Track-side at the Saratoga Springs’ legendary racecourse, Brentwood Hotel is a remastered motel with a thoroughbred cocktail bar and impeccably groomed rooms. Midnight-blue is matched with brass metalwork and antique art, while Billykirk leathers and Sharktooth textiles add contemporary style. By night, signature drinks flow to the sound of Sixties soul, and the fire pit licks its lips in anticipation of the next marshmallow. Saratoga Springs may be famed for its summer racing season, but it’s not a one-trick-pony – the well-heeled spa town is a year-round destination peppered with upscale eateries, and it makes a handy basecamp for Lake George and the Adirondack Mountains.
11am; check-in, 4pm, but flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from $113.52, excluding tax at 13 per cent.
Rates do not usually include breakfast, but there is free tea and coffee at the bar.
On arrival, buy ($5) a pack containing chocolate, marshmallows and crackers – the trinity required for making the American campfire classic, ‘s’mores’. – from reception Roast ‘em, squidge ‘em and scoff ‘em around the firepit, and don’t be afraid to ask for s’more.
At the hotel
Bar, fire pit, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: Flatscreen TV, minibar with local snacks, Tivoli clock radio, C.O. Bigelow bath products, raceday canvas bag.
Our favourite rooms
Room 12 has added privacy because it’s on the end of the L-shaped building, and it’s also the handiest for a game of Horseshoes on the lawn. The Deluxe Suite is the family favourite, with a pair of full-size bunk-beds as well as a queen-size double.
A list of race tips from a reputable insider, or failing that, your lucky horseshoe.
One of the Single Queen rooms is wheelchair-friendly, with a roll-in shower and grab bars in the bathroom.
All ages welcome. Baby cots (free) can be added to all rooms.
Every room comes with a ‘green card’ – calm down Mr. President, it’s just a way to opt out of unnecessary linen washes. The light bulbs are energy efficient, and the cleaning products are kind to the environment too.
Take up position in the yard for your own personal paddock experience – the horses trot right past on their way from the stables to the track.
Be raceday-ready in summer hats and sundresses; collars and chinos for the chaps.
There’s no restaurant, but you might be able to eke out your five-a-day from the bar’s fruit-laden cocktails.
There’s an understated sophistication to the cut-glass tumblers and copper cocktail shakers at the shot-sized Brentwood drinks den. Pull up a stool at the marble-top bar and order from a list created by the mixology-masters at Hamlet & Ghost; the speciality is the Whitney, whisked up from vodka, pineapple and St Germain elderflower liqueur, with a twist of lemon. The record player spins upbeat soul and rock ‘n’ roll all day, with happy hour from 6pm until the last note of the B-side.
The hotel bar is open all day long, from 8am to 11pm.
There’s no room service, but you’re never far from the bar.
The hotel is directly opposite the historic Saratoga race course, on the edge of Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. Call the Smith24 team for help booking all things travel.
The closest airport is Albany, which is a half-hour drive to the south from the hotel. Albany airport is an hour flight from New York City; there are direct routes from other major US cities, including Chicago and Atlanta, too.
Amtrak’s ‘Adirondack’ service links New York City to Montreal, stopping at Saratoga Springs on the way. The journey takes a little over four hours, and the station is a five-minute cab ride from the hotel.
The going is good. The stay is a three-hour journey due north from New York City, south from Montreal, or west from Boston. There’s car hire aplenty in all three, as well as at Albany Airport. Parking is free at the hotel, where cars fit neatly into the motel-style layout.
Fist-bumps all round if you arrive on horseback.
Worth getting out of bed for
Gee up your stablemate for a day at the Saratoga Racecourse; from late July till early September there are races every day except Tuesday, with the showpiece event – The Travers Stakes – in late August. For a different kind of saddle, grab one of the Linus bikes from the hotel and ride into town. Fill your basket with bounty from Broadway’s upscale shops, or scour the artisans’ studios and galleries in Beekman Street Arts District. There are 21 mineral springs to keep you refreshed along the way, including several spouting naturally carbonated water. The Roosevelt Baths and Spa make a soothing spot for a soak, or you can swat up on horse racing history at the National Museum of Racing. Outdoorsy activities are just beyond the city limits, with hiking, snowshoeing, and apples for the picking nearby – ask the hotel for seasonal recommendations. Landscape lovers should drive half an hour north to scenic Lake George and beyond that, the Adirondack Mountains.
The Creole kitchen at Mouzon House (1 York Street) serves up farm-to-table cuisine in a really-rather-lovely Victorian house and garden. Fine dine at 15 Church (15 Church Street), where lobster rigatoni vies with gorgonzola-slathered steaks for attention. In race season, the winners party hard to the sound of live bands at The Horseshoe Inn bar and grill; it’s at 9 Gridley Street, across the road from the hotel.
The best cuppa in town is at the Saratoga Tea & Honey Company (348 Broadway); they also do tastings of more than 15 types of artisanal honey. When all you want is a slap-up brekkie, head to Compton’s (457 Broadway) for fried eggs and hash in an old-school diner. Uncommon Grounds (402 Broadway) roasts its own beans and bakes bagels every day.
At speakeasy-styled Hamlet & Ghost (24 Caroline Street), the cocktail concoctions are made with bitters and tinctures handcrafted in-house. For beers and cheers, try Henry Street Tap Room (86 Henry Street), where the craft ales are matched with cheese tasting-boards. Live jazz comes with a choice of more than 250 martinis at moody saloon, 9 Maple (9 Maple Avenue).
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique hotel in upstate New York and unpacked their jodhpurs and jockey silks, a full account of their break at the races will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Brentwood Hotel in Saratoga Springs…
Everyone gets a kick out of the Brentwood – and yes that includes you, even if your horse-racing pedigree only extends to a 50p sweepstake flutter on the Grand National 20 years ago, and you chose your horse solely because it had a witty name. Saratoga Springs is America’s home of horse racing, and here is a hotel quite literally across the road from the historic track, as well as being easily within earshot of all those hooves thundering across the hallowed dirt. Each race day, the runners and riders parade past on their way from the stables to the course, giving guests a private preview with their morning coffee. Come evening, you can toast successes or lament losses with bespoke cocktails at the bar – and in any case, everyone’s a winner when there are unlimited marshmallows for the fire pit.
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Brentwood Hotel’s Guestbook below.
This is a fantastic little hotel with a prime location right across from the race tracks and close to downtown. From the outside, it looks like a classic motel but it has been completely redone with a rustic chic vibe. The decor and fixtures are funky, well thought-out and newly updated. You will find everything you need in your room, except delicious cocktails which you can find in the lobby/bar. There is also an outdoor seating area and fire pit which is perfect for stepping out, drink in hand. I was traveling as part of a group (10 people) and Rob helped us arrange a wonderful stay, including making great recommendations.