As this hotel has been reviewed many times, earning a Traveler's Choice award in 2005, I'll try to offer those details that seem most pertinent.
I stayed at the HoJo for six days during July in order to visit Disneyland. It was peak season and I happened to visit during the most recent national, record-breaking heatwave. Despite these factors, I quite enjoyed my stay and found the hotel to be nearly worth the money I spent. (I'd call it a break-even proposition, not a bargain.)
First, the HoJo offers a good location if you're interested in staying next to Disneyland. Although it's not right across the street from the theme park, it is between a 7-10 minute walk from the S. Harbour Boulevard. (I timed it during my stay; even on the hottest day it took me no longer than 8 minutes to walk from entrance to lobby: I did not, however, travel with a stroller, small children, or other things which would have slowed me down.) It is also located next door to Mimi's Cafe, which I highly recommend for breakfast and dinner as you go to and from Disneyland.
Second, the hotel is well-maintained for a three-star hotel. The decor was neither tacky nor tasteless, but what I would refer to as mid-range hotel inobtrusive. I stayed in a non-smoking, 2 queen beds, park-view room in the recently renovated Building #1. It was fairly spacious, included a refrigerator, and two sinks for washing up (one inside the bathroom, the other just outside the bathroom). There was more then enough drawer and closet space for the two of us and, I suspect, for a family of five. Water pressure was good, as was the general quality of the water. The housekeeping staff came early and did a good job. The grounds and buildings are being renovated, but these projects did not appear to disturb guests. Check-in and check-out is speedy and pleasant.
Third, the amenities for the hotel were adequate. There were two pools, both busy when I was there. They were perhaps a little small to meet guest demand (but again, we were traveling during the heat wave). TV channels include some cable (I seem to remember Showtime and ESPN.) More importantly for me, the rooms include free internet, and although the rooms aren't configured for extended periods of work on your computers it was convenient to be able to check my email from my room. The check-in area has a computer available for guest use, as well. There's a gift shop in Building #1 with a fairly nice range of food and beverages available, at hotel prices, and it features extended hours (though not 24 hours); the gift shop also has complimentary copies of USA today. There are two guest laundry facilities (Buildings #1 and #2), which were busy when I visited. The waits were not unreasonably long, though. There is no on-site restaurant--go to Mimi's Cafe--or fitness room. Parking is free.
Fourth, the staff is well-trained and courteous. At no time during my stay did I have anything less than a pleasant interaction with the staff. They went above and beyond to answer my questions about running paths. I saw maintenance working thoughout various areas of the hotel, constantly working on improvements. Service personnel were also very professional. And email interactions I had prior to my stay were also handled professionally.
Fifth, a mild critique. I requested, and paid for, a park view in Building #1. The hotel handled by request quite well, but the view of the park was blocked by trees which obscure line of sight for most, if not all, balconies in Building #1. (I was on the fifth floor, and had an obstructed view.) The balconies, by the way, are small, with no furniture. These rooms with a view are more expensive and, in my opinion, not worth the extra cost if it's primarily the view you're interested in. On most nights, people were in the parking lot watching the fireworks and the parking lot offered an equal if not superior view. If you're interested in a park view room because of concerns with I-5 noise, though, the rooms might be worth it. I cannot speak to this, as I visited at a time when the central air was running constantly and provided white noise. I could not hear freeway noise. (Also be warned, though, that I live in a downtown area near a passenger train, so I have a high tolerance for noise.)
Finally, one more critique: prices. Although the per-night price for the Howard Johnson was not extreme for the inflated prices charged by most of the hotels this close to Disneyland, they are inflated for a hotel of this quality. The price was even higher because it was summer, Disney's peak season, and still within Disneyland's 50th anniversary celebration. (It is my understanding that the hotels surrounding Disneyland raised their prices based on increased visits to the park that coincide with the celebration.) Under normal circumstances, I would not pay the inflated prices for a three-star hotel; however, its proximity to Disneyland, the time of year in which I could make the trip, and the time between the decision to travel and departure led me to choose the Howard Johnson. It is a "brand" hotel, well-run and maintained, and pleasant to stay at, but there are probably better bargains out there for those folks who are going to spend the majority of their time at Disneyland and other area attractions.
In short, the Howard Johnson hotel is very well-run and staffed. It was a pleasant stay. That said, I do have to note that the hotel is ranked as a three-star hotel and I reviewed it as such. It does not offer all the amenities of a nicer hotel, nor should it be expected to. If I were to get a deal on the price that more accurately reflects its status as a three-star hotel, I would stay at the Howard Johnson again. If not, I think I'd search for another hotel in the same general area but one that offers two of the amenities I missed: a fitness center and a complimentary breakfast. This is not to cast aspersion on the Howard Johnson's operations--excellent staff--and improvements, but to note that the Howard Johnson did not seem to be quite the value for its money that I was led to expect from other reviews posted here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Just an 8-minute walk from Disneyland Park, this non-smoking family resort hotel features Castaway Cove - A Watery Pirate Playground! With slides, drench bucket, water canons, jacuzzi, toddler's wading pool and more, Castaway Cove is a great place for your whole family to play together! Also nestled within the lush, park-like grounds is the family friendly Garden Pool! With free parking, fridges and internet- HoJo Anaheim is the perfect choice for your family adventure! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel And Water Playground - Anaheim / Disneyland Park
- Howard Johnson Anaheim
- Howard Johnson Hotel Anaheim California
- Anaheim Howard Johnson