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“Worst Hotel Stay Ever” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Madison

Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Madison
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Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Madison
2.5 of 5 Hotel   |   3841 East Washington Avenue, Madison, WI 53704   |  
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Ranked #48 of 63 Hotels in Madison
Chicago 'Burbs, IL
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“Worst Hotel Stay Ever”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2012

I was extremely disappointed by the Howard Johnson Hotel in Madison, WI. We had booked the hotel for two nights but was so disappointed by the hotel and the staff's lack of service that we ended up checking out early, something I have never done before. To sum it up, we had to switch rooms because one was filled with ants and sprayed with insecticide, to a room with no fridge and no internet access.

When we first got to the hotel we were not greeted and had to wait 10-15 minutes for someone to come to the front desk (at about 10:30pm). When we got to our room we noticed two ants walking around but did not think much of it, although that and the mold in the bathroom did not give a good feeling of clean.

The next day we ate breakfast in our room and left. When we returned a few hours later our room had not been cleaned yet and the empty plates we had eaten on were covered with many ants. Additional ants were walking up and down the table moving to and from the plate. We were not happy and called the front desk. They said they would send someone to take care of the problem. When the maintenance man arrived, he sprayed insecticide about 30-40 times around the room but did not clean up the ants or the plates. He also sprayed around the bed and edges of the sheets which disgusted me since we had planned to sleep there. Since the room was sprayed with so much insecticide, we went to the front desk and asked for a new room to sleep in.

We were given a new room but could not be accommodated with a fridge, which was frustrating since we had requested one in advance and were keeping food in it. However, I preferred a non-insecticide room to one with a fridge so I said that would be okay. When we got to the room it did not have any internet access. I called the front desk and asked why we did not have access and he said he would reset the switch, which did no good. Then when I called later to ask why we still had no internet access, we were told that this room must be a 'dead spot' room. I said it was not acceptable as my husband works in IT and may need to fix computers at night and they said we could use the internet in the lobby.

I was very frustrated since it was not our fault we had to switch rooms and now we had a room with no internet access and no fridge, both of which we needed which is why we booked that hotel in the first place. The front desk manager, Kyle, kept repeating he was sorry but he was not going to switch our room or do anything else to accommodate us. I said it was unacceptable so he said he would give us a refund and we could look for a hotel elsewhere.

After all the problems we had at this hotel, we did not want to spend a penny more towards such a hotel so we decided to leave.

The only positives of the hotel is the worker at the poor continental breakfast and the fact that we were given a refund promptly for our stay. We will never be staying at this hotel again.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria W, Front Office Manager at Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Madison, responded to this review, September 29, 2012
Thank you for your review of the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel. Although this is an older property, we are continually making improvements on the overall appearance of the hotel. We do take pride in cleanliness and our friendly staff. I do apologize we couldn't do more to accommodate to your needs, that weekend you had stayed in Madison our hotel happened to be sold out, we do what ever we can to accommodate to our guests needs, Please accept this as an apology and we hope your experience doesn't deter you from staying at Howard Johnson Plaza in the future.
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366 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (27)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Eden Prairie, Minnesota, United States
1 review
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2012

Weak wi-fi. Showtime was not on channel 4 as listed in the channel lineup.
It was was CSPAN-2 a couple nights, and the QVC shopping channel a couple nights.
Multiple calls/visits to the front desk were in vain.

Room Tip: Don't take room 179 if you want to watch Showtime or want a fast Internet connection.
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria W, Front Office Manager at Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Madison, responded to this review, September 29, 2012
Thank you for your review of the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel. Although this is an older property, we are continually making improvements on the overall appearance of the hotel. We do have free Showtime at our hotel I apologize that Cspan was showing up in your room, We checked our Showtime box and since have all rooms up and running with Free Showtime, We do take pride in cleanliness and our friendly staff. Please accept this as an apology and we hope your experience doesn't deter you from staying at Howard Johnson Plaza in the future.

We appreciate your input and hope you decide to stay with us again so we can make your overall experience more enjoyable.
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PRESQUE ISLE
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2012

Wonderful breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, french toast besides hot and cold cereal, fresh fruit, Large rooms that were clean and welcomin. Very polite hotel staff. I did have a plugged bathroom sink when I was leaving and did not report it to the service dek.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with Howard Johnson

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria W, Front Office Manager at Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Madison, responded to this review, September 24, 2012
We appreciate you taking the time to review our hotel and are happy to hear you enjoyed your stay at the Howard Johnson Plaza. We would like to thank you for all the wonderful comments , We hope to hear from you again

Warmest Regards
Howard Johnson Plaza
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Waukesha, Wisconsin
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2012

We very much enjoyed Mike in the restaurant. He not only kept everything filled and ready for our breakfasts, but entertained us with a few songs, stories, etc. It was nice to have someone so positive and fun to greet us every morning. You should feel proud to have a person who takes such a fun and giving way about him, to make our eating experiences so enjoyable.

ill and Craig
Orange Chopper

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria W, Guest Relations Manager at Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Madison, responded to this review, August 24, 2012
We are glad to hear you enjoyed our Free Complimentary breakfast buffett that we provide every morning, I will also pass along the positive feedback to Mike he will be thrilled to hear all of the great things you had to say. Again thank you from the whole staff at the Howard Johnson Plaza.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buffalo Grove
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2012

Stayed one night for a marathon.

Large hotel for this area. Very attractive spacious lobby. Staff courteous and efficient. Room and bathroom showed some wear and tear, but for a budget hotel, really not bad.

The aspects that bring down my review are the uncomfortable hard mattress, and very hard pillows. Those, plus slamming doors well into the night, seriously impacted my sleep. The hotel can’t do anything about rude guests who slam doors, but surely some kind of cushioned gasket around the door frames could help. Although I liked other aspects of the hotel, the hard mattress and pillows will prevent my returning.

A really excellent ample hot breakfast softened the sleepless night somewhat. Scrambled eggs, sausage, oven roasted potatoes, and French toast; plus the usual coffee, juices, breads, and muffins were served up with bustling enthusiasm by a eager gentleman with a great attitude.

I’d give 5 for the breakfast and service, and a 2 for the mattress/pillows/door issue, giving a net of 3.5.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria W, Guest Relations Manager at Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Madison, responded to this review, August 24, 2012
Thank you for your review of the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel. Although this is an older property, we are continually making improvements on the overall appearence of the hotel. We do take pride in cleanliness and our friendly staff. I will pass along the positive feedback to Mike our breakfast attendant, he will be very greatful to hear the kind remarks. Please accept this as an apology and we hope your experience doesn't deter you from staying at Howard Johnson Plaza in the future.

We appreciate your input and hope you decide to stay with us again so we can make your overall experience more enjoyable.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2012

We booked this room for one night through Expedia after our Priceline bid was rejected. It was a "mystery" hotel discount where you don't find out the name of the hotel until it is booked. Priceline had this hotel listed as a 2 star so I avoided it. However, Expedia lists it as a 2 and a half star. I am quite familiar with the area and I can tell you that this hotel is nowhere near as nice as the other 2 and a half stars in the neighborhood which is the reason for the "poor" rating. Had I known they were going to give me this hotel I would not have booked through Expedia.

I do have to say that our room was clean and bug-free. Bed and linens okay. I checked it out before deciding if we would stay. I give the staff credit for trying. However, the hotel just isn't inviting. The long convoluted hallways were dark and smelly. We could hear people in the hallway all night. It has the feel of an old-style motel.

We didn't eat the breakfast or use the pool so I can't comment on those.

Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria W, Front Office Manager at Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Madison, responded to this review, August 13, 2012
Thank you for your review of the Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel. Although this is an older property, we are continually making improvements on the overall appearence of the hotel. We do take pride in cleanliness and our friendly staff. Please accept this as an apology and we hope your experience doesn't deter you from staying at Howard Johnson Plaza in the future.

We appreciate your input and hope you decide to stay with us again so we can make your overall experience more enjoyable.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whitehall, Wisconsin
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2012

While the accommodations were not a five star, every employee was exceptional in customer service, excited to accommodate your needs and you must not miss Mike in food service. He brightens everyone's day and will even sing Elis Presley and Louis Armstrong. This man will bring me back here again. He deserves a bonus for the pleasure he brings to the customers on a daily basis.

Room Tip: Try to choose a room to the front of the facility. The back takes you a while to navigate to your de...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria W, Public Relations Manager at Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Madison, responded to this review, August 18, 2012
Thank you for your kind review, we take pride in the customer service we are able to give to our guests, I will also pass along the positive feedback to Mike! He will be thrilled to hear, We hope to see you back real soon!

warmest regards!
The staff at the Howard Johnson Plaza
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Madison

Address: 3841 East Washington Avenue, Madison, WI 53704
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Wisconsin > Madison
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #48 of 63 Hotels in Madison
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Madison 2.5*
Number of rooms: 197
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Come and stay at our Madison Wisconsin Hotel the Howard Johnson Plaza.The hotel is located next to the Dane County Regional Airport, adjacent to East Towne Mall and near downtown Madison and all of Madison Wisconsin’s area attractions. The hotel is also only minutes away from Madison’s Central Business district, governmental offices and the University of Wisconsin. Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel features modern accommodations and convenient services with the largest indoor swimming pool in the Madison area, free Internet access, complimentary hot breakfast buffet, a 24 hour Airport Shuttle and lowest room rate guarantees are just few of the other perks you can enjoy as our guest at Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel Madison. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Howard Johnson Madison Hotel Madison
Madison Howard Johnson

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