Accommodation options dwindle, hotel prices soar as Adirondack region prepares for April sky event
While the April 2024 total solar eclipse is still four months away, for those who’ve waited to plan a trip to the path of totality, they may find it difficult to find accommodations, particularly at an affordable rate.
Multiple hotels in Adirondack tourist hotspots like Lake Placid and Saranac Lake report they’re nearly booked solid for the days surrounding the April 8 eclipse, at room rates much higher than what they might typically charge for the time of year.
Hotel Saranac is at 90% occupancy for the nights surrounding the eclipse and fully expects to be sold out. Sales Director Myra Rondeau estimated that the average room rate for April 7 to 8, inclusive of Hotel Saranac and all lodging facilities between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, to be around $450 per night. Hotel Saranac is planning to approach the eclipse crowds similar to how it plans for Saranac Lake’s Winter Carnival, with a waiting list for rooms and extra supplies for the influx of guests.
At the Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa in Lake Placid, operations manager Andrew Weibrecht confirmed the inn, with its 125 guestrooms, is at 99% capacity and will likewise have a wait list. Weibrecht said the rates were set similar to how the business approaches Christmas week, $649, compared to an average April rate of $350 a night.
Most of the inn’s reservations for the event are for multiple nights, which Weibrecht hopes will help alleviate some of the anticipated crowds. “I’ve heard stories about, when an eclipse happens, five minutes after, everyone jumps in their cars and makes a run for the hills. Because we have a minimum-length stay on most of our reservations, I think people will trickle in and out, so there’s not a mad rush,” he said.
Whiteface Lodge also reported being close to sold out, though declined to give an estimated capacity percentage for the nights surrounding the eclipse. Weekender Hotels, which owns properties in Lake Placid, Old Forge, North Creek and Tupper Lake, said the same for all its properties throughout the region.
Both Rondeau and Weibrecht noted that guests began reaching out well in advance to book rooms for the eclipse.
“We booked up pretty quickly,” Weibrecht said. “We had a group of scientists that booked seven or eight years ago, before we had established rates…. About a year ago, people really started to book in earnest and we were pretty well booked out by the end of the summer.”
More to Explore
Your guide to the April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse event that will be visible throughout the Adirondack region.
Jenn Starr, based in Binghamton, is an avid ice climber and visits the Adirondacks frequently. In spring of this year she booked a vacation rental in Indian Lake for the weekend ahead of the eclipse and into the week, and struggled to line up a place to stay.
“It was tough,” she said. Her first choices were still closed for the winter season in April, and it was difficult to find a two-bed option for her and her fellow traveler. “I hate Airbnb and think it’s ruining the Adirondacks, among other places, so it was a total last resort.”
Still, the accommodation woes aren’t over yet. While she managed to get the cabin for a standard rate, Starr is worried the owner may cancel her reservation when they realize they can rent it for a higher price closer to the eclipse.
After deciding to spend the eclipse in the Adirondacks versus Texas, Ann Marie Pozzini originally booked her eclipse stay in a rental in Jay, two years ago. Even then, she said it was difficult to find a suitable rental to meet her group of four’s needs.
However, after the owner sold the house, she found herself starting her accommodations search anew. She managed to find a “reasonably priced” rental in Keene, for approximately $100 per night per person.
Jenn and Brett Senecal plan a stay at the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort in Lake Placid for the nights before and after the eclipse. They booked their hotel on July 1 and, during the booking process, found that “many of the hotels in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid were already booked and few doubled or even tripled their prices from April 6 through April 8, making many of those locations too expensive for what we wanted to pay and could reasonably afford.”
“Honestly,” Jenn Senecal said, “we wouldn’t have stayed at those locations just on principle, if we could afford them.”
Still, even with the booking challenges, visitors are excited to experience the eclipse in the Adirondacks.
As Jenn Senecal said, “As soon as we knew the path of the solar eclipse would pass right through the [Adirondacks] it was a no-brainer. The Adirondacks hold a special place in our hearts and combine that with Brett’s love of astronomy – it wasn’t even a question if we would head north to see the eclipse.”
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