Planned Re-opening of Former Hotel Syracuse Brings the Old and New Together

Oct 13, 2015

Former Syracuse Hotel General Manager Spencer Wallace, center, reminisces about the old days of the hotel with current GM Paul McNeil Tuesday. Wallace served as the the GM from 1964 to 1971.
Credit Francis Sirois / WAER

  It was a meeting of the past and the present on Tuesday between general managers of a downtown Syracuse landmark.  Spencer Wallace ran the former Hotel Syracuse from 1964 to 1984, before it ran into financial trouble. He was joined by the general manager of what will become the Marriott downtown Syracuse, and the 92-year-old reminisced about the role the hotel played in the community.

 “It was the headquarters for Syracuse,” Wallace said. “Everybody in Syracuse and the surrounding area would make it a point to come in at some time or another, eat at the Dutch coffee house or even the dining room, or have a drink in the Rainbow Lounge. It was a real special place.”

Wallace says he hopes he and his wife live long enough to see the hotel re-open in the spring.  Paul McNeil is the current GM of the hotel and has extensive experience in the hospitality industry. He says this particular venue poses its own unique challenges.

 “My simple look on it is, you know, you’re taking historical elegance and matching it with contemporary luxury,” McNeil said. “What I’m trying to say is that there’s a blend, you want to look at a blend of bringing back the historic Hotel Syracuse, bring back those memories, bring the glory days, I guess - and also incorporate the next generation travelers.”  

Renovations of the 91-year-old historic landmark will continue into the winter.  Hotel owners are planning on a grand opening in time for Saint Patrick’s Day festivities.  It’s been closed since 2004.