As construction enters the home stretch on his Curtiss Hotel project, Mark Croce’s excitement is apparent. That excitement will only grow as the fun parts are still to come: putting the finishing touches on rooms and facilities and swinging open the doors to what he confidently says will be Buffalo’s finest hotel. Even with construction incomplete, you sense he has every reason to be confident based on work completed to date and the amenities at the property.
He shows off the $20+ million project with a sense of pride and confidence. The six-story, 68-room boutique hotel is transforming the circa-1913 Curtiss Building into a showstopper. He says it will be a “lifestyle property” and “smart building” combining pampering service, high-end finishes, and unparalleled technology. Croce is confident it will be a draw for out-of-town guests and locals as well.
Installation of a new cornice has been completed and the building’s terra cotta has been restored and where needed, reconstructed by Boston Valley Terra Cotta. The building’s ornate façade has been lit at night with LED lighting.
The main entrance to the hotel will be a porte cochere off of Franklin Street. The circular drive will have a small parking area but all guests and visitors to the hotel will be able to utilize free valet parking. Sidewalks will be heated. The wall in the parking area will be white marble covered and have the Curtiss Hotel name on it. White marble continues to the entryway where a marble wall fountain is located.
The lobby features two half-domed, gold leaf ceiling areas that have been crafted by Buffalo Plastering and Architectural Casting. Each will feature golden chandeliers.
A glass tile mosaic by Christopher Guy adorns the back wall of the reception desk.
Restored terra cotta and new panels line the wall of the previous entry hall to the building. This area will be used as seating area and will be available for small gatherings.
Each of the uni-sex bathrooms on the ground floor have a unique design.
Elevator surrounds were created by Buffalo Plastering and Architectural Casting. They’re elaborate on the ground floor (above), but lower-key on the upper floors.
Croce is bringing back the Chez Ami name to Buffalo dining. The supper club was located at 311 Delaware Avenue until 1971 and featured a distinctive revolving bar. The new Chez Ami will also feature a revolving bar seating 28. It will turn up to two times per hour and is located in the Franklin/W. Huron corner of the building.
The restaurant will seat 120 and has two rooms that can be sectioned off for private dinners or daytime meetings.
An 80-person capacity, year-round sidewalk patio is located along W. Huron Street with large operable windows.
The restaurant features coffered ceilings with stunning chandeliers, white marble flooring, marble and distinctive wallpaper on the walls, black sheers on the large windows, two wine cabinets, and leather seating. Food will be a mix of American and Classical Italian and feature a variety of pizzas and burgers.
A prep kitchen is located in the basement and the main kitchen is located on the first floor.
Leon’s Studio One will operate a men’s salon and spa in the basement. The salon and spa will contain two massage rooms, a locker room, and fitness center.
On the ground level, an indoor/outdoor Roman bath/hot springs pool not seen anywhere in the area will seat up to 25.
The 400-person capacity rooftop lounge will emphasize panoramic skyline and lake views.
The rooftop lounge area is an addition to the building and includes a kitchen. It will feature a circular fire pit area, teak decking, three uni-sex bathrooms, and a glass wall close to the bar to allow for year-round use. Unlike Croce’s SkyBar further north on Franklin Street, this venue will cater to an older crowd.
There are twelve rooms on the sixth floor and fourteen rooms on floors two through five. There is custom molding throughout including crown molding in the rooms and hallways and the door surrounds are a rich ivory color. Hallways feature rich brown vinyl wallpaper.
LED down lights are located at each doorway. Room numbers will be digitally displayed and rooms can even be opened using an RFI reader after a QR code is loaded onto your smart phone.
In lieu of closets, rooms have dual custom-made armoires with built-in shelving, hanging rods, a safe, and mini-bar. In between the armoires is a desk area and on the wall, a 55” television. All of the rooms but one have king-size beds with a top-of-the-line mattress, Italian linen sheets, and down pillows. Many of the rooms will have leather sleeping sofas as well. Rooms also contain LED strip lighting behind the crown molding and custom carpeting.
Technology runs throughout the hotel including in the rooms. Drapes and lighting can be controlled electronically. You will be able to order room-service around the clock from your room’s control center that will also allow you to adjust the heat, start a coffee maker, and have your car ready at the valet.
The bathrooms in the larger rooms feature mahogany and walnut bathroom vanities. The custom-made, $9,000 pieces were so large they barely fit into the rooms. Countertops and flooring is marble.
Showers have four digitally-controlled water sources including a showerhead, rain shower, body sprays, and wand. Some of the showers will provide steam aromatherapy.
Thirty of the rooms have both tubs and showers. Soaking tubs for two feature heated backrests.
High-end toilets have heated seats, a bidet, and a dryer.
“We went all the way,” says Croce.
Croce and his design team have scoured country and beyond for artwork, furnishings, lighting, and more to create the one-of-a-kind hotel. Most of the items are in storage at several area locations. In coming weeks they will be installed to put the finishing touches on The Curtiss.
Construction has taken longer than expected but Croce says it will be worth the wait. He promised to create a destination and has succeeded.
“We did not rush and cut corners to meet an arbitrary opening date,” says Croce.
The hotel is now taking reservations for stays beginning on June 30.