If your A-listers fancy a dash of culture and outdoor activities, with a bit of horse racing thrown in, they should head up immediately to the Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa in Saratoga Springs, NY. Luxury Travel Advisor recently took a jaunt to the resort by hopping on an Amtrak train out of New York’s Penn Station.
After just a few hours of traveling along the Hudson River, we were at the hotel, which is located in the very civilized Saratoga State Park and just a few minutes away from downtown Saratoga and its wonderful shops, galleries, inns and restaurants, as well as the world-famous Saratoga Race Course.
|The Front Entrance. The resort is only minutes from Saratoga Race Course and live horse racing.|
We promptly made our way over to the Roosevelt Bathhouse, just steps away from the hotel. This is an historic spa, whose hydrotherapy treatments use mineral waters pumped in directly from Saratoga’s natural springs. It’s also huge (and quite updated, we might add), with 43 treatment rooms, his-and-her lockers and steam rooms, plus a lovely “transition” room with a fireplace.
Nice Touch: All spa treatments start out with a private bath drawn from effervescent spring waters that actually make you float about a bit in your historic tub. Need a therapeutic massage? We recommend Michael, who said we had a real blockage of energy from our back to our brain (which we felt explained an awful lot) and then proceeded to alleviate it. Truth be told, we did feel much lighter as we headed over to our facial with Nicole, who was equally adept at relieving our big-city stress. Travel advisors with specific questions about treatments can reach out to Spa Director Nini Girdley ([email protected]; 518-584-4178). Be sure to reserve spots for your clients two weeks out during the peak summer season to avoid disappointment.
Once the spa put us in the “zone” for a fun summer weekend, we headed back to the Gideon Putnam Resort for a tour of the rooms. Note: While the structure of the accommodations is historical (the resort opened in 1935) and can’t be amended, management has just completed a million-dollar makeover of the rooms, all of which now have free Wi-Fi; high-definition flat-screen TVs; new furnishings, including beds with pillow-top mattresses; and Gilchrist & Soames amenities.
|The Herb Garden is presided over by Executive Chef Brian Sterner.|
We suggest that those who want the top digs in the house reserve the Putnam Suites, each having a bedroom with a king bed and a separate living/dining room with a sleeper sofa, as well as two bedrooms. Hint: Putnam Suite No. 428 is the larger of the two. To suit an entourage or family, book both Putnam Suites and Room No. 427; they all connect.
The Porch Suites have French doors that open onto private screened-in porches that really give the feeling of being in a natural setting. Note: Porch Suite No. 333 is the larger of the two.
If those are taken, Executive Suite No. 514 is a large room with a king bed and spacious sitting area. Standard rooms on the fifth floor tend to run larger and have unique layouts.
Director of Sales and Marketing Tom Wysocki ([email protected]; 518-226-4701) is passionate about providing top-notch service; he is the ideal liaison if you are sending a VIP. He’s also a great contact if you’re planning a destination wedding at the resort, which has plenty of great space for large or intimate meals, for up to 300. General Manage Chance Jorgensen ([email protected]; 518-226-4720) welcomes direct contact from luxury travel advisors; another great onsite contact is Concierge Julie Sopko ([email protected]; 518-584-3000, ext. 2110).
|The Lobby. Gideon Putnam has been in operation for more than 75 years.|
Luxe Touch: The hotel’s complimentary shuttle service is available day and night to take guests to area sites and attractions.
Dining at the resort is popular with locals, who come here to celebrate important events, so reserve at least 24 hours out.
Putnam’s Restaurant & Bar has just been refurbished; its seasonal menus benefit from the fact that Executive Chef Brian Sterner works with local certified organic farmers who often supply fresh fruits and vegetables the day of harvest. Nice Touch: Sterner also has his own herb garden, which is next to a patio restaurant with its own fire pits so guests can enjoy evenings outside. Bands also play on the patio when weather allows.
The Sunday Brunch Buffet (served from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.) is quite the event at the resort. (Note: Because of New York State liquor laws, you can’t have your Bloody Mary or Mimosa until noon.) The options include omelets made to order; crepes; Belgian waffles; fresh seafood; soups; and in-house, baked cakes, tortes, pies and pastries.
For golfers, Saratoga Spa Golf is just a few steps away from the resort and offers an 18-hole Championship Course and a nine-hole Executive Course. A little farther out is the 18-hole Saratoga National Golf Course.
Getting There: Fly into Albany International Airport, 30 minutes from the hotel. Saratoga County Airport, just 10 minutes away, accommodates private jets. The hotel works with Premiere Limo for transfers.
There’s plenty to do minutes from the hotel: Saratoga Performing Arts Center is the summer host of The New York City Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Saratoga Chamber Music Festival and Freihofer’s Jazz Festival, which kicks off the season in June. Saratoga is very busy throughout the summer and once the horses start running at the Saratoga Race Course in July, it can be a challenge to get a room through most of September, so reserve early.