Thank You for Voting Us “Best Local Hotel” 11 Years in a Row!
History of the Hotel – About Us
The Desmond Hotel & Conference Center has been a family-owned and operated business since 1974. It remains one of a few privately owned hotels in the Capital Region. Priding itself on outstanding hospitality, award-winning food and superb accommodations – the Desmond family considers its customer service among the utmost importance. Consistently voted the best among Albany hotels, we are proud to be celebrating over 40 years of service.
Early 1970’s – Philadelphia native John K. Desmond, Jr. visited Albany for business and realized there was a need for a premier hotel in the area. While driving on Wolf Rd, which at that time was still mostly farms, Mr. Desmond could not locate a hotel for the evening, and noticed there was prime land available near the Albany Airport.
1974 – Originally named The Americana Inn, the new hotel opened its doors in January and was a joint enterprise between John K. Desmond, Jr. and American Airlines. The hotel featured 183 guest rooms, a unique indoor courtyard called The Village Green, two restaurants, The Green Tree Coffee Shop and The Patroon Room, and a bar, The Tavern on the Green. One year later, in 1975, American Airlines departed the hotel business to focus on their growing air service.
1979 – Recognizing the growing sophistication of its clientele and the need for a true upscale restaurant, management responded with the creation of the elegant Scrimshaw to replace The Patroon Room and renamed the bar Scrimshaw Tavern.
1982 – Keeping pace with the continual growth of the Capital Region, the hotel was enlarged to feature 140 more guest rooms along with King Street Ballroom and Courtyard, High Street Conference Center, Town Hall Amphitheatre, The Lodge, and Health Club. This addition brought the hotel to the size it is today, with 322 guest rooms and almost 30,000 sq ft of banquet space. It was also at this time that the coffee shop restaurant was renovated and became Simpson’s Grille. The original courtyard was also renamed Fort Orange Courtyard, in recognition of the historical Albany area.
1984 – In celebration of the hotel’s 10th anniversary, the property was renamed The Desmond Americana to better reflect the Desmond family’s on-site presence and commitment to the area.
1992 – To highlight the importance of the conference and convention business, the hotel rebranded itself The Desmond Hotel & Conference Center.
Today – The Desmond continues to be a family owned and operated property and is currently managed by the third generation of the Desmond family, General Manager Tyler Desmond. As of January 2018, we are proud to have become an affiliate of IHG (InterContinental Hotel Groups) as an unbranded hotel continuing to be known as The Desmond Hotel Albany.
Our Commitment to the Community
As a family operated business, The Desmond has a long and continuing commitment to actively supporting our local community through both monetary contributions, and donations of time and services. We are proud of our history of dedication to a wide array of charitable organizations.
Design of the Hotel
First time guests of The Desmond often comment upon the unique design of the hotel and its “colonial theme”. Much of the architecture throughout the property was designed by John K. Desmond, Jr. himself, who was a native Philadelphian and had a passion for the early colonial style of that city. The interior of the hotel was therefore modeled after a unique village square; complete with mock storefronts, brick pathways, fountains and balconies.
The hotel keeps with the colonial design by highlighting many antique furnishings and pieces of American history. The luxurious king size four-poster beds that grace the rooms are detailed reproductions of a bed owned by George & Martha Washington in the 1700’s. Original oil paintings from the 1800’s are hung in the ballrooms, and framed Americana art is located throughout the hotel. Many of these antique pieces were carefully sourced by Mr. Desmond himself, including the intricate model sailing ships which can be found in the lobby and restaurants.
Every design detail, from the paint colors and wallpapers, to the English wool carpets, brass lanterns and nautical furnishings, has been chosen for its historic value. There have been many renovations and updates to the building since it’s beginning in 1974, but they all stay true to Mr. Desmond’s original design of classical luxury.