PAUL SMITHS — For decades, Paul Smith’s College and the Saranac Hotel in Saranac Lake were synonymous, with the school operating the lodging property as a full-service hotel and learning center in the middle of the village.
The relationship began in 1961 when the college took over the 88-room hotel. The college’s hotel and culinary management programs were a perfect match for the needs of the inn and its clientele.
Students were educated 10 miles away on campus and then used that knowledge in a real-life environment at the hotel. However, that relationship ended in 2007 when Paul Smith sold the Saranac Hotel to the Arora family, who in turn sold it to New Hampshire-based Roedel Companies in 2013.
The Roedel family has long-standing ties to Lake Saranac: their mother was born and raised in the village, and their grandfather was a doctor who treated tuberculosis patients. The Roedels embarked on a $30 million revival of the Saranac Hotel with the goal of restoring the property to its lost grandeur, but with modern resort amenities.
The roots of the hotel’s design can be traced back to Palazzo Davanzati in Florence, Italy. Now that Paul Smith has understood the importance of the hotel to the community’s economy, the two entities are set to partner again, according to a press release.
As part of the hotel’s restoration, the school will receive a lecture hall on the ground floor, which will be named Paul Smith’s College Hall.
The hotel property also intends to name other rooms.
“It’s important to us to honor this relationship that dates back approximately five decades,” said Fred Roedel, Chief Financial Officer. “Looking at the present and the future, I think it’s the right time for both parties to re-engage. It’s a small start, but it’s still a start. We’re proud that one of our conference rooms bears the name of Paul Smith’s College.
As the “new” Hotel Saranac seeks to establish ties to the Adirondacks and the Tri-Lakes region, Roedel added that other rooms in the hotel will also bear names endemic to the region.
Official naming and opening events are planned for the weekend of October 23-24 and will involve former Paul Smith students who worked at the Saranac Hotel.