Central New York has no official boundaries, but, as the name suggests, the area encompasses the region around and south of Syracuse. Many of the privately owned hotels have a little extra something, be it an old-fashioned atmosphere or a singularly focused twist. The region’s grande dames, restored to their original splendor, offer a look into the past while more modest accommodations provide a glimpse of the culture and traditions of Central New York.
Many chains operate a motel or hotel somewhere along the New York State Thruway or Interstate 81 in the Syracuse area. Marble columns, high ceilings and chandeliers greet guests at the Gennesee Grande hotel. Standard rooms and suites have granite baths, free Wi-Fi and digital cable. The hotel’s restaurant serves moderately priced fare crafted from local ingredients. A member of Historic Hotels of America, the Jefferson Clinton Hotel opened in 1927 and catered to wealthy travelers on the Delaware Lackawanna and Western Railroad. Restored to its original 1920s gilded grandeur, the hotel offers luxury suites with full kitchens, upscale amenities and city views.
The greatest concentration of hotels in the Finger Lakes area is at the southern ends of Lake Seneca and Lake Cayuga. Ithaca, home of Cornell University, has a Hilton Garden Inn, Best Western, Hampton and Super 8. The Statler Hotel, run by students from Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, offers upscale accommodations with ergonomic work spaces, Four Seasons bedding and in-room safes. Seneca Lodge in Watkins Glen is a rustic property with cabins and motel rooms. The lodge opened in 1948, catering to race goers attending the Grand Prix in the Glen.
Off the Beaten Path
Brae Loch Inn, located in Cazenovia, says it’s “as close to a Scottish Inn as you will find this far west of Edinburgh.” Housed in a building dating to 1805, the inn celebrates St. Andrew’s Day and Robert Burns’ birthday with Scottish and Celtic music, hors d’oeuvres and of course, Scotch. Rooms, furnished with four-poster beds and decorated in plaid, have private baths and Wi-Fi. Sunday brunch, available from September through Father’s Day, features made-to-order omelets and a carving station. The Inn’s restaurant serves American cuisine with Scottish and French elements.
Belhurst Castle, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a four-story Romanesque Revival mansion designed by architect Albert W. Fuller. The property, completed in 1899, had a boathouse for the owner’s steam yacht and special poultry houses for her collection of rare chickens. Many of the individually decorated guestrooms in the castle, called chambers, have four-poster beds. The Tower Suite, in the castle’s turret, has a widow’s walk. Other accommodations include the two-bedroom free-standing Play House. Belhurst operates a winery and spa on the property.