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People need to get over antipathy toward Hotel Saranac

October 4, 2012
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

To the editor:

Tuesday's article regarding the Hotel Saranac reminded me that I have been remiss in exercising my civic responsibility. Two years ago, my wife and I moved to Saranac Lake because it was a true community, a rarity and a gem. Personally and professionally, we have received nothing but welcome. We owe a debt of gratitude to everyone we have met, friends, neighbors, business people and professional helpers of every kind.

This summer, Margaret and I hosted her annual family reunion here in Saranac Lake. The weather was perfect, and every activity we planned was a great success, thanks to the wonders of the park and the wonders of the village. Many of our guests stayed at the Hotel Saranac, and all were pleased with their stay. Yes, the rooms lacked the uniformity and bland predictability of a chain hotel, but they were comfortable and charming in the quirky sort of way one encounters going through nearly any door on our Main Street. For the big event, we engaged the second floor of the hotel. The dining room was perfect, with table settings, set-up and cleanup all provided by the hotel staff. Eat 'n' Meet, the Lakeview Deli and Lake Flower Cakery catered the event, and the food was wonderful. The ballroom was a playground for the noisy and boisterous youngsters and its terrazzo squares the setting for a life-size chess game. Cocktails and quiet conversation on the balcony continued late into the evening. All in all, it was a wonderful time and would not have happened without the friendly and attentive assistance of the Arora family. Unfortunately, I understand it was their first event in two years.

The antipathy and animosity toward the Aroras has been palpable from the day we moved to Saranac Lake and is the great incongruity for us, inconsistent with everything we have experienced here. Naturally, we don't have a history with the hotel of disappointment that many may justifiably carry forward. But we have been surprised and at times shocked with the hostility expressed by good people, even when we come to learn that they have no direct experience with the Aroras. The failings of the Aroras have become an urban legend.

The Hotel Saranac is a wonderful community asset, it's continued existence in itself a defiant protest that this community won't quietly go the way of so many other small towns. But without renewed community support, this grande dame will go the way of so many other small hotels, the way of decline and ultimately demise. Starving the owners out, laying siege and denying them the patronage essential to maintaining the building isn't working, and I believe the animosity eats at the soul of our adopted community.

Perhaps I am naive - it wouldn't be the first time - but I wonder if it is time for the community to take the plague sign down that it has placed over the door of the Hotel Saranac, to allow the Aroras out of the defensive corner they are backed into and to show them some of the generosity my wife and I have experienced here in Saranac Lake - time to push the restart button.

We'll be back in four years when our turn for the reunion comes around again. Whether or not the Hotel Saranac still is, is up to the people of Saranac Lake.

Steve Sonnenberg

Margaret Worden

Saranac Lake



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