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“Relaxation at its finest”

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The Spencer Hotel and Spa
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Chautauqua
Reviewed April 7, 2010

The Spencer Hotel was a delightful experience. The literary-themed rooms were brilliant.
What made our stay so enjoyable was the greeting we received from Helen and Dick. They are such friendly, down-to-earth people; as was Deena (part of their staff).
What a treat to walk into our "Out of Africa" room to a beautiful display of cheese, crackers, grapes and a bottle of my favorite type of wine "Pinot Grigio". How lovely each room is in its own right - each decorated by a different artist (painted themes on the walls), furniture relevant to the era it depicts, and soft, comfortable bed linens.
Our breakfast was unique! Healthy and delicious at the same time. Lovely dining room to enjoy our breakfast or the owners are willing to serve you in bed.
My favorite part of the weekend was a treat I received in the spa - a full-body massage. I cannot remember the last time I felt so relaxed.
The Spencer Hotel was a delight back in time! Thanks to the hotel's owners/staff for making our stay that much more enjoyable. Helen and Dick - you are the best!

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank lorbal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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159 - 165 of 194 reviews

Reviewed March 6, 2010

My husband and I had planned a romantic weekend that included the Chautauqua Lake Erie Wine trail and a stay in the Agatha Christie Suite at the Spencer Hotel. The suite had beautiful pictures on the website and was reported to be the hotel's honeymoon suite. The wine trail was fantastic, but when we arrived at the Spencer Hotel that evening we were incredibly disappointed. The "suite" looked nothing like the pictures on the website, nor was it an actual suite. It was nothing more than a room with a tiny bathroom. There was nothing luxurious or quaint about this place.
The website boasted a hand painted mural in the room and a jacuzzi hot tub, neither of which were true. If there was a hand painted mural in that room then they must have put wall paper over it, and jacuzzi hot tub was a tiny little tub for one person in the corner of the bedroom. There was a tiny 19 inch TV from 20 years ago that had about 5 stations on it. The bed was alright, but nothing to look forward to, and the bathroom was in terrible condition. There was peeling wallpaper, brown spots on the ceiling, a fan with tape over it, and a leaky sink. The base of the stand up shower was stained and old. I didnt want to step on it with my bare feet.
As if it that wasnt bad enough, the hotel itself was deserted. There was an older couple running the place, and everywhere we went, they asked us to turn out the lights behind us, even in the hallways. The place was creepy at best.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank asha730
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 reviewResponded March 30, 2010

Nov. 8th and 9th 2009,
The guest who stayed in Agatha Christie were disappointed with their stay and responded March 10, 2010.

Wish to take this opportunity to let you know some of the facts about the Agatha Christie room. The wallpaper is Schumacher historic collection and was used to decorate the king of England’s honeymoon suite in the Barbados. The abdicated king of England married Wally Simpson and they stopped in Barbados on their round the world trip. This paper was available for six months and it was chosen to decorate the room because it was historic and Agatha Christie enjoyed this moderate climate that the wallpaper suggests. Jacuzzi considers this tub to be a two person tub. There is also a three fixture bath at the other end of the room. As you enter the room there is two beautiful white wingback chairs with a table with full length skirted table cloth with corded hem to create a luxurious inviting first view of the bedroom. Originally the building had 43 rooms and now it has 24 rooms. Room 207 is two rooms plus two baths to make the suite. Sometimes we are away when our guests arrive and it is much unfortunate that they felt the place was empty. We have the smaller TVs in the rooms and they are not 20 years old as they were suggested and have full cable access, free wireless internet access and a free gourmet breakfast that is available in the room upon request. We also have a 100in screen in the parlor with lots of movies and DVDs. Henry is always at the player piano providing song and entertainment for our guest to enjoy. This will better describe the Agatha Christie room at the Spencer Hotel and all of its amenities.

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Reviewed September 10, 2009

My wife and I stayed in the Isaak Dineson "suite," which is billed on The Spencer's website as a "Full Suite." First of all, it is NOT a suite,certainly not under any definition of the term. It is a single rectangular room of approximately 130 sq.ft., and that is a generous estimate. On the left side of the room is a large bed and three or four steps from the end of the bed is a couch. The bathtub is next to the bed. The mural is laughably amateur, and looks like it was painted by a drunken epileptic.

The worst part, though, was that the alleged air conditioning was wildly inefficient -- the room temperature, according to the miniature thermometer attached to my travel alarm clock, was 87 degrees F. And even worse, the window didn't open, not even a crack. On a hot June day, the tiny, cramped room was sweltering and just plain uncomfortable.

On a positive note, the young lady at the front desk was incredibly friendly and helpful,going out of her way to make us as comfortable as possible. I did find it a bit odd that the owner of the Spencer, with whom I had spoken several times in the 24 hours before our arrival -- stood silently at the front desk as we checked in, avoiding eye contact and not so much as saying hello or "welcome." At such a small hotel, and with the level of interaction she and I had had previous to our arrival, it was bizarre that she just stood there, refusing to look at us or speak to us.

There is NO PARKING at the hotel at all, period. Although one can, if one procures a pass, drive up to the hotel for a moment to drop off one's luggage, after which one has to drive back to a parking lot about 3/4 mile away and walk back to the hotel (over rocky terrain).

The management neglected to apply the guaranteed 10% discount to the price of room, as well.

Ultimately, we were deeply disappointed with our stay at the Spencer. I have paid less for a 900 sq. ft. two bedroom suite at the Four Seasons in Toronto, or for a gorgeous true one bedroom suite at the Ritz-Carlton in Montreal or for another perfectly appointed suite at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead, GA, just outside Atlanta. The prices at the Spencer are OUTRAGEOUS to the point of being unethical.

I cannot recommend this hotel. Sure, it is convenient in terms of location, but whatever small point that scores the hotel, all the other negatives FAR outweigh that one small positive.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank LittleLulu23
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 reviewResponded March 30, 2010

June 2009 stayed during the Chautauqua Season and the review written on Sept. 2009

• Let us take this opportunity to respond to your stay at the Spencer Hotel. You made a comment about the artwork in room 203 Out of Africa. The artist that painted the African theme is world renowned artist who has died shortly after finishing this project.
• The air conditioning: if you would have contacted the front desk about this issue they would have adjusted the AC in your room immediately. The windows are closed to ensure that the air conditioner will work properly.
• The room size: a suite can be any size. We call it a suite because it was two rooms and two baths put together to make a suite. The Hotel was 43 rooms before the renovation and now we have 24 rooms.
• The person at the front desk who didn’t acknowledge your presence, we are not sure who that person was but maybe they didn’t want to interrupt or take over from the other person that was in charge. That could explain the no eye contact.
• Parking: This is a gated community with small streets and during the Chautauqua Season there is no parking on the streets for the convenience for pedestrian travel. The Institution provides parking across the street and a trolley stop across the street of the Hotel to take you to the parking lot and also in the parking lot there is shuttles to take you to the main gate.
• Price: There are only 2 hotels here at the Institution and we are half the price of the other hotel that hasn’t been renovated in like 50 years. Also the other hotel does not have AC, TV and no wireless internet but you can open the windows.
We hope you better understand our hotel and the Chautauqua Institution.

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Reviewed September 6, 2009

I've stayed in many hotels and this Hotel is way over price!!!!! The room I stay in was very stuffy! Also the pictures you see on their web site are very deceiving .Went to open windows and they are permanently sealed. Try to turn up the AC and it was lock. No hot water at 3:00 PM. Parking is Very POOR!!!!!!! Came back to the hotel at midnight and no parking any where near the hotel, and the entrance had no light on. Just a poorly run hotel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
2  Thank breezer696
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 reviewResponded February 6, 2012

Our hotel prices are comparable to other lodging facilities on the Chautauqua Institution grounds. We would have been happy to adjust the room temperature for you had we been asked and would have even left the thermostat unlocked so you could have made further adjustments to meet your liking. We do have limited parking but those rules are set by the Institution, not us.

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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
    • Value
3  Thank KaceyL
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 reviewResponded 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.

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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
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Thank kat228
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 reviewResponded 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.

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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
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1  Thank Lukabijou
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 reviewResponded 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!

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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 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 #4 of 6 Hotels in Chautauqua
Price Range: $232 - $242 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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