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“Clean rooms, friendly staff, horrible cigarette smell” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Clarion Hotel National City Sand Diego South

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Clarion Hotel National City Sand Diego South
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   700 National City Blvd, National City, CA 91950 (Formerly Clarion Hotel South Bay)   |  
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Ranked #3 of 9 Hotels in National City
Costa Mesa, California
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Clean rooms, friendly staff, horrible cigarette smell”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

Grace took my reservation over the phone, she was very friendly and professional. When we checked in, (the same) Grace was at the reception, and again she was friendly and professional.
The housekepper opened our room door and the smell of cigarette was overwhelming. She called the front desk and they gave us a room on a higher floor (they said the higher the floor, the less strong the cigarette smell). Yes the smell was less strong but still, it was very noticeable.
The location of the hotel is less than average, there are lots of homeless people hanging around.
The noise from freeway traffic is strong. Luckily I had my ear plugs for the night, and the noise did not bother my hubby and baby.
The room was very clean and had a mini fridge, microwave, etc.
So if you don't mind the noise and cigarette smell, the rooms aren't bad at all. Therefore I am giving it 3 stars.
Again, Grace the receptionist was great. I called a few days after we checked out for a question and she was courteous as usual.
Aunt Emma's Pancakes, 5 minutes walking distance from the hotel, has yummy crepes.

Room Tip: Higher floors have less cigarette smell
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kenny Khan C, General Manager at Clarion Hotel National City Sand Diego South, responded to this review, August 29, 2013
Dear Tania,
Thank you so much for taking time to write a review! We always value guest feedback as it help us improve our property. I am very glad to hear that Grace did such a good job taking care of you and your family while you stayed with us. I will be sure that I share your comments with her and let her know how good of a job she's doing. I apologize for the cigarette smell and the noisy traffic, since we are so close to highway and main street it does call for a bit more noise. We will be sure to see what we can do to fix those issues. Again thank you for your comments. It makes me so happy to know that you enjoyed your stay, we hope to see you at Clarion Hotel South Bay again the next time your travels bring you this way!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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87 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (26)
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English first
Hollywood, CA
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013

So we just returned from our one night stay for new year's eve in San Diego. Used a Groupon for this stay at the Clarion. Our room was a "bay view" room, and was pretty nice with a few exceptions. The "view" is of an industrial/military area, so you get to see naval ships and freight shipping containers. There is also a freeway off-ramp in front of it all. It did seem noisy, but the room kept it muffled and we had no trouble sleeping. The mattress was firm and comfortable and the room was clean. The supposed "remodeling" that they proudly promoted was minimal, as far as I could see. The new shower curtain rod was clearly put in place by an amateur and the holes and spackling in the wall were evident (see photos). The carpeting was frayed and the lampshades had seen better days. Where, exactly, was the renovation?
Check-in was easy, although Groupon misspelled my name but that didn't present a problem. We were given a voucher for a free full breakfast and given a code to access the free wi-fi. The wi-fi was spotty if it worked at all. We were better off using our 3G, which defeated the purpose. The water pressure in the shower was excellent. The lighting in the bathroom, however, was dim and it was like showering in the dark.
This morning we went downstairs to claim our breakfasts and were told the restaurant was closed for the holiday. Why the afternoon staff the day before didn't know this wasn't answered. I asked if we could come back at a later date for our meal (we visit SD often) and was told I'd receive a phone call to verify what they could do to honor the free breakfast voucher.
As far as the neighborhood, well it is a bit shady. More in the deserted kind of way then scary. Keep in mind, however, this is Southern California. You are expected to drive absolutely everywhere, so empty sidewalks do not necessarily mean a bad thing, it's just a fact of life in a part of the country where cars come first. We drove a few blocks over to Aunt Emma's for breakfast and beat the morning rush. As we finished up the place got packed.
Overall, the room was nice, clean and comfortable. The staff was helpful. Young and inexperienced, but helpful.
I did get a follow up call on our way back to L.A. and was told that the manager would honor our free breakfast on our next stay at the hotel. So if we do stay there again, I plan on cashing that in!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

Stayed here last week with a Groupon deal. Left 2 messages for reservation but never got a call back. After a week, was able to talk to an operator and made the reservation. Pretty much all the other reviews are on point. This hotel is in a sketchy neighborhood. Didn't feel all that safe in the parking lot either. Check in was a breeze, friendly receptionist. Room had a motel-like muggy smell. Furnishing was new but I guess they didn't change the carpeting. Walls were thin but luckily they were not busy on the 2 days. You can easily hear other kids running down the hall. Free breakfast was a nice touch. Cafe was however completely empty the 2 days we were there. Again, very friendly staff. Would probably not stay if not for the Groupon deal.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gallup, New Mexico
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2012

Our stay was in August 6 and 7, 2012. It took us a while to write this review because school and work started after we got back home and this trip was a 2-week road trip which included days in Disneyland and the beach. Let's start with the positives: the rate was amongst the cheapest; hotel had a good view of the bay which we enjoyed and the female desk staff who checked us in was pleasant. The negatives do outweigh the positives which is why we are giving this hotel a 1-rating and we are never staying there again: neighborhood is a dump; we saw "questionable characters" in the neighborhood; 2 police cars were parked across the street (we were speculating about the reasons for that); the security guard was rather brusque and the room could've been cleaner- there was dust on the exhaust fans in the bathroom and bedroom. The worst part was the conversation my husband had with this rude, unprofessional and infuriating front desk clerk. It was day 2 of our stay and we went to the beach. Upon our return at around 5pm, our room hadn't been cleaned. My husband called the front desk to inform them about this. This is what happened: overnight, we hung up the Do Not Disturb sign because we wanted to sleep in. Still, at 10am, there was this loud, obnoxious knock on the door by the housekeeper. Before we left, we made sure to remove the DND sign and the housekeeper was still on our floor cleaning the other rooms and she looked right at us as we were leaving. We thought that she would return to our room to clean it based on our experience with any other hotel that we've stayed in and we usually stay in hotels about once a month, usually at Holiday Inn or Best Western. My husband talked to a male front desk staff whose name was Joshua (if this is the Joshua that a previous review is referring to as somebody no longer working there, that's good news). Joshua handled this complaint in the worse way possible, laughing at my husband as he was trying to explain the situation, telling us that it was our fault that our room didn't get cleaned because we hung up the sign and ignored the 10am "courtesy" call from the housekeeper and that we should have talked to the housekeeper or called the front desk as we left. When my husband told him that we didn't find that necessary since the housekeeper was still on the floor cleaning the other rooms and she saw us leave. We felt that it was just a cheap and easy way out of cleaning another room when she could have easily double-checked. This happened to us at a Howard Johnson in SD and they immediately apologized and issued us a refund of the amount for cleaning the room since they didn't have anybody who could clean the room at that time. All Joshua said that room cleaning is a "courtesy" service and is not included in the room charge. When my husband asked to speak to a manager, he said there was none on duty. To date, that was the worst experience/conversation we've ever had with a hotel employee. Upon our departure, we did not have the time to seek out the manager to discuss this issue. As we were leaving the parking lot, we noticed the housekeeping staff gathering for a group picture. We couldn't help but think about how the housekeeper's story did not coincide with our story and in my husband's conversation with Joshua, you would think that Joshua was accusing my husband of lying about the timeline of events. In our experience, you can hang up the DoNotDisturb sign but as long as you're out of the room before 12pm (and we left at around 11am and the housekeeper wasn't done with the whole floor), your room would still get cleaned. They would even notify you of the latest time your room could be cleaned and they double-check with you instead of assuming that you don't want your room cleaned and expecting you to be the one to inform them. We believe it's the hotel's job to make a stay as pleasant and smooth and as a guest, you shouldn't have to worry about making sure the hotel staff does their job. It's not like we were expecting the type of service beyond what other hotels in the same class and price range deliver. I would not recommend this hotel to anybody and we would not stay there ever again even if we had to pay more for another hotel. In this case, you do get what you pay for.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Modesto, California
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2012

i stayed at this hotel not long ago needs to get better security at night and maybe kick all the homless and prostitutes bad reputation .. but other than that i would say okay .. i had meeting there for organo gold i would sayy that the sales lady that attended me named nicole i think didnt really understand me when i talk to her .. but its okay i really aprecciate the setup guys there always there to ask if everything is okay , i think its the dad & son working there their very nice.
front desk was kind of rude but im okay not a biggie but other than i would be stayying here

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Quezon City, Quezon City, Philippines
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

I've been staying at this hotel since before it was the Clarion, when it was a Holiday Inn. I can give a very accurate review for this hotel. I'll just list the ratings that I'm including and you can draw your own conclusion.

SERVICE - This is easily the best trait for the Clarion South Bay hotel. Most of the staff have worked here for years, and are quite pleasant. The front desk and restaurant staff in particular do seem to care about their customers. The "Joshua" person you've heard mentioned in some of the more negative reviews isn't working here any more.
VALUE - It is what it is, a borderline 3-star hotel with enough amenities to keep that rating. This hotel has a small pool area with spa, some public computers, and a part-time restaurant service. The biggest downside to the value of this hotel is the terrible wi-fi that is unreliable and constantly disconnects. A person claiming to be the manager said you can get an ethernet cable from the front desk and connect that way. While this is true, it's still extremely sluggish. Connecting via ethernet only prevents the disconnects. To me, an avid internet user, this is unforgivable for a hotel in the year 2012. My best guess is they share out a single DSL line and it ends up being slower than old 45K dial up for the guests.
SLEEP QUALITY - If you're facing the bay, you can hear the slight hum of highway traffic. Other than that, the beds are greats and the a/c in the room does its job.
CLEANLINESS - I've stayed in multiple rooms and each one needs new carpet. The bathrooms do have mildew in them, and are looking very old. A lot of the furniture is looking old and worn.
LOCATIONS - If you walk to the convenience store close by, it's not uncommon to have bums beg you for money or get propositioned by prostitutes. While not terribly dangerous, this area of town is definitely run down.
ROOMS - Clarion didn't really update anything or renovate the rooms a whole lot after they took over from Holiday Inn. It will devalue your stay if you're picky.
SPA - Pool/spa is acceptable. I don't swim in it, but I've looked at them and they're decent.
BREAKFAST - All the food at the restaurant is a bit over-priced and of average quality. The hours are 7 am until 11 am and 5 pm until 10 pm, so if you miss those times you're on your own.

Overall, this hotel lacks in a lot of areas but they do have decent to very good customer service and the beds are quite comfortable.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Yuma
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2012

I have to start by saying, if you are looking for a hotel in an upscale neighborhood, this isn't it. However, once you get inside the hotel I think you'll be pleased. It's an older property, but they keep it clean and updated. The staff was very friendly. The rooms are accessed like a motel from the outside, not from a hallway. But the rooms were clean and updated with granite sinks. They had free sample size toothpaste and body wash in addition to the lotion, shampoo and conditioner. The hotel also offers free parking, which is great for San Diego. It's just a 10 minute or less drive from downtown/gaslamp, so the location is great in that regard, just not a nice looking neighborhood surrounding it.

The bed and pillow was VERY comfortable! It was a bit noisy outside, but we kept the fan on all night, which created a good white noise barrier.

We booked this hotel through a Groupon deal. We got a free breakfast with the deal and the breakfast was wonderful! Tasty food - and you could substitute egg beaters! Bonus!

The hotel offers a shuttle service within a 5 mile radius. (includes downtown) The last call is 9:30 pm.

I would stay there again for a "deal."

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Clarion Hotel National City Sand Diego South

Address: 700 National City Blvd, National City, CA 91950 (Formerly Clarion Hotel South Bay)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > National City
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 9 Hotels in National City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Clarion Hotel National City Sand Diego South 3*
Number of rooms: 180
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Clarion Hotel(R) National City San Diego South is located near all the best attractions in San Diego. Navy Base San Diego, Balboa Park and San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, Downtown Gaslamp District,Convention Center, Petco Park and San Diego Airport are only 10 minutes away. Entertainment venues, restaurants and shopping centers are nearby. Tijuana, Mexico is just a short 15 minute drive. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Holiday Inn National City
National City Holiday Inn

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