It was almost 40 years to the day when I last stayed at what was then Host Farms.
Although I was only 13 at the time, I can remember, with the help of some Kodak 3 ½” color prints, the large pool, playing air hockey, billiards and an indoor mini golf course.
We went horseback riding on the property and the gentlemen wore jackets to dinner and the ladies long evening gowns.
My parents had my portrait drawn by the artist in the lobby, Henry Brown.
A year or so ago we stayed nearby and drove around the Host to check it out. It was apparent from the outside that the property was falling into disrepair.
Peeling paint on the exterior, shingles missing from the roof and tennis courts turned into parking lots. Time had taken its toll on this old girl.
I knew the hotel had slipped from her former glory, but wanted to go back anyway for old times sake.
I’m sorry to say that many of the reviews are accurate. The furniture in the rooms is old and banged up. There is a tube television, no refrigerator, small bathrooms, low water pressure, stains on the ceiling tiles, peeling paint, crumbling concrete, funky smell etc.
It seems that the owners are focused on weddings, trade shows and conferences as those areas have received recent renovations are are quite nice.
I was surprised to see several people walking large dogs that were clearly not service animals throughout the property, including the hallways and lobby. Apparently the hotel is "pet friendly" however I did not see that stated on any of the materials for the hotel that I saw prior to booking my room. I would have to assume that animals in the hotel are the cause of some of the smells and stains. I would suggest asking if your room is a pet friendly room if considering a stay if you do not want a room previously occupied by an animal.
The air condition in the room worked although is was a bit archaic with the small metal box to control the temperature and the light switch to turn it on and off. Being our stay was in June, the weather was quite mild and we really didn't need the A/C. We had it on mostly to circulate some air since we could not open our windows.
The 1.9 mile walking path around the golf course was poorly marked, the ice machines do not work and a vending machine ate my money without dispensing a soda. However, the front desk refunded my $1.50 without question.
The king bed was comfortable and although tiny, the pillows were comfortable as well.
Yes, old and run down but at no time did my wife or I feel we were in a dirty room.
All the staff we encountered were amazing, right from the front desk clerk upon check in. She was courteous, friendly and professional.
When we encountered two non-working ice machines in our wing of the hotel, I called the front desk to ask where I could find a working ice machine. She replied “no need, we will send some ice to your room”. Two minutes later, a knock on the door and there was a nice young man with 2 bags of ice in his hand. He asked if there was anything else we needed and refused a tip.
The young man in Mulligan’s Snack Shack was friendly and apologetic that he could not cook us a hamburger, as his grill was not working. He pointed us to the pool bar where he said they could cook us up a fresh hamburger. He told us to have a good day as we left.
The two girls at the poolside bar were also very friendly, polite and happy to cook us a hamburger and hotdog.
We were provided a voucher for two free buffet breakfasts in the Vista room. I have to say that it was quite good and a very impressive spread. All the traditional hot breakfast items and meats were offered along with fresh fruit, cereals, muffins, juices and coffee.
The waitress was very attentive and offered to bring us more toast from the kitchen so we didn’t have to stand and wait by the toaster.
The pool water was clean and clear and there was a lifeguard on duty. There were plenty of chaise lounges as well as picnic tables with chairs and umbrellas around the pool.
We did not eat at the restaurant although the menu looked appealing, we opted to take a small drive to The Stockyard Inn Steakhouse that is well worth the trip to Lancaster alone.
Would we go back? I wouldn’t say no, but with so many other hotels in the area, I would opt to try something different.
I would certainly go back to play golf as the course was well-maintained and green fees were reasonable.
All in all, it was nice to stay at the Lancaster Host as it brought back many memories and I truly hope the current owners correct the deficiencies and re-polish this gem that has lost her luster.
As far as my rating, I do not feel good about giving this property a 2 Star Poor rating, so even though it may be a bit below the 3 Star Average rating, I'm going with 3 Stars. Maybe this is due to my being nostalgic.
My advice to anyone contemplating a stay at the Host is to ask if the room has been recently renovated and when the renovations were completed. It wouldn’t hurt to ask what specifically was renovated in the room as well. I would also ask if the room was ever booked to someone with a pet. Do your homework and adjust your expectations accordingly.
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- Also Known As:
- Lancaster Host Hotel Lancaster
- Lancaster Host Resort