We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“It is the experience that counts!”
Review of Athenaeum Hotel

We can't find prices for this hotel
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this hotel, but we can search other options in Chautauqua
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Athenaeum Hotel
Ranked #3 of 6 Hotels in Chautauqua
Reviewed 23 July 2009

Plenty of folks speak poorly of the Athenaeum on Chautauqua lake but they miss the point. The hotel is in the middle of the Chatauqua Institute that week in and week out provides the most interesting and intellectually challenging programs. The Athenaeum is perfectly suited to the pace and mission of the Institute. It is over 100 yeas old so don't expect cookie cutter rooms and standard sized bath rooms. It is located in upstate New York and operates during the summer so don't expect Lago di Como service. The staff you interact with is kids working their way through college. Their effort is earnest, if not smoothly professional. The food is fine. We had a great room overlooking the lake. Great Victorian porch, comfortable wicker chairs, beautiful view. What's not to like? We enjoyed every bit of our experience and plan to return.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank RustyVa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (111)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language

100 - 106 of 111 reviews

Reviewed 26 June 2008

My husband and I just returned today from such a wonderful experience. Despite the somewhat poor reviews, we found this experience wonderful. Its a charming, quiet, friendly atmosphere. We knew that by booking a room at a hotel more then 100 years old, we were not expecing the Ritz Carlton. Our room was small but had excellent old world charm. Our room slanted slightly to the left which was very noticable. We found it unique, the age of the building was responsible for that. We ate every meal at the hotel and the food and service were excellent. All staff were friendly and willing to go the extra distance for you. Numerous hours were spent rocking on the porch chairs free from tv and cell phone. My husband and I live a very busy stressful life and for the first time in several years, no demands were place on us. We are thinking of making this a summer ritual and would highly recommend the relaxed feeling the institution brings. We were more the pleased with our experience and will be back very soon.

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Doctor_Mrs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2008

This hotel consists of a ground, 1st & 2nd floor, built in 1880 in wood. Frankly the hotel is in need of either pulling down and a new hotel built in it's place or a complete rebuild. The hotel is run down and looks like it is the subject of continuing maintainance. The lift dates from the very, very early 1900's and can only be operated (for safety reasons) by the hotel staff. The rooms are large but worn and tired out, the windows and their frames were falling apart and difficult to open and close. The staff on the reception were a mixed bunch ranging from helpful to "I don't know" types, the serving staff were good nothing was too much trouble. There is no parking at the hotel one has to make arrangements to park well away and walk or take the electric golf buggy to the hotel. We were more or less obliged to stay there because of a function being held at the hotel. On the positive side the lake views are great with evening strolls along its shore being the order of the day, not to miss of an evening watching the sun go down. I highly recommend the local restuarant "Webbs" the food is great with plenty of local micro-brewery beers on tap. For a cheap breakfast try next door at "Dicks Diner" where you can have a breakfast for around $6.00. If you absolutely do not need to stay at this hotel and you do like your creature comforts I would recommend looking for something more modern.

  • Stayed: June 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
1  Thank chris.lalor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2007

Let me be clear, I love The Chautauqua Institute. I've been there several times over the past 30 years for one program or another. There is no other place like for quaint Victorian architecture, peace, history and intellectual rejuvenation.

I decided to treat my partner, a veteran teacher, to the closing weekend and three nights at the Athenaeum Hotel in the center of The Institute before she had to start school. Her face dropped as soon as we entered the room. We almost left. What a disappointment. It was our fatigue from the long trip that kept us from going anywhere else.

Tiny bathroom, no fan, old window a/c unit, small room, dirty windows, no pictures on the wall, two queen mattresses shoved together to make one bed and the headboards propped up against the wall by the window. Old carpet. But, it was clean.

No a/c in the hallway, the hallway floors were creaky and concealed dangerous dips, caulking peeled off the windows, wood gingerbread trim rotting away, no ice machine and a coffin size elevator with wires hanging out. A generally depressing place. I dread to think what a careless match would do the old place.

$1,500 for three nights.

The price included three meals of decent hotel food. The dining room was good. The price also included gate passes to The Chautauqua Institute grounds and all entertainment and lectures which were great and the reason we came.

The hotel staff was helpful but there was not much they could do.

MY ADVICE. Buy the gate passes, meals and entertainment separately and sleep ANYWHERE else. The St. Elmo, on The Institute grounds, seems much newer and up to date. Staying at a Budget Inn up by the highway and commuting would even be a better value.

I wasn't expecting the Grand Hotel when I booked the Anthenaem Hotel but what a disappointment!

I have no photos and don't want any.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank TravelDocOhio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 August 2007

I havent written a review in some time, but use these pages often in planning my own trips so i though i would add something here. in addition to our own travels,my in-laws give my wife and i a summer weekend trip every year and this year it was at the anthenuem, on the grounds of the chautauqua institute. first of all, be prepared, even though you have paid $450 per night for accomodations, to fork over another $50 dollars per person (per day) just to gain admittance to the grounds and reach your hotel. this is for the institute itself, which boasts "extensive recreation opportunities." unfortunately, this apparently doesnt include, at least, week 9 of a 9 week season, as all the shuffleboard courts, horshoe pits and boating/kayak rentals were" closed for the season." your 50 dollars a day does get the wonderful opportunity to be harrassed by the gate keepers everytime you enter or leave the institute. a note- check the fine print on the back of your pass.upon leaving the institute, for any reason, including after you have checked out (you need to park across the street from the institute, quite a walk form the hotel itself, as the institute aloows only "limited use of cars on the grounds, unless of course you drive an expensive vehicle and dont want to park with the commoners and/or pay an adittional "valet" fee- they park the car 15 feet from the hotel entrance and jam up the traffic circle), if you have departed past the time indicated on your ticket, you are responsible for additional usage charges for utilizing the institute past your aloowed time (i.e., they try to whack you for another 50 bucks per person). the hotel itself looks very nice and anitquated both from the outside and in the lobby and staircases. opening the door to our room was shocking. our "queen bed" was two double beds pushed together, i havent slept on a mattress in such poor condition since i lived in the college dorms. our room was supposed to have A balcony. this, i suppose in chautauquan, means two windows that do not open, looking over a tarred deck littered with pieces of paint and other pieces of the hotel that have fallen off. in any event, it was closed, though others with less enticing views were open, if you cared to stand around in the searing heat on a tar platform with one chair, apparently lifted from the pool area of another hotel. the air conditioning unit was wonderfully noisy and indeed vintage, probably dating from the 1970s, with a front panel that completely fell of everytime you adjusted it. the "blend of period decor?" not at all authentic period pieces (i do a fair bit of antiquing but even someone who doesnt could tell the difference). they actually look like the dressers, tables and lamps you would see set out to the curb for the garbagemen. horribly mismatched and in poor condition. the wallpaper bulged in several spots and there were stains on the ceiling. the "linens" were budget motel quality, at best, with a very worn and discolored comforter, one of those rust colored bargain blankets, and a sheet that had initials written in marker on it, the way you might label your kid's sheets if he or she was going to summer camp. everything in the "recently remodeled" bathroom was loose, with both the basin and toilet facing strange angles. hot water took about 15 minutes to get, and the pressure was woefully inadequate. stains on the carpet were everywhere. sound nice for 450 a night? well, your meals are included. these consist of dining in the main restaurant -there is really only one- in which about a dozen overworked waiters run around, sweating in the heat, trying to move you in and out as quickly as possible. the dinner is a five course meal and everything is delivered to you piping lukewar, including the soup, vegetables and main course, be it staek, chicken, etc. you do get your meal quickly, too quickly,actually, leading me to assume that these meals are prepared in advance- the menu is limited- and left waiting until someone orders it. they are aout of half of everything so just order what the waiter recommends (i.e., what they have an excess of and are trying to get rid of). the wait staff do the best they can, as well as housekeeping, but the rest of the staff-hosts/hostesses, desk staff,etc. really seem like they would rather just not have to bother with you. as far as the institute itself, dont dare call it a "vacation" destination. my wife made this mistake in inquiring about the origins and was quickly reprimanded by the staff "this is not a vacation, this is a place for artists, and musicians, writers and spiritual awakenment." funny because the whole time i was there, i didnt see one person, writing,playing music, drawing, painting, etc. i did see a number of folks enjoying what seems to be the popular pastime, sitting and reading, occasionally taking a break to scowl at someone. i should mention that i do not expect anything remarkable from my vacations- i dont want/need to be pampered or have unrealistic expectations. this place, as a whole reminds me of a summer camp, convalescent home, or cult, maybe a combination of all three, with a healthy does of stuck-up thrown in for good measure. this is by far the worst "vacation" ive ever had, and the hotel was the grossest, shabbiest room ive ever slept in, not worth even a fraction of the 450 per night. the hotel gets an F (id go even lower if i could) and the whole institute gets a D - , avoiding the F only because there are indeed some very beautiful buildings. a couple of additional notes: i wouldnt even dream of bringing kids to this place, regardless of the "countless activities" "available" for them. this really is a destination for the elderly (case in point- the hotel actually boasts a rack in the lobby where you can store your "butt-pads," saving you the trouble of carrying this heavy item back and forth from your room - the sign actually says "store at your own risk,"-unbelieveable). i might like this when im 90, but for anyone else, prepare to be remarkably unimpressed and understimulated. again, i have to emphasize that im only writing this because i use many of these reviews myself in planning my own vacations, and i think its important for folks to know what they are getting, and gettin into, when looking into this place. the owners of the hotel, and the institute, should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
10  Thank slats33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2007

We have never written a review, but felt like we should do our part since we have found reviews from others very helpful in my travels. Oddly enough, we chose the Athenaeum Hotel over the Spencer because of some poor Spencer reviews.

Since the rates at the Athenaeum were much higher, my wife and I assumed the hotel would be more of a 4 or 5 start resort. We were VERY WRONG. We were well aware of the age of the historic property but chose it due to it's great location. We were just passing through for a night and decided to try it to see if we might stay there for a week next summer. We have recently stayed at some historic old properties like the Ritz Carlton in Pasadena and found them charming and really first class. That is NOT the case with the Athenaeum.

Upon arrival, we discovered our King bed to be two twin mattresses side by side with a big bump in the middle! The worst part was the poor quality of the mattresses. After much discussion, a staff member was able to swap us out a real King mattress but this was not something you would expect in a $400+ a night room. The rooms were in BRUTAL condition from the carpet all the way down to the linens. We know the property is old but is there a need to still use the towels from when Harry Truman stayed there? The rooms were not clean and the bathrooms downright dirty. The window air conditioners were old, loud and barely could cool the room. Three meals are included with your room, but the food is mediocre at best and you would never pay menu prices if it was not included. On Friday night, the dining room was half empty and closed at 7:30 PM!

The location is FANTASTIC, but unfortunately the owners/management have decided to just cash flow this old historic property and have put no money or effort into restoring it to the standards of any current resort of today. The few employees (most are just college kids) who were adults and trying to do their best, are aware of this and realize the problem.
We booked a room for Friday on Thursday afternoon during a peak summer weekend. That should have been a warning sign that a room was even available on such short notice. There are only 150 rooms in the hotel. It seemed certain after a brief visit that most people who try this hotel will never come back again and that is really sad since it could be a wonderful property. It could be, but it certainly isn't.

Don't get caught up in the trap of "trying it out" like we did or you will be sadly disappointed unless you enjoy paying Ritz Carlton prices for Motel 6 rooms.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
6  Thank stanj98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2007

Our high expectations were dashed by the reality. Not a quaint old hotel, but a hotel in serious decline. While the price would lead you
to believe you’re heading for a first class experience, you are in fact headed for a fleecing. Newly but poorly decorated dining room serving buffets (in two weekend days, only one full service meal) of mediocre food (our dinner was actually cold). The wait staff are young and inexperienced, but eager to please. The rooms are small, poorly furnished and accompanied by inexpensively refurbished bathrooms.

  • Stayed: July 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
6  Thank OWDPilot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Chautauqua
0.1 mi away
The Spencer Hotel and Spa
The Spencer Hotel and Spa
#5 of 6 in Chautauqua
197 reviews
17.3 mi away
The Inn at the Peak
The Inn at the Peak
#1 of 1 in Clymer
297 reviews
13 mi away
Comfort Inn Jamestown Falconer
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
2.5 mi away
Maple Springs Lake Side Inn
Maple Springs Lake Side Inn
#1 of 1 in Maple Springs
86 reviews
Show Prices

Been to Athenaeum Hotel? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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 #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

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing