The name “Putnam” is pretty much unavoidable in Saratoga, where tourists and locals alike can mosey down Putnam Street, grab a soup and sandwich at Putnam Market and dance the night away to a live concert at Putnam Place (which is owned by Saratoga Living’s owner). Of course, the eponym of the street, market and nightclub is Gideon Putnam, the unofficial founder of Saratoga Springs, who also happens to be the namesake of one of the Spa City’s most famous hotels.
Opening in the Saratoga Spa—what’s now the Saratoga Spa State Park—in 1935, the Gideon Putnam Hotel originally hosted guests who came to the city to test its medicinal waters. To this day, the National Historic Landmark hotel is a short walk from the Roosevelt Baths & Spa, and hotel guests enjoy complimentary use of the spa’s relaxation and steam rooms.
While it was Saratoga’s healing mineral waters that made the Gideon Putnam what it is today, it was regular old H2O that threatened to destroy 85 years of serving Spa City tourists. In January 2018, severe flooding—we’re talking hundreds of thousands of gallons of water from a ruptured water main in the basement—forced the hotel to shut down for several months. When it finally reopened, the hotel had undergone major renovations to its guest rooms, bathrooms, corridors, lobby and restaurant; and equine artwork, by local artist Frankie Flores, was brought in to adorn the walls. “In combination with the other renovations that we have completed in recent years, our guests will now be staying in an almost fully renovated, elegant and historic hotel,” Paul Jeppson, east regional vice president of Delaware North, the Buffalo-based company that operates the hotel, said at the time.
This past spring, the hotel had to close down yet again, this time due to the COVID-19 crisis, but reopened on August 1 with new health guidelines in place to keep guests safe and at ease (the Roosevelt Spa and all the hotel’s food offerings, including its restaurant, remained closed at press time). With an 85-year record of serving up the best in luxury and customer service, it seems a leaky pipe and global pandemic are no match for the iconic Gideon Putnam Hotel.
The Gideon Putnam By The Numbers:
124 Number of guest rooms
12,000 Number of square feet of meeting and event space in the hotel
20 Amount, in millions of dollars, Delaware North will spend renovating and refreshing the hotel under its 20-year contract with New York State ($13 million has already been invested)
275,000 Approximate number of gallons of water that spilled into the hotel’s basement in January 2018 because of a water main break
11 Height, in feet, of the water in the basement after the water main break
131 Number of days the hotel was closed this year due to COVID-19 (March 23–August 1)
50 Number of pieces of artwork, historic photographs of Saratoga and historical murals that adorn the hotel’s corridors and other areas