Saratoga Arms is a beautifully restored, award winning, Second Empire brick hotel. It was built in 1870 by Loren Putnam, a grandson of Gideon Putnam. It has been called The Putnam, The Walton, and The Windsor. The structure today is actually two adjoining buildings. In recent years it was a rooming house run by Alice Bode, a Brooklyn woman who inherited the building in the 1950’s. She ran it until her death in 1995 at the age of 93. Kathleen and Noel Smith purchased the buildings in 1997 and obtained a building permit in February 1998. They oversaw extensive and some unexpected renovations. It reopened as a luxury sixteen room inn in February of 1999.
The building features restored plaster and tin ceilings, two grand staircases, ornate moldings, and ceiling medallions. Cloisonné hinges and hardware, most in excellent condition, grace the entry doors and parlor windows. The chandelier in the front dining room and the beautiful ornamental plasterwork on the walls in the center dining area date back to the last remodeling effort done in 1923. Eleven of the fourteen original fireplaces in the common rooms and several guestrooms have been restored to working order.
Guestrooms combine turn of the century ambience with modern amenities. All rooms have ensuite baths, several with original claw foot tubs. Each shower in the original building has a hand painted tile with an interesting Saratoga quote or fact. It is often a topic of conversation at the breakfast table. The fun fact tiles earned the hotel a mention in “Hotel-hopping with the best of them” in USA Today.
Period antiques, family treasures and custom décor, designed by Kathleen and her friends Michaela Baruzzi of Carriage House Interiors and Pamela Whitney of Whitney Interiors, combine to carry on an elegant Saratoga style. The friends all have an eye for style and spent countless hours choosing just the right pieces, fabrics and colors for each of the rooms. Many of the furnishings and accessories are from local estates and long gone grand old city hotels, finding a new home at Saratoga Arms. The call box behind the front desk is from the former Excelsior Springs Hotel in Saratoga Springs. In the third floor hallway are two small upholstered chairs originally from the Grand Union Hotel, purchased from the estate of Mrs. Esposito.
Artwork from regional artists, such as Lucy Cadeau and William Roberts, are focal points throughout the hotel. Old portraits, landscapes and equine art reflect the history and lure of Saratoga.
In 2005 with the completion of a new addition, the number of guest rooms went from sixteen to thirty-one. The new rooms, each individually decorated with beautiful fabrics and custom designed furniture, complement the craftsmanship of the 1870 artisans.
The expansion features a state-of-the-art executive conference room for small meetings and retreats. It is the President Grant Conference Room, so named because Noel Smith is a descendent of President Ulysses S. Grant. Two pictures of President Grant, one a portrait, the other of a rare family gathering, hang prominently in the Grant Conference Room. Examples of the Grant White House china are displayed on the wall. Saratoga Arms specializes in small meetings in grand style.
The jewel of Saratoga Arms is the beautiful wraparound Saratoga porch that welcomes you as you approach the hotel and begs you to linger as you depart. It serves as a gathering place for guests and visitors to enjoy a glass of wine or Craft Beer. A collection of wicker extends an invitation to engage in lively conversation with other guests or to leisurely enjoy the activities of Broadway.
Noel Smith was a graduate of the University of Denver with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration. He had been associated with restaurants and hotels all his working life. Kathleen Smith is a life-long resident of Saratoga Springs and has been active in community affairs for much of her professional life. She can answer just about any question about Saratoga presented to her. Kathleen met Noel in his hometown of Rochester, New York, and lured him to Saratoga in 1969. Until twenty years ago the Smiths operated restaurants (the hardest way to make a living!) on Broadway in Saratoga Springs.
In 1984 Noel and Kathleen purchased a dilapidated motel and an old seven bedroom farmhouse on five acres on the outskirts of Saratoga Springs. They refurbished the motel and redesigned the farmhouse pioneering the Bed and Breakfast concept in this city. In 1990 a wonderful 1850 brick Federal next door was added to the lodging collection.
In 1997 the Smiths were enticed to look at two side by side falling down buildings on Broadway known as the Alice Bode Rooming House. Alice had died in 1995 at 93 years of age and left sixteen gentlemen boarders in the buildings now known as Saratoga Arms. In February of 1998 the Smiths had purchased the buildings, obtained a building permit from the city and commenced a transformation. The architect was charged with designing a “Saratoga Porch” that would unite the two buildings.
The Smiths raised their three daughters “in the business.” In 1998 Amy, the eldest of the Smith daughters left the corporate world and came home to run Saratoga Bed and Breakfast and Saratoga Motel while her parents concentrated on the downtown Saratoga Arms hotel. Amy’s undergraduate degree from Hamilton College was in philosophy, and her graduate work was in sports management. Her employment by a sports marketing company at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics proved invaluable to her parents. She revamped the websites, set up an online reservation system and moved her parents and the business into the twenty-first century.
In 2002 Saratoga Bed and Breakfast and Saratoga Motel was sold, and Amy joined her parents at Saratoga Arms. In 2004 and 2005 they oversaw a major expansion to the hotel. An addition that features seventeen additional sleeping rooms, a fitness center, offices, and state of the art conference facilities were added in the vacant lot behind the hotel that had been a six car parking lot.
In 2009, Sheila, the middle daughter, her husband and triplet children moved home to Saratoga Springs after several years in Atlanta, GA. Sheila has a degree in Hotel Management from Becker College, and while there was on the National Championship Basketball team. She oversees our Group Sales department and helps plan Small Meetings in Grand Style.
Saratoga Arms is under the direct supervision of the Smith family. Kathleen lives on the premises. Amy, Sheila and their families live just a few miles away.
I have lived and raised my family in the Saratoga Spring area for more than 35 years. It is a great place to live. We have access to the arts, museums, great dining options and locally owned shopping. My three children graduated from Saratoga schools. They all have wonderful spouses and have blessed me with ten delightful grandchildren. My family has a long history with the Smith family. While in high school, my daughter worked for them at their Bed and Breakfast out on Church Street. Smith daughter, Sheila, and my daughter became friends in high school and were in each other’s weddings. I have been to the weddings of all three Smith daughters, celebrated happy occasions and mourned losses with them.
Eighteen years ago I joined the Saratoga Arms team before there was a team. My desk was in Noel and Kathleen’s living room. It was just the three of us plus a hardworking housekeeper with limited English skills. With the 2005 addition that doubled our size, my desk was moved out of that living room into a bonifide office space located where our guest pantry is now (without the M&M’s). Progress means change and my office eventually gave way to the popular guest pantry and I moved back to where I began, but it was no longer the Smith’s living room. We recently converted private quarter rooms to office space, so with yet another move, and I am now in office #4.
My primary responsibility is managing reservations and room placements, correspondence and communication with guests, front desk assistance, concierge duties and the all-encompassing “and other duties”. Over the years there is not a job in the hotel I have not done at least once.
I enjoy the interaction with our guests and welcoming them to their home away from home. With the coming and goings of our visitors, no two days are ever the same. Some of the most interesting people in the world from celebs to politicos have walked through our doors. Keep your eyes open, you never know who may be enjoying breakfast at the next table.
Dining Room Manager
My name is Gary and for the past 4 years I have been the dining room manager at Saratoga Arms. The best part of working in the dining room is meeting new people and seeing familiar faces. Saratoga’s history, art, fine dining and beautiful buildings is why I love it here. If you stay with us, make sure you enjoy our delicious farm to table homemade breakfast. Many of our guest compliment us on the offerings, with unique dishes with an emphasis on local. We personalize each order, so that you truly have a 5-Star experience.
When I am not at work, you will find me outdoors enjoying the sun. I love nature, hiking, biking and camping. One of my favorite local mountains to hike is Hadley. I am an animal lover. I have two unique cats that I have rescued.
Food and Beverage Manager
My name is Cat Royal. I fulfill the Food and Beverage needs of our guests and business clientele. My career at Saratoga Arms began in the spring of 2014 after moving back home. Previously I was criss-crossing the country working in the natural foods world. My experience in so many diverse local food scenes opened my senses to all the exceptional farms, and unique foods, even wine, we have around us in beautiful upstate NY. I am excited and proud of the connections and friendships we have built with our local food artisans. Our guests experience this every morning when they sit down to a genuine “farm to table” breakfast. You may hear me say “it’s the best breakfast in town”, all true, and don’t be shy, try everything. Saratoga Springs rivals San Francisco, New Orleans even NYC in restaurants to people ratio. The food scene here is amazing and ever growing, I highly recommend a stroll through the local farmer’s market. Open year round and full of one of a kind, seasonal treats to sample. My time outside the hotel is spent traveling, cooking and seeking out a farmer’s market I haven’t yet visited.
Overnight Front Desk
I’m Chris O’Leary and I work the front desk and overnights at The Saratoga Arms. If you happen to arrive late, I’ll make sure you get the excellent service we’re known for no matter the hour. All the stress of travel disappears the minute you step into one of our beautifully appointed rooms, each with its own individual motif and original works of art in each room.
I’m a fine art painter of Contemporary Realism, and the Saratoga Arms is an inspiration for my art. One of the most beautiful buildings in a very beautiful city, our hotel is filled with history and antiques, art and architecture. From the craftsmanship of the painted enamel hinges and etched glass of our 19th century front doors, to the historic photographs around every corner, to the original drawings, prints and oil paintings by the greatest regional painters and artists, you’ll enjoy a unique, museum-quality collection of the culture and art of Saratoga Springs seen only by our guests. And maybe one of those paintings is mine.
My family has been in Saratoga Springs for over a hundred years, so I can help you find the places that define our city that others may miss, like Grant’s cottage, the Petrified Gardens, and Yaddo. I’m involved in the arts community; I have a sculpture in front of the National Museum of Dance, and I perform at The Comedy Works, the best small comedy club in America, where the biggest names in comedy come to perform every week. With Shakespeare in the Park, The Spa Little Theater, and a busy concert season, I’ll help you find the cultural events in Saratoga Springs that will make your stay with us an unforgettable experience.
Front Desk/Content Editor
I just joined the Saratoga Arms team after many years in the hospitality industry. I have worked in hotels, managed restaurants and planned weddings throughout my career. I’m from the North Shore of Massachusetts, but I have lived in Saratoga Springs for 15 years. I enjoy meeting all of our guests and showing them all of the wonderful things our vibrant downtown has to offer. From restaurants and bars, to museums and shopping, to the iconic Saratoga Racetrack, there is something for every single traveler that passes through our city. I love nothing more than creating a memorable experience for our guests! When I am not at work I enjoy cooking and entertaining, reading, and spending quality time with my son, Rory.
Hello from Saratoga Arms. My name is Colleen and I have been with the Saratoga Arms sales department since early 2018. Professionally, I come from over 25 years of hotel sales experience and retail background. It seems I have found my place in this beautiful, 30 room hotel. Did you know that as of late 2017, we are now a 4 Diamond hotel and in 2018 rated #2 in the US on Trip Advisor’s Traveler’s Choice awards? These accolades happened before I started – and I see these awards as a great testament to how incredible the staff is at Saratoga Arms. The Smith Family has created a unique, upscale hotel for small groups to be able to have their small meetings in a grand environment. When I am not at the hotel, my Husband Bart and I are running around with our two children, ages 12 and 14, to sports programs and drama club. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, yoga and tennis.
My name is Rob, and I am one of the Chefs at Saratoga Arms. I am a relative newcomer to the hotel, now well into my second year. I graduated from New England Culinary Institute in Vermont and have worked and lived in the Saratoga region for most of my life. Working in several local restaurants and also as an Adjunct instructor teaching in the culinary program at a local community college. I remember Saratoga as a sleepy little city in the 70’s. It’s exciting to see what a vibrant city it has become with a wide range of activities and restaurants featuring cuisines from around the globe.