We decidedto visit Sarnia at the last minute, and therefore did not have reservations in advance. We called upon the Internet reviews and found that there were two very different levels there - $100 + and a $50 price point. Many of the $50 reviews were scary sounding, but the Ho Jo's sounde very good. I gambled on an Expedia bid and was very happy upon arrival. There are two main areas of Sarnia - the downtown / Bridge area, and what is known as the Golden Mile to the East about 3 - 4 miles from the city center. This property is in the Golden Mile area. Specifically it is right next to the Ontario-Managed Horse Track, which we learned will be closed by the end of April. (Something abou the Ontario government not wanting to manage its gambling establishments any longer, and hoping to sell them to private companies.)
The HoJo's is on London Line Road along with many other small "mom and pop" type motels. All the motels in this area seem dated. I presume that these were constructed 30 - 40 years ago, perhaps when the horse track was opened? Not knowing the area at all I have no idea. I guess if a number of semi trucks were parked in the lots of some of these motels I would not be surprised. These may have been fine properties, but I could see us spending an hour or two brousing them, going into rooms to check and so forth. Having the reservation made was a good thing.
This area has a great deal of new growth. There are two prominent restaurants across the street. Johns and Big Fish are right there. The HoJo's no longer has its own restaurant, as it is under renovations. there is also a WalMart / new mall area just west of this location. Although the horse track is closing prosperity is still there!
The Motel itself is an older property but has recently undergone renovations. There were new windows, carpet, tile, wallpaper, fixtures. There are glimpses of older elements such as the doors and some trim work. Everything was recently painted.
To capture the title of this review - think of an older property that has been brought up to a $120 - $150 a night standard while retaining the $50 - $70 price tag. When we walked in we saw a bright lobby with nw features, fresh, not otherwise dated. the staff was very friendly. A trip to our room was down a basically new hall. There was a real key, versus a cardkey, which prompts an obvious concern about the potential for security issues from key copies. When we opened our door I was amazed. Spotless and inviting. the bed, sheets, blankets, pillows all seemed new. Decorations were all to current standards. There was a flat screen TV, a fridge, the carpet was spotless. As many newer properties sport there was no bedspread, just the blanket wrapped top and bottom in sheets and a decostative fabric band across the foot to the bed. The bathroom was clean and updated as well with new tiles, a curved curtain rod, a new tub, counter top, sik and so on. After seeing "Hotel Impossible I took a clean wash cloth and rubbed it on the tile and grout in a few places. There was not a spec of dirt. GOOD JOB housekeeping staff! One note - there is no iron/ironing board or hair dryer in the rooms. I'd presume those were at the front desk? We did not need them so we did not ask. The room was small, to 1980's room standards. What do you get a room for at this price? this was very clean - imaculate as a matter of fact, albeing a somewhat smaller room we felt secure and did not worry about creatures running about when the lights were off.
There is a complimentary continental breakfast offered. That fell a little short of expectations. It was, well, basic. muffings, croisants, jelly, butter, coffee, juice and so for th were there, along with two kinds of cereal. It was all just kind of spartan. The muffins may have been Tim Hortons - as they were not perfect / store bought variety. Taht was a nice touch. We prefer robust coffee, but the coffee served i nthe breakfast area was watery.
About the only negatives to cite besides the door lock and breakfast was that there is no ice machine, and the ceiling in our room had prior water damage and had crude repair attemted but failed.
To get ice you have to go to the front desk. The desk clerk has to leave the desk and walk the length of the hall to the closed restaurant where there is a single ice machine inside the costuction area.
The bathroom above the tub in the bathroom had obvious water damage from the room above. A repair had been tried bot paint was starting to pop off, there was some bubbling of the drywall, and a couple water stains had bled though the paint. That was the only negative to the room itself, and I had to serch for that!
We would retun to this property in the future.
I would stay on the first floor as there is no elevator.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.