniture, the decor and everything else if need be. Karen would also disclose all of the operational tactics that she has formulated over the years, which she says makes operating the inn pretty darn easy.
Anyone interested in learning more about Honu House can reach out to Karen via the contact info on this website. Interested parties can also explore this Facebook page. Hopefully Honu House will remain a B&B, as there are relatively few in Buffalo.
Elmwood Village Inn | 893 Elmwood Avenue | Buffalo NY | Parking pad for four cars