More about Howard Johnson Inn - Lancaster
Horrible hotel, Nice Waterpark
We took the kids to Hershey on Friday and we weren't sure what we wanted to do for the rest of the weekend. I made a reservation with Howard Johnson only because we had to stay there to enter the park. Even the children (9 and 12) knew something was wrong when we entered the lobby. We went from a Marriott on Friday to that. We had two rooms because there were two families. Both rooms had dirty carpets and holes in the curtains and blankets. The waterpark kept the kids mind off of the gloomy appearance of the hotel. I sure hope Howard Johnson reads this. The concept is great. All of the other hotels on the strip didn't look appealling either. We didn't eat the continental breakfast (we just wanted to leave). The park itself, the staff were friendly and it was alright.
Water Park is GREAT- hotel needs work
I chose this HJ specifically because of it's new "water park". The pictures on their web-site did not show much, so I wasn't expecting much- especially in comparison to Great Wolf Lodge. BUT, I was pleasantly surprised by the water park- 2 large and very fast twist tunnel slides, large toddler play area, hot tub, water basketball, whirlpool, and floating climbing things. My 8 year old was thrilled, since I had really tried to downplay it since I didn't know what to expect. And upstairs is an area where you can order food from Dominos or Quiznos and it is delivered to the waterpark (10 min). Warm fluffy towels, locker room, showers. The only fallback is the annoying bell that rings every time the tower is going to dump the water- I counted- 26 rings- EVERY 65 seconds- all day long! Bring ear plugs!!
The hotel on the other hand was clean, but in great need of updating. The bathroom was very small, with no room to sit anything without it falling into the sink, and despite there being a fan in the ceiling, there was no switch to turn it on so the shower made the entire room very humid. The towels- bring your own- their old, scratchy, and see through. Our room was at the top of the stairs- and noisy people coming down the halls were a distraction- and the bell could also be heard- but once the park closed it eventually was turned off.
The continental breakfast was good- cereal, muffins, donuts, coffee, juice.
After my stay I did learn that the water park is also affiliated with the local Days Inn and Econo Lodge- so maybe next time I'll try one of those
Good hotel, good value: Frank and Steve at the Hojo
The Howard Johnson’s in Lancaster is an older property, constructed in the early 1970's during HoJo's heyday, and as such does not have all of the amenities one might expect to find in a modern motel. However, I found that my overall experience was a good one.
The lobby is an old small "Motor Inn" lobby. There were 2 staff members working when I checked in, so the process was quick and easy. The lobby was clean (as was the rest of the hotel) and there were plenty of brochures for local attractions, but the only local map available was in one of the brochures and it wasn't very good.
My room was very clean and fairly well kept. The beds were clean and the mattress was quite firm and appeared new. We had a room with two double beds, and it was quite large but sparse. There was a small round table with 2 chairs near a small window but no other place to sit. There was an ample dresser and about 8 feet of wall space that begged for a desk. No stationary was provided. A local restaurant guide was good bathroom reading. Each day the room was thoroughly cleaned. Some of the downsides to the room included a small, not very functional bathroom (as mentioned in the April 12 review), and some general wear and tear. Little things, like rust spots in some of the corners in the bathroom but again nothing major.
The water park is the crown jewel of the property, but I suspect from the hard sell I got checking in, people aren't rushing to it in droves. The problem is the price point. At $20.00 a person per day it forces families to make a choice about where to spend their entertainment dollar. Think it through: this is one of the least expensive hotels in Lancaster, so the clientele most likely chooses the property because budget is a big concern. Meanwhile, you can purchase a one day ticket to Hershey Park at the local Giant Food Store for $34.95, which is a big reason to come to the region. Regardless, I got a peek at the water park and it was pretty impressive, though my Cousin Frank nearly was tossed from the property for venturing in too far without a pass (insurance purposes were sighted). If you've got kids and can afford it, your kids will love it.
Other thoughts: The property was renovated in 2001, and they sealed off the balconies. Management sited fuel costs, but I have to admit: when I was a kid I loved the balconies at the HoJo's. The walled-off balconies could be one reason some previous reviewers got a "bad mojo" feeling here, as it gives the property a "prison-like" atmosphere. There's a cheesy game room that has several pinball machines and a driving game, and that provided my 40something self with a warm and fuzzy flashback. We did not try the Dominos or Quizno’s on the property.
Overall: this is a good, cheap place to stay. Recommended for budget conscious families. If you want all the bells and whistles you can stay at the Hampton and pay about 75% more.
surpassed my expectation
My husband, 2&1/2 year old son and I had a wonderful stay at this Howard Johnson inn. We stayed in a one-queen size bedroom. Since it is a 2 stars hotel, I did not expect to have anything more than basic necessity. It actually has a microwave, small refrigerator, and a TV with both DVD and VHS players. It is a great deal for the money we paid. The room was clean and staffs were helpful. The complementary continental breakfast was decent. The water park was fantastic.(although it costs extra $10/day, but you can go in and out all day long from 10am to 10pm). It happened to be a rainy day while we stay, we could really make use of this fun indoor water park. Highly recommend this place.
YC, New Jersey
Decent price for our stay.
Last year renovations were still in the works when we stayed but we needed a place near Dutch Wonderland that was not too expensive. The room was clean and convenient to our parking although it was a hike to the front desk/breakfast area. We were on the first floor and the hallways smelled musty but the room did not. Pool was standard. Continetal Breakfast could use more but it was adequate.
I thought it was funny that the desk clerk on duty smelled like a carton of cigarettes and had a pack sticking out of his shirt pocket as he expained that we were in a no-smoking hotel. He was also a bit on th gruff side in laying down the rules concerning children and the pool however other management people, the housekeeping and maintenance staff were very friendly and helpful whenever you met them in the halls.
We're actually going back next month to see how the new waterpark compares with another hotel in the area who's price has skyrocketed it's only too bad that you have to pay extra for the priveledge.
For the price not that bad
Starting off on a bad note, The room we reserved was a "home office" room which was not what we got. The front desk told us that our travel agent must have made a mistake when they booked our room and they had no home office rooms available.When I told them I booked directly through HOJO my room magically appeared. The first room we were in had no microwave and a regular T.V. , But did have a sofa .we were only there for a few minutes while they changed our room so I didn't take notice to the room condition.The room we ended up in was somewhat clean. The bathroom was in o.k. condition except for the tiles in the bathtub they had fallen out and had been repaired.They didn't do a very good repair job.Make sure you bring extra bath towels you will need them. You only get one not so good bath towel per person.This room had a micro fridge/microwave/ T.V. with dvd and vcr player so if you have any plans to watch T.V. bring tapes or dvd's with you because there wasn't to many channels maybe about 16 and if you have kids you are going to need them(I would ask if the room has tv\vcr combo when booking I don't know if they all have them). The bed was pretty comfortable and the a\c was cold. Had to get up in the middle of the night to turn it down. The "Free Rise'n Dine Breakfast" was donuts\cereal\fruit and not so good coffee.The hallways were long so if you are not on the front desk side of the building its a maze to get to everything in the hotel.This hotel was completely nonsmoking.Overall if you are just going to use it to sleep for the price it wasn't bad.We did not use the pool or water park so I can't comment on them except the looked pretty nice from the outside.Their exercise room had two pieces of equipment. A stair stepper and stationary bike.
Their are plenty of restaurants and fast food places that are a short drive or walk from the hotel.It was about a 10 min. drive to the outlets. 5 min. to dutch wonderland,20-25 to intercourse and 35 min. to Hershey
It was stayable
The hotel was OK. It was not the Ritz or even a Holiday Inn, but we didn't go running from it. The Carpets did have stains, and the hotel has that "old" feeling. But it wasn't too bad. We have 2 young kids so we weren't afraid of them messing up things as we would in a fancy hotel. You only get 2 small bath towels so bring your own. We had a queen size room with a fold out couch. Our room did have a mini fridge and a coffee maker. The nice thing is there are plenty of resturants near by and the hotel provides free wifi. It was okay for the price, but I believe next time I'd pay a little more and stay somewhere a bit nicer.
We tried to go to the water park (bought the tickets), but my 2 year old was afraid of the park and they wouldn't let us have a refund. To me it isn't worth the $10... it has 2 water slides and 1 main water area for little kids... It should be included in the price of the hotel (just my opinion.)
They got some work ahead of them
The hotel was in a ok location, busy street, but ok. The hotel was very dated, from the entrance down the hallways and into the bathrooms, very, very dated. Not worth the price.
ooooooooooo, that smell!!
You know this place could be, read could be, not bad. But the room smell like mold. The first thing I did was go to K-mart next door and buy llysol. That seemed to help and the air conditioner running 24 hours help too.
I think with the indoor water park, that made it worst.
The best thing about this place is the water park. It would help to update that rooms.
We were on the second floor. Long walk to the indoor pool and the waterpark.
Hint-ask for the first floor when booking.
For the price, it was that bad. Where can you stay for 100.00?
My son really did like the water park, and for 10.00 it's worth it.
The breakfast, I would pass on. Bad coffee and hard donuts.
I think I would stay eslewhere next time.
Maybe Red roof Inn across the street?
Rooms ok....but the waterpark is the best part
The rooms are in major need of updating. The matresses were so broken down that you almost sank to the floor. At least the room was clean but I would not recommend this hotel if you plan on staying more that one night. One night is bearable, but our kids LOVED the water park and the additional $10 per person was well worth it since it was raining. The "free breakfast" is a joke. Not much of a selection and nothing against the hotel, but 95% of the other guest were RUDE and shoved us out of the way to get their "free food". My husband was holding our 1 year old son and a large woman and her large children shoved them out of the way and butted in line all for a few donuts and a selection of 2 different types of cereal. Pay the extra money and go out for breakfast....you'll be glad that you did!!!
Pennsylvania marker noting Stevens' gravesite
childrens train, worth the ride for the scenery
Shay train ready to leave the passenger station.