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Curtiss Hotel – A City Comes Full Circle

Last night marked the soft opening of Mark Croce’s Curtiss Hotel. While there were a number of minor “pardon our dust” issues, for the most part, the place looked incredible. It was also fully staffed, ensuring that the optimal customer experience was at hand… starting with valet service under the porte cochère, extending past the LED and torch-lit indoor-outdoor ‘Roman Bath’ hot springs soaking pool, and onto the point where guests are greeted by a series of fountains at the ‘grand entrance’. It only gets more posh after that.

Upon walking into the lobby, guests will notice a beautiful custom-made chandelier – it’s a real show stopper, as is just about everything else that is original to the hotel. From there, the world is your oyster – guests can check in at the lobby (68 room hotel), grab a seat in the dazzling foyer, or head straight for the rotating bar at Chez Ami Restaurant (200 seat, with patio).

Last night, we headed straight for the rotating bar. Par for the Croce course, the experience was nothing short of delightful, from the professional staff to the bar’s lavish black tourmaline beaded backdrop.

It didn’t take long to notice that the counter was slowly moving clockwise around the room – one rotation per hour. It was a strange sensation to say the least, but everyone appeared to be loving the unusual feature (a nod to the original Chez Ami).

We found it funny that the staff could only enter and exit the interior of the bar station after one full rotation was complete. That’s because the only time that the portal appears, is when the opening in the bartop aligns with the opening in the bar’s face (or something along those lines). So if you ever notice that the bar has stopped rotating, it means that the bar staff is making a series of pit stops, and refueling before the next circle around the room.

I would be remiss not to mention the six unisex bathrooms off of the lobby. Each one is different, and each one is fabulous. Taking a trip to the loo is essential when visiting Chez Ami – be sure to make multiple trips to check out the varying décors.

While I did not eat, I did scope out the menu. Menu items of interest include Charred Asparagus (crispy egg, bacon lardons, frisee, potato, dijon vinaigrette – $12 app), Compressed Melon (smoked prosciutto, mint, pickled cippollini – $12 – app), Gnocchetti (ricotta sauce, summer black truffle, parmigiano reggiano – $16), Garganelli (crab, prawns, Calabrian chili, tomato, breadcrumb, basil – $18), Oysters (1/2 doz. daily selection with cucumber ponzu – $18), Beef Tartare (traditional flavors, egg yolk, horseradish – $15), Margherita Pizza (Buffalo mozzarella, plum, tomato, fresh basil, Sicilian EVOO – $16), “Chez” Burger (onion bacon jam, tripple cream, tomato, frisee, dijonaise), Scallops (large plate – celeriac, green apple, almond, brown butter vinaigrette – $34), Striploin (variation on onions, bone marrow, roasted garlic, red wine – $46), and Aged Duck (orange, heirloom carrot, pistachio, fennel. duck jus – $34).

Once fully operational, Curtiss Hotel will feature a boutique men’s salon, and VUE Rooftop Lounge (soft opening July 15). In the meantime, this place is raring to go. It’s great to see someone put so much time and money into a building of this nature. At one point in Buffalo’s history, it was commonplace to pay this much attention to luxury and detail. It’s nice to see some of that class finally coming back to a city that deserves these kinds of accommodations and amenities. It looks like we’ve come full circle with this one.

Curtiss Hotel | Chez Ami | 210 Franklin Street | Buffalo, NY 14202 | 716-954-4900 | Facebook


Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

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  • Davvid

    Obviously, its great to see the reuse and the investment. But the interior design game is still not where it needs to be.

    • Yeah I’ve always thought it was somewhat gaudy. It’s not to take away from the details, but I think something a bit more modern with the same kind of detail would have made a real showstopper of a hotel. I won’t make comparisons, however, because this place is aiming to be the best, however it sees that.

      Like the elevator details, to me it’s just a little over the top…

    • SpongebobOnYoShirt-Lookin Boy

      I thought it looked dope. Yeah it’s showy and gaudy but that’s the character of the hotel and the style they were going for. I think it looks awesome and having something with this theme will really appeal to certain people.

    • Eric

      According to you.

  • Michael DiPasquale

    Nice to see the new development….but why go to the extraordinary effort turning an office building into a fancy hotel, dredging up the nostalgia of old Buffalo restaurants and night clubs, recreating historic architectural details and fixtures, when you already own the real thing (the Statler) a few blocks away?

    What’s going to happen to the Statler, and it’s largely unused rooms? Would it not have been a better idea to focus on that?

    • Vandra

      The Statler opened with 1,100 rooms so it’s hard to compare with this 68 rooms. But this is might be a good test run for the Statler.

      • Michael DiPasquale

        No one expects a renovated Statler to have as many rooms as the old days. The plan that was talked about recently included a small hotel, housing, offices and retail.

        • That would work in NYC, where the Waldorf Astoria has over 1k rooms. With this hotel around the corner, and an already vacant One Seneca tower, that many rooms are unthinkable, let alone half of it.

        • Captain Picard

          Developer who owes Michael DiPasquale nothing spends $30 million to renovate old building into hotel. DiPasquale immediately complains about developer’s other potential projects. Gold.

    • phj

      Because at the end of the day which most Monday morning quarterbacks and non-risk takers on here forget is you have to make money . Hospitality especially with larger associated food and beverage components produces higher revenues per square foot to justify costs . That is until there is too many of them and then it can get ugly quick. So in that event would you want sign up for a 25 million dollar risk or a 100 plus million dollar risk in the Statler ? Apartments and especially office are more challenging to make numbers work. I say lets salute all the risk takers downtown like Mark Croce improving the face of our city one building at a time. Hope our

      • Marco

        Why are you assuming the Statler has to cost $100 million ? There is no reason On Earth a 68 room boutique hotel could not have been built within the Statler. There s no reason it would have to take up more square footage in the Statler han it does
        in the Curtis

        • LongGoneeee

          You could also build a motel 6 within the Statler. Both that idea and yours are just as shortsighted.

          The Statler is going to be a $100M+ project. It’s what the owner wants and it’s what the hotel deserves. People who put zero skin in the game need to take a deep breath and shut up until they do.

          You may not like his taste but Croce has been building up his empire for over 20 years. It’s his path and his success. The Curtis was done because it’s smaller than the Statler. Croce has always done building steps if you pay attention.

          Eventually Buffalo is going to need both the Curtiss and the Statler. At that point Croce will have the hotel experience needed and the resources / background to ensure a $100 million investment is done right.

          If Croce would have done the Statler first he would have needed to leverage and risk everything he has worked for and only a jerk would ask him to do that to appears their sense of what should happen in Buffalo.

          • Jeff Brown

            People who tell people to shut up should shut up.

          • LongGoneeee


        • phj

          Marco it’s sort like this it’s very hard to improve the infrastructure for a 750k sf building (electric, plumbing elevators, hvac etc) based just on a 68 room hotel . It also very hard to finance one building in numerous phases .These are unique challenges that also exist for One Seneca and Am&a’s given their size .

    • Captain Picard

      Kindly shut up and STOP WHINING.

    • Yeah, I think that kind of nostalgia should’ve been saved for the Statler whereas this would be more modern.

  • Cvepo

    The exterior still looks so unfinished. No sign, exposed Tyvek, and that entrance from Franklin looks bare and uninviting. I want this to be a success, but it doesn’t really look like it was ready to open yet…

  • Jake S

    Agree with a lot of the other comments here. It’s over the top Vegas gaudy. How about you just choose one color (white) for the exterior lighting unless it’s a special occasion or city-wide celebration. This could have been really beautiful. And then burgers and pizzas?

  • Ra Cha Cha


  • Merle Gorko

    Finally, something to compete with the aesthetics of Salvatore’s. Way better than an abandoned building (35+ years). But let’s not forget that 1. Croce kept it abandoned for how many of those years? 2. He tore down the iconic Continental for a damn driveway. Yeah, yeah the Continental’s days were behind it & it was a mess inside, still…

    I think it’s also time to start getting ready for the topic to come up of demo-ing the Statler. I’m not saying it’s a good idea but man I just don’t know how it continues on, I look at just the number of windows, replacement costs for those alone make my head spin.

  • PJ

    Another exciting addition to the downtown scene. The momentum is inspiring and thankful for people like Croce who are making the investment. Getting Mayor Brown to lead on a convention center worthy of the city is arguably one of the most important infrastructure projects downtown.