As the great Hampton Inn in Lexington was unavailable, I booked a room for two nights at Howard Johnson's for my college reunion. I left after one night. As someone in my party said of the hotel: "It is so ... tired."
And that pretty much sums it up: it is an okay place to roost for the night, but it has a worn-out feel to it. There's nothing really wrong with the place but nothing --other than the view of House Mountain if you're lucky enough (I wasn't) to get a room facing west -- really to look rave about.
My Howard Johnson's experience began badly -- the front desk couldn't find my reservation. After a few minutes, the clerk discovered that the person who took my phone reservation had us checking in and out on the wrong dates. Mercifully, the clerk got us into a room, even though Lexington was full because of the reunion.
Our room on the top floor looked out on to the back parking lot and scrub vegetation. The railing on our tiny balcony was loose and rickety; my family and I stayed off it. Inside, our room was dimly lit. The dark carpet, bed covers, and drapes made the room seem less inviting than it might have. The bathroom was adequate but in need of a good scrubbing.
The breakfast area, which sits on the other side of two rather gruesome manniquens in the lobby, offered a small but adequate array of juice, coffee, bagels, and buns.
When I checked out late the next afternoon, the clerk was kind enough to not charge me for the second night. In fact, everyone on the staff was polite and helpful, but I was relieved to leave Howard Johnson's nonetheless. It's an aging property in need of rejuvenation. It felt dingy and, honestly, not entirely clean.
To be fair, Howard Johnson's is older than most of the motels on the outskirts of Lexington, so it needs to be cut some slack. It is convenient to I-81 and, while it is several miles outside of the town, the drive on Route 11 is a pleasant one. You pass one of the few drive-in theaters (Hull's) left in the Valley, which is not far from the new Devil's Backbone brewery.
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- Also Known As:
- Howard Johnson Hotel Lexington
- Howard Johnson Lexington
- Lexington Howard Johnson