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“Great ancient resort hotel”
Review of Athenaeum Hotel

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Athenaeum Hotel
Ranked #5 of 6 Hotels in Chautauqua
Reviewed 29 July 2013

My wife and I had about the best vacation of our seven-decade lives at the Chautauqua Institution from July 21 to 28, 2013, and the Athenaeum Hotel was a major part of our experience. Although built in 1881-2, the hotel has been fairly well maintained, and the service and food were quite satisfactory. We had suite 46/48, which was well designed and furnished, and had a terrific, handsome bath. The hotel is less than a hundred yards from the Amphitheater, where most of the major morning and evening events are held. We'll be back next year.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank jsoshea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (109)
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70 - 76 of 109 reviews

Reviewed 23 July 2013

This hotel had probably the worst service we have ever experienced for a hotel in this price range. Two of the 3 nights we stayed here we waited two hours for our dinner to be served and were late the the evening concerts. The servers are young and probably only there for two months so I would gladly cut them some slack but they are obviously not given much training at all. Even the young people working in the lobby were not all that friendly, often talked to one another rather than recognizing a guest, and did not offer to get the answer to a question they could not answer. The room was small, the shower curtain hung about 4 inches onto the floor of the tub/shower, the stairwells were not that clean, etc. We were traveling w/ a group and luckily, most people checked to make sure their luggage got on our bus as promised as one person's luggage was sitting in the lobby when we were about to take off. The ambiance and location are good so stay here if that's what you are looking for but don't expect great amenities or service! We were in the annex and the signage was very poor. Impossible to get there without asking for help. It would be very easy for the hotel to put up better signs!

Room Tip: We were facing the lake but the windows were very dirty and there wasn't THAT much of a view so...
  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank JWaun
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 reviewResponded 28 August 2013

Thank you so much for your feedback. I'm sorry that you did not enjoy your stay at the Athenaeum Hotel. I hope that you enjoyed Chautauqua Institution's programming.

Chautauqua Institution prides itself as being a place for lifelong learning and education and that philosophy extends to the young employees that we hire every season. We want to give them the opportunity to work alongside talented chefs and make connections with the guests that stay at the hotel or simply on the grounds. With that said, we face many challenges as a seasonal establishment. One of those challenges is having enough time to train and the Athenaeum Hotel strives to have a well-trained seasonal staff. We will be looking into your remarks to ensure that other guests will receive better service.

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

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 July 2013

Here is the skinny on this hotel: 1. It's very old and therefore full of charm and irritating inherent inconveniences; 2 It is staffed on the front line by college students who work a very short season and who are not allowed tips, therefore the service is, to put it kindly, uneven; 3. The setting is stunning; the hotel sits right on the Lake in the middle of the precious Chautauqua community filled with charming Victorian homes.4. They make all their money in a season that lasts fewer than three months, therefore this is not a "value" experience.

So, if you are expecting five star accommodations (considering the price) with outstanding service and great food in the dining room, I'll bet you come away VERY disappointed.

However, if you arrive understanding what to expect and are able to ignore the inefficiencies and the nagging feeling that you are not receiving your money's worth, and simply enjoy the ambiance, setting, and abundant charm, you will probably have a relaxing and enjoyable time at this grande dame of a hotel.

Room Tip: Avoid rooms in the Annex if possible; if you have a choice when you check in, express your preferenc...
  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled on business
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1  Thank civilwarguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 July 2013

We just spent a week at the Athenaeum Hotel. It was our first time at Chatauqua and the hotel. The staff are all young and trying to please but you will need a good sense of humor if you don't want to spend your time being angry with the problems inherent in dealing with poor management. Our room was a refurbished one and was large and comfortable. As an example of the management style at this hotel we lost electricity to our room twice, when I called the desk to report the problem I was connected to an announcement about their office hours and advised to call back. I went to the desk which was manned and asked what I should do in cas of an emergency, the young lady said I should wait a few minutes and call back, I'm not sure she understood the meaning of emergency. This was only one of many management failures in a very expensive hotel.

Room Tip: Make sure you ask for a refurbished room.
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank bruce065
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 reviewResponded 3 July 2013

Dear Bruce,

Thank you so much for your feedback. I'm glad that you thought your room was comfortable and hopefully you enjoyed Chautauqua Institution's programming.

Chautauqua Institution prides itself as being a place for lifelong learning and education and that philosophy extends to the young employees that we hire every season. We want to give them the opportunity to work alongside talented chefs and make connections with the guests that stay at the hotel or simply on the grounds. With that said, we face many challenges as a seasonal establishment. One of those challenges is having enough time to train and the Athenaeum Hotel strives to have a well-trained seasonal staff. We will be looking into your remarks to ensure that other guests will receive better service.

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

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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1  Thank Stephen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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...
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled solo
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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 reviewResponded 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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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.
  • Stayed: August 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank mcmeinken
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 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 #5 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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