This new resort-style hotel is just off the main drag in the popular upstate New York town of Saratoga Springs, known for its famous racetrack (open in July and August) and mineral springs. Saratoga is mid-way between New York City and the Canadian border, and also between Buffalo or Toronto and Boston, making it a good stopping point for many trips that are just too long to drive in one day. The area also has enough attractions to make a nice weekend or week-long getaway. Besides the racetrack, there are many nice restaurants and art galleries, museums and shopping. Historical sites and natural attractions are also close by; visit the site of the Battle of Saratoga, a turning point in the Revolutionary War, and see the natural geyser in the Saratoga State Park.
Now that I’ve convinced you that Saratoga is a great place to stay, I’ll fill you in on the amenities that the Hampton Inn & Suites has to offer. A new hotel with several stories located at 25 Lake Avenue, it boasts an indoor pool, whirlpool, large fitness room with three TVs, business room with 24-hour computers available (as well as free wifi in the room if you brought your own computer), and complimentary breakfast. The staff is friendly and the overall design seems to be geared for the traveler’s convenience and pleasure.
I noted the following details during my recent stay:
Gadgets: Each room has a 32-inch flat panel HD television, and the suites have one in the living room area and another in the bedroom. It features a wide range of free channels, plus on-demand movies, video games and music channels you can pay for. There is also a bedside clock radio built specifically for the out-of-town guest. On top are buttons that get you pre-selected local stations with a variety of music genres, and you can also plug in your mp3 player using a cord that plugs into any standard headphone jack so you can play your own tunes over the radio’s speakers.
Kitchenette: The living area has a counter with a sink, microwave, refrigerator and coffee maker. The fridge has a freezer large enough to hold a week’s worth of frozen entrees, as well as beverages and other cold foods below in the refrigerator section. Save money by bringing your own food and snacks.
Comfort: The beds have a pillow-top mattress, comfy sheets, a generously-sized comforter, and extra pillows that are nice and fluffy. Our king-sized bed had 5 pillows; no need to call down to the desk to ask for extra pillows. There is even a lap desk if you want to eat or work in bed.
Décor: functional and attractive furniture leaves plenty of room to move around. A nice desk gives you room to work or eat sitting up in a regular desk chair. The couch is comfortable, and also folds out to make another bed. Our room also contained a comfy chair, ottoman and coffee table. The walls are decorated with attractive artwork and there are even fake plants to make you feel at home.
Bathroom: The uniquely shaped shower curtain rod gives you more shoulder room in the standard-sized bathtub. Our room was equipped with a generous amount of nice, fluffy towels and more of these were available in the pool area. The vanity was wide and tall (the height of a standard kitchen counter rather than normal vanity height), and equipped with a built-in blow dryer and necessities such as soap, shampoo and a shower cap.
Convenience: Aside from the other items of convenience already mentioned, such as the in-room fridge, microwave and coffee maker, there is a full-size ironing board and iron in the closet. The suites have two closets, one of which is large enough to house a fully-assembled portable crib. The rooms also have several mirrors, the closets have plenty of hangers and there is a roomy dresser with a special shelf for shoes.
Breakfast: The Hampton Inn does not have a restaurant that serves lunch and dinner, but don’t let that fool you into believing that the complimentary breakfast will be sub-par. In addition to hot coffee and tea, juice, cereal, pastries, toast, bagels, and English muffins, they serve hot items such as eggs and sausage, fresh fruit and yogurt. The breakfast area is large but divided into several smaller spaces, complete with fireplace and large-screen TV. Whether you have five minutes or an hour in which to break your fast, you won’t be disappointed.
Parking: Saratoga is a busy for a small city and parking is often hard to come by, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. The Hampton Inn has its own parking lot (across the street) if you are unable to find a spot at one of the nearby public lots. The hotel is within walking distance to most of the downtown area so you might consider just walking to your destination when you leave the hotel for the evening. The front entrance has a large circular driveway you can use when loading or unloading your luggage if you don’t want to carry it from the parking lot. Because this hotel is in the city, it doesn’t have a parking lot surrounding the building like many hotels do that are not located in a downtown area.
No hotel is perfect, though I found most details at this one to be more than satisfactory. A couple of things did have room for improvement: we found the air conditioning in our room rather noisy. We were also puzzled by the minuscule trash cans in the rooms, which were hardly large enough to dispose of a six pack of empty soda cans. I also noted that I wasn’t the only person who had trouble with the top of the milk pitchers, which were located near the single-portion cereal boxes in the breakfast area. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to pour the milk into a cup (there was no milk near the other beverages, and no cups near the milk) or whether it was meant to be reserved for use in cereal bowls only, but when I went to pour it, at first nothing came out and then I spilled it. The man behind me in line did the same thing, so it wasn’t just me.
Overall, The Hampton Inn & Suites is a great place to stay. I consider it a bit on the pricey side, but the amenities made it well worth the extra money. It would be good for a business trip and also great for a family vacation when your travels take you to Saratoga Springs or anywhere in New York’s Capital Region.