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“Affordable, clean - excellent choice for downtown Oakland/East Bay travelers” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Clarion Hotel-Downtown Oakland

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Clarion Hotel-Downtown Oakland
2.5 of 5 Hotel   |   371 13th St, Between Franklin & Webster, Oakland, CA 94612   |  
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Ranked #18 of 48 Hotels in Oakland
Irvine, Ca
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Affordable, clean - excellent choice for downtown Oakland/East Bay travelers”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 17, 2010

Really nice affordable hotel.

I was going to the bay area for a few interviews and wanted to stay somewhere affordable near public transit.

This hotel worked great! It was 1.5 blocks from the Bart (2 min walk) and is right in the middle of most of the bus lines. Very nice management, everyone was very helpful and friendly. For $70/night it was very affordable for downtown Oakland.

The rooms are small but comfortable. There is a very comfy bed, dresser, flat screen TV, desk and small closet - and thats really all that fits in the room. But its an old hotel - so I didn't expect huge suites and it was more than comfortable for 1-2 people. The bathrooms are huge! Which is nice. They seem to be recently refurbished so everything was beautiful.

The restaurant downstairs is nice. Quick, yummy food. I had breakfast there twice during my stay.

Keep in mind there is no parking - this is really a hotel for someone who is staying in downtown Oakland and either working in Downtown Oakland or planning to take public transit.

A fellow interviewee of mine stayed here one night (I stayed 3) and commented she was "so scared she was going to get shot." Which is pretty silly. She was clearly someone who grew up in white suburbia and was afraid of cracked sidewalks and occasional homeless people. This area of Oakland is fine, but it is downtown Oakland so yes, there are occasional homeless people. The walk to the Bart was well-lit and the whole area from Bart to the hotel is where all the cabbies hang out in the evenings. I never walked a block without seeing a cop parked or driving around. As a 5'5" white female I felt perfectly safe walking around the area at night.

Overall, if I have to go back to the East Bay I would definitely stay there again. Everyone was very helpful and the whole experience was very positive.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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153 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (34)
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Vancouver, B.C.
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
55 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2010

The hotel is a 2 minute walk from the 12th St/Oakland City Centre Bart Station making it very convient to use to sightsee in San Fransicsco. It's a little quiet at night but I didn't feel threatened.

There is no free breakfast but there is an attached restaurant that serves breakfast. I would recommend you have lunch or dinner there. Also quite a few restuarants in the area. Oakland's Chinatown is a 5 minute walk. There is also a Walgreens for small grocery items.

The staff is friendly and helpful especially the girl at night. My room was very small with the bed taking up 90% of the room leaving very little space to put stuff. It was also next to a vent or HVAC unit. Luckily I'm not a light sleeper so it didn't affect me much. The public computer is fine except at times it would be very slow connecting to the Internet.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2010

I first stayed in this hotel on May 2010 and wrote a review here. That was awesome. I just stayed there again in October 2010, and I cannot say the same thing this time. The manager was not fast this time with the messages. This time I booked 2 rooms, one for my wife and I and another for my sister. I asked for rooms next to each other, and the manager told me that they would. They were actually in the same floor, but they were not next to each other. The hairdryer in my sister's room was hairy, just like one of the linens in my room.

Also, I think I could get a discount for the second stay, especially booking two rooms this time, but nope, it was even more expensive than the first time. I chose this hotel rather than others because I was very satisfied the first time, but it's a pity that the second time was not as good as before.

Despite these problems, I still think this hotel is a good one. I just thought it was better, before.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Casa Grande, Arizona
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2010

I was concerned after initially booking this hotel due to the street view image of it from google maps. The map images show an abandoned building covered in grafitti, and the surrrounding neighborhood looked a bit menacing. Once we arrived, most of my fears were relieved as the area has improved since the google mapping occured. We arrived about 4 hours prior to the hotels listed check-in and the front desk clerk offered to check our luggage but was unable to check us in early because our room had not yet been vacated by the previous guest. I had requested a room on the highest floor possible so that we would have a nice view of the city. Once we were allowed to check-in I was happy to find we had been assigned a room on the 7th floor, which is the top floor in the hotel. Opening the door to room, I was slightly disappointed in the room size. The sleeping area was approximately 9 feet by 10 feet with a Queen size bed, 2 night stands, a small dresser and a 35 inch LCD TV. Suffice it to say, the room was rather cramped. I had not seen such a small room since my visit to a downtown NYC hotel. I immediately went over to the window, but to my dismay I had a 3 foot gap, then the wall of another wing of the hotel. Going into the bathroom, my jaw imediately dropped. The bathroom was huge! It was at least as big as the sleeping area, if not a bit bigger. By simply moving the toilet and/or sink Clarion could have made the main room area feel so much larger and open. The room was clean, up to date, and comfortable. The staff were exceptionally nice and willing to assist us with any issues, and I would recommend this hotel, as long as you dont mind the small room size.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2010

I had a conference at the convention center and opted to stay here instead. The room was very small, but comfortable. The fitness center (treadmill and elliptical machine) is nice, as is the vending machine. Nice toiletries and towels.

Front desk staff was very friendly and helpful. Hotel is literally around the corner from BART, making it super easy to get to Berkeley or San Francisco.

Only drawback is that the hotel advertises its free wifi and it's actually broadband. But that was not a huge problem.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Dallas, Texas
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2010

I arrived to this hotel on Sunday night, and checked-in around 9:30 pm. I was anxious to do a couple of hours work on my laptop, call my wife, and relax before an early court appearance nearby the next morning. When I got to my room, the door wasn't closed all of the way...I could just push it open. This wasn't any big deal, though it was the first time I've ever felt the need to "sweep" a hotel room for anyone hiding in the closet or bathroom.

All seemed well, so I dropped all of my belongings and grabbed the ice bucket and headed downstairs for ice (on level 2) and a bottle of water. I got the ice, but the vending machine was totally out of water...a mild inconvenience, but frustrating because walking around downtown Oakland late at night looking for bottled water didn't feel like a great option.

Here's where things really took a turn for the worst. Upon returning to the room, the keycard lock actually swallowed my keycard...I've used these locks a thousand-plus times and never had one do what this one did. My keycard literally disappeared into the lock mechanism, leaving just its top barely showing.

I returned to the front desk (approx. 9:45 pm), and the girl working there (who was new) had tools for removal of keycards from the locks. This would have been great, but it became apparent that she had not really been trained in how to use the tool. Instead of retrieving my card, she actually pushed the keycrd further in, so that none of the key was visible at all.

We returned to the front desk (approx. 10:15ish), and the girl offered to move me to a different room and then I could retrieve my stuff in the morning when the manager got there. I told her this was unacceptable...my laptop, phone charger, toiletries, clean clothes/suit...EVERYTHING!!...was locked in that room. She called the manager at home, and he agreed to send his son to help. She told me the son was about 30 minutes away.

At this point, my blood started to boil as it became apparent that getting my work done and relaxing was out of the question, and that I would probably have to work late...IF we ever got into the room. Getting to sleep early seemed like a disappearing notion.

I sat in the lobby until the son arrived (approx. 10:45ish). Over the course of the next hour or so, the manager's son, Zyed (I apologize if I am spelling that incorrectly), went through several diagnoses as to what was wrong. With the afore-mentioned keycard tool, he was able to instantly get the keycard out of the door. I was thrilled that the ordeal seemed close to being over.

The keycard would still not open the door, so it was decided that the lock mechanism must be missing working batteries. Zyed went down to the office to find the tool which opens the battery compartment. He couldn't find it. He tried with several screwdrivers to get it open, and went downstairs to find another tool (we're getting near 11:15 pm now).

Finally he found the correct tool and changed the batteries in the lock. Guess what? It still wouldn't open!! He went downstairs to make a new keycard to see if that would work. Nope! No luck. At his point it was decided we would have to physically pry the door open with a crowbar...which was successful after about 30 minutes.

A new front desk guy was on duty, and as he made me a new keycard for another room, he remarked that THIS WAS THE SECOND TIME THIS HAD HAPPENED!! “We need to do a better job of checking those locks, batteries, etc.”, he said.

Around 12:00 midnight I finally got settled in the new room, called my wife (in TX....where it was 2am at this point) and began the work that I should have already been able to complete. Needless to say...I did not get the sleep that I had hoped for.

The next morning, Samir, the manager, introduced himself and apologized. He was very friendly, but I was frustrated by his “these things happen” attitude. He mentioned that he, too, would have been frustrated without having his belongings. To me, this was only part of the issue. When I checked out I figured I would be offered a refund, discount, meal....you know...at least something which acknowledged what a major inconvenience this was for me and that I had not, IN FACT, received what I had paid for. After all, I was locked out of my room for OVER TWO HOURS...alternately sitting in the lobby and the hallway floor...and had to stay up until close to 2 am to get my pre-court work done.

Not even the slightest concessionary offer was made.

Samir and his son are very nice...that is not the issue. The issue is a lack of understanding about customer service. They have apparently neglected the lock situation enough that this has happened twice now, so they were apparently on notice of the problems. I couldn't understand why a new front desk girl wouldn't be trained in working with the locks, why the appropriate tools couldn't be found, etc. And the fact that this major inconvenience to me warranted nothing more than a shoulder-shrug “it happens” apology just left me with the clear impression that...despite their niceness...the family needs some work on customer service in a big way. I clearly didn't get what I paid for, and they were either unwilling or unable to try to make it right.

The bottom line is that if you are at this Oakland hotel for business purposes, you just can't be assured that something won't go wrong...and, if it does, you won't receive the type of customer service that is routine at the larger hotels. The nearby Marriott may cost twice as much, but there is a reason for that. I learned the hard way that you get what you pay for, sometimes. Thank goodness for Tripadvisor where we can let others know of the issues, and to let management know that they failed in their duty to make things right for the customer. I just can't recommend this hotel under these circumstances.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SamirOakland, Manager at Clarion Hotel-Downtown Oakland, responded to this review, September 8, 2010
Thank you very much for taking the time from your busy schedule to express your experience during your stay at The Clarion Hotel Downtown Oakland City Center.
We value your comments and apologize for failing to meet your expectations.

We appreciate our guests' comments (positive and negative). That is how we would know how to improve our service.

If and when there is a problem , we do compensate our guests for their inconveince, and in this situation, we failed to do so, and for that we deeply apologize.

Best Regards,
Samir Mshahsa
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antontio, Texas
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2010

Economical but the hotel was well kept. Security with key card controlled access to hotel entrance was a plus. Very friendly staff was helpful. Samir will help you with any problem. Only negative was relative small size of room for us two and the high beds made it difficult to sit on them comfortably (I'm 5' 9") but a bargain at the price. Shower and bath with good hot water. Chinatown close by was interesting with good inexpensive Chinese food. Middle East restaurant next door was good. I would come again.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Clarion Hotel-Downtown Oakland

Address: 371 13th St, Between Franklin & Webster, Oakland, CA 94612
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Oakland
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #18 of 48 Hotels in Oakland
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Clarion Hotel-Downtown Oakland 2.5*
Number of rooms: 64
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel is within walking distance to the Oakland Convention Center, BART Station, 8 miles from the Oracle Arena & Oakland Coliseum, City Hall, Federal Building, Alameda County Court House. 8 miles from Oakland International Airport (Take Bart from Airport to Hotel). Take Bart from Hotel to San Francisco.We have added parking, overnight rate $15. ... more   less 
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