BOLTON LANDING - The Sagamore resort, which for decades has withstood fires, storms and all kinds of misfortune, succumbed this week to the weakened economy.
Sagamore officials announced Dec. 22 that it will temporarily lay off up to 200 workers and close down through March, except for special events.
"Despite our very competitive position, the resort industry has taken a hit with the economic downturn," Sagamore General Manager Tom Guay said.
The layoffs were effective Dec. 31.
The furloughed Sagamore employees, eligible to apply for unemployment insurance, will have another benefit coming, Guay said.
The Sagamore owners will pay the health insurance premiums - not just the employer's portion, but the employees premiums too for at least two months during the idle period, Guay said.
A core group of 50 or so employees will be retained through the closure, he said. Many of those laid off will be brought back for scheduled conferences and special events as needed, he said.
Guay said plans call for the Sagamore, which has 350 rooms, to open back up fully Friday, April 3. The reopening could be sooner if the demand grows, he said.
In the meantime, the resort will be upgrading and adding as many as 35 rooms or more in their main hotel, a national historic structure.
Guay said the famed Trillium Restaurant and executive administration wing will be renovated inside to add 32 rooms.
This construction is now awaiting final permitting and approvals, he said.
Regardless of the present economic downturn, there's been a strong demand for guest rooms in the main hotel because of its historic ambiance, he said.
"People prefer to stay in the main hotel instead of the lodges, because there's a mystique about it," he said. "We have to give up our executive wing to new rooms because it's prime real estate."
Those offices will be relocated into a reception center now just over the bridge on Green Island near the entrance to Sagamore property.
Plans are afoot also to develop an outdoor pool on the lake side of the hotel, adjacent to the existing indoor pool.