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.