I hadn't heard anything from, by or about Howard Johnson's Motor-Hotels in DECADES. I really thought they had gone out of business. What a surprise to find that they are not only still around but they are right up there with the best of moderately-priced, family motels. I believe the term "motel" originated with HoJo's. Back in the 50's, the only places to stay overnight along the Ohio Turnpike (and I believe also the Indiana Turnpike) were Howard Johnson Motor-Hotels, hence the term mo-tel. They also had the only restaurants along those toll roads.
If you've read any of my other reviews, you know I prefer a private dwelling or condo (with kitchen, VIEW, fireplace) when traveling. I can't remember the last time I stayed in a motel in the past 10 years. Well, try to plan a spur-of-the-moment weekend get-away to the Monterey Coast the same weekend as the famous Gilroy Garlic Festival, numerous Blues Fests, throw in all the normal summer sightseers, the golfers and surfers, etc., etc... and you have yourself a
be-e-e-g fat disappointment! Even if you can afford big bucks AND a 3 - 7 day "minimum stay required", you'd still be pressed to find something on short notice. Forget getting a reservation at almost ANY place even close to the coast in the summer! (I checked as far away as 40 miles in three directions!)
Thank you TripAdvisor...AGAIN! This place is a little more than a mile from Highway 1 (and a sparsely populated beach, I might add), about 10 minutes to Seaside which runs into Monterey, has a gas station and mini-mart on the property, has exceptionally large rooms (I had room to dance at my own private party), included a sofa bed, microwave, mini-fridge, hairdryer, iron/board, etc. It was clean - I mean SPOTLESS - inside and out, nicely landscaped, has a surprisingly varied choice of fresh LOCAL fruits, partries,and cereals for their Continental breakfast.
And, the best part is the cost. In the rarefied high-rent area of the Santa Cruz-Monterey Coast, you can't get a better bang for your buck.
You do get some highway noise during the day. But who's there during the day when there is so much to see/do up and down the Central Coast! It's an ideal location as a base, close to San Francisco, Big Sur, Hearst Castle farther south, and of course Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Carmel. It's a golfer's dream location with several golf venues, all within blocks of the ocean.
The bed was comfortable and I felt safe enough to sleep with the window open. With the fresh salt air (and a lot of fog), I slept like a baby. The staff is friendly and accommodating. Overall, it's the basics but comfortable, clean, and affordable. More than I expected for a last-minute trip. Sadly, there is no famous HoJo Restaurant but there are plenty of choices on that main street and countless more in Seaside and Monterey.
Be sure to take long pants and a jacket/sweater. "Don't Leave Home Without It" never was more true. It is, after all, the Central Coast and ALWAYS expect fog as the sun goes down! But try to get to somewhere with a view of the water to watch the sun set. If the fog isn't too thick, that's what creates those picture-perfect sunsets.
WELCOME BACK HOWARD JOHNSON'S. I'll have to keep them in mind for future spur-of-the-moment get-aways!
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