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“OOPS! OPENING WEEKEND”
Review of Athenaeum Hotel

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Athenaeum Hotel
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Chautauqua
Cambridge, Canada
Level Contributor
125 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“OOPS! OPENING WEEKEND”
Reviewed 30 June 2014

We just returned from a one night stay at the Athenaeum Hotel in Chautauqua which included all our meals. We have been at this hotel a number of times over the years and always had a terrific time. This time it was a disaster. The dinner which normally is very good went from bad to worse as the time passed. We had ordered shrimp cocktails which arrived in a dish so small that the waiter put his fingers in with the shrimp in order to serve them. He never thought of putting them on a serving plate. We asked for extra sauce four times and it never arrived. The waitress took our order for the main course and after one hour came back to our table and asked what we were waiting for! We had reserved dinner for 6pm because we had tickets for a concert at 8pm. We had to leave without eating since we simply ran out of time. We were worried that our waitress was going to have a nervous breakdown since nothing was going right. We really couldn't get angry since this was opening weekend and most of the wait staff are students working for the summer. We actually felt sorry for them. From the dining room we went to the front desk to advise them of our experience. The were very apologetic and arranged to have a meal ready for us after the concert. They also said we would not be charged for anything during our stay.
The rest of our stay was what we expected based on past experiences. Nice clear rooms in a historic hotel, good breakfast and an excellent Sunday brunch. The staff did more than was necessary to overcome the dinner the previous evening.
We will be back again but maybe not on opening weekend.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Matty348
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
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (38)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Erie, PA
Level Contributor
82 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 June 2014

We were here for a concert and the pkg. included a meal at this hotel. The setting was magnificent for a beautiful summer evening. The hotel has a large wrap around porch with quaint rocking chairs for guests to enjoy the beautiful lakefront setting. However there was an event that day and we were not allowed to use the area. Therefore we had to wait for our dining area to open in the lobby. The seating was comfortable, but know there was no air conditioning available in this area. Our dining area was air conditioned. The tables were set beautifully and our server was very attentive and prompt. The food was presented beautifully, however, the dish I selected was disappointing. The chicken was overdone and the risotto was dry and tasteless. The dessert that I chose was chocolate layer cake, it was also dry. My friends who ordered the steak however, stated that their steak was very tasty and juicy, and the side dishes were also good (asparagus and a potato dish). I guess I just made the wrong choice! I must add though it was their opening week and perhaps with a little tweaking, they will perfect the menu. All in all, the experience for me was not the best, but not the worst, and I would be willing to return and try again!

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank collapserelax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinboro
Level Contributor
37 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 October 2013 via mobile

Stayed here for 8th or 9th time for Quilting Around Chautauqua, a yearly event held the last weekend in September. Stayed in a newly renovated room, which was lovely. It was very clean, as we have always found the rooms to be. Meals are included with price of room. We were VERY disappointed in the quality and variety of food this year. Leftovers were served frequently, with no attempt to even try to disguise them. Leftover fish served as "seafood fettuccine" and the next day served as "seafood with rice". Pasta salad served leftover. Because we arrived a couple days early to take a quilting class, we got to dine with the "Road Scholars" (Elderhostel). Their meals were wonderful, like we had gotten in previous years. It seems each year the quality and variety of food gets worse. The hotel had removed most of the rocking chairs on the porch. That was one of the best features of the hotel; sitting on the porch and enjoying the lake and beautiful scenery. Not sure I'll return next year.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Julie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GRAND ISLAND
Level Contributor
1,016 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 517 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 September 2013

it's difficult to find a word for the athenaeum other than unique, an old, waterfront hotel inextricably tied to the chautauqua institution, but still welcoming of guests during the "off" season, which is actually, like, from september through may... the grandeur is undeniable and the view of the lake from the rocking chairs on the porch so remindful of a gentler era... one almost expects to find theodore roosevelt on the next perch... can't imagine telling them to "spruce it up," but along with the nostalgia is an unmistakable weariness, the same applicable to the cuisine, choice of two desserts aside...

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank DOUGANDPOLLY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ellicottville, New York
Level Contributor
75 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 September 2013

The historic Athenaeum Hotel at the Chautauqua Institution is one of America's treasures, for sure. While I find the Institution to be way overrated, I do like the Athenaeum for dinner and to sit on the porch and relax by the lake. However the rooms there are not what you'd expect for an incredible hotel. The dining room is historic -- you can see the chair that Thomas Edison used to sit at every evening when he was there, and the story goes that it was right next to a giant window so he could escape if there was a group of fans outside of the restaurant waiting to mob him. Prehistoric papparazzi, I suppose, even bothered a guy like Edison. The food is pretty good. Not the best, not the worst. Our service was a bit green - with some practice she might be good toward the end of the season. It's a great place to visit.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Broctoon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
122 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 September 2013

We stayed at the Athenaeum for two nights while we attended a wedding on site. It is a lovely setting and overlooks the beautiful Lake Chautauqua. The porch is beautiful with great rocking chairs and the entire family sat in a circle engaged in conversation while enjoying the beauty of the surroundings. Listening to the bell tower was a treat as well. The history of this Victorian hotel is rich including a list of eleven presidents whom have spent a night at this hotel and most recently Bill Clinton. The wedding took place at the Hall of Philosophy which was a short walk from the hotel. It was a great place to host a wedding as the family can all stay in one place and you can go for a boat ride or walk around the Institute and discover the history all around you. Make no mistake that the rooms are old and the floors are a bit tilted, but you have to appreciate the charm of the hotel and appreciate that it is what it is. We stayed on the third floor with a room that overlooked the lake. There is air conditioning in the room and large windows to open, even though there was no screen on the window. Could the rooms use an update and some new beds-maybe-but you would not want it to lose its authentic feel. I enjoyed the feeling of going back in time and the beds were comfortable enough and the rooms were clean.There are elevators available so you don't have to take the stairs. There is also cold water available at all times in the lobby for the guests. We had a delicious meal during the wedding and the appetizers during the cocktail party was equally wonderful. The hosts for the wedding also had a continental breakfast for their guests which was very satisfying. I truly enjoyed my two nights at the Athenaeum and would recommend it for people visiting the area or for a fabulous place to hold a wedding. It is an experience everyone would enjoy! The Institute is packed with history so I would recommend including a tour if you have the time. There was no gate fee in October which is also a plus. It is very charming place to stay and we created many lasting memories. Thanks to the staff at the Athenaeum. They were welcoming and helpful.

Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking the lake.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
2 Thank LoveBroadway22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 September 2013

My extended family of ten stayed at the Athenaeum Hotel for three nights in early July, 2013. While the hotel is exceptionally beautiful from the outside, the rooms leave a lot to be desired. We had all asked for upgraded rooms but were not given them initially. The front desk staff, while friendly, was very confused about everything. After many trips down to the desk, we eventually got rooms that were adequate. There have been many reviews written about this already, but it is true, the staff is a bunch of college kids who evidently were dropped off at the beginning of summer with no training whatsoever. The customer service could not be worse. The service in the restaurant was almost nonexistent. On one of the nights our dinner took three hours. The food is mediocre at best. To top it all off, we checked out in a rush & got home to find that we had all been charged for dinner on the first night, which was supposed to have been included, like all of the meals, in our room rate. In addition, one of our single rooms was charged the rate of a double room. We were overcharged over $800! I immediately called the hotel & after spending time on the phone going through each bad charge, was assured that a credit would be issued to our credit card in the next month. Now it is over two months later & we still have not received the credit. I have left numerous messages on the hotel voice mail and have not even received a call back. Is this the way to run a hotel? I would stay away from the place at all costs!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank luv4bills
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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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