April 15-16, 2017
Room Rate: $125 USD
After a couple days in Niagara Falls, we headed down to Buffalo to spend the day in the small city known as the creator of (well) the buffalo wings. Since this was a last-minute decision, we weren’t sure what we’d find in terms of hotels. We lucked out and found a Westin that was well-priced considering our very last minute booking.
The Westin Buffalo
Neighborhood: Central Business District
Make a Green Choice: Yes
Bar and Restaurant On-Property: Yes
Room Rate Range: $125-250 USD
We drove around the block for a few minutes trying to figure out where the parking lot to the hotel was before we gave up and called the front desk. The associate was cheerful and polite, providing us a ton of information about the lot – where it was (right around the corner on Chippewa Street), parking rates ($17 for overnight parking, no in and out privileges), and how to get to the hotel from the lot. As we finally made our way in, we were greeted by a number of cheerful associates and a bellhop, who offered to take our luggage for us. Check in was fast and friendly at this property, and they quickly set us up for our room before sending us on our way. We were assigned a room on the 5th floor, the SPG floor, but no upgrades were given. Another oddity – no inquiry about what my choice platinum amenity was. I didn’t think too much of it at the time (I was desperate to head to our room and relax), and I was credited the 500 points at check out, but I’m not sure if hotels are stripping this as a benefit (which would be a shame). As they noticed we had our dog in tow, they asked us if we would like any dog amenities brought to our room during our stay(!). Normally I wouldn’t think twice about this, but we forgot to pack a second bowl on this trip so we asked for a water bowl to be brought to our room. Seconds later, our friendly bellman escorted us to the elevator bank and up to our room.
As I mentioned earlier, we were assigned a room on the 5th floor, which was the SPG floor. The floor looked modern and recently redesigned – the elevator bank was dim with dark wood and flashing lights, while the hallways were wide and bright.
We were shown to our room, which was tucked away in a small nook-like entryway, which gave it a sense of privacy.
Upon entering the room through the foyer area, I was immediately welcomed by a burst of bright natural light that lit up the space. Maybe I was a little biased because I didn’t quite feel at home at the Sheraton at the Falls, but I loved the room.
The space was well appointed – large, with plenty of room for two people to share the room – and gorgeous. The modern-plus-mid-century style furniture isn’t usually my thing, but I thought the look worked well in this room.
The room was decked with a king sized bed, which was fantastically comfortable. The pillows were soft, but a little too soft – as I laid down, my head sunk right in. A nice feeling at first, though I prefer my pillows to have a little bit of firmness to them.
The nightstand on the left side on the bed had a couple outlets and USB ports (a must!). I didn’t realize the nighstand opened up initially, but when I pulled it open I found the safe tucked inside – and in retrospect, I liked having it close to the bed.
The nightstand on the right side of the bed didn’t have any extras to it, so the outlets were located on the side of the bed frame. The headboard had a couple light fixtures built in – a nice reading lamp to use before turning in for the evening.
The desk space was wonderfully large with ample lighting and came with basic Westin-branded stationary for use. A bonus – an Amazon Echo (dot). Our wonderful bellhop explained to us that it was a new program they’re piloting – not only could you ask Alexa the standard questions (what’s the weather like in Buffalo?), you could also do like ask for housekeeping to bring up some extra shampoo. While we didn’t get to test it out (we didn’t need anything on our quick overnight stay), this is definitely an awesome amenity to add to the room.
The minibar area came with the standard coffee maker and Starbucks beans for in-room brewing. The actual minibar, however, wasn’t really that – it was an empty fridge. Since this hotel had a little shop in the lobby with candy and snacks and the like, looks like they’d prefer guests buy their treats downstairs. While I see this making sense at say, a Sheraton at a location which typically draws in leisure travelers, I could see how a business traveler staying at a Westin might find this annoying – after a long day, the last thing you’d want to do is head back downstairs for a snack. That being said, the shop had more of a selection than any minibar would have, so there are ups and downs to it. I personally don’t mind it, since the first thing I do when I walk into a hotel room is stick the complimentary bottles of water in the fridge – now I’ll have more room.
The room had plenty of space to unpack and settle in. A luggage rack was located next to the desk, and the room came with a large closet with tons plenty of room to hang up one’s clothes. As expected, the room came with an iron and board (though I never use these – when will rooms start coming with steamers?!).
The bathroom was a large, nicely laid out, and well-lit. Basically, the three things I look for in a bathroom. Upon walking in, I was greeted by the sink with a brightly lit backlight. There was also a magnified mirror, which disappointingly did not have its own backlight.
The sink area itself wasn’t particularly large to lay out a ton of stuff, but was decently sized and had some shelving below (which held extra towels, toilet paper, and a hairdryer). A jar on the counter held cotton swabs and make up pads and the like, which I always appreciate since I somehow manage to forget one of these when I pack).
The shower area was large in itself (as large as a bathtub), and even had a small bench area (though not sure if this is used functionally that way). The oversized showerhead lent to the feel of a rainfall shower, the water pressure wasn’t quite strong enough. Overall was still a nice showerhead, and I loved the extra handheld piece that you could alternately use. As always, the toiletries were the usual Westin white tea products.
Overall, I loved the aesthetic of the hotel – bright and filled with natural sunlight, and yet felt warm and homey. The furniture was modern looking but still very comfortable to lounge on, and the space felt relaxing. The fireplace area didn’t hurt either. Basically, it’s that tranquil but modern look and feel the Westin brand is going for (though I don’t think all succeed in achieving).
The hotel had two restaurants on-site – a little breakfast spot called Jake’s and Patina, a full service restaurant. On weekends, there was a small table which offers complimentary Jakes coffee at the lobby until 11am.
Since our stay was so brief, we didn’t get to try the food at Patina (or order room service). I’m not sure if it’s because we were there on Easter Sunday but the place was packed for brunch – must be a good sign (I hope).
The hotel is located in the Central Business District area of Buffalo, so there isn’t a ton of things to do in the immediate area – though there are a number of restaurants, ranging from quick eats to top steak houses, within walking distance.
There’s a Starbucks located right across the street from the hotel, though we popped into Spot, a nearby coffee shop that whipped up a great latte (and chocolate chip cookie).
There are a number of breweries in the Buffalo area, so we checked out Resurgence Brewing Company, located a 10 minute drive from the hotel – a good stop for any beer lover.
And finally, one cannot leave Buffalo without stopping at Anchor Bar – the birthplace of the Buffalo Wing. The original location is a 5 minute drive from the hotel, but if you don’t make it there, you can grab a bite at their location at the Buffalo Airport.
Though we had a quick visit I really enjoyed our stay at this property. While Buffalo may not be high on most travelers’ lists, this Westin is one of the better ones I’ve stayed at in terms of comfort, look, and staff. Would definitely stay at this property again if we find ourselves in the area.
Check In: 8/10 – Fast and friendly, and offered us pet amenities for our dog.
Elite Recognition: 7/10 – No room upgrade, and no inquiry on my choice Platinum amenity.
Room: 10/10 – No complaints! Comfortable, large, and thoughtfully designed.
In-Room Technology & Entertainment: 10/10 – Outlets everywhere, free wifi, large flatscreen tv, and an Amazon echo synced up to the hotel’s request system.
Staff: 9/10 – Really great, friendly staff.
Location: 7/10 – Not a terrible location, but nothing much going on either.
On-Site Dining: 8/10 – While we didn’t get to try the Patina, it looked popular – plus the complimentary coffee from Jake’s was a welcomed treat.
Amenities: 8/10 – Spa and gym onsite, plus the New Balance Gear Lending program was available
Hospitality Services: 8/10 – While there was no concierge available, the front desk staff was able to assist us with anything we needed.
Hotel Appearance: 9/10 – New and updated, but inviting.
Overall Rating: 84/100 (84%) ★★★★★