New owners putting millions into Roosevelt Bath and Gideon Putnam
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Jason McKibben - firstname.lastname@example.org Gideon Putnam Resort concierge Diane Dodd speaks with a customer on the telephone from the lobby of the hotel Tuesday, July 6, 2010. Delaware North Companies, which was awarded a 20-year lease in 2008 to operate the hotel and the Roosevelt Bathhouse, will spend $20 million as part of a 20-year plan to improve the buildings on the state-owned 2,300-acre Saratoga Spa State Park.
SARATOGA SPRINGS Inside the house that Roosevelt built, a $20 million renovation is under way.
“When you first come into a property, there are enhancements you want to do from the get-go,” said Tom Wysocki, director of sales and marketing at the Gideon Putnam Resort.
“The beauty and the battle of a historic hotel is you open up one area and you discover another area that needs work,” he said.
In January 2008, Delaware North Companies was awarded a 20-year lease to operate the Gideon Putnam hotel and the Roosevelt Bath in the state-owned 2,300-acre Saratoga Spa State Park.
The company committed to a multiphase project to spend $20 million refurbishing the 120-room hotel, conference center and Roosevelt Bath.
The company has already invested “a few million” in upgrades, Wysocki said, which include renovations to the hotel lobby, the bath house and the Georgian Room restaurant, which has been remodeled and renamed Putnam’s Restaurant and Bar.
The restaurant seats 68 diners inside with an outdoor patio that features live music on weekends and seats an additional 60 people.
Décor and ambience have also been changed, from white-tablecloth traditional dining to a more regional contemporary style, said executive chef Brian Sterner. The restaurant employs a kitchen staff of about 25 plus another 40 who work as service staff.
Sterner said the upscale-casual restaurant services a diverse clientele, from the business traveler and leisure golfer to the concertgoer attending a show at the nearby Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
Sterner said he works with regional farms, from the Catskills to Vermont, who supply food to the restaurant, as well making use of a new in-house herb garden.
The hotel features a new fitness center and a remodeled lobby. Renovations to the kitchen will begin soon, and the refurbishing of guest rooms will start early next year, Wysocki said. The hotel will remain open during the renovations.
Work is also under way at Roosevelt Bath & Spa, where the 42 treatment rooms have been augmented by a “relaxation room” with a 10-foot-tall waterfall where visitors will be able to enjoy downtime in between spa
“It’s a little area to relax,” Wysocki said. “The park setting is a big aspect of it. You’re minutes from downtown, but you feel as though you’re almost in a different world here.
“Occupancy is up this year over last year. We have a balance: we do a lot of corporate and state association groups as well as leisure travel,” he said.
“Our groups have increased considerably. Leisure travel has stayed stable,” he said.
The poor economy has hurt travel to the Saratoga region and its 2,200-plus rooms and so has the uncertainty surrounding the summer racing season, said Cynthia Hollowood, general manager of the Holiday Inn in Saratoga Springs and vice chairwoman of the state Hospitality and Tourism Association.
“The first six months this year have been better than the first six months of 2009,” she said. But, “with the uncertainty of whether there would be racing at Saratoga and the downward trend of the stock market, we’re somewhat behind where we would like to be.”
Normally, summer weekend room rentals are sold out by early May. That’s not the case this year, she said.
Posted in Local on Wednesday, July 7, 2010 1:00 am Tags: