SARATOGA SPRINGS — Lark Hotels has reopened the former Saratoga Downtowner motel on Broadway under a new name, The Downtowner.
The hotel management and development company renovated the 50-plus-year-old motel, which officially reopened on July 27. Changes included remodeling all 42 guest rooms and filling in the pool in the courtyard with cement to create a gathering space for guests.
"It was impossible to make the pool safe, and there was very little gathering space for guests outside of their room," said Lark Hotels CEO Rob Blood. "The property has a history of groups coming back year after year, so we wanted to create space for them."
The 413 Broadway property, at the intersection with Division Street, is the first New York-based hotel for Lark Hotels.
The company owns boutique properties, predominantly in New England. It has hotels in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
The Downtowner boasts many room options -- from the Lark Suite, a 326-sqare-foot suite with a king bed, to the Micro Queen, a 180-square-foot room with a single queen bed.
"We wanted to maintain the number of rooms the property had, but also as a company, we wanted different entry points for guests," Blood said.
Nightly rates range from the mid-$200s to the upper $400s.
Blood said the bathrooms were gutted and boast new concrete vanities and new shower tiling.
The overall property, according to Blood, who grew up in Saratoga Springs, was inspired by Yaddo and aims to create a gallery-like space that allows artwork to stand out.
"There are some really wonderful things that Saratoga is known for, and one of the less obvious, but stronger appeals is the cultural community," he said. "We used art to pay tribute to that."
Lark Hotels bought the property in November for $4.55 million from Bill Asay and his wife, Mary Cae, who owned it for nearly 18 years.
The couple's son, Cameron, has served as the hotel's general manager for the past four years and decided to stay on when Lark Hotels took over.
"Lark as a company is a pretty aggressively growing group, so I saw it as an interesting opportunity," Cameron said. "My parents needed to retire, so I knew it was coming, and it worked out for the best."
Cameron said he hopes the new look of the property will be warmly received by guests and the community.
"The renovations fit the building well, and I hope everyone will like them," he said. "I think they will."
Blood said that, while interior renovations are complete, exterior work is ongoing.
"The color of the trim was white, and now it's darker, and the brick could be painted," he said. "While we won't change the character of the building, one of our goals is to tie it into Broadway more, since it's set back from the sidewalk."
Blood said the company is working with Saratoga Springs-based Phinney Design Group on the exterior renovations.
"We created something that Saratoga Springs doesn't already have," he said. "And we hope it'll be appealing to guests."