|By Benjamin Ray, Watertown Daily Times,
N.Y.McClatchy-Tribune Business News
Oct. 14, 2006 - SARANAC LAKE -- Paul Smith's College will sell the hotel it has owned and trained students in since 1961.
The college has reached an agreement to sell the 88-room Hotel Saranac to Hauppauge-area hotelier Sewa R. Arora and his two daughters, Sabena and Sarena. Paul Smith's culinary and hospitality management students will begin training in January at the Crowne Plaza Resort & Golf Club in Lake Placid.
Lack of revenue and amenities led to the sale, said college spokesman Kenneth P. Aaron. Crowne Plaza is larger than the Hotel and offers a wider range of hotel facilities such as golf courses, fine restaurants and a concierge, which provides more avenues for student training.
But the hotel also has been losing money for years, as the cost of staffing the hotel with faculty year-round has exceeded guest revenue. Although the hotel has never officially been on the market, the college has been seeking interested buyers for several years.
"It has not been a money-making operation for us," Mr. Aaron said. "We staff it like an education institution so no matter what time of year it is, we need faculty and staff on hand to work with students."
Crowne Plaza overlooks Mirror Lake and offers four restaurants, three golf courses, 244 rooms and 30,000 square feet of meeting space. Before the Hotel was built, Paul Smith's students trained in the Crowne Plaza back when it was the Lake Placid Club.
"I see this as an opportunity for us to give the students the level of experiences necessary for today's industry," said Nancy Loman Scanlon, dean of the college's hotel, resort and culinary management division. "It also allows us to respond to the variety of interests our students have in the hospitality industry. We can offer our students a much more dynamic and relevant experience."
Mr. Arora and his daughters will run the Hotel Saranac beginning early next year. He did not return a phone call seeking comment but has said he wants to keep working with the college while restoring the hotel to a profit-making business.
Mr. Arora has been general manager of several hotels and resorts in the U.S. and internationally and also owns a restaurant chain, college officials said.
All three hold bachelor's degrees from Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration.
The hotel was built in 1927. Mr. Aaron would not say how much
it will sell for.
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