Welcome to Cvent’s Meeting and Event Planning Guide to Saratoga – a city guide for meeting planning professionals. Nestled in scenic upstate New York, Saratoga has long been a popular destination for tourists looking to enjoy a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle without losing out on big city amenities. In fact, the city is a hotspot throughout the year, whether for horse racing in the summer or skiing and snowboarding in the surrounding parkland during the winter. Now, with modern, fully equipped meeting facilities, a convenient location, and a host of unique options for group entertainment, Saratoga is also making a name for itself on the meeting and event planning scene
Located just off I-87, Saratoga is an extremely accessible destination for those driving from points through the Northeast. The city is only about three hours from Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Montreal. Air travel is equally convenient, thanks to Albany International Airport (ALB), located about 30 minutes from Saratoga. As the primary air center for New York's Capital Region, the airport sees 75 departures and arrivals every day, with direct flights to many major cities in North America, including Toronto, Washington DC, Orlando, Las Vegas, Atlanta and New York City.
Whether traveling to Saratoga for a conference, annual reception, or corporate retreat, both attendees and planners are met with a number of options for meeting venues. Certainly the largest facility is the impressive Saratoga Springs City Center, located downtown just steps away from the city's best entertainment and dining offerings. Currently undergoing a $16 million expansion, the center will, by fall 2010, offer 32,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space and several new or refurbished conference rooms and function areas.
The Saratoga Springs City Center also offers the convenience of the attached 242-room Saratoga Hilton, the largest hotel in the city. In addition to first-class lodging and amenities, the hotel provides 19 function rooms for meetings and events. A number of other hotels in Saratoga also serve as ideal options for both accommodations and event space, from the historic 31-room Saratoga Arms to the sprawling Gideon Putnam Resort, whose recently restored conference center can host up to 500 people.
When it comes to after-hours receptions, memorable team building, or even just lunchtime meeting breaks, Saratoga offers plenty of unique venues to accommodate groups of all sizes. Many of Saratoga's museums, including the National Museum of Dance and National Museum of Racing, offer one-of-a-kind backdrops for meetings of up to 400 guests. The iconic Saratoga Race Track makes for an exciting day trip for groups, who can watch the races from the comfort of a luxury suite or enjoy a full buffet trackside at the At the Rail Pavilion.
Located in upstate New York about 35 miles north of Albany, Saratoga has long been a hotspot for travelers looking for a relaxing getaway. Once the site of the historic Battle of Saratoga (often called the “Turning Point of the Revolutionary War”), the area developed into a popular spa and resort town, thanks greatly to its wealth of mineral springs, which were believed to have healing powers. Through the latter half of the 19th century, Saratoga was the place to be for motion picture stars and wealthy industry elite, who came to the city to relax, let loose, and stay in one of its grand hotels, one of which – the Grand Union Hotel – was the largest of its kind at the time.
Though many of its hotels and casinos from that era have since closed, Saratoga is more vibrant and lively than ever, offering visitors plenty of ways to kick back and indulge just like those who came before them. Guests can still indulge in the soothing mineral baths, not to mention body treatments and massages, at spas such as Crystal Spa and Roosevelt Baths & Spa. Or, take things up a notch by placing a bet at the historic Saratoga Race Track, the oldest operating sports venue in the United States. The annual 40-day summer race meet now sees over 40 graded stakes races and attracts the world’s best horses, best jockey’s and most well-known owners.
Though many of the Saratoga's attractions celebrate its ties to the past, it also boasts a vibrant, modern arts and culture scene. Given awards for its "Great American Main Street," Saratoga features a lively downtown area that's brimming with performance venues, art galleries, boutiques, and more. Explore local art work at one of the shops in the Beekman Street Art District, which is also home to stunning turn-of-the-century architecture. Catch a show at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, which serves as the summer home of the New York City Ballet and The Philadelphia Orchestra.
The downtown area is also home to a number of excellent restaurants, serving everything from contemporary American to rustic Italian to authentic Southern specialties. At Hattie's Restaurant, diners can enjoy mouth-watering homemade desserts and fried chicken, which beat that of celebrity chef Bobby Flay in a Food Network Television "Throw Down." Or, turn dinner into a night on the town by grabbing snacks and drinks at one of the area pubs and bars such as the historic Saratoga City Tavern, which features four floors and the only rooftop bar in the city.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Saratoga features an enviable climate, with high temperatures in the coolest month of the year (January or February) at around 32°F and high temperatures in the warmest month of the year (July) at about 84°F. Snowfall, however, can be high during the winter months of December through March.
No matter what time of year, Saratoga always has something exciting in store. A year-round itinerary of events, from the annual Chowderfest in February to the racing season in July, keep things exciting whether the weather is hot or cold.
Saratoga Springs City Center
Located in downtown Saratoga Springs, the Saratoga City Center is certainly the crown jewel of the city's meeting and event facilities. Comprised of both the center itself and the adjacent 242-room Saratoga Hilton, the facility recently completed an exciting renovation project that includes 12,000 square feet of new exhibit and meeting space, new second-floor conference and seminar rooms, and refurbished lobby and function areas.
The center's original space includes over 20,000 square feet of flexible venues. The main hall, divisible into four spaces, can accommodate over 2,000 people. The center's experience staff can provide or arrange for a host of services, including catering, event decorating and audio-visual technology.
The adjacent Saratoga Hilton – the largest hotel in Saratoga – boasts an additional 19 function areas, including 6,300-square-foot Saratoga Ballroom and 3,500-square-foot Grand Ballroom. The hotel and center are conveniently located with walking distance of more than 50 restaurants, nightlife venues, retail shops and more.
Albany International Airport (ALB)
Approximate taxi fare: $60-65 USD
Located about 30 minutes from Saratoga, Albany International Airport is the primary air center for New York's Capital Region, handling about 75 commercial arrivals and departures every day. In the late 1990s, the airport completed a $158 million Airport Improvement Project that resulted in a new terminal complete with various passenger amenities. The airport plans to continue to grow its facilities to meet the needs of the increasing number of passengers and airlines with the five-year $232 million Capital Plan.
Among the amenities to be enjoyed at Albany International are a range of dining options, several gift shops and the distinguished Arts & Culture Program, through which the airport displays unique art works throughout the terminal. The airport also has a well-equipped business center, meeting space for up to 100 people, and complimentary Internet service.
Airline carriers serving Albany International Airport
The Saratoga Springs Amtrak Station serves two convenient and affordable Amtrak routes. The Adirondack travels daily from New York City through the Hudson Valley up to Montreal. The Ethan Allen Express runs from New York City to Rutland, Vermont.
Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) Bus Line
The Capital District Transportation Authority serves 2,300 square miles that encompass the counties of Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady. With over 300 vehicles, the CDTA serves over 15 million people a year.
The CDTA runs seven routes in Saratoga, though schedules of operation may vary based on season. Route 875, the Saratoga Visitors Trolley, stops at various points of interest including Broadway, City Hall, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and National Museum of Dance.
CDTA buses operate on a zone system, with base fares starting at $1.50. One-day and three-day, which allow for unlimited use, are available for $4 and $10, respectively.
Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and National have on-site counters at Albany International Airport. Counters are located in the baggage claim area. Thrifty has off-premise offices for Saratoga visitors.
Capitaland Taxi is currently the authorized provider of taxi transportation from Albany International Airport, picking up passengers from the airport's Capitaland Taxi stand outside of baggage claim. Travelers can also call any area taxi providers to arrange for pick up.
Photo Credit: Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau
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