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“Old historic hotel, great community”
Review of Athenaeum Hotel

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Athenaeum Hotel
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Chautauqua
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Old historic hotel, great community”
Reviewed 19 June 2013

We traveled to Chautauqua for a wedding and stayed at the hotel for two nights. The Anthenauem is an older, historic hotel built in 1881 and it does show its age. That said, it's quaint, is set in a great location for walking, biking or boating.

The surrounding community is made up of historic homes that reminded me of the towns on Martha's Vinyard.

The staff was friendly and they provided great service.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Stephen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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102 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Service
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (38)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
52 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 June 2013

My stay at this hotel was for a conference in June, which is prior to the Chatauqua season. The hotel is situated on Chatauqua lake. The grounds are nice and it is a pleasure just to walk around the community which features beautiful and well kept Victorian houses and gardens.

The Athenaeum hotel has a large lobby and parlor as well as large porches, but many of the furnishings in the hotel are old and in need of refinishing. Apparently, the hotel management hates spending money. The numbering of the rooms does not make sense (e.g. rooms 36 and 95 are near each other) and it takes a day or so to become oriented. This would not be expensive to fix. When the hotel was built the bathroom must generally have been down the hall. It seemed that a piece was taken out of my room to accommodate the bathroom and the built in closet. As a result, it was hard to get to the window and A/C, because the space between the bed and the dresser was minimal. I repeatedly stubbed my toe on the dresser. The window could not be opened because of the way the A/C was installed beneath the window, which was unfortunate during cool June nights. My mattress was o.k. though.

The kitchen and reception apparently are staffed mostly by students. Everyone seemed to be trying, but the kitchen staff clearly was in need of more training and better supervision. Some of the dishes were nice, but others were tasteless. When it was pointed out that some of the dishes were excessively salty, the chef indicated that he did not know how to make the food tasty with less salt. Advice was offered and they did cut down on the salt. Hiring an advanced student from a culinary institute should improve matters.

I arrived early on the day the conference started, but found that the hotel could not provide lunch on that day and I had to rely on a delivery of food from a restaurant off the Chatauqua grounds. Almost all the businesses on the institute's grounds were still closed. The pool hours were ridiculous and conflicted with meal times.

Since the off season rate was figured into my conference package, I found the cost reasonable. However, a stay in summer would be much more expensive. The prices for the gate ticket which is needed during the summer season seem excessive, especially when one considers that many of the performers are not really professional.

Room Tip: Since the hotel was not filled during my stay, the staff accommodated people who asked for a room ch...
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Wilhelmina87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vanessa W, Public Relations Manager at Athenaeum Hotel, responded to this review, 13 June 2013
Thank you for visiting the Athenaeum Hotel on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution. We're glad that you mostly enjoyed your stay with us and we hope that you make a visit during the Chautauqua season.

Throughout the Chautauqua season many professional performers and lecturers grace the Amphitheater stage. This year alone we have the engineer behind the Mars Rovers discussing unmanned space exploration and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg diving into the weekly theme of "Crime and Punishment." As far as concerts go, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers and Paul Simon will be performing. Chautauqua acts as a place for up and coming dancers, artists, and actors to learn and perform, as well as a venue for established performers and lecturers.

You also may be interested to learn that we have started a full refurbishment of our guest rooms with over 50 rooms completely updated and renovated. Each winter and spring we are dedicating time and money to redo as many rooms and shared spaces inside the hotel so that guests have a pleasurable experience. Unfortunately, maintaining a 132 year-old building is not always easy (or quick) so we ask our guests to be patient as we make improvements.

Again, thank you for your visit and we hope to see you again. Please contact me at vweinert@ciweb.org if you have any further questions or feedback.

Sincerely,

Vanessa Weinert
Marketing Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 January 2013

Everything is included. What could be better. It's Chatauqua not Real life. It's a roll back to the old days and your lucky that you have airconditioning but that is what it's like here.
The food is excellent and plentiful. Your gate ticket is included which is huge.

Room Tip: Try to get in the main house.
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank mcmeinken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 July 2012

The hotel from the outside is a beauty and the institute's grounds are amazing. But once you open the doors to the "suite", my wife called it the bates motel. The furnishings are thirty years old - I am being generous. This is for almost $600 per night. It is a four seasons rate but a one season quality and service. The first night we arrived late and asked for bottled water for the room - they said there is none , but they do have a vending machine! You can get a glass of wine with dinner, but god forbid if you want one after. The mattress dates from the civil war period - I guess Lincoln really slept there! Then the officious staff - after parking on the grounds for three days, we return and park on the "circle" and are told by the most power-hungry of bellboys that we can't park where we have parked for three days because we have to valet AND if I do not move my car He will send the police to ticket me - very Ritz-like. A discussion with the manager allows a reprieve until I leave for dinner on the promise that I will obey the rules next time - absurd. Never again and would never recommend this place - ridiculous prices for campsite accommodations and pitiful service.

  • Stayed July 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
14 Thank Tornado33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vanessa W, Public Relations Manager at Athenaeum Hotel, responded to this review, 18 December 2012
Dear guest,

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback regarding our hotel. I am certainly disappointed that your stay was not all that it could have been during the 2012 season. We listen to all of our reviews and responses and take them into consideration for our upcoming season.

You may be interested to learn that we have started a full refurbishment of our guest rooms with over 50 rooms completely updated and renovated. Each winter and spring we are dedicating time and money to redo as many rooms as possible so that guests have a pleasurable experience at the Hotel. Unfortunately, maintaining a 131 year-old building is not always easy (or quick) so we ask our guests to be patient as we make improvements.

We truly hope that you enjoyed Chautauqua Institution’s programming and will visit the grounds again. Please contact me at vweinert@ciweb.org if you have any further questions or feedback.

Sincerely,

Vanessa Weinert
Marketing Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Flagstaff, Arizona
Level Contributor
288 reviews
161 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 160 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 July 2012

My idea of visiting Chautauqua was a last minute idea. As a single, I thought I would be charged the couples rate for the package, but I was not. For two nights, the total was $409, which included the room, meals, gratuities, parking, grounds pass, and admission to the two wonderful musical events I came to hear. Not bad at all. Uopn walking into the lobby, my initial impression was that it did resemble a nursing home. Elderly were slouched in the chairs and Scooter chairs were in abundance. Oh well, I may get there myself some day and these folks have come out to spend time at worthwhile cultural events instead of sitting on the duffs in front of the TV. The clientele of the town is actually more varied. I am not giving this place five stars, but there is much to be said for it. OK, the screen doors from the drab hallways to the porches are pretty old. But I was pleased with my room. In 1881, private baths did not exist and it would appear that the room has been divided up, with a narrow bedroom, resulting in a spacious bath ( with modern fixtures ) and a capacious closet area. Not the most luxurious room I have ever stayed in, but it was just fine and overlooked the lake. The portions of the dinner entrees were modest, but that was fine with me, as I am trying to steer clear of large plates. The service is mostly by young students and for the most part they were friendly and efficient. Chautauqua really is a special place. Just walking the residential streets with the old wooden houses and flower gardens is a pleasure. I went to a political lecture and attended two very different church services on Sunday, one in the Episcopal chapel, and the community service in the amphitheater. A theater production on Sunday afternoon was my last event, for which I paid $30. The events I came to hear, the NPR radio broadcast taping of " From the Top, " showcasing teenage talent, was one of the finer things in life. The Symphony and chorus the next night performing the Brahms " Requiem " was the icing on the cake for me, something I have performed as a singer. Go visit Chautauqua, and get away from the schlock that permeates our lives!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank EAZELIFF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oakmont, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
273 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 July 2012

The Athenaeum is a grand old wooden hotel build in the 19th century (I believe). If you want historic ambiance, this is the place to go. If you want 5 star luxury, go somewhere else. Our room (in the annex) was very clean and well maintained but quite small.The mattresses were lumpy and uncomfortable and the bathroom was in serious need of upgrading. For the money we paid, I think we deserved better.
The hotel operates on the American plan, so all meals are included. The food is plentiful and very excellent. We had no complaints about quantity nor quality here. Parking and the passes to the Institution were also included in the price.
We did have several experiences with several uninformed staff members who answered our questions with "I don't know". Some sample questions - Is there a fee for the fitness center? How much is Sunday tea? Is this beer locally brewed? (We had similar responses from other employees outside of the hotel. Quite strange.)
Overall, we had a great experience, but upgrades are sorely needed.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank bobalcorn5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Buffalo, NY
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 July 2012

My family & I had dinner there on July 9, 2012. The service was absolutely horrible - which is to be expected since the tip & taxes are already included in the cost of all meals. If the server actually has to work to get a 15 or 20% tip, then he or she would be available to fill your water glass or bring the bottle of wine we ordered (never got it).

The food was OK - but nothing to rave about, very small portions and was served lukewarm (again - bad service!). For a 4-course, $70 meal at a hotel/restaurant that has a dress code (which was not enforced, as the people at the table next to us were dressed in shorts and t-shirts), I expected much better. Also, the tables on the patio are just flimsy, cheap plastic with a linen tablecloth thrown over it. The chairs are the same - cheap, stackable white plastic chairs.

We will not be returning!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Mary Ellen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vanessa W, Public Relations Manager at Athenaeum Hotel, responded to this review, 18 December 2012
Dear guest,

Thank you for giving us feedback about your stay. We take all reviews and responses into account before we begin our next season.

I'm sorry to hear about the service that you had while staying at the Athenaeum Hotel. We hope to provide quality 5-star food and service to each of our guests. Our chef, who just cooked at the James Beard House in NYC, is gaining a reputation for amazing cuisine and we hope that you make it back to the Athenaeum Hotel for a stay or special event and try his wonderful food again.

We truly hope that you enjoyed Chautauqua Institution's programming and will visit the grounds again. Please contact me at vweinert@ciweb.org if you have any further questions or feedback.

Sincerely,

Vanessa Weinert
Marketing Manager
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 Athenaeum Hotel

Property: Athenaeum Hotel
Address: 3 S Lake Dr, Chautauqua, NY 14722-2547
Region: United States > New York > Chautauqua County > Chautauqua
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Chautauqua
Number of rooms: 153
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Throughout Chautauqua Institution's summer season, Athenaeum Hotel guests are inspired by a variety of learning, recreational and entertainment programs that are all part of the unique Chautauqua experience. For 140 summers, people have come to Chautauqua's 750-acre community to experience arts, education, concerts, lectures and lively discussions. During the spring and fall months, the Athenaeum Hotel acts as a host to well-organized conferences, beautiful weddings, and special events. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Athenaeum Hotel Chautauqua, New York

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