A New York hotel promises lovely weekends away this fall -- complete with quickie divorce packages for those looking for a life change along with the seasonal one.
The Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs will, in conjunction with a Netherlands-based company, debut as a “Divorce Hotel” this month. In addition to the “picnic in the park at sunset” and “walks before breakfast” the hotel touts during its hold music over the phone, it will also serve as the venue for the fast divorce proceedings promised by the Divorce Hotel company that launched in 2011.
Until now, the Gideon Putnam Resort had primarily been known for hosting weddings. In fact, the hotel lists “breathtaking weddings” on its web site homepage as one of the top 10 reasons to book a stay.
The hotel will also be the backdrop of a TV series that will document the divorce proceedings of the couples who check in.
Divorce Hotel founder Jim Halfens told ABC News two episodes have been shot so far, but there's no network commitment as of yet. The show did air in the Netherlands last spring and was a "huge success," according to Halfens.
In fact, the Gideon Putnam Resort will act as a "the divorce hotel," which is actually a company that has temporarily located itself in various hotels across Europe. The first was in Amsterdam in 2012.
On its web site, the Divorce Hotel company promises to “help you in a professional, fast and affordable way to support you in the process of getting a divorce over a weekend in a hotel, in all quiet and peace, equipped with all comforts you may need.” And while it can’t guarantee a successful divorce, it does promise “our mediators can guarantee you is that they will be a 100 percent committed to ensuring your separation is professional, fast, affordable and hopefully positive.”
Michele Martin has been named the divorce mediator at Gideon Putnam Resort and said the program will launch in late September. Martin was instrumental in convincing the company to choose Saratoga Springs as its latest location, citing its famous racetrack and proximity to New York City, just three hours away.
She said a divorce can “absolutely” be done in three days, telling ABC News that she has on many occasions facilitated successful divorces in her office over three sessions.
“This way,” she said, “the guests can go to the spa or take a walk around the beautiful grounds in between sessions.”
Martin said the cost of the package will be “around $5,000” depending on season and particulars of the divorce. For example, a couple with a contentious dispute over custody may require another expert that adds to the cost.
The couple selected to kick off the program hasn’t been finalized, Martin said. And whether or not a TV show documenting the proceedings will follow remains to be seen. But there are big plans to expand beyond one weekend couple at a time, including offering mid-week packages or even mediating for multiple couples at the hotel simultaneously.
Martin said she can even envision a scenario where the couples “bond and have group dinners, more of an experience.”
And perhaps the chance to find love again. If that happens, they already have the perfect hotel for the wedding.