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 Select Registry

Saratoga Arms, located in downtown Saratoga Springs, NY, was recently honored by admittance into Select Registry, Distinguished Inns of North America, the premier innkeeping association in the United States and Canada. Out of the thousands of inns in North America, only an elite few will be invited to join Select Registry this year. Saratoga Arms joins more than 400 other exceptional properties that are already members of the Association.

Saratoga Arms, one of Saratoga Springs luxury hotels, exemplifies the high quality and service championed by this Association,” says Select Registry Executive Director Keith Kehlbeck. “Select Registry assures the traveler that each of its inns is regularly inspected-anonymously and with an overnight inspection that measures the quality of hospitality, as well as the physical plant. Our members share a high standard of excellence, and each of our country inns, luxury B & B’s, and unique small hotels has its own distinctive character.”

Founded in 1972 as the Independent Innkeepers’ Association by Norman Simpson, “the Father of Country Inn travel in America,” Select Registry is an offshoot of Simpson’s popular and pioneering book, Country Inns and Back Roads.  The name and logo of the organization were changed several years ago to reflect the group’s approach to marketing its selective and distinguished member properties.  Originally established in the Berkshire area of New England, the nonprofit organization is now headquartered in historic Marshall, Michigan. Member inns must meet the rigorous standards of a Quality Assurance program, and represent the most prestigious establishments of their type.

As a marketing association, Select Registry partners with other brands and organizations-such as BMW, Karen Brown’s Guides, DiRoNA, UK Tour Operator Select Vacations, PhoCusWright, Ontario’s Finest Inns and the American Heart Association to name a few-to promote its members to target audiences.  Its celebrated guidebook-now in its 20th Edition-is distributed each year to nearly 400,000 guests throughout North America.  The organization also maintains a critically-acclaimed website, supervises gift certificate and loyalty programs, and organizes promotions for its members, including last year’s inaugural “Inn-credible Breakfast Cook-off,” a breakfast recipe culinary competition that produced nearly 30 million media impressions.

Saratoga Arms is an award winning 1870 Second Empire brick concierge hotel under the personal supervision of the proprietors, Kathleen and Noel Smith and their daughter Amy Smith. This Saratoga Springs, NY inn is located in the downtown district within walking distance to restaurants, museums, shopping, and colleges. Saratoga Arms features beautifully appointed rooms, some with fireplaces and double whirlpool tubs. Guests of the inn may take advantage of on-site massage and facial services, and an exercise room. Saratoga Arms also offers a state of the art executive conference room and specializes in Small Meetings in Grand Style.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

One of the perks of spending my winter on Sanibel Island is to partake of the “Forum” at BIG ARTS .  Many interesting speakers on a variety of topics give a thirty-five minute lecture and take questions from an audience that can seat no more than 415 people.  The hottest ticket this past winter was for the Justice Ginsburg’s lecture.  When Mr. Brown down the street was unable to attend and gave me his ticket, I jumped at the chance to hear my second speech from a sitting Supreme Court Justice.  Ten years ago I was a guest at a luncheon where Justice Scalia spoke.

Justice Ginsburg spoke about writing descenting opinions and took several questions from the audience.  Her husband cooks for her every night, her greatest treat is an opera, she thinks Linda Greenhouse at The New York Times has a brillant command and talent for interpeting what goes on at the Court, the Court receives between seven and nine thousand petitions per year–some of which are handwritten from prisioners, and she socializes with Justice Scalia.  

At the end of the lecture Justice Ginsburg went into the reception hall to meet and greet.  (She donned a pair of beige gloves for the handshaking.)  I went in to the reception hall to meet the folks I had come with looking for my ride home.  It was Justice Ginsburg, her Secret Service contingent and me. 

Without the need for a handshake and without a question, I told Justice Ginsburg that I was at Saratoga Racecourse the same day several years ago that she was a guest of the president of Skidmore College.  She sat in a box on the finish line and I sat in a box many rows behind her.  I told her that each time the people behind her either exited their boxes or returned to their boxes, they were interviewed by her Secret Service contingent.  With just two minutes to posttime for the seventh race, a Damon Runyon type jumped out of his box to run to the betting windows.  The Secret Service jumped on him.  Eager to get his wager down, he loudly exclaimed  to Justice Ginsburg’s bodyguards, “I’m here to play the horses.  What is she here for?  She hasn’t moved all day!”

By then a line had formed behind me.  Justice Ginsburg looked up and welcomed the next person.

I’m Back

I returned to Saratoga Springs last week after a wonderful winter on Sanibel Island.  I drove down in January by way of a fabric mill in South Carolina.  (The sign on the door of the mill advised, “No Loaded Firearms Allowed Inside”.)  I stopped in Atlanta for America’s Mart, where I ordered some wonderful lamps and furniture and rugs for the terraces.  I arrived back at Saratoga Arms in time for the US Food show across the street at the City Center where I chose the new china pattern for the hotel.  We have been using a service for three hundred that we purchased nearly thirty years ago when we were in the restaurant game.

Even though I get to spend my winters in sunny Florida, I try to use that time to expedite the constant refreshing that enables us to earn the title of the nicest hotel in town. It’s obvious I didn’t use my Florida time to refresh my blog.