Are you a married man or lady looking to be single and ready to mingle by next week? Do you actually have a civil relationship with your soon to be ex or, at the very least, don't feel the need to air tales of their drug-using, foursome-having, bed-pissing ways in public? Have you, separately, been looking to get out of the city for a few days? You've come to the right place.
It’s the first weekend in January, and Cathy and husband D. are at a romantic upstate New York resort in Saratoga Springs. Their itinerary is packed: a post-New Year’s brunch, followed by dinner dates in town, fireside time, walks to the geyser and luxurious spa treatments, complete with a mineral bath. “We laughed. We had a few drinks,” says 52-year-old Cathy, a nurse at NYU. “This is the best weekend we’ve had in years,” agrees D., a 53-year-old Wall Street banker. But the childhood sweethearts from Island Park, LI, who have been married 26 years and have two grown children, aren’t on an anniversary retreat. Instead, they’re on a trip to Splitsville. Welcome to the DivorceHotel — well, technically, the Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa — where you can check in as a married couple on Friday and check out divorced by Sunday. The entire package costs $5,000, and includes separate accommodations for two nights, a designated lawyer for each party and a mediator to draw up divorce papers. There’s also a welcome basket containing Saratoga sparkling water, red wine, dark chocolate and other goodies, as well as a DivorceHotel information packet.
Worried your big weekend might be overshadowed by attention-grabbing brides and grooms? Don't be.
After checking in on a Friday, Cathy and D. met with mediator and financial adviser Michele Martin for the first of four two-hour working sessions in Cathy’s suite — a stark contrast to the grand ballroom four floors below, which hosts lavish weddings. (“We need to be careful during the spring and summer wedding season,” notes hotel manager Rob Sgarlata. “Brides are walking through our lobby. I wouldn’t want that to be uncomfortable for the DivorceHotel couple.”)
Then you'll have things wrapped up in time to take in some races down at the track or throw back a few with guy/girl you came with, depending on your preference.
Then, as if it’s a regular Saturday night hanging out in their living room, Cathy and D. watch the Union vs. Boston college hockey game on TV. Except they’re signing their divorce papers while it’s on — a 42-page agreement notarized by Martin. The game’s final score is a tie — symbolic for the warm couple who wanted a divorce that didn’t take either of them down. “It went so smoothly. This is the way it should be,” says D., over a bottle of red he’s sharing with Cathy to toast the end of their marriage. Even now, the couple can’t resist the charms of the place — and are already planning another visit. “I want to come back here,” says Cathy. “Just not the same weekend as me,” counters D.