Nestled in the pristine forests of upstate New York’s Adirondack Mountains, has been known as a military stronghold, a center for holistic healing (thanks to the springs for which the town bears its name), a summer playground for rich and privileged Manhattanites like Cornelius Vanderbilt, and, most recently, the horse-racing capital of the Northeast, a designation that has persisted for some 150 years. But a new hotel is recasting the resort town once more, reflecting Saratoga’s history while reinventing it as a luxury destination for travelers in search of some much needed pampering and relaxation.
After five years and $30 million, , an 1877 colonial building with stately columns and a gleaming white façade on Broadway, the main thoroughfare, is Saratoga’s grande dame once more.
Opened by pugilist, congressman, and Saratoga Race Track co-founder John Morrissey, the hotel quickly became a hub for boldfaced names, but after falling into disrepair, it was purchased in 2012 by local developers with high hopes of a quick reopening. Unfortunately, no one realized the extent of the historic property’s damage.
“It’s shocking that the building hadn’t fallen down,” says interior designer Glen Coben, the man behind esteemed New York restaurants like Del Posto and Empellón, and who was tasked with restoring The Adelphi to its Victorian-era grandeur. “The columns were rotting, and there was a steep incline in the foundation. We essentially had to put a new building up in the shell of the old one.”
The result is a stylish retreat for 21st-century travelers who crave authenticity as much as their creature comforts. The structure was shored up with a new foundation and mechanical and electrical systems, but key original elements were maintained to retain the building’s spirit and character, including the mahogany staircase at the heart of the property, now covered in custom carpeting inspired by Victorian patterns. Coben took inspiration from Victorian textiles to create a custom damask motif for wall coverings in a subdued palette of blues, grays, and metallics, an update on the usual scheme of deep reds and burgundies.
He also interpreted traditional floriography, or the language of flowers, subtly weaving icons of artichokes and honeybees into the design. “It’s about discovery,” says Coben, noting the latter’s subtle nod to the area’s local farmers. “We don’t want to hit people over the head with the details.”
The 32 rooms continue the historical feel, albeit with a few modern flourishes. Ornate wall moldings and brass lighting fixtures join tufted-leather custom headboards and h linens, hidden cabinetry and neatly tiled marble baths with freestanding tubs and glass showers. Velvet club chairs and settees invite guests to lounge even though the shops on Broadway beckon from beyond the oversize windows.
One thing guests won’t find here: any reference to the equestrian—except, of course, in the carved horseheads at Morrissey’s, a sophisticated drinking den with herringbone floors, mahogany columns, and a zinc bar counter that’s named for the hotel’s founder.
It’s a moody counterpoint to the light-filled atrium at the , the soon-to-open farm-to-table brasserie that’s awash in pretty shades of robin’s egg blue, blond wood, and brass globe lighting, modeled after a traditional English conservatory. Meanwhile, Salt + Char, the hotel’s rustic-chic steakhouse, has already become one of Saratoga’s top restaurants thanks to its cozy leather interiors and seasonal, local takes on the classics by chef Braden Reardon (don’t miss the veal porterhouse, made memorable thanks to the addition of tangy pickled chanterelle mushrooms).
But perhaps the most telling space is the revamped lobby, at once a throwback to the hotel’s Victorian roots and a welcoming hint at The Adelphi’s future. Styled to look like a parlor from the early 1900s with velvet seating, globe lighting, and custom damask upholstery, Coben’s design recasts the room as a social hub where guests can read from in-house iPads or enjoy a drink before venturing out. “It’s quasi-residential,” says Coben. “It’s about giving guests a level of comfort they can’t find.
From $135 per night.