Grand Adirondack Hotel readies for grand opening
LAKE PLACID — The Grand Adirondack Hotel, a 1920s-era hotel originally known as the Hotel Marcy, is set to reopen its historic Main Street doors on Aug. 31 after nearly two years of construction and more than $20 million in renovations.
The Aug. 31 opening will be what Garrick Smith, the hotel’s general manager, calls a “soft launch.” The hotel’s bar will be open with food, drinks and live music, and all of the hotel’s 92 rooms will be open to guests who book a reservation. However, the hotel’s restaurant isn’t expected to open until a few weeks later, and the rooftop bar and event space may not open until spring 2023.
Wright Investments, a family-owned company based in Memphis, Tennessee, bought the hotel in 2018 from Smith’s family, of Northwoods Inn LLC. Smith said his family bought the hotel in 2005. Though the hotel has changed hands and names a few times over the years, and despite a fatal fire that destroyed the building’s left wing in 1966, it has been a Main Street mainstay for more than 93 years.
The Grand Adirondack Hotel is housed under the Marriott Tribute brand.
The hotel was bustling with workers on Tuesday as the building approached its final two weeks of work before opening. They were putting the finishing touches on the hotel with decor and paint colors that Smith said are intended to be a callback to the “rustic great camp style.” He thought these renovations were the most extensive the hotel had ever seen since its inception.
“The hotel was (re)built to feel like it’s been here for 95 years and designed to feel like that,” Smith said, later adding, “It’s been really fun to watch this thing grow up.”
Wright Investments Chief Operating Officer Dave Makarsky said that the Post Company, the Brooklyn-based design firm responsible for revamping the hotel’s look, did “quite a bit of homework” to understand the architectural and design elements that would reflect the great camp style and the original look of the Hotel Marcy. He said Post helped to keep the key elements of the hotel’s historic design intact by selecting colors and design elements that complimented that original vision.
Restaurant and bar, rooftop
Another callback to the hotel’s origins, Grand Adirondack’s restaurant and bar, formerly known as the Cabin Grill and Delta Blue, respectively, will now be called “Marcy” and the “Marcy Bar.” Smith said the restaurant and bar — and the new rooftop bar — are intended to appeal to tourists and locals alike.
Smith said the restaurant will feature “regionally inspired” cuisine with “high-end but casual” dining. There’s also a private dining room attached to the restaurant, which Smith and Makarsky said could be used or rented out for wine tastings, family reunions, wedding rehearsal dinners and other private events.
Smith described the Marcy Bar as being not only a place for light fare but also a “collaborative space” for local musicians. He said the Marcy Bar will revive the Hotel North Woods’ open mic night on Wednesdays and have live music on Fridays and Saturdays. He said the bar has a house band, and he’s already heard from a lot of musicians in the area who are “dying” to come in and play at the bar. Smith is willing to explore the types of performances that could be held there, too.
“I think the beauty of the Marcy Bar is that it’ll allow us to move into some other genres,” Smith said. “We may bring in a comedian one weekend, we may bring in a magician and/or an illusionist one weekend, and layer in music of all different kinds of genres.”
The rooftop bar, which will have a full bar along with shareable food plates and hors d’oeuvres, looks out over the village of Lake Placid and Mirror Lake with views of multiple Olympic venues. Smith said it’s the only rooftop bar in the Adirondacks that he’s aware of, and they installed a new elevator tower that sends patrons on the Main Street level straight up to the rooftop.
Grand Adirondack’s director of sales, Steve Vance, said the hotel is already working with some couples who want to contract the space for their wedding events.
“You get a bride up here and she generally says, ‘I have to have it,'” he said.
While Smith said the rooftop might be ready for opening late this fall, that date could be pushed to the spring.
The hotel offers rooms with king beds and a pullout sofa, along with double queen bed rooms and “family suites” that feature both a king bed room and double queen bed rooms that are adjoined by a common living area. Vance said that part of the hotel’s business model involves welcoming groups and events along with transient guests, and he said group reservations are rolling in again following the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The rooms feature custom art by artist James Prosek, and there’s custom cabinetry that has enough space for people bringing in hiking or skiing gear. The rooms are also pet-friendly to dogs, cats and birds alike, Smith said — the Hotel North Woods has even hosted a red-tailed hawk in the past.
Vance said the cost of rooms is “dynamic” and could range from the mid $100s a night for smaller rooms during the off-season to $600 or $700 a night for larger rooms during peak tourist season.
The Grand Adirondack Hotel is also set to host national and international officials for the FISU World University Games. Smith said that 100% of the hotel’s rooms will be dedicated to these groups from Jan. 6 to 23, 2023. Vance said some FISU delegations are staying at the hotel this September, too, and that will act as a “test” event that could give the hotel some international exposure.
Like much of the region, Smith said the Grand Adirondack has run into some challenges with staffing. He said the hotel has had to recruit some of its major employees, like its assistant general manager and food and beverage director, from out of state. That’s also introduced some challenges with housing — another regional issue — but he said they’ve been lucky enough to find places to live.
Makarsky said that Wright Investments, a family-owned business that’s approaching its 40th anniversary, tries to establish a sense of family among its employees, and he hopes that helps the hotel to retain and attract employees.
“We’re hoping that as the word spreads and that our own team members that we’ve hired so far become ambassadors for the hotel and bring along one or two team members with them, (that) we’ll get there,” Makarsky said.
Smith said that slowly, Grand Adirondack is increasing its staff numbers. Vance added that with new housing opportunities in the works, like MacKenzie Overlook and Fawn Valley on Wesvalley Road, more options for housing seem to be becoming available.
“It provides us with hope,” Smith said.