We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Beware – Cancel and still pay IN FULL - $0 Refund” 1 of 5 stars
Review of The Spencer Hotel and Spa

Best prices for your stay
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 5 more sites!
Save
You added The Spencer Hotel and Spa to your Saves list
The Spencer Hotel and Spa
2.5 of 5 Hotel   |   25 Palestine Avenue, Chautauqua, NY 14722   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Chautauqua
PA
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Beware – Cancel and still pay IN FULL - $0 Refund”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2009

Made a reservation at The Spencer Hotel by telephone, 3+ weeks before planned stay, and several days later (3 business days) we had to cancel. Guess what, our credit card had been charged for the full amount ($850) and it’s NOT coming back! Supposedly this is "like other resorts" although I can't find one that has such a “cancellation” policy. Not only is this an absurd “policy”, it was not mentioned until well after they took our money.
Even more unbelievable, the owner and staff explicitly and repeatedly advised us to commit insurance fraud! Both verbally and in writing, we were advised to contact Travelex Insurance, buy insurance under the false pretense of ignorance that we had already cancelled, and then soak THEM for the money that The Spencer Hotel had just pocketed.
I even offered to pay them a 25% penalty fee for “holding the room” a crummy 3 business days, but that was not good enough for them. You see, times are tough and they need all the money they can get. This hotel may or may not be a nice place to stay… but I definitely wonder… if they have such a severe and unyielding attitude toward prospective customers, how do you get treated while you’re there?
Final comment: I know I’ll never make another hotel reservation without first being provided a clear and fair cancellation/refund policy.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheSpencer, Manager at The Spencer Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, February 6, 2012
Our cancellation policies are defined on our website and available for any and all to view whether or not they have made a reservation.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

135 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    61
    27
    13
    14
    20
See reviews for
22
69
8
6
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
Melbourne, Florida
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2009

A coworker and I stayed here recently. The hotel itself is very quaint and I can tell you right now that this review would be VERY different if I were staying here on a weekend or during the summer (and not for business.)

That being said, in case anyone else is looking for business travel, I thought I'd post a review. In a nutshell: I'd pick somewhere else if I had to travel to this area for work again. Middle of the week, it was just my coworker and I at the hotel. Quite frankly, it made it a little creepy for us. On the plus side...it was so quiet! I just read some reviews and I'm glad I didn't know at the time that no one was attending to the hotel after 9pm. That would have really bothered me to be staying there just the two of us...screams unsafe to me... The internet access was non-existent. In this day and age, you really need readily available access. Since what I needed to do could wait, I didn't feel like trying to figure it out. That being said...if I were not here on business, I wouldn't have cared about the internet!

We needed to leave the hotel at 8am. It's a good thing we didn't need to leave at 7:30! No one was there to check us out until exactly 8am. To me, this is unacceptable, business or personal travel. If there was an emergency at home that I needed to leave in the middle of the night, someone should be there to be able to check me out. End of story.

My only other real issue here was the shower head in my room. Seems picky, but I don't understand hotels that have out-dated shower heads. They cost $5 for a new, nice shower head at Target. If you replace them all at this hotel, it's a $100 outlay...and that's if you buy at Target, not wholesale. It took me forever to wash my hair. ...and this is just a pet peeve of mine.

On the plus side (and why I would recommend this place or stay here if I were traveling for pleasure...) it was clean! And again, something silly, but things you begin to appreciate when you travel often: regular sized towels! Friendly staff when they were around. Loved the decor and I appreciated the "something different" than what we usually have when traveling.

All in all, would I stay here for business again? No. Would I stay here for pleasure? Possibly.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helen07Chautauqua, owner at The Spencer Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, March 31, 2010
July 2009 stayed during the Chautauqua Season and the review written on June 4, 2009

Let us take this opportunity to respond to your stay at the Spencer Hotel. The Spencer and the whole Chautauqua environment tends to be quiet from lack of cars, trucks, and anything else that creates a noisy environment. While we are not with you at all times we are only a phone call away. The phone numbers to contact the staff are at the front desk. We appreciate your comment and we will put the phone numbers on a little stand in each room for your convenience.

Thank you for the information about the shower head. We will take your advice and replace all of them with new ones.

We hope you better understand our hotel and the Chautauqua Institution.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DC
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2009

My husband and I decided to jump in the car one sunny Saturday morning and drive to Lake Chautauqua. We had never been there, but heard wonderful things about its great beauty and emphasis on the arts and religion. We were pleasantly surprised at the stunning, regal, Victorian homes that line the lake, but disappointed that nothing really opens (i.e., restaurants, shops, etc.) until Memorial Day weekend. Nevertheless, the Spencer welcomed us warmly. The Victorian property is unique and charming, with each room named after a different literary author and decorated accordingly. The owners, a very hospitable married couple, made our stay enjoyable and their passion and love for the hotel was apparent in their demeanor. The location of the hotel is outstanding since it is right in the heart of the little lake-side village and only a few steps away from the renowned Chautauqua Institute (which was closed). During the summer season The Spencer offers a massage therapist and a manicurist, but since it was the off-season these services weren't available during our stay. We did, however, receive a nice breakfast which was included in our stay. Since it was off season the town was vacant and there was only one other room occupied (by a very friendly couple who also seemed to enjoy the Spencer) we felt like we were living in the game of "Clue" when it got dark outside.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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, Manager at The Spencer Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, February 6, 2012
Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful review! We are so happy to read that you enjoyed your stay and would love for you to come back and visit again soon!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ohio
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2009

I booked a romantic get away. We agreed on a specific spaciousness room based on sleeping arrangement, first floor easy access ( I am handicapped), jacuzzi tub, and internet access (My wife needed to finish some work tasks). I called back the following day to add a third day and make spa and dinner arrangements. No one there was able to help me, it seems that everything is arranged personnally by Helen the owner. No one else was permitted to accomplish these routine tasks. When she finally returned my call she took the additional information then indicated that she needed to go to another computer and would call back She was clearly confused. At that point. I became a bit curt with her and asked why no one seemed to know what was going on. She later called back a indicated that everything was arranged as I had requested.

Upon arrival I was flabbergasted to discover that, without my knowledge or approval, she had switched us to another room totally different from what I had arranged and payed for. Top floor, sporadic interned access, cramped room, the water in the tub was tepid and mold burbled out when the pump was started. Helen apparently became vindictive and did everything she could to minimize our enjoyment of the facility. As the time went past it became apparent that everything that transpires there is at she is in accordance with her personal whims and desires.

The food was excellent, the decor was very nice. Helen does an excellent job with the decorating. The staff were all friendly, courteous and accommodating. Donna used all of the spa services. The spa contractors which she brings in all performed flawlessly. However, they had to work around the inefficient conditions imposed because of Helen's emphasis on appearance instead of functionality. She will probably attempt to blame housekeeping or our "Room Change" for the unsanitary tub, but as I said - EVERYTHING> - that happens here is exactly as she dictates.

If you are looking for a place where the views of one person override common sense, efficiency, and hospitality this is the place for you.

In addition of course the failure to insure that the tubs are properly clean and sanitized and the unauthorized switching of rooms are probably illegal.

  • Liked — Food, Apperance, Staff
  • Disliked — Management, internet access
  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TheSpencer, Manager at The Spencer Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, February 6, 2012
Our deepest apologies for your negative experience here at The Spencer. There is no reason a guest should feel that way.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
buffalo
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2009

The Spencer hotel - a few things you should read before you stay-----we had booked a nice room-but were contacted by the staff to say that the room was already booked-we then picked another room---what they failed to mention--is that the room was DIRECTLY above the kitchen - no sleeping in for a romantic weekend! The staff DID bring the price down a bit - hats off to that! Seems like a good place to stay if you plan on touring the institution for the bulk of the time you are visiting the area - however-if you plan on spending most of your time OUTSIDE the gates of the institution (ie-wineries etc, especially during winter).....this is over-priced for you. Staff and breakfast - GREAT! another downfall-we could hear EVERYTHING going on in the room next to us---VERY THIN WALLS. Don't plan on sleeping in past 8 in the morning.

  • Liked — The staff and the breakfast.
  • Disliked — Thin walls and expensive. This is probably the case for any lodging in the institution.
  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buffalo NY
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2008

We booked a 2 night stay as a Corporate event for 12 people From the first discussions with the hotel staff to the last at check out the service was the best I have experienced in a long time. They put together a full wine tour package, including transportation food and of course wine tasting. Every detail was handled. Even on our first night we were unsure when we arrived where to go to dinner. The hotel staff made a suggestion and when we arrived the resturant already had the table set for us.

The only probelm we found was with the Lunch at the Quincy Wine Cellars. I would take this off the trip. But since everything else was more than expected I would still give this hotel the highest marks.

  • Liked — Location and Service
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 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.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2008

The Spencer Hotel is a wonder! The entire hotel was super-clean! Everyone was so friendly! They give 110% to their customers both on the phone and when you arrive. An additional surprise was breakfast! Every day was a real treat! It truly is a great place to enjoy the outdoors, tour the beautiful countryside, visit the Lucy - Desi museum, or simple relax on the porch and read a book! Can't wait to return!

  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to The Spencer Hotel and Spa? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about The Spencer Hotel and Spa

Address: 25 Palestine Avenue, Chautauqua, NY 14722
Location: United States > New York > Chautauqua County > Chautauqua
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Kitchenette Room Service Spa Suites
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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline, Orbitz, Odigeo and Hotels.com so you can book your The Spencer Hotel and Spa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Spencer Hotel Chautauqua

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage The Spencer Hotel and Spa, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.