Upscale New York Resort to Offer Weekend Divorce Packages
An upscale hotel is the perfect setting for a wedding—so why not increase business potential by also establishing it as a venue for a divorce? That’s at least part of the logic behind a popular New York wedding resort’s plans to offer weekend divorce packages for separating couples. The goal of the “Divorce Hotel” at Saratoga Springs’ Gideon Putnam Resort will be to reduce much the stress associated with finalizing a divorce by providing a relaxing atmosphere for the parties to resolve their divorce-related issues.
In addition to drumming up business with a brand-new client base, the resort’s latest business venture poses an interesting question about the grueling nature of divorce: why should divorcing couples suffer lengthy, bitter separations when they could approach divorce as the final vacation of their marriage?
The Gideon Putnam Resort hopes to provide a tranquil setting for divorcing couples to settle their divorce-related issues over a weekend. For $5,000, a couple can book two separate rooms at the resort, where they will work to finalize their divorce agreement with a mediator over the course of a weekend. And when they’re not meeting with the mediator, the couple is free to enjoy the resort’s ample amenities individually.
A divorce vacation may help prevent negative emotions from clouding a divorcing couple’s judgment. Additionally, many or even all of the loose ends could be tied up within a single weekend—the goal is to check out of the hotel with a completed divorce agreement that can be sent to a judge.
Although the concept of a divorce resort may seem progressive, this isn’t the first time divorce has been linked to tourism. In the early 1900s, a number of opportunistic entrepreneurs in Nevada successfully lobbied to drop the state’s residence requirement for divorcing couples from one year to three months to six weeks. Resorts such as Nystrom House and the Boulderado Dude Ranch offered six-week “divorce vacations” to their guests, who would check out with a divorce at the end of their stay. In the 1930s, the divorce business put an estimated $5-million annually in the pockets of Nevada lawyers, hoteliers, restaurants, and merchants.
The Gideon Putnam Resort is partnering with the creators of a Dutch reality show called Divorce Hotel, who run a similar program at a hotel in the Netherlands.