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Hotel Saranac $30 million renovation moves along

April 28, 2017

Hotel Saranac renovation seeks to preserve historic touches

By DENISE RAYMO Press-Republican

SARANAC LAKE — Incorporating modern necessities into historic features of the Hotel Saranac was a big challenge for developers, but they feel the outcome is worth it.

Roedel Companies, which is investing $30 million in the downtown project, is partnering with the Hilton family of lodging sites to create an 80-room Hilton Curio property, a high-end destination promising guests unusual features and memorable experiences.

And those guests can begin booking reservations at the 90-year-old site starting Nov. 2.

A soft opening is set for Aug. 2 to test that all systems operate smoothly, said Tad Schrantz, managing director of project development for Roedel.


The hotel is taking longer than originally thought because of marrying the historic and the new, plus unforeseen issues like asbestos abatement cropped up, which meant the interior had to be gutted and reworked.

“Allowing the design team the appropriate time to figure that all out took time,” Schrantz said.

There are no rules to follow in a restoring an historic building, he said, but “you try to salvage and preserve as much as you possibly can” while retaining its story and cultural significance.


On Thursday, visitors toured the main building at the corner of Main and Academy streets, which was bustling with people and sounds of construction, demolition and restoration.

Giant concrete slabs secured by cables were swung into place by a crane operator to create the 150-vehicle parking deck connected to the main hotel.

The deck will take three weeks to finish, which has been upsetting business owners, visitors and residents who have to find alternate parking while its construction continues.

Subcontractors, who had been using the empty parking-deck area, now have to take the limited public spaces to park their vehicles so they stay close to the work site.

At the same time, more than 100 tractor trailers loaded with concrete and other building materials will be moving in and out for on-site deliveries, Schrantz said.

“We understand it’s creating a big impact on the neighborhood and really appreciate everyone’s cooperation and bearing with us,” he said, adding that the situation “puts pressure on everybody. We’re moving quickly.”

Saranac Lake Village Police placed notes on vehicles Thursday, warning drivers that the posted two-hour parking limit will be enforced, starting today. Violators will be ticketed and fined.


The other end of the parking deck across Academy Street is Compass Point, a 20-suite building adjacent to the hotel that was once Paul Smith’s College dormitory space.

As for the interior of the six-story hotel, for the first time in decades its design allows visitors and residents to walk through from Main Street to Academy Street, using the arcade.

From there, guests can either check into their room, visit the Academy and Main Gift Shop, attend a meeting in the private Ember Room or enjoy a cocktail in a casual lounge or meal at the 60-seat Campfire Restaurant.

Schrantz said the previous owners had closed off the arcade, but Roedel made it the centerpiece and added an additional elevator to handle the expected influx of guests for larger events upstairs.

The original terrazzo flooring there is banged up in a few places, but he says it will be brought back to life. The same goes for the matching floor above in the public space known as the Great Hall, from which guests can enjoy a fireplace in the center of the room, step out onto the terrace or continue on to the ballroom.

The ballroom interior will be changed, depending on the event taking place within, Schrantz said.


In the Campfire Restaurant, fragments of a mural painted in honor of Robert Louis Stevenson by an artist under treatment for tuberculosis decades ago were preserved during demolition, Schrantz said.

And contractors built a bump-out access wall in front of it so as not to disturb the remaining art in case future restoration is possible.

The hotel will have a full-service Ampersand spa, gym, hair salon and barber shop on premises.


Upper floors are devoted to guest rooms where crown molding cleverly hides piping, electrical wiring and Internet capabilities in each room.

Most have queen-size beds, but double-size rooms to accommodate the handicapped have a king-size bed.

The majority of rooms are also equipped with 50-inch televisions, combined headboard/dresser/table and a small closet.

Email Denise A. Raymo:

Twitter: @DeniseRaymo

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