History surrounds Rochester, from the Erie Canal to the home of photography pioneer George Eastman. However, in recent decades, the city has seen a renaissance, with a booming food and drink scene. Meanwhile, the countryside on the edge of the Finger Lakes, a picture of Upstate New York tranquility, is home to countless wineries. Here’s our pick of the best hotels in Rochester – from sleek downtown properties with rooftop bars to cozy B&Bs set in acres of canalside gardens.
If you’re visiting friends at either St John Fisher College or Nazareth College – both under 10 minutes away by car – this unassuming Rochester hotel is a good choice with impressively grand rooms, framed art, and soft lighting. Social spaces you can treat your friends to drinks in include a living room-style lobby and an outdoor courtyard. The Bistro serves all-day dishes including healthy Mediterranean grain bowls (although burgers can be arranged). Other highlights include the light-filled indoor pool area, hot tub, and exercise room.
A 13-minute walk from the Strong National Museum of Play, this corner 1920s building with a central arboretum houses warmly decorated rooms adorned with flower photographs you could stay in for weeks. Especially in those that come with in-room drinks and snacks included. Connected by skywalk to the Mayo Clinic, recovering guests can swim sedately in the pool – if you’re fit, plow up and down to earn your breakfast bacon and eggs at the industrial-chic restaurant.
Any hotel that offers complimentary coffee and cookies is a winner, as is one that can play on words – stock up on snacks at the Inn Case Market before hunkering down by the outdoor firepit. Breakfast favorites include Belgian waffles, which you can eat while your electric car charges at one of three Tesla charging stations. Kick back in rooms that favor a safe but soothing color theme with pops of red in easy chairs and cushions, while suites add a separate living room and a sleeper sofa. Everyone will love a scream at the Seabreeze Amusement Park, 13.5km (8.4miles) from the hotel. Ride the Whirlwind roller coaster for lovely views of Lake Ontario – if you can open your eyes to see it.
With a name this lovely, how could the pet-friendly Beautiful Valley Guesthouse fail to charm? This white clapboard mansion with shuttered windows is all about making you feel so cozy you won’t want to leave, lined with Americana, such as half tester beds dressed with quilted throws and wooden rocking chairs. If you can play the piano, there’s a baby grand to show off your skills. Being in downtown Scottsville means the owners can send you along to the nearby Artisan Coffeehouse for your breakfast and caffeine fix. They also sell locally-made gifts if you need to get your cat-sitter a present.
Within a stone’s throw of the Genesee River, this is one of the most popular hotels in Rochester, a 15-minute walk from the National Museum of Play. If you’re not one for walking, don’t worry, as complimentary shuttle services ferry guests within a 3-mile (5km) radius. Wooden floors and big, bouncy beds tick boxes in large rooms, while public spaces go all out, fire pits you can sip a New York sour by, an indoor pool with rooftop views, and a terrace for flicking through that guidebook while you catch some rays. When it comes to food, there are plenty of spaces to eat and drink including an All-American steakhouse.
This city center spot is a breeze to get to whether you’re arriving by train or plane, with Rochester Station a 7-minute drive and Greater Rochester Intl. Airport, only 11. Don’t question the math, as single rooms sleep two and doubles sleep four, with wood effect flooring, beds, and storage. Whether you’re here to check in on a friend at St John Fisher College or visit the famed suffragette Susan B Anthony’s house, you can chat about your day with fellow travelers in the cafe over locally roasted coffee, or move on to local craft beer.
Part of Hilton’s DoubleTree portfolio, the Strathallan is a friendly place with classically stylish rooms. Choose a suite for sweeping city views, or visit the rooftop bar Hattie’s to enjoy an expertly crafted cocktail overlooking the Genesee River. The hotel’s central location makes it perfect for exploring downtown – don’t miss the Memorial Art Gallery and Rochester Museum & Science Center.
Each of the Inn on Broadway’s 25 rooms is uniquely decorated, but they all share a timeless elegance that manifests in details such as dark wood four-poster beds, freestanding soaking tubs, and red marble bathrooms. The star of the show, though, is the on-site restaurant, Tournedos, which ranks among Rochester’s finest steakhouses and is the only one in Upstate New York to age its beef in-house – try the wagyu rib with lobster tail.
Embodying the upscale feel, peacefulness and natural beauty associated with Upstate New York, Woodcliff Hotel and Spa sits beside the forests and hiking trails of the Horizon Hill Conservation Area. Whatever your aesthetic style, you’ll find a room to suit your taste here – pick between suites with art deco, Asian, NYC loft, or Victorian design elements. Meanwhile, the on-site restaurant, Horizons, is a similarly cosmopolitan affair, offering dishes such as kimchi udon noodles, pulled-pork poutine, and Spanish cod.
History echoes throughout the pleasant town of Pittsford – settled in 1789 and set around the Erie Canal. Atmospheric murals of the canal adorn the walls of the contemporary guest rooms in this lodge-like hotel, while you can explore it up close on the Erie Canal Heritage Trail. This path is steps away from the door and takes in pieces of history such as the Sam Patch Tour Boat, a replica of those that plied the canal in the 1800s.
Jo Fernandez contributed additional reporting to this article.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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