My Hotel Henry experience- expect the unexpected

Natalie Maloy, President

Sometimes on the outside looking in, it could be scary but take a look inside it’s not that bad. Or is it?

It’s Halloween, everyone’s entitled to one good scare. Although I wouldn’t recommend The Richardson Olmsted Campus, better known as Hotel Henry.

The former insane asylum is a popular spot in Erie County. It is probably right up there with the Roycroft Inn and Old Fort Niagara in terms of ghost stories.

Hotel Henry has chosen to avoid talking about the hauntings that have taken place at the hotel.  They partnered with the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition to end any talk on the past haunting. This means no ghost investigators hoping to reach out and communicate are allowed on the premises. This is in respect to the former patients of the asylum. As well as the family members of the patients who might still be alive.

According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, a property branded as haunted can be a marketing advantage. Therefore, this seems like a bit of a throw off to me being that this is such a popular hotel not only because of the design but because of the history.

My experience was not even in the slightest worth my money and it surely wasn’t spooky.

I arrived at the hotel with luggage, a camera and a happy face. The front desk was polite and understanding. Being that we were students under the age of 21 , we technically weren’t able to stay there.

The receptionist called the owner/manager and explained the situation. The kind man allowed us to stay the night asking to ensure we were good kids and wouldn’t destroy his hotel. My boyfriend and I said “Of course not,” and he replied, ”Well then you’re good, have fun.”

We were given our keys and arrived at our room, 116 on the first floor. I opened the door to see two beds. This was strange because I requested one bed. But I let that go being that we technically weren’t allowed to be there in the first place.

We then explored the room. Felt the beds, checked out the coffee station and of course took a look at the bathroom. It surely wasn’t what I expected. The shower was a tub not a walk in. At a hotel I stayed at in St. Louis, the nightly fee was only $100 and had a big beautiful square walk in shower, soft heavy blankets and actually edible food.

Once we settled in I decided I wanted to take a bath. As I filled the tub I came to find out there was no way to plug the tub. So I had to compromise and use a washcloth to clog the drain.

Then after my bath. My boyfriend took a shower. He then lost his balance and slipped being that there were no slip resistant pads at the bottom of the tub. I couldn’t believe all of this was happening at the same time, so I said “forget it,” and got out halfway through my wash.

Later on in the evening we decided to explore the small part of the hotel we were allowed to explore. Being that it is the pandemic the towers are closed and the only “exploring” you can do is the 4 floors. Each floor looks exactly the same with the exception of a few paintings.

But then we arrived at the fourth floor, this being the suites. Waiting impatiently in the elevator, the door behind us opened unlike all the other floors. When we step out we saw a low ceiling with wooden support, long narrow hallways, and beautiful lighting. To the left of us was the one and only creepy thing in the whole place, an old wooden door. It seemed to be a room of its own but of course we couldn’t access it. Weird.

At this point in our adventure it was getting late, so we decided to watch a movie and go to bed. There were white lightweight comforters in the wooden chest available for us to use. It ended up being too small so we used the second beds comforter too. So I guess the second bed came in handy, right?

The next morning we ordered the hotel’s complimentary $5 breakfast bag. We scheduled to have it for 10 a.m. and it arrived at 10.16 a.m.. The contents of this bag included warm watery yogurt, black bananas and a piece of dry banana bread. Yummy!

While cleaning the room before check out at 11 a.m. I noticed the comforter we had slept in had a stain. Both him and I did not notice this the night before. I got really grossed out, packed up my belongings and checked out.

I told the receptionist about the breakfast and I received a refund but the other complaints weren’t really handled. All he said was, “Oh I’m sorry.”

I wish the experience was worth my $300. What I paid for was the name not the experience. It just might have been different if it weren’t for Covid-19, but I still expected more. It wasn’t spooky as it is all made out to be.

Save your money and just attend a spooky haunted house this year.