Restored Hotel Saranac reopens

Saranac Lakers gather in the Hotel Saranac’s reopened arcade as soon as the doors open at 4 p.m. today. (Enterprise photo — Glynis Hart)

SARANAC LAKE — At long last, the historic Hotel Saranac reopened at 4 p.m. today, and despite the short notice, plenty of local customers showed up to welcome it back.

The hotel last took guests in 2013 and was purchased by the Roedel Companies later that year for $1,475,995. The $35 million restoration project took four years to complete and has been pledged a state economic development grant of $5 million.

General Manager Michael Salyers gave the Enterprise the word around 12:30 p.m. that the hotel would open today.

There will be an open house to welcome the community from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, but many aspects of the hotel are now up and running, including its 82 guest rooms, Camp Fire restaurant and second-floor Great Hall bar. Its Academy & Main gift shop is expected to open at noon Saturday. (Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the open house will be on Tuesday.)

Salyers said the Ampersand salon and spa will open at a later date, as will the north terrace overlooking Main Street. A separate building on Church Street with 20 suites, called Compass Point, is still under construction and will open later this year, according to construction management.

The Hotel Saranac’s Academy and Main Gift Shop, on the corner of its namesake streets, is expected to open at noon Saturday. (Enterprise photo — Glynis Hart)

Hilton representatives walked through the building before giving their final approval today, and the Hotel Saranac’s computer systems went operational. The Hotel Saranac is owned by Roedel Companies rather than the Hilton chain, but is a franchise affiliate with Hilton’s Curio Collection and therefore uses Hilton’s online booking and loyalty club systems.

Village code enforcement made its final inspection Tuesday. Code Enforcement Officer Patrick Giblin said he issued a temporary certificate of occupancy for everything except the salon and spa and the north terrace. Giblin said a pipe burst during a cold snap on New Year’s weekend, and water flowed into the basement, damaging carpets in the spa.

The north terrace still needs work on its new exterior staircase.

“Weather conditions are kind of hampering that concrete work,” Salyers said. He hopes it will be open in time for the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival in early February.

Salyers said the hotel has hired enough staff to open the salon and spa, but is still seeking applicants.

Sally Muldowney, right, and other Saranac Lakers gravitate to the bar in the Great Hall as the Hotel Saranac reopens Thursday afternoon. (Enterprise photo — Glynis Hart)

The Hotel Saranac originally opened in 1927. Paul Smith’s College owned and ran it from the early 1960s until 2007, when the Arora family bought it. Its business petered out under the Aroras, who closed the restaurant and bar. That firm is owned by the Roedel family of New Hampshire, whose members have been seasonal residents of Saranac Lake for generations. As of today, they have fulfilled their promise to overhaul and reopen the hotel.

Saranac Lakers in general, and especially downtown business owners, have eagerly anticipated the hotel’s reopening, which is seen as essential to reviving downtown commerce.

Saranac Lakers chat and watch a game on television at the Hotel Saranac’s Camp Fire bar, opened for the first time Thursday afternoon. (Enterprise photo — Catherine Moore)

New York State Police officer Mike Ryan, left, and Saranac Lake village Mayor Clyde Rabideau drink beers at the grand reopening of the Hotel Saranac Thursday. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

Town of Harrietstown Councilman and former Saranac Lake Mayor Howard Riley stands in front of the fireplace at the Great Hall Bar at the Hotel Saranac during its reopening Thursday. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

Hotel Saranac staff member Megan Klovus welcomes guests to Camp Fire, the restaurant, as the hotel reopens Thursday. (Enterprise photo — Glynis Hart)

Hotel Saranac staff members Beatrice, David, Alex, Miranda, and Susan greet guests at the front desk Thursday. (Enterprise photo — Glynis Hart)

Director of Spa Operations Jamie Costa, left, and Kellie LaPoint, spa supervisor and licensed massage therapist, smile as the Hotel Saranac opens Thursday. The Ampersand salon and spa will open later. (Enterprise photo — Glynis Hart)

A timeline in the Hotel Saranac shows its history along with that of the village of Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Catherine Moore)

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