Bent’s Opera House Boutique Hotel Review, Medina NY

Bent’s Opera House Boutique Hotel Review

The Getaway Mavens stayed overnight, and now present our Bent’s Opera House Boutique Hotel Review. Yes, this lodging is giving serious glitz and glam in the small Erie Canal town of Medina NY….

(Should you feel the need to leave your love nest – this Maven’s guide to Orleans County NY can give you some ideas).

In 1865, Don Carlos Bent built the most opulent structure between Rochester and Buffalo in order to serve the entertainment needs of Medina NY – an Erie Canal town. As the town’s Opera House, (as performance halls were called in 1800’s remote towns), Bent’s place saw celebrity lecturers and performers, concerts, and rallies. And, at least one raffle.

Bent's Opera House Medina NY

Accomplished lecturer, the suffragist/abolitionist, Anna Dickinson, a friend of Susan B. Anthony, spoke here. William Randolph Hearst swung by during his 1906 gubernatorial campaign. And Buffalo Bill Cody brought his Wild West troop to perform. These shows and more all happened on the 3rd floor Opera House stage.

Third Floor Opera House Theater Restoration

Now, you’re more likely to see couples joining in marriage on that very stage, as it’s been restored with original floors, private booths, and mezzanine intact. There’s even a “Green Room” and salon for pre-wedding prep.

The building cycled through a variety of owners and uses: at last a bank. But the top floor – the performance hall – had been left to neglect. It needed a lot of sweat and actual $$ equity to glam it up once again.

Restored theater on 3rd floor Bents Opera House Medina NY

Thanks to a multi-million infusion of cash from local angel, Roger Hungerford, all three floors of this historic structure have been brought back to life.

The first is reception and in-house restaurant, Harvest. The second floor is now a bougie boutique hotel, with witty and thoughtful décor and preserved architectural elements you don’t see in contemporary buildings. And the third floor? Well, bring back Buffalo Bill Cody – or Commander Cody – or Cody Jinks. The stage is ready – perfect for weddings, bands, and shows.

Purple Hazel Room Bents Opera House Medina NY

First Impressions of Bent’s Opera House

The stately Bent’s Opera House, built of Medina Sandstone, anchors one corner of downtown Medina NY’s main street intersection: right in the center of things, with restaurants, shops, and the Erie Canal just a few steps away.

I arrived just before the friendly reception staff left. When I got there, they showed me up to my room, gave me the code to the front door that is locked during the night, and let me know that if I needed anything, to call and they’d be there in a minute.

This is pretty typical of many boutique hotels these days, especially small ones that can’t afford 24 hour staff, so I wasn’t thrown off – or put off. Quite the contrary.

This hotel is a knockout from head to toe, a shining star in a tiny town, and totally unexpected. Jaded globe trotters, and artsy people looking for a romantic getaway, staycation, or just a luxury overnight while biking the Erie Canal path will love it.

Common seating area 2nd floor Bent's Opera House Medina NY

Rooms at Bent’s Opera House

Although there are few places to sit near reception in the lobby, there’s a sweet, clubby seating area near the complimentary coffee, tea, and water/ice room, upstairs on the 2nd floor,

Ten rooms, with names that correspond to each decor – like Bohemian Crash Pad, Dark Arts, Purple Hazel, Mid-Century Twisted, Very Well Read, and Green With Envy – are individually decorated and stylized to the max. Nothing subtle about them.

Color of Love room at Brets Opera House Medina NY

Mine was the extravagantly artsy, generously dimensioned Color Of Love – a honeymoon hideout if there ever was one. The bed seemed even larger than a King, and still there was room to waltz on the burnished hardwood floor. I sat on a red velvet throne-like chair at the desk next to a floor to ceiling casement window, thumbing through a history of the Opera House. Quite impressive.

Color of Love Bathroom Brets Opera House Medina NY

The bathroom is a lover’s dream. Gleaming white clawfoot tub, double raised sinks, and a rain shower big enough to boogie in: it’s perfect for a rapturous weekend.

Harvest Restaurant Medina NY

In-House Dining at Harvest Restaurant

In-house Harvest Restaurant serves up innovative tweaks on what could have been your average hotel cuisine in other hands. The chefs create dishes out of what they can get from nearby farmers – true farm to fork eating. The space is gorgeous and sophisticated, with a piano lounge where you’ll find guests singing along almost every summer night. You know – old fashioned karaoke!

bents opera house boutique hotel review


  • Malerie Yolen-Cohen

    Malerie Yolen-Cohen is the Author of the cross-country travel guide, Stay On Route 6; Your Guide to All 3562 Miles of Transcontinental Route 6. She contributes frequently to Newsday, with credits in National Geographic Traveler, Ladies Home Journal, Yankee Magazine,, Sierra Magazine, Porthole, Paddler, New England Boating, Huffington Post, and dozens of other publications. Malerie’s focus and specialty is Northeastern US, and she is constantly amazed by the caliber of restaurants and lodging in the unlikeliest places.

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