Tyler Herrick, the 36-yearold general manager of Glens Falls’ Queensbury Hotel, has an understanding of hotels and their roles as the hubs of cities large and small that belies his relative youth. “For travelers, the Queensbury was the formal entrance to the city; for residents, it was the setting for civic functions, wedding receptions, retirement parties and family gatherings. We’re not only restoring the hotel to its original grandeur, we’re restoring it to its original purpose,” Herrick says as he points here and there to period details in the newly refurbished lobby.
Fortunately, Herrick is also young enough to know that urban hotels like the 90-year-old Queensbury are being revived in cities as large as Portland, Maine and as small as Hudson and Saranac Lake, helping to revitalize the communities they were meant to serve. They’re not stuffy but chic, and with the aid of architects and designers from the Phinney Design Group and local craftsmen and artisans, the Queensbury Hotel’s new owners are bringing their historic property up to date. According to Eric Rottingen, the Queensbury’s director of sales, the hotel’s owners see their business investment as a long-range investment in the city of Glens Falls. “And the response from the community has been phenomenal,” said Rottingen. The Queensbury’s management team has had little more than a year to start implementing a vision for a revitalized hotel. The sale to local businessman Ed Moore was announced in March, 2016. Moore, who owns the French Mountain Commons outlet center and Log Jam restaurant in Queensbury, as well as real estate in downtown Glens Falls, is even better known as a civic leader, a member, for instance of the Adirondack Civic Center Coalition, which purchased the Glens Falls Civic Center from the city. Moore contracted with Spruce Hospitality Group, founded by Herrick and Moore’s son Zach, to manage the hotel. “Our family believes deeply in the future of the region, and we see The Queensbury as a big part of that future. We have a steady, responsible investment plan for the property that will make people want to return to The Queensbury,” said Zach Moore. Herrick said the initial phases of renovations include the lobby and common areas and the hotel’s 125 guest rooms. The renovation and expansion of event spaces and the construction of a rooftop cocktail lounge will follow. According to Herrick, The Queensbury’s two restaurants have a vital role in bringing people back to the hotel and, for that matter, to downtown Glens Falls.
The Garden on the Park has been re-branded as Park 26 and is overseen by Dan Mattocks, a Bolton Landing chef who has worked at the Sagamore and Chateau on the Lake. “Dan shares our vision of bringing high quality gastropub dining to Glens Falls,” said Herrick. “Much like what we’re doing with the hotel, we’re asking our chefs to re-imagine our dining experiences in new and exciting ways.” Park 26 now offers breakfast and lunch daily, not only in the dining room and bar but in the outdoor patio facing City Park. Dinner is served Thursdays through Saturdays until 9 pm. That’s satisfying a longfelt need for a downtown restaurant suitable for business lunches and dinners, said Herrick. Fenimore’s, the hotel’s pub, serves dinner every day until 10 pm, enabling it to accommodate those attending Adirondack Theatre Festival performances, events at The Hyde or other downtown functions. Music has also returned to the hotel, the newly-elegant lobby providing the perfect stage for jazz pianist Ray Alexander and his trios and an appropriate setting for evening cocktails, said Herrick.
Eric Rottingen, who’s led or been part of sales teams at the Woodstock Inn in Vermont, at The Sagamore and even The Queensbury in its previous incarnations, said business is rebounding. “Groups are putting their trust back in The Queensbury. We’re very pleased with the interest we’re seeing in special events, from business meetings, conferences and banquets to family celebrations and weddings,” he said. “There’s no place like this in the area,” Rottingen continued. “We’re within close range of Lake George and Saratoga but during their peak seasons, more affordable for groups and meetings. We also have the city to offer, no matter what the season.