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“Fun, Quaint and Relaxed Setting”

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The Spencer Hotel and Spa
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Chautauqua
Buffalo, NY
1 review
“Fun, Quaint and Relaxed Setting”
Reviewed February 11, 2008

I searched for something along the Chautauqua Wine Trail and had vacationed as a child in the Chautauqua region, I knew of the Institution my whole life and wanted to know more answers to my questions about staying on the Chautauqua Institute. I called the staff directly at The Spencer and found them to be more than helpful and accomodating. Once we checked in though, the experience became even better. The web site is easy to navigate and the people were so, so very nice and bendover backward helpful in directions, features, room cleanliness, referrals for things to do, etc. The room was a little smaller than what I am usually used to, this was the only reason that the grade was Above Average instead of Excellent, but there are larger rooms on the premises.

  • Liked — Location and staff assistance
  • Disliked — Smaller rooms
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank gregp33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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182 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    27
See reviews for
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (41)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Pittsburgh PA
Level Contributor
25 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed November 7, 2007

Our stay at The Spencer was a great getaway weekend for a couple. We went for the holiday wine tour weekend during which 16 local wineries paired foods with wines and you had 2 days to visit these wineries at your leaisure.

The Spencer itself is a beautifully restored 4 story certury old hotel, that is charming from top to bottom. The place is immaculate, the towels are thick and plentiful and the beds are very comfortable which is always a worry to those of us with back issues. As an added bonus, in the late evening as you were prepairing for bed the wonderful aromas of fresh baked goods filled the hotel. The complimentary breakfast was delicious and included the baked goods you craved from the eveing before and any special dietary needs were met with great enthusiam.

The staff was curtious and very helpful, they even arranged a car and driver so we could enjoy the wineries responsibly.

All in all our stay was relaxing peaceful and very enjoyable.

Stayed November 2007
Helpful?
1 Thank travelnut4003
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed November 6, 2007

This was our fourth visit to the Spencer Hotel. The setting, the peacefulness, the history, the comfort, "Henri", breakfast, we could go on and on, all are wonderful. If you want to travel back in time, leave the computer and cell phone behind and just enjoy the natural beauty of Chautauqua then the Spencer is the place to stay. We love our long walks around the grounds of the Institute and returning to the sounds of the beautiful player piano and the ambiance of such a wonderfully preserved piece of history. We are sure to return again. Make this a must on your places to stay!

Stayed November 2007
Helpful?
1 Thank Dauber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albion NY
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 23, 2007

I wanted to treat my mother to a special birthday getaway, and spent a fair amount of time looking for the right place. The Spencer Hotel appeared to offer all the things that two literary buffs would love. The website had great information about the rooms, amenities and specials. Other guests had commented on the fabulous breakfast, which really was a strong selling point for me. I selected the Brontes Room and it was all that it promised to be. Be aware though, the rooms are quite a bit smaller than they appear on the photos, but that was not a big draw-back for us.
We were met in the lobby by a nice young man who helped us with our luggage and showed us to our room. We confirmed that breakfast was at 9am the following morning and I was already looking forward to the promises of the website. Sadly, the morning brought us a reheated piece of quiche, two pieces of toast and a fresh fruit cup. The two young people waiting on us were very cheerful and willing to help, but the breakfast was a far cry from what the website was promising.
Upon return from a morning exploration of Chautauqua Institute we found our room had been tended to with new towels and shampoos, but the dishes in the sink had not been washed...more on this later....
Before heading out for the evening, we confirmed with the girl behind the desk that breakfast would be served at 9am the following morning. We did this because the night before we learned after much searching that there is no one attending to the hotel after 9pm and this fact had not been mentioned to us during check-in. This proved to be a problem on the second night as we found the central air had turned to heat and the temperature on our fourth floor room was intolerable. I tried to open the windows, but this was not possible so we sat up for a while trying to figure out how to get back to sleep in the suffocating room.
The next morning we arrived promptly to a non-existent breakfast. The cheerful young lady seemed surprised by our presence and scrambled to offer us something for breakfast, but with no bread in the kitchen, she headed to the store. She mentioned that there was coffee coming so we sat down to wait for it, until my impatience got the best of me and I went in to the kitchen to check on the progress of the brewing, only to find that she had flipped the heating pad on under a pot of yesterday's coffee and the pot was still completely cold. I also noticed that all the dishes from yesterday's breakfast sat dirty in the sink...KIDS!
None of this would have been a problem had we been duly notified that we are visiting during off-off season, with a very skeleton crew, not trained to brew coffee nor wash dishes, that breakfast would be nothing like what the website promises and that we would be on our own from 9pm-9am. Still the visit cost us top dollar: $185/per night. (the same rate was offered in June). I had a verbal promise (third-party) that I would receive a substantial discount, but this did not materialize on my credit card statement.
I will be happy to amend my review if the charges are an oversight, but I would strongly recommend that the Spencer Hotel rethink their prices during off-season and make sure that the cheerful kids are at least able to brew fresh coffee every day!
This could have been such a different experience!

  • Liked — The novel theme of the hotel
  • Disliked — Did not deliver what it promised.
  • Stayed October 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Blue-valise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
newlywed24, Owner at The Spencer Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, February 12, 2008
I have repeatedly tried to connect with this guest with no success and so I have decided to respond here.

I am sorry that you were not provided with the highest level of service that The Spencer can provide. This is our first season to go year-round and after the busy nine week summer programming we were in the midst of solving our staffing crisis. Many of the employees at Chautauqua are here for internships and go back to school at the end of August.

We have since corrected this problem and now have a solid year-round staff and Calling Center. We have a detailed confirmation letter with places to go, things to see, and restaurant choices. We now provide concierge services, spa treatments, and group events. Itineraries are made for each guests stay to personalize the Chautauqua experience. Each guest room has a binder containing important telephone numbers and pertinent information about The Spencer. There is someone on premise at all times and we also have front desk personnel attending to guests needs prior to, upon arrival, and during the stay.

We do know our limitations and are careful to communicate those to our guests. The rate charged was for the room type- a junior suite, not a standard king as they wanted twin beds as well. Our king rooms are smaller than standard hotel's, so if you are looking for rooms with a lot of space then a full suite would be the room for you. There are also several common areas such as the four floors of porches, parlor, dining room and spa rooms.

We are a small, boutique property and make every effort to make each guests stay enjoyable.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maryland
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 13, 2007

This is simply a charming inn and the owners, Helen and Dick, do everything they can to make your stay enjoyable. Each room is decorated in a whimsical theme representing a certain author. This time, I stayed in Arabian Nights which had stars on the ceiling and a mural painted on the walls. It might sound hokey but it is very delightful and tasteful and so fitting for Chautauqua. This is my second stay here and I would return.

The location just outside of the ampitheatre is ideal. The wonderful porches invite you to rest and relax. A substantial breakfast is included. If you're lucky, you can rent one of the parking places adjacent to the hotel and not have to deal with the walk to the parking lot outside of Chautauqua gates.

If there are downsides, it is that you cannot open the windows (which are sealed) to enjoy the fresh air. The other downside is that since it is an old house, it is very creaky. If you are bothered by noise of other guests walking above you, bring a sound machine or request a fan in your room.

This is definitely worth a visit!

  • Liked — Charming, whimsical decor of the inn
  • Disliked — Windows that could not be opened
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MarylandGroomMother
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ny,ny
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed June 29, 2007

The Spencer fits perfectly into the mood and mission of the entire institution. The staff is exaggeratedly helpful, the breakfasts are wonderful and enough to carry one past lunch and directly to dinner and the dinners there are amazingly terrific. The best part of the whole deal is the owner, Helen, who is on the properly and always willing to resolve any problems and more importantly she makes each guests feell comfortable and 'at home'. Each room has a literary theme complete with books by the particular author in your room. The rooms are a bit small but totally elegant . There is no better way to compliment your stay at Chautauqua than to stay at the Spencer--and be sure to get to hear Henry play the piano in the lobby!!!!
Larry Breen

Stayed June 2007
Helpful?
1 Thank Edward68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 21, 2007

We decided upon the Spencer Hotel & Spa, for a variety of reasons. First, was for the beautiful scenery and wineries that surround the Lake Chautauqua, and The Spencer is in the Middle of the Chautauqua Institution. The Institution is a special place! The Spencer is not. The 2nd reason for booking was we found them listed with Spa Finder, claiming that they were indeed, both a Hotel & Spa.

The Spencer is neither. They are, at best, a run down Bed & Breakfast. The "spa" consists of a tiny room - too small to be a guest room - with a massage table, and a two person sauna on the 2nd floor porch. Outside and with very limited access. The websites were very misleading, and only made us want to leave sooner. We were to stay for two nights, but could only last one. Our 'King' bed was actually two small beds shoved together, and very uncomfortable.
On the upside, the staff was very accomodating and polite. Very helpful with dinner reservations. The breakfast was wonderful. I think, it was prepared by a general manager - a very nice man - while the owner wandered through the dining room and entry way in her bed clothes. Very appalling!!!
We will not return to the Spencer, and advise others as well. Do your research - there is a fine hotel and spa on the same grounds that lives up to its namesake. it is not the Spencer.

  • Liked — The Chatauqua Institution is one of a kind and the Lake is beautiful and relaxing
  • Disliked — everything, including the owner in her bedclothes during breakfast
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank well-travelledduo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helen07Chautauqua, Manager at The Spencer Hotel and Spa, responded to this review, June 25, 2007
The Chautauqua Institution is a 135 year old historic gated resort community. The Spencer is celebrating 100 years this year and has been completely renovated to the modern codes and standards and is proud to have achieved the historical landmark distinction— The Spencer has always been known as a small boutique hotel and has gone from 43 to 25 guest rooms to accommodate kitchenettes, jacuzzi’s and larger spaces for guests. Air conditioning, an elevator, wireless internet, new linens and bedding, the parlor, the dining room and kitchen, including the wiring and plumbing have all been restored and put in place to achieve a complete renovation. The spa aspect of the hotel is a unique add on service based upon availability. The owner was not present at the time of arrival, therefore the woman in the bathrobe was a guest that had an extended stay at The Spencer.
Report response as inappropriate
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

Property: The Spencer Hotel and Spa
Address: 25 Palestine Ave, Chautauqua, NY 14722-2536
Phone Number:
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 
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Also Known As:
Spencer Hotel Chautauqua

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