Plans are afoot to give the Holiday Inn a face-lift following a decade-long extension of the franchise license earlier this year.
The hotel, which is celebrating 50 years in Saratoga Springs, will overhaul its frontage along Broadway to update the streetscape and match the surroundings. Plans for the expansion would add a 1,200-square-foot lobby to replace a drive-up front awning that leads guests to the front desk.
General Manager Cindy Hollowood said the addition won’t add to the 168 rooms at the hotel. Rather, it will serve as a lobby area with seating and perhaps a fireplace for arriving guests.
The Holiday Inn was granted a license extension until 2024 from Intercontinental Hotel Group, the franchise affiliate. As a result, the hotel was allowed up to $3 million worth of improvements to the building, most of which will come in upgrades to the rooms.
But the exterior work should serve to modernize the Holiday Inn’s entrance. Hollowood said the work the hotel hopes to start this fall or early next spring will bring its entrance further out toward the street so that it’s more a part of Broadway.
“It is our intention to make the hotel more Broadway-centric,” she said Monday.
Plans for the expansion are expected to be addressed during the city Planning Board meeting today. The project will go before the city’s Design Review Commission for review.
Changes will include fencing, landscaping and a decorative walkway leading up to the expanded area. Hollowood said the improvements will also help screen some of the parking in front of the hotel.
Already, about a third of the hotel rooms have been overhauled as part of the improvements. The remaining two-thirds will be improved over the next year and a half, Hollowood said.
The Holiday Inn opened in August 1964, and its construction was partially funded by roughly 1,500 local investors who bought $50 shares in the business. The city was still smarting from the loss of the Grand Union Hotel during the 1950s and lacked modern lodging with convention space. Less than half the hotel rooms in the city were even heated at the time.
The Holiday Inn helped fill the gap left when Convention Hall burned to the ground in 1965. The business was the only franchise hotel in Saratoga Springs until the Ramada Renaissance was erected on the opposite end of Broadway in 1982.
Today, there are a number of hotel chains and thousands of modern rooms downtown. Hollowood said the key for the business now is to compete with some of the newer hotels in the city.
“We have to be a little more proactive now,” she said.