The Village’s City Hotel: The New Courtyard Mariott
By Mirror Staff
Saturday, February 25, 2017
The lobby of Lake George’s newest hotel, the six story Marriott International Courtyard Lake George, was a hive of activity Saturday evening.
As guests of every age and nationality crossed back and forth, groups clustered at the Lobby Bar. At one end was a circle of friends who had travelled to Lake George to catch the headliner at this year’s jazz festival, the Diva Jazz Orchestra.
At the other end of the bar: some golfers who reunite once a year, taking advantage of Courtyard Lake George’s recent grand opening to try a new host hotel.
In between, some local residents curious to see something contemporary and urban in the middle of the Village and even someone who may have been business traveller, a representative of the Mariott chain’s traditional clientele.
Taylor Hall, the hotel’s 34 year-old general manager, believes the 119 room hotel can be just as busy throughout the year.
“Don’t say ‘off-season;’ we have to get beyond thinking that Lake George has only one season,” she said, echoing the business leaders and municipal officials who want to keep Canada Street’s doors open and lights on three hundred sixty five days a year.
Ever since local developer Dave Kenny announced his plans to build a multi-story hotel and conference center on the Village’s main thoroughfare, he and his partners have had to challenge the conventional wisdom that Lake George cannot sustain a year-round business of this size.
“There’s no other facility in Warren County where all the meeting and banquet space is on one floor, in the same building with the hotel rooms,” Kenny said when laying out his vision.
Without the promise of year-round operations, it’s unlikely that the hotel would have attracted such enthusiastic support from people such as Village Mayor Bob Blais
“Dave Kenny will help us keep the lights on all year,” Blais promised. “And the hotel will offer year-round employment, which we haven’t had in this community and which has been a problem.”
At the ceremonial ribbon-cutting held on August 29, Blais said his support was justified.
“This is the kind of facility our visitors are looking for, it’s the kind of facility they deserve and it’s now the kind of facility we have in Lake George,” he said.
It’s now up to Taylor Hall and her team to translate that vision of a year-round hotel for both leisure and business travelers into a reality.
“She’s the boss,” said Kenny.
As Hall herself concedes, she’s relatively young to be leading a hotel of this size.
For the past ten years, ever since graduating from SUNY Geneseo, she’s worked in Florida, most recently at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa, where she rose from director of food and beverage to assistant general manager.
“My experience has been with full service resorts, and that’s what I want to see this hotel evolve into,” she said. “I want to bring in enough activities that guests won’t have to leave the hotel.”
Fine dining, of course, was intended to be among those activities, but precisely what the new restaurant will be and who will manage it, “is still under discussion,” said Hall.
The hotel currently offers light fare at The Bistro, where Hall hopes to create a menu with fresh, locally-sourced foods.
Its pool and fitness center have opened and facilities for the business traveller are ready and waiting throughout the lobby.
Still to come: a rooftop terrace and the two, 5,000 square foot ballrooms that will be able to accommodate weddings, banquets and conferences.
“People are loyal to Mariott because of the level of service. Here, the traveller will get that same, high level of service and all the amenities of a resort,” said Hall.
Hall said she’s eager to confront the challenges of helping Lake George become a four-season community, one with enough shops and restaurants open year-round to engage the travellers that Courtyard Lake George hopes to attract.
“If I can help persuade one business to stay open one week longer, that’s a start,” she said.
And, she added, “we have great festivals, but we need more of them, and more aimed at younger people. We have great music in Shepard Park. Why not keep the concerts going?”
The new Courtyard Lake George, Hall promises, will be part of a new Lake George.
“We want to help create a new atmosphere, one that will enable people to connect with Lake George in new ways. If you feel that connection, you’ll keep coming back,” she said.
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