Hotel Review: Chautauqua Harbor Hotel – Your Place for an Hilarious Family Escape

Chautauqua Harbor Hotel is an up-scale AAA 4-Diamond Hotel that opened September 2018 on the shores of Chautauqua Lake near Jamestown, NY. While we LOVE family travel and sharing experiences with our children, sometimes parents need a getaway too. My wife and I were recently hosted by the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel for their Hilarious Getaway Package that included tickets to the National Comedy Center – the $50 million dollar museum that debuted in August. Continue reading for more photos and details from our parental escape to the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel – a spectacular place to relax along the waters of the shore of Chautauqua Lake.

Chautauqua Harbor HotelChautauqua Lake Harbor Hotel


The lobby and front desk area feature an Arts & Crafts style with inlaid wood, rustic stone, comfortable seating, and sweeping windows that beckons to the lakefront beyond. Upon entering, to the right is the front desk and to the left is a well-informed concierge (Dottie when we visited). The staff was so incredibly friendly and accommodating, quickly checking us in and directing us to our room.

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Perhaps more important than an opulent lobby, the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel created a functional four-season entertainment space on the expansive outdoor patio with plenty of seating, firepits, and space for enjoying the lake.

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As the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel sits on the site of the Celoron Amusement Park that dated back to the late 1800’s, you will find nods to Celoron Park throughout the hotel and grounds, such as the lakeside Carousel Bar that, in addition to cocktails and local craft beer, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (weather dependent).


Chautauqua Harbor Hotel has 135 large, spacious guest rooms, our lake-view room on the 3rd floor was over 400 sq ft with a king-size bed, sofa (that folded out to a bed), and balcony with chairs overlooking the lake and “Sunset Island” built for watching the spectacular show as the light fades from the sky each evening.

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There was also a desk, HD flat screen TV and mini-fridge located in the dresser beneath the television.

Chautauqua Lake Harbor Hotel

We loved the wood flooring and paneling and pastel blue coloring of the room. We truly felt as though we were far away from snowy western NY in the heart of winter. The bathroom was equally large with divided areas for the toilet, sink, oversized shower. and eco-friendly green amenities. Of note, in the entry hall was a convenient dressing area (across from the bathroom door) with vanity table and a closet with plush bathrobes, iron and ironing board.

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Conveniently, in the morning, each floor has its own coffee service stand (also with tea and hot chocolate) set up near the elevator. There is no need to trek down the lobby in the morning for the complimentary coffee service or to fumble sleepily with the in-room coffee maker. If you happen to sleep too late, the main floor elevator lobby has this coffee service set up throughout the day.

Chautauqua Lake Harbor Hotel

In the evening, there is a nightly turn-down service that freshens the room and places chocolates on your pillow for sleeping. Our room was extremely comfortable, cozy, and perfect for reconnecting on our kid-free getaway.

Pool and Fitness Center

On the first floor down the hall from the lobby is an indoor, heated pool and jacuzzi. I loved the wall decor of super-enlarged antique postcards from the bygone era of Chautauqua Lake when Celoron Park boasted one of the largest Ferris Wheels in the world.

Chautauqua Lake Harbor Hotel

Across from the pool is a state-of-the-art fitness center filled with treadmills, ellipticals, free weights, and resistance machines. Both the pool and the gym contain large windows allowing guests to gaze outdoors during exercise or play.

Chautauqua Lake Harbor Hotel

Dining and Restaurants

The Lakehouse Tap & Grille is an upscale restaurant with steaks, seafood, and salads.  Entrees range from $26-$42, and the food was exquisite. The Lakehouse is positioned to become a signature restaurant in the area. The Lakehouse Tap & Grille is also open for breakfast and lunch.  Breakfast indulgences include blueberry stuffed French toast (filled with ricotta cheese), Italian sausage skillet, eggs benedict, and more.  The Lakehouse Tap & Grille has an expansive patio space for al fresco dining, but was not open during our visit due to the Polar Vortex.

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If you’re looking for lighter fare, head to the bar area for traditional pub food of wings, burgers, pizza and also charcuterie, scallops, or a Maryland crab cake sandwich.

Chautauqua Lake Harbor Hotel

The Lakehouse Tap & Grille made for a spectacular date night meal, where my wife and I enjoyed an adult dinner of calamari and pot stickers, a HUGE 16 oz. NY strip steak with poblano chimichurri and roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and a black raspberry hombre cake for dessert.

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Recreation and Activities

With its location on the shore of Chautauqua Lake, outdoor and water activities will be quite popular in the summertime, and there is also an outdoor pool located on the property. As Lucille Ball is the hometown hero of Jamestown, NY, adjacent to the hotel is Lucille Ball Memorial Park, and there’s a lovely lakeside boardwalk for an easy stroll to the park.

Lucille Ball Memorial Park

Statue of Lucy at Lucille Ball Memorial Park near Jamestown, NY

A short drive away is the National Comedy Center, a cutting edge, state-of-the-art museum that celebrates the art of comedy. Growing out of Lucille Ball’s vision for her hometown as the destination for the celebration of comedy, the National Comedy Center contains props, scripts, artifacts, and a hologram theater that presents comedy performances.

National Comedy Center

Not a hall-of-fame or just a walk-through of famous and familiar artifacts, the National Comedy Center was one of the most hi-tech museum experiences I’ve ever had. Upon entering you receive a wristband quipped with a chip that responds to your own comedy preference and style. The innovative space is truly the future of museums.

Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum

The National Comedy Center is the culmination of Lucille Ball’s vision for her hometown as a comedy destination that included the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, the 25 year old Lucille Ball Comedy Festival, as well as a week of programming on “What’s Funny?” at the venerable Chautauqua Institution.

Located 15 miles away from the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel is the Chautauqua Institution, the nonprofit education center and summer resort established in 1873. During the nine weeks of the summer, Chautauqua Institution hosts a series of programming and events around a theme. Past themes include history, politics, religion, and the arts. From July 27-August 2, 2019, the Chautauqua Institution partners with the National Comedy Center for a week exploring how comedy changes us and, in turn, society.

National Comedy Center

Lenny Bruce exhibit at the National Comedy Center, photo by Dave Parfitt

The Chautauqua Harbor Hotel gets in on the fun with their Hilarious Getaway Package that includes two tickets to the National Comedy Center and Lucy/Desi Museum as well as a voucher to use at the Lakehouse Tap & Grille.

Chautauqua, NY made for a great weekend escape, and the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel was an ideal location for our grown-up getaway. However, now that we’ve had time to reconnect, we want to come back with our kids, explore more of the National Comedy Center and enjoy the lake and its spectacular sunsets.

Chautauqua Harbor Hotel

Sunset over Chautauqua Lake viewed from Lucille Ball Memorial Park

DISCLOSURE: Dave Parfitt was hosted bythe Chautauqua Harbor Hotel and received meals, accommodations, and attraction tickets.  However, all opinions expressed are those of the author.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on InstagramTwitter and “like” our Facebook page, too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.