The best places to stay on the Erie Canal in Upstate New York offer an escape into authentic comfort, local culture, and a touch of luxury.
A National Historic Landmark, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor unfolds world-changing history, arts, culture, community, and outdoor adventure for 524 miles (843.2 km) across the width of New York State.
Whether you boat, paddle, bike, hike, or drive, you’ll find accommodations for every taste and budget all along the navigable waterway between Albany and Buffalo.
Different lodging options abound, of course: Not only vacation rentals, boutique inns, and hotel chains. But also houseboats, RV parks, and campsites.
Still, even the hardiest outdoor enthusiast surely enjoys a good night’s sleep in a posh pillow-top bed.
So let’s discover the best hotels, heritage properties, and unique accommodations in this National Heritage Area from East to West.
Ready? Let’s go!
Table of contents
Best Places to Stay on the Erie Canal: Eastern New York
Renaissance Albany Hotel
Discover history reclaimed and hospitality renewed in Capital City.
The Renaissance Albany Hotel rises at the prime intersection of past and present. Its location is undeniably desirable:
One perspective looks directly across to the magnificent New York State Capitol, completed in 1899.
Another perspective overlooks the monumental Empire State Plaza, built from 1965 to 1976.
The 1927 DeWitt Clinton Hotel underwent a $48.5 million restoration and renovation. In 2015, the hotel re-opened under Marriott’s luxury flag., Now it ranks among the best hotels in the Capital Region.
When you enter the handsome and historic lobby, look up. Then look all the way around the soaring beamed ceiling.
Twelve original murals depict the Erie Canal and other local milestones in vibrant colors. These historic murals delight after curatorial attention and careful restoration.
Wellington’s is a top spot for power brokers and power couples. Rich textures and dark woods set the scene for conversation and camaraderie.
Sink into comfort while you linger over innovative libations and American cuisine. And you’ll certainly want save room for the Campfire Mason Jar dessert.
In contrast to the classic decor of the public spaces, contemporary style and artistic flair distinguish the guest rooms and suites.
It’s easy to dream sweetly in the signature Renaissance beds.
Bathrooms feature bright lighting, walk-in showers, and quality amenities.
Thanks to Discover Albany for our stay at the premier Renaissance Albany Hotel.
This writer and this photographer find its location ideal for easy access to businesses, arts and cultural institutions, and the top tourist attractions.
Address: Renaissance Albany Hotel | 144 State Street | Albany, New York
Best Places to Stay on the Erie Canal: Central New York
Revel in a regal stay at the 19th-century Amsterdam Castle.
This Castle rules not over the canal-laced capital of the Netherlands. But rather rises above the Erie Canal in the majestic Mohawk Valley.
In 1895, architect Isaac Gale Perry designed a massive armory above the Mohawk River. Perry also served as lead architect on the State Capitol in Albany.
Then a century later in 1994, the decommissioned Armory was purchased for a family residence and inn.
The renovations received the Preservation League of New York State 2012 Excellence in Historic Preservation Award.
In 2018, the Ghotbi family unveiled the new Amsterdam Castle.
Their extensive investment transformed the Castle into one-of-a-kind wedding and special events venue, as well as one of the best hotels in this revitalizing area.
Gilded stone lions and a gleaming suit of armor guard the massive entrance doors.
On arrival, you’ll immediately notice the friendly approach of local staff. The service overall differs from typical hotels.
This amiable service specifically reflects owner Nigel Ghotbi’s philosophy of hospitality:
In short, treating visitors as “honored guests, not customers” is the most important goal, Mr. Ghotbi told this writer.
The Great Hall evokes a medieval grandeur of olden times.
Armor, artwork, and heraldry imbue a royal ambiance. The teak ceiling towering overhead is original.
The American cuisine blends French and Mediterranean influences.
When you book the hotel, do make restaurant reservations at that time in order to ensure the kitchen will be open during your stay.
Comfortable beds and seating furnish the guest rooms and suites. Modern bathrooms are not only spacious but also well-lit and equipped.
The strong free WiFi and numerous electrical outlets are commendable, particularly in a heritage property built as an armory, not a hotel.
Thanks to Montgomery County Tourism for our stay as honored guests at the Amsterdam Castle.
Address: Amsterdam Castle | 49 Florida Avenue | Amsterdam, New York
Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Utica
Iconic has an address in the Getaway Region’s urban heart, Utica.
The iconic Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Utica is just off the New York State Thruway. It’s near the Erie Canal and Union Station, within walking distance of downtown attractions.
Since 1912, Hotel Utica has been THE destination in Central New York. Presidents, First Ladies, show biz stars, sports teams, aviators, and industrialists stayed here.
Today, the hotel is once again THE place to be. Thanks to Hilton’s multi-million-dollar restoration and renovations completed in 2017, the property again wears its crown among the best hotels downtown.
In the grand lobby, the first impressions dazzle and delight: Sparkling crystal chandeliers and soaring marble columns adorn the impressive space.
On the elegant Mezzanine, Judy Garland once sang to adoring throngs below.
Work out in the Fitness Center. Or even better, book one of the six “Five Feet to Fitness” suites:
The Gym Rax workout corner includes an interactive monitor with TRX, Watt bike spin classes, yoga mats, equipment, and weights.
Meet, greet, and celebrate in 8,000+ square feet (743 m2) of meeting and event space. Natural light floods the ballroom and six meeting rooms.
Moreover, combine event spaces for max “wow factor.” For example, pair the Mezzanine for a reception, following with dinner in the Crystal Ballroom.
Iconic by Chesterfield is Utica’s hot spot for guests and locals alike. The long bar serves cappuccino and other specialty espresso beverages in the morning, and craft cocktails at night.
The swank dining room, designed in serene hues of blues, is the perfect place to savor New American cuisine.
Sweet dreams await in guest rooms with contemporary decor and signature Hilton beds.
Suites also include a comfortable living room, whirlpool tub, and walk-in shower in the expansive bathrooms.
Thanks to Oneida County Tourism for our delightful stay at Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Utica.
Additional thanks to Hotel General Manager Lee Arthur for the in-depth site inspection.
Address: Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Utica | 102 Lafayette Street | Utica, New York
Best Places to Stay on the Erie Canal: Finger Lakes and Western New York
Del Monte Lodge Renaissance Rochester Hotel and Spa
Find your bliss in the Erie Canal’s “sweet spot,” Pittsford.
This charming 19th-century village is both close to, and meanwhile seems so far from, Rochester’s big-city bustle.
The chic 21st-century Del Monte Renaissance Rochester Lodge and Spa nestles at the Erie Canal’s edge.
The property ranks among the best hotels in metropolitan Rochester.
When you enter the elegant lobby, notice the undulating concrete waves of the front desk.
These concrete waves set a subtle theme to the property. Because the hotel’s name and decor evoke Northern California’s Monterey coastline.
Embrace your “ahh” in the Spa at the Del Monte with a full slate of spa treatments.
(On a later trip, this writer and this photographer plan to experience and review the spa.)
Enjoy waterfront views and a marvelous meal at the award-winning Erie Grill.
This airy restaurant dishes up resort-casual chic and modern American cuisine, served alongside the serene Erie Canal.
You’ll slumber sweetly in these quiet and comfortable guest rooms and suites with Renaissance beds.
Thoughtful amenities, bright lighting, and walk-in showers distinguish the bathrooms.
Thanks to Visit Rochester for our tranquil stay at the Del Monte Lodge Renaissance Rochester Hotel and Spa.
Check current hotel rates, HERE.
Address: Del Monte Lodge Renaissance Rochester Lodge and Spa | 41 North Main Street | Pittsford, New York
Best Places to Stay on the Erie Canal: In Conclusion
Yes, you can, in fact, have it all along the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor New York.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, then the Erie Canal offers world-class outdoor adventures: Boating, paddling, bicycling, hiking, and fishing during the day.
Or perhaps you prefer to experience history, arts, culture, and community. If that’s the case, then countless opportunities await you from Albany to Buffalo.
Furthermore, you can do a little (or a lot of) shopping in boutiques and antique stores all along the Erie Canalway.
Regardless, there’s no need to rough it at night. The best hotels, heritage properties, and unique accommodations offer an escape into comfort.
So come discover the Erie Canal and its abundant delights by day and by night.
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