To the editor and Mr. Arora, owner of the Hotel Saranac:
I have put off writing this letter for quite some time, but the article about your hotel in Saturday's paper has prompted my reply.
Speaking from a business perspective, we both know how much money it takes to get into business and stay in business. This information is nothing new to you, I'm sure. And with a business the size of the hotel, you'd better have plenty of it! Unfortunately, it doesn't look like that has been the case.
I remember a letter you wrote some time ago to the Enterprise. In this letter, you said you had put $300,000 into the hotel. That sounds like a lot of money, and it is, but not in this case. The hotel, being so old, really needs millions put into it. Are your pockets deep enough for the millions this building needs? If not, then all you can do is put a Band-Aid on the problem.
The folks who own Will Rogers, the place for independent seniors, have put $7.2 MILLION into their building! (Editor's note: Saranac Village at Will Rogers director Jamie Whidden verified this amount.) I remember that building when it was empty. It needed work everywhere, but it got it. $7.2 million is serious money. Do you have that kind of money to put into the hotel? According to the Enterprise article, one of the potential buyers said he would have to close the hotel for up to two years for renovations. Apparently, this party was planning on gutting the building and really going to town. Does the hotel need this kind of work? Yes, it does.
This article says you are now planning on converting a part of the hotel for independent living for seniors. Since you haven't put this much money into the hotel so far, where are you going to find the cash to do this? Remember, we are talking about a building that will require deep pockets from anyone who owns it.
I know you are angry because you say the local chamber of commerce has bad-mouthed your business. And some local people have done so as well. But they're not your real problem. Your real problem has been your customers. Anyone in business who has done their homework knows that if someone is pleased with having done business with you, they tell perhaps four to six people. But if they are unhappy, they tell everyone they know. And your customers have voiced their displeasure real well on the Internet. Unlike just talking to their friends, the Internet also tells folks they don't know. So now anyone thinking of staying at the hotel can go on the Internet and read why they shouldn't stay at the Hotel Saranac!
Everytime I walk by the hotel and look at how badly the outside is deteriorating, I wonder what it looks like inside. If the inside is anything like the outside, then we are talking MILLIONS to restore an old building. The party that wanted to purchase it and close it down for two years to renovate it has the right idea. The Hotel Saranac needs tons of money and loads of work. So if you are not prepared to put that kind of money and work into the hotel, then it doesn't matter what plans you have in mind for the place, as they will never materialize.