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“Just What we All need”

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The Spencer Hotel and Spa
Ranked #5 of 6 Hotels in Chautauqua
Reviewed 30 June 2007

The Spencer fits perfectly into the mood and mission of the entire institution. The staff is exaggeratedly helpful, the breakfasts are wonderful and enough to carry one past lunch and directly to dinner and the dinners there are amazingly terrific. The best part of the whole deal is the owner, Helen, who is on the properly and always willing to resolve any problems and more importantly she makes each guests feell comfortable and 'at home'. Each room has a literary theme complete with books by the particular author in your room. The rooms are a bit small but totally elegant . There is no better way to compliment your stay at Chautauqua than to stay at the Spencer--and be sure to get to hear Henry play the piano in the lobby!!!!
Larry Breen

Stayed: June 2007
1  Thank Edward68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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185 - 191 of 197 reviews

Reviewed 22 June 2007

We decided upon the Spencer Hotel & Spa, for a variety of reasons. First, was for the beautiful scenery and wineries that surround the Lake Chautauqua, and The Spencer is in the Middle of the Chautauqua Institution. The Institution is a special place! The Spencer is not. The 2nd reason for booking was we found them listed with Spa Finder, claiming that they were indeed, both a Hotel & Spa.

The Spencer is neither. They are, at best, a run down Bed & Breakfast. The "spa" consists of a tiny room - too small to be a guest room - with a massage table, and a two person sauna on the 2nd floor porch. Outside and with very limited access. The websites were very misleading, and only made us want to leave sooner. We were to stay for two nights, but could only last one. Our 'King' bed was actually two small beds shoved together, and very uncomfortable.
On the upside, the staff was very accomodating and polite. Very helpful with dinner reservations. The breakfast was wonderful. I think, it was prepared by a general manager - a very nice man - while the owner wandered through the dining room and entry way in her bed clothes. Very appalling!!!
We will not return to the Spencer, and advise others as well. Do your research - there is a fine hotel and spa on the same grounds that lives up to its namesake. it is not the Spencer.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank well-travelledduo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Helen07Chautauqua, Manager at The Spencer Hotel and Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 26 June 2007

The Chautauqua Institution is a 135 year old historic gated resort community. The Spencer is celebrating 100 years this year and has been completely renovated to the modern codes and standards and is proud to have achieved the historical landmark distinction— The Spencer has always been known as a small boutique hotel and has gone from 43 to 25 guest rooms to accommodate kitchenettes, jacuzzi’s and larger spaces for guests. Air conditioning, an elevator, wireless internet, new linens and bedding, the parlor, the dining room and kitchen, including the wiring and plumbing have all been restored and put in place to achieve a complete renovation. The spa aspect of the hotel is a unique add on service based upon availability. The owner was not present at the time of arrival, therefore the woman in the bathrobe was a guest that had an extended stay at The Spencer.

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Reviewed 21 June 2007

Dissatisfied with my stay at The Spencer Hotel

I found the hotel's web site on line and called the hotel to find out more where i spoke with a person who identified herself as the owner. I had questions about the hotel and some special needs I had which were promised to be delivered such as a 1st floor room and dinner reservations amongst other things. I felt confident that since I was speaking with the owner, my needs would be met which were promised to be delivered.

Upon my arrival, I was treated very respectfully by the young staff, but was not provided the specific room I had requested during my reservation made with the owner. I was dissapointed by the fact that the owner failed to deliver on that committment and several others (Dinner reservations and specific ammenity requests) that were requested well in advance. It was apparant that these special requests which were very important to me and my family were just forgotten about. These requests were the reason for deciding on The Spencer Hotel as opposed to other Hotels in the area. The staff at The Hotel rectified the situation that the owner had previously promised me.

While the Spencer advertises itself as a Hotel and Spa, it is not a hotel at all, it really is just a Bed and Breakfast. When I think of a spa, I think of a destination that has full time technicians on staff. The Spencer has only one massage room and you cannot get a massage or other spa treatments when it is convenient for you. Any Spa treatments must be requested in advance. Also, the room which was provided to me had cartoon like artwork that was somewhat obnoxious and made me feel like I was in a child's room. I dont quite get what the idea is behind a literary theme, I just wanted a clean, comfortable room with some privacy and was disatisfied with the fact that I was not given the specific room I requested on the web site and promised when making my reservation.

I do have to say that the breakfast preparation was fantastic by the gentlemen that prepared it as well as the demeanor of the front desk staff. They did what they could to satisfy me and my family as they knew I was completely dissatisfied with the promises made that were broken. I also expected a little more professionalism and ediquitte from the owner, who would be walking around the hotel every morning in a bathrobe. I would come to expect that in a bed and breakfast, not a business representating itself as a hotel.

Overall I'll give this hotel an average rating and if it wasnt for the follow through of the staff I would never reccomended this establishement to anyone.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled with family
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3  Thank USATraveler83
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 25 June 2007

We were trying to accommodate the guests needs by upgrading them to larger suite--where as the first floor room at that time would have been noisier and we were trying to create a relaxing atmosphere for them. There was a miscommunication between the restaurant and hotel staff in regards to the dinner reservations, which was rectified upon arrival. The Spencer is a literary themed hotel that represents 25 famous authors and the authors works. The artwork you see at the Spencer is represented through our hand painted murals to depict a part of the authors lives and their works. The biographies of the authors works are in a binder in each room and portraits in the hallways are present to piece together the literary theme. The Chautauqua Institution is the oldest literary society in the country and this was the motivation behind the literary theme. Being located on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution it is a unique environment and therefore advanced reservations for spa treatments are required as stated on the website. It is most unfortunate that the guests felt the owner was walking around in a bathrobe, however that is not the case and we are glad this was brought to our attention.

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Reviewed 18 June 2007

Lovely rooms, quite and friendly......I would reccomend the Spencer to anyone visiting Chautaqua

Stayed: June 2007
Thank cstilley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2007

Went for a Mother-Dtr spa get away weekend. The staff were excellent and attentive to our needs and one got the feeling they wanted to please and accomodate our stay to make it as pleasant as possible. At check in we were given a warm and friendly greeting and given an itinerary for our stay.

The setting was beautiful and the hotel was very clean. The access to the balconies was wonderful and we enjoyed sitting in the wicker chairs just relaxing and reading.

The rooms were small but were delightfully decorated and were adequate to accomodate our needs.

The morning breakfasts were delicious.

We'd readily recommend this Hotel to others.

Stayed: June 2007
Thank LadybugOne55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 June 2007

I stayed here by myself for a two night (Thursday/Friday) peaceful getaway and that was exactly what I got. The Spencer is an old, charming hotel set on the grounds of the Chautaugua Institute on the lake. Since it was off-season and just about everything is closed down, there was almost no one there. And it so happened that western NY was experiencing some thick winter snow that week. It was beautiful. The owners and staff are friendly and accommodating. For those interested in spa services, there was no actual "spa" at the hotel at the time I was there. The hotel partners with professionals that come in and provide these services either in one of the rooms or in the room you are staying if it is large enough. From what I learned, the hotel had plans to convert a couple of rooms into a permanent spa area. I had a small room (the Jane Austen) but it was perfect for just me and it had a large jacuzzi tub... which was a must for my stay. The rooms are beautifully decorated. Connie, who was on staff when I arrived, showed me all the rooms since I was the only guest the first night . Breakfast was out of this world and they served the best tea I ever tasted. I would stay here again on or off season.

  • Stayed: March 2007, travelled solo
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Thank PlanesTrainsAutos4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 June 2007

We just returned from the Spencer Hotel where we celebrated our 5th anniversary. The Hotel is located in the Chautauqua Institution( the Institution is like its own little gated community in a community). The Hotel was old (circa late 1800's I think I heard) and small, yet a terrific intimite setting. The staff was exceptional, answering all our questions, making reservations for us, always greeting us upon entering and exiting the hotel. The price per night we agreed was to expensive for the room( we paid $250 a night for the Agatha Christie room which did have a jacuzzi tub for two). We were greeted in our room with a beautiful spa basket for us to enjoy in our room jacuzzi tub. We were also provided with bath robes for our personal use during our stay. We had the option to add a bottle of wine or champane to our package, but we thought $35 was a bit much so we were able to bring our own from home. We both recieved massages as part of our package. The massages were fantastic. We were a bit disappointed because we were told we could get side by side massages, but upon arrival it was scheduled for individual massages( atleast it was one after the other). However it worked out just fine. There is no restaurant or vending machines, so it is a good idea to bring a cooler and snacks. However the staff was able to arrange reservations for us at a local restaurant that they recommended. They did provide breakfast for over night guests. The breakfast was very good. It was simple such as french toast, sausage, fruit, coffee/tea and juice.

We went in the off Chautauqua season so we were able to park right in front or near the hotel. Parking was scarce, but atleast we were able to park close to the hotel unlike the Chautauqua season were parking is banned in the Institution .

Overall, it may not have been the best hotel we ever stayed at but it was the most intimite. It reminded me of a bed & breakfast rather than a hotel.

Stayed: June 2007
Thank SKIAYRES
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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:
Region: United States > New York > Chautauqua County > Chautauqua
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Kitchenette Room Service Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 6 Hotels in Chautauqua
Price Range: £178 - £262 (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
The Spencer Hotel And Spa Chautauqua, New York

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