We stayed in a two-room suite, which was far bigger than we needed. Even so, we took a look at a couple of the other guest rooms (124 in total) and they were all spacious. Room decor was minimal and a little bland; carpets needed replacing, but we found the bed comfortable.
Our suite had a flatscreen television in both rooms, a ton of storage space, and two sets of outlets. Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, and moisturizer) were by the Roosevelt Baths and Spa, and were light and eco-friendly.
There is a very basic (a couple of treadmills and some weights) fitness center on the first floor, which we peeked into but did not use. Instead we treated the walking trails of the surrounding state park as our fitness center -- you can also rent bicycles ($15 for two hours; $40 for a day) or hit the tennis court or golf course.
The jewel in the crown however is the Roosevelt Baths and Spa a WPA-era bathhouse where you can follow a time-honored tradition by "taking the waters" in the naturally sparkling mineral waters -- said to reduce stress and improve overall well-being ($30 for 40 minutes). A 'signature' massage will cost you $115 for 60 minutes and access to the (tiny) steam room and the relaxation room is complimentary for hotel guests.
WiFi was free (no password required) and quick enough ... for the basics. If you leave your laptop behind, there are computers available at the first-floor business center.
We had a few meals at the on-site Putnam's, which was solid if not exactly memorable. The restaurant uses local and seasonal produce as far as possible -- and even grows their own herbs and most vegetables on site. We suspect, however, that our breakfast potatoes, which came with an otherwise good Eggs Benedict, weren't quite so fresh. We enjoyed the Sunday morning brunch, especially the sweet stand , but be sure to make a reservation so you don't, like us, incur the wrath of a server who clearly hadn't had their coffee yet.
Location, Location, Location
The resort is part of the 2,300-acre Spa State Natural Park, so you've got natural beauty right there on your doorstep. We recommend taking a donation-based tour of the springs, which leaves from the spa on Saturdays at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. and on Sundays at 10 a.m, 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tour guide, Trent is a fountain of knowledge and pretty convincing on the health benefits of the waters.
The Saratoga Performing Arts Center is a stone's throw away, and if you want to go downtown, it's five minutes on the free shuttle bus, or half an hour walking.
What We Liked
We just loved having a state park on our doorstep. The trees, the spa, and those famous healing waters really made us feel pretty healthy and relaxed by the end of our stay.
What We Didn't Like
With an historic building (dating from 1935 and retaining original fixtures) there come a few inconveniences: thin walls, stale decor, carpet stains ... The clientele, too, skews older and as such we found the atmosphere a little muted.
Management is well aware that the rooms need updating and that they will need to attract a younger crowd to replace their loyal but aging clientele. So that's a start. Working with the state, however, to make said improvements is probably going to be frustrating for them. We love the historical charm and all, but it needs some freshening up; at least some new carpets and a lick of paint.
Midweek October rates start at $165.
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Disclosure: We stayed at the Gideon Putnam as a guest of the resort while on assignment for another publication. All opinions are our own.