Lake George Village’s Windsor Motel
The Rat Pack Would Love It
Whatever Elliot Heyman does, whether it be restaurants, real estate or motels, it’s done with style. Just not in any one particular style.
Jake’s Round-Up had a wild west theme (or at least the wild west of 1950s television shows). The Flying Fish Grille and the Rock Lobster Lounge transported diners, drinkers and dancers to Montauk Point or the Jersey Shore.
With the Windsor Motel in Lake George Village, which he and his wife Corey purchased in 1998, he’s embraced the sleek, pop-moderne style of the early 1960s.
Or, rather, he’s preserved that style, even as other Canada Street motels have assumed the generic appearance of national chains.
The Windsor was built in the early 1960s by Stephen Quade, who also developed the Tahoe. Originally, it too had a modernist aesthetic, or at least Las Vegas modern.
“A very Rat Pack, Ring-a-ding-ding look,” explains Heyman.
“To me, the Windsor evokes Miami’s South Beach, which is very Art Deco. That’s why I painted the motel pink. Village officials gave me a hard time with that choice,” he recalled.
While he’s preserved the appearance of a vintage Canada Street motel, Heyman says he’s invested large sums in updating the rooms and the facility as a whole.
“Without a swimming pool, we couldn’t attract families, so we installed a swimming pool at a cost of $60,000,” said Heymann.
But even with improvements, the Windsor remains an affordable, over-night lodging, said Heymann.
“This is not a destination resort; it’s a motel, where you can pull off the highway and be confident you’ll find a clean, comfortable room,” said Heyman. “We’re able to stay priced for families, and that’s what’s made us successful.
And according to Heyman, affordability is vital to Lake George Village’s continued appeal.
“Compared with Cape Cod, the Jersey Shore and other resorts within driving distance of roughly 35 million people, we’re the low price leader,” said Heyman. “Lake George always was and always will be an affordable family vacation resort.”
At his restaurants, Heyman was all show business, greeting diners, jumping from table to table and starting more conversations than he could ever finish.
Now that he’s managing a motel full-time (or at least between Memorial Day and September 15, when the Windsor closes for the season), “I miss the action,” he says.
But as an on-site owner, he still gets a chance to meet and greet his customers.
“I love it; I enjoy taking care of people,” he says. “It’s in my blood. My grandfather was a Catskill, Borscht-Belt hotel owner.”
And he still gets to serve food. He’s up at 6 am every morning to buy fresh bagels and fruit for the motel’s complementary continental breakfast, “prepared by yours truly, Chef El,” he boasts.
Ever restless, Heyman has plans to replace a barn at the edge of the property with four, two bedroom housekeeping units.
“If we have the rooms, we’ll fill them,” Heyman said. “Lake George Village has had its set backs, but things are looking up. And we’ll continue to do well. People like what we’re doing. They think our rooms are chic. They get it.”