Photos @Read Mckendree for Bluebird by Lark
Experience the lively scene in historic Saratoga Springs at Spa City Motor Lodge, an upscale motel with affordable rates and trendy vibes.
Known for its racetrack and performing-arts center, Saratoga Springs, 30 miles north of Albany, is a fab weekend getaway. Experience the lively arts scene, classic architecture, spas, lush parks, and array of fine dining while staying at the new Spa City Motor Lodge (413 Broadway bluebirdhotels.com/hotels/spa-city). An updated take on classic roadside lodging of yesteryear, this upscale motel is an affordable, trendy option (motor lodges are having a moment).
Spa City Motor Lodge, which opened in June of last year, is the first in a new line of Bluebird by Lark, the New England–based boutique hotel company that specializes in adaptive reuse and recycling of properties.
With a prime location, on Broadway, Spa City is a 42-room lodge offering nine different room types. Accommodations are minimalist — a serene retreat from the bustling town. Some rooms have balconies. Each simple-yet-sophisticated guest room has high ceilings with white walls, glossy concrete floors, and white linens. Extra touches include books and artwork by local creatives and light-blocking Levolor blinds for the windows. All rooms face the glass-topped atrium, allowing sunlight to gently wake you in the morning via a tall frosted-glass door sidelight (if you don’t pull down its shade). You get light and privacy, a rarity in original midcentury motels.
In the atrium, seating is positioned on top of a filled-in swimming pool, with the pool cleverly evoked in a painting on the poured-cement floor and a long communal table at one end as the diving board. Arching above the big space is a refurbished glass ceiling through which light pours.
Bluebird’s nod to a self-service, on-the-go motel archetype is evident with the minimal storage for clothing (although they do provide two white cotton robes) and a small fridge in the room. If you need a java fix (no coffee in the room), you can seek out the communal coffee-and-water station in the atrium or hit the happening town.
There, you’ll find The Wine Bar, The Merc Kitchen and Bar, and Cantina. A few blocks away are visitor-faves Seneca, with its creatively rustic meals by a CIA-trained chef, and Tatu Tacos & Tequila, with craft tacos and drinks (don’t miss their churro waffle-and-ice cream dessert).
Self-guided walking tours abound in this scenic town. Walk a few blocks south, to manicured Congress Park, the rambling town green created back in the 1800s, to showcase the town’s various mineral springs, with a historic casino and merry-go-round. Head north on Broadway, past the commercial district, and you’ll come upon beautiful turn-of-the-century mansions with horse-racing motifs and idyllic gardens lining the road to Skidmore College. A few blocks behind the lodge is the Beekman Street Arts District, where artisans and galleries have set up shop. A whole afternoon could be whiled away at Saratoga Spa State Park, a short car ride from downtown. There, you’ll find walking trails, a manicured golf course, a Victorian-era public swimming pool, the historic Gideon Putnam grand hotel, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (with live music), the National Museum of Dance, and a classic-car museum sprinkled among many features from Saratoga’s heyday as a spa town. From $101.