SARATOGA SPRINGS – Two thoroughbred racehorse owners are joining in a $50 million proposed project to link the city’s two historic hotels – the Rip Van Dam and The Adelphi – into one large luxury lodge.
Michael Dubb, founder of Beechwood Homes, said he is partnering with The Adelphi Hotel owner Larry Roth in the proposal to restore and expand the neglected and dilapidated 1840 Rip Van Dam Hotel into a 30-room spacious inn with concierge service, a gym and spa — all of which will be linked to The Adelphi next door on Broadway.
“It’s in the heart of town,” Dubb said. “We are preserving and restoring the original façade and restoring the interior that is in disrepair. It really will be nice to bring back the Rip Van Dam building and the area of Broadway to its original grandeur.”
The Rip Van Dam will open with 15 rooms, larger than those in the 32-room Adelphi, by November. The old Italianate-style hotel, by then incorporated in to The Adelphi, will expand in the project’s second phase — an addition in the rear that will include the remainder of the rooms and and a complex of 90 luxury apartments with onsite parking for 100. Apartment dwellers, he said, will be able to share in the hotel amenities including an expanded ballroom and conservatory in The Adelphi — and the distinctive menus at their restaurants Salt & Char and Morrissey’s Lounge & Bistro.
Dubb and Roth also promised the Rip Van Dam will reflect the interior design and décor of The Adelphi – making for a seamless experience for guests. The Adelphi was fully renovated about four years ago.
“It will be beautiful,” Dubb said.
In recent years, plans to restore the Rip Van Dam have failed. The opulent hotel that once stood alongside other elegant 19th century resorts like the United States and the Grand Union hotels was purchased by Bruce Levinsky in the 1990s. He had an $11 million plan to renovate it into an upscale Ramada Plaza Suite.
When that didn’t happen, brothers James and Thomas D’Iorio, took over the site with a $45 million renovation plan for the brick building. But in their hands, the property fell into foreclosure. That was 2019 and that’s when Roth stepped in to buy it.
Roth said he always wanted to buy the Rip Van Dam, because he thought he might want to add more rooms. He was also fearful that another hotel would move in.
“We are a boutique, exclusive, luxurious hotel,” Roth said of The Adelphi. “My fear was it wouldn’t be the same quality or same type hotel. When the property became available through foreclosure, I decided to buy it. I probably overpaid for it. But when you want something badly and you have a vision of what you could do, you sometimes have to pay a little more than you want.”
He said he then brought in Dubb because he’s a close friend and because of his work, building premier homes on Long Island.
“I asked him to develop the property with me,” Roth said. “He looked at it and had the same vision I did. It’s the best piece of property in Saratoga and we should develop it.”
But when asked if a luxury hotel could survive a shaky, post-pandemic economy, Roth said it could and The Adelphi is proof. Though 2020 was tough, he said The Adelphi now has a 90 percent occupancy rate. He said the restaurant, Morrissey’s, is also doing well. Because of that, he is expanding Morrissey’s into the space once occupied by the hotel’s other, now shuttered, Blue Hen restaurant.
Salt & Char, the Rip Van Dam’s restaurant, is also getting an upgrade. It is currently closed and will be reopened in June.
Dubb said restorations, which have already begun, won’t interrupt Adelphi guests as the work done by Bonacio Construction will be on the exterior and interior of the Rip Van Dam.
The expanded hotel and apartments, however, still need city approvals. If approved, Roth said the adjoining building is estimated to be open in the spring of 2023.
“It’s going to be spectacular,” Roth said. “It will be a great destination for the northeast — three hours from Boston, three hours from Montreal, three hours from New York City and probably the same from Buffalo. We are very, very excited about the project.”