Although several colleagues of ours have had relatively positive experiences at the Lodi El Rancho Motel, I regret to report that we did not. The price was really the best factor here, but the overall emotional cost of staying in a dirty room with loud, violent sounding disturbances throughout the night made me wish I had spent the extra money to stay elsewhere. We stayed a total of five nights, and the experience did not improve with time. Upon entering the front office, we smelled a strong antiseptic odor. That same odor permeated the guest rooms, as well. One would think that the smell of antiseptic indicated a squeaky clean room; that was far from the reality. Dark pubic hair inside the drawers prompted me to clean them myself and then line them with plastic bags I fortunately had with me. The carpeting was filthy, with remnants of someone else's corn chip near the refrigerator and what looked like chunks of pet kibble lining the baseboard next to the television cabinet. A wad of gum was on the floor next to the night stand. I wore shoes or slippers the entire time I was in the room because the thought of stepping on the carpet was simply abhorrent to me. There was no evidence that the carpet had been vacuumed until the third day of our five-day stay. One wall perpendicular to the bed was filthy with a thick coating of dust. I do not even want to speculate what bodily fluid was smeared on the acrylic framed picture next to the bed. A long cobweb hung from the dirty lamp shade hanging over the desk. Mirrors in the bed area were dirty and smudged, and spatters of toothpaste covered the bathroom mirror; they were not cleaned until the fourth day of our stay. The sink and faucets were dirty and rusty, with poorly applied caulking smeared around them. A divider between the refrigerator and an area to hang clothes was covered in thick dust. The refrigerator door handle had grease and crumbs covering the surface. The bed was made up with stained sheets. I have no idea what substance was permanently enmeshed in the fabric; it had a stiff consistency, like wax. The box frame had visible stains which looked like blood. Screaming and yelling female patrons of the next door nightclub, who may have also been hotel guests, disturbed our sleep most nights. That said, there were some positives: when the sun rises in the early morning, the bathroom is filled with a lovely sense of morning light; a nice, hot shower was welcome; the microwave and refrigerator were convenient to have; the close proximity to the Grape Festival Grounds was handy for conducting our business. Although the location and clientele of the hotel are things which the owners have little control over, training the housekeeping staff to throughly clean each room and providing them with the tools to do so are simple changes that could reap substantial improvements. Investing in clean linens for the beds would help. Replacing the filthy carpet and restoring the bathroom sinks would also add a lot. The motel itself truly has a lot of potential. We frequent a very similar hotel in Palm Springs which successfully turned an aging facility into a very clever vintage destination. In its heyday, I am sure the Lodi El Rancho Motel was a nice place to stay. It could be again with some effort.
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