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“Wish I could give this hotel rave reviews :-(” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Spencer Hotel and Spa

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The Spencer Hotel and Spa
2.5 of 5 Hotel   |   25 Palestine Avenue, Chautauqua, NY 14722   |  
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Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Chautauqua
Rochester, New York
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Wish I could give this hotel rave reviews :-(”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013

First, our biggest complaint would be with the breakfast that was served. There were only six people staying at the hotel the weekend we were there, yet the breakfast was made the night before and we believe left out overnight. It was some sort of (lukewarm) egg strata without any flavor. None of the guests enjoyed it. We all thought it was a big of a "fluke" and looked forward to a nice, warm, perhaps hearty breakfast on Sunday. That wasn't to be. Because of a kitchen mixup (as we were told), we were served the same strata the next day, but this time without toast. Just plain on a plate, and again lukewarm. The barely-warm coffee was served in tiny teacups which meant we had to keep getting up to refill our cups. Breakfast both days was a huge disappointment, particularly because there were so few guests.

The manager, Chris, may be the highlight of this hotel. Because we went off-season, they weren't serving dinner in the hotel. So on our first night, we ordered food in from a nearby Italian restaurant. Chris set a very nice table for us in the dining area and really made us feel at home. On the second night, he made a wonderful recommendation for dinner at a nearby restaurant, the Scallion Bistro, and it was a fabulous dining experience!

As others have said in their reviews, the rooms are very small. The professional pictures on the website don't show an accurate picture of the exterior nor the size of the rooms. Our bathroom was so tiny you could hardly turn around in it, and the bedroom didn't leave enough room for one of us to pass the other. We were on the third floor and had porch access - which was wonderful! It also allowed us to keep our room cool because the A/C didn't seem to work too well. Good news: the room was clean and smelled fine, the towels were big, and the bed and pillows quite comfortable. And that's important!

The location of the hotel is perfect, very close to everything. Because of its age, it needs some updating and repairs made, as do many of the hotels and inns in this area. It could be a nice place to stay if you're aware of some of the room sizes and food served. Even though we were there off-season, we had expected much better.

Room Tip: Be sure to get a room with porch access!! Otherwise, the windows don't open and you won't g...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheSpencer, General Manager at The Spencer Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, September 17, 2013
We regret the guests stay, especially the food service, were not up to their expectations and what have been favorable comments we usually receive from guests. It is customary for us to prepare some breakfast items e.g. our egg based casserole (strata) the night before and finish baking the dish prior to serving to our guests. Our breakfast entrees are normally well received and we will endeavor to ensure the dishes are piping hot when served and will avoid serving the same entrée again during guests stay.We appreciate the guests favorable comments about the location of our property, the room cleanliness, quality of linens, freshness, etc. We regret the room temperature was not satisfactory and will reinstruct staff to maintain a check on comfort levels when guests check-in and again periodically during their stay. Our facility is climate controlled which is why windows do not open. When doors to the outside remain closed, the system usually balances the temperature at a level most guests appreciate.

We appreciate the guest comments regarding facility upkeep and repairs and have begun our annual refreshing of rooms, furnishings and general building maintenance. These things are normally scheduled to commence after the 9 week Chautauqua Season which only ended at the end of August. Refurbishment of flooring, addition to furnishings and general maintenance will continue through the next few months. We look forward to the guests return in the future to experience firsthand again not only our hospitality but our meals and generally warm and inviting property.
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128 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    57
    26
    13
    14
    18
See reviews for
22
65
8
5
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
East Aurora, New York
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2013

The hotel is lovely and relaxing and everything we hoped it would be. And it is surely the people who own and manage the hotel that make it exquisite. Chris, the hotel manager, is such a wonderful host with history and knowledge and a willingness to share. Kudos

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheSpencer, General Manager at The Spencer Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, September 4, 2013
We were delighted the guest found the Spencer to be the perfect spot to experience Chautauqua Institution. We hope your stay whetted your appetite for a return visit for the 2014 Chautauqua Season or another "getaway" weekend during the coming Fall/Winter/Spring Seasons. Thank you for your very kind comments about us.
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Cleveland, Ohio
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2013

Not only was this a great location, but the hotel is warm, friendly, and "green" (no paper products used for meals). One of the best parts is listening to concerts from the balcony outside our room. This was our first visit to Chautauqua. We would definitely return to the Spencer.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheSpencer, General Manager at The Spencer Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, September 4, 2013
We appreciate this guest's recognition of our service quality which is the rationale for our use of china, flatware and glassware for our meals at the Spencer. We feel our guests deserve a high standard of food service and quality. The guest also points out our very good location in the heart of Chautauqua Institution close to the Amphitheater and other venues for the excellent programming put on each Chautauqua Season by the Institution.
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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2013 via mobile

This is a lovely hotel in a superb location with an accommodating staff and beautiful appointments. But it is falling apart! The toilet did not work (but was quickly fixed). But a broken elevator stranded an elderly guest on the fourth floor for over 24 hours! The first floor rooms are very noisy as guests congregate until late hours in the living room. The food was sparse and overcooked. Not up to sumptuous Bed and breakfast standards. A recent water problem warped the porch which is dangerously covered with a carpet. Even though the temperature was in the low 60s we were forced to use AC. The windows do not open and are covered with plastic sheeting with no screens. The room was stuffy. A request for a fan went unanswered. Unless the spend some money on the structure by next summer I will not return.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheSpencer, General Manager at The Spencer Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, September 4, 2013
We regret we did not live up to the guests expectations of us. Unfortunately, the two structural problems i.e. warped deck on the front porch and elevator problem made for a challenging and somewhat uncomfortable situation for some of our guests. Our elevator went down the week prior to the guest's stay with us and while some guests were inconvenienced by having to utilize the main stairs to access their rooms we were not made aware of any guest that could not make it down from an upper floor.

With regard to noise levels in the lobby the guest correctly noted that guests do congregate after the evening Amphitheater programs end and as many have been in residence for a good part of the week, they did need to be reminded of being courteous to other guests, especially those on the first floor.

Unfortunately, our temperature controlled heating/cooling system was inadvertently switched to too high a temperature setting which was corrected as soon as guests reported they were uncomfortable. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and have taken steps to regularly check the ambient temperature on all four floors to ensure a comfortable stay for our guests.

During the coming months we will be upgrading many of rooms, fixtures and equipment and hope the guest will return in the future to see the improvements.
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Columbia, SC
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

My wife and I just returned from a week at The Spencer. This was our third stay here, and we have already booked a week for 2014. This was our 8th or 9th time at Chautauqua (CHQ). We have only stayed at 2 places more than once. We obviously are happy here. We share the kind remarks that other reviewers have made regarding Chris and the rest of the staff. They do their best to make your stay a pleasant one. In addition, three things have led us to return. First, is the fact that they serve breakfast. As regulars at CHQ know, there are only a limited number of dining options on the grounds. It is nice to be able to come downstairs and have breakfast without going out. This year they served dinner as well. At first, I was concerned about this, but it turned out the meals were good. I also enjoyed the convenience of eating right there. The second reason we like the hotel is the community feeling you only get with a small hotel or B&B. This is enhanced by sharing meals together. Finally, the location of the hotel is ideal. The Spencer is close enough to the amphitheater that you can sit on the porch and listen to concerts. That is not something I personally choose to do, but I know some who do. To those who have never been to CHQ before, I feel I should let you know that most accommodations on the grounds are old. That means you should not expect to find the hotel to be luxurious. Those of us who are regulars consider this to be part of the total CHQ experience. We love it, and hope you will as well.

Room Tip: We like to have a room that opens onto one of the porches.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheSpencer, General Manager at The Spencer Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, August 18, 2013
We appreciate the guest review comments. We are heartened by the comments relating to the hospitality shown to our guests.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

We have been to Chautauqua before, but this is the first time we stayed at the Spencer. Chris, the General Manager and his staff, are really devoted to serving the customer. Chris is a problem solver. He works to accommodate individual needs and requirements. We understand that there are only two hotel style places that serve meals within the Chautauqua grounds. The Spencer is one of them. They do a very good job efficiently serving a very good breakfast and dinner so that you can be on time for the busy summer Chautauqua schedule. Their location is central and very convenient to everything. You can even sit on their deck and listen to the music from the AMP in the evening. The entire hotel is air conditioned (common areas and rooms) which is critical for the summer. The rooms are quiet and clean. We had three people in #407 with one and half baths. This worked very well. There was a bathtub with hand held shower which was initially a challenge, but improved as you developed the technique. However, some of the rooms have regular walk in showers if you are not comfortable with this. They have TVs so you can keep up on the news and the weather. We plan to return to the Spencer next year.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheSpencer, General Manager at The Spencer Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, August 18, 2013
It is most gratifying when first time visitors to the Spencer and Chautauqua Institution have a truly enjoyable experience. We dedicated ourselves to making our guest stays as full and satisfying as possible and the reviewers kind comments are greatly appreciated.
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Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2013

The value for the hotel was great. The food was outstanding especially the chicken dishes. Had TVs in the rooms which was nice. Had a nice kitchen fully stocked for us to use with a microwave. Nice wine selection as well for dinner. Chris the hotel manager was extremely helpful and accommodating. It could not have been a better week.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheSpencer, General Manager at The Spencer Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, August 18, 2013
This season we offered breakfasts every morning and dinners Monday through Friday. Our guests seem to appreciate the convenience of being able to start there day off right at the hotel and then have a pleasant repast at dinner after a full day of Chautauqua programming. We time the evening meal to enable guests to attend evening programs at the Amphitheater, the Bratton Theater and other events at the many venues afforded by Chautauqua. The guest comments are much appreciated..
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Spencer Hotel and Spa

Address: 25 Palestine Avenue, Chautauqua, NY 14722
Phone Number:
Location: United States > New York > Chautauqua County > Chautauqua
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Kitchenette Spa Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Chautauqua
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — The Spencer Hotel and Spa 2.5*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Spencer Hotel & Spa is best described as 'more captivating than opening your favorite story-book.' Amidst our enchanting literary themed rooms and the private sanctuary of our spa, find yourself transported to a bygone place and time. Time spent in our steam sauna, a soak in our whirlpool tubs, and a week of pampering services leaves every one feeling as though they have gathered new strength. Each of the 24 guest rooms and suites were hand-decorated by local artists to honor the lives and works of famous authors. Each room has a select library of thoughtfully-chosen books and musical selections to further convey the tone of each writer's life and times. All of the rooms have central air conditioning and heat, cable television, free Wi-Fi, monogrammed robes, hairdryers, irons and ironing boards, and Gilchriest and Soames bath amenities. Most of the rooms are outfitted with King beds and have brand new mattresses. Some of the rooms have desks, arm chairs, sofa beds, direct porch access and whirlpool/Jacuzzi tubs with European handheld showers. An elevator services all four floors. Steamboat Gothic porches grace the front of the hotel, and are appointed with Victorian sofas, chairs and rockers that overlook the famous Chautauqua Amphitheater. A gourmet savory or sweet breakfast is served each morning with fresh fruit in the Peacock Dining Room and luxurious massage services and a cedar sauna are available for guests to indulge in.The Spencer offers cozy areas that are perfect for playing a board game, curling up with a good book, or engaging in conversation. In the Monet Parlor a movie projector and screen are also available for use. Packages and specials are available for guests from Couples Renewal Weekends to Gourmet Dinners, Ladies Pampering and Wine Touring.The Spencer Hotel is the perfect place for small weddings, receptions, book-clubs, reunions, business retreats and more. Group packages can be custom built for your next event. During the 9 week Chautauqua Institution Season gate and parking passes are required for guests staying at The Spencer and need to be arranged through Chautauqua Institution. The Spencer Hotel rents by the week during these 9 weeks and provides guests with dinner Monday - Friday in addition to the gourmet breakfast that is offered year-round. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Spencer Hotel Chautauqua

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