Rooms recently started at $384 a night. Prices spike during thoroughbred racing season in the second half of the summer, as they do all over town.
The $28 million makeover of the showpiece hotel in downtown Saratoga Springs, N.Y., the Adelphi, took five years and was a source of much curiosity in the celebrated spa and gambling refuge. The Victorian-era hotel had been showing its age and was closed for much of its renovation before reopening last October. For fans of the old Adelphi, which had an Agatha Christie novel vibe and a lush and mysterious interior courtyard, both are gone. But the new version has many winning points, starting with its well-restored, column-lined exterior facade and second-floor porch. The hotel extends over much of a block and has respected the heritage of the building while making it appear new again. From the street, it’s a perfect fit for Saratoga.
As good as it gets in downtown Saratoga, with its long porch overlooking Broadway, the city’s main street. Numerous bars and restaurants are a quick walk away, and both the city’s venerable thoroughbred racetrack and its much newer casino — technically a “racino” that allows slot machines but not table games with dealers — are a short drive.
But keep in mind that the Adelphi’s location is a trade-off. Saratoga’s downtown is typically rowdy on summer weekends and a loud band at a brew pub next door played rock covers like “Sweet Home Alabama” until midnight. The hotel offered earplugs. It is also planning to reinforce the glass in rooms close to the pub, though those on the other side of the hotel would be a quieter bet. Not that everyone will be seeking a silent night in a gambler’s town.
A basic Premier Double on the second floor was a comfortable, if compact, room with many nice touches: A door stop in the shape of a horse’s head, dragonflies on the light fixtures, the obligatory blue-bottled Saratoga waters and leather headboards.
Attention was lavished on the enormous bathroom, which is almost as big as the room itself. There was a deep oval tub for soaking, a long marble-topped double sink and a spacious shower. The centerpiece, however, was the toilet, which was upgraded with a Toto Washlet, an electronic bidet that turns a conventional toilet into something more … interactive. Yes, it’s a toilet with a remote control and spurting water, Japanese style. I watched some YouTube videos to get the hang of it.
Nods to history are throughout. There are framed prints of balls at Saratoga’s long-gone Grand Union, once one of the largest hotels in the world. There were also round marble-top tables, a settee here, a chaise longue there, and a deep blue circular couch in the lobby. My favorite spot was “The Library” on the second floor, which offers comfortable velvet and leather chairs, and board games like Parcheesi and Trivial Pursuit. (It can’t be accessed if another guest has reserved the 2,100-square-foot Owner’s Box, which encompasses the hotel’s entire terrace and can set you back more than $2,700 a night during track season.) The Library’s shelves were stocked with the full Harry Potter collection and strategically placed vintage books like Victor Hugo’s collected works. Even better, the Library opens onto the Adelphi’s porch, a great spot for people-watching.
The Adelphi has two restaurants, Salt & Char and the Blue Hen, whose main dining room sits in a conservatory. An inviting bar is named after the Irish-born bare knuckle boxer and Congressman John Morrissey who was the main developer of the city’s racetrack. (Mr. Morrissey’s passing in 1878 — he died at the Adelphi — was front page news in The New York Times.) The restaurants require reservations, sometimes days ahead of time. If the hotel’s renovation has misses, it is the somewhat bland décor of Blue Hen and two nearby patios. Salt & Char, where a 12-ounce strip goes for $52, is the more inviting option.
The Bottom Line
As a former Saratogian, I’m partial to the city and its rakish charms. The Adelphi is a good spot to spend a night or stop in for a drink after a day at the track.
Adelphi Hotel, 365 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., theadelphihotel.com.