Upstate New York offers visitors a virtual smorgasbord of activities that include a bounty of wine tours, skiing, hiking, cultural events and so much more. Not to be overlooked is Syracuse, a city ripe with attractions that could fill an entire week’s agenda for travelers seeking a very friendly, welcoming destination.
Syracuse has been undergoing a modern-day renaissance in recent years and has more to offer locals and visitors than ever before. Throughout Greater Syracuse there are art galleries and museums, historical societies and theaters, fine dining and world class accommodations.
Reopened in 2016 after a painstaking, two-year renovation, Marriott Syracuse Downtown is located in the exquisitely restored landmark building that is the former home of the Hotel Syracuse – an iconic upstate property that debuted in 1924. It is a member of Historic Hotels of America and in 2017 was named “Best City Center Hotel.” Today, visitors enjoy many of the same glamorous venues that played host to Roaring Twenties parties and post-war fetes. Marriott Syracuse Downtown finds itself with so much history of its own that the Onondaga Historical Association conducts free weekly tours of the hotel for guests and locals alike.
The hotel’s renovation and restoration have been steered by owner Edward M. Riley, an architect and fifth generation Syracusan, who enlisted the talents of hospitality architect and fellow Syracuse University alumnus Mario LaGuardia of New York’s MLG. A grand sense of arrival greets guests entering the second-floor lobby, with its 20-foot ceilings and columns, magnificent original chandelier, and its centerpiece: a restored 1940s mural, spanning 40 x 6 feet that had been hidden behind mirrored panels above the reception desk. The mural depicts 20 key events during the first 100 years of the city’s history.
Conveniently situated just minutes from all that downtown has to offer, from its many businesses to numerous attractions, the hotel is a prime destination for business and leisure travelers alike, as well as those looking to plan their next big event. Its stylish interiors effortlessly combine history and modernity. To accommodate the expectations of today’s travelers, the hotel’s original 600 guest rooms were reconfigured into 261 spacious rooms and suites that feature every modern luxury, technology and convenience. Marriott Syracuse Downtown offers a choice of 23 event rooms that include expansive, state-of-the-art meeting venues and facilities. The hotel’s IACC Conference Center is the largest and newest facility in the Syracuse area, and its Grand Ballroom and Persian Terrace are highlights of its exceptional selection of event spaces that provide a historic backdrop for Syracuse’s most elegant weddings and social gatherings.
From food to drinks, the dining program at Marriott Syracuse Downtown offers guests and locals a distinctly Finger Lakes culinary experience. Under the collective vision of Director of Food and Beverage Chuck Anthony, Executive Chef Tom Kiernan, and Executive Sous Chef Cody Dedischew, there is a distinct focus on local farmers, artisans and suppliers.
At Eleven Waters, tables set with water glasses crafted by a local artisan from recycled wine bottles make an immediate statement to diners: this is a place that takes wine and local sourcing seriously. Every dinner entrée at the hotel’s modern American bistro, named for the region’s famous Finger Lakes, is conceived with a Finger Lakes wine pairing in mind. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Eleven Waters seats more than 100 indoors in a contemporary, casual setting with sleek banquettes in light neutrals and large windows allowing in plenty of natural light. Furnishings are spare and stylish, including simple wood-topped tables and wooden chairs. Weather permitting, guests can also sit on the patio with a fireplace adding warmth on cool evenings.
One of the most underrated cities in the country, Syracuse is brimming with excitement and charm that beckon discerning travelers who desire an experience that is hard to duplicate elsewhere.