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“Filthy to the point of a health hazard”
Review of Columbia Inn Motel

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Columbia Inn Motel
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Columbia
San Jose, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Filthy to the point of a health hazard”
Reviewed July 29, 2011

We stayed at this sub-par dump in early July, 2011.

In one word, the place was filthy--filthy to the point that I had concerns for my health and the health of my family. There were fragments of dried nasal mucus (boogers) on the wall, peanuts and other chunks of food on the floor. The carpet was in need of changing. The fan in the bathroom did not work, so that the humidity could not escape from the bathroom. I could not get the refrigerator to work. The place smelled and looked literally unsanitary. As soon as we arrived, I pointed out to the owner's daughter that there was human excrement at the bottom of the toilet. She saw it, but said, "No, it is just a rust stain". But then she flushed the toilet and the "rust stain" went away. She said, "There, it is gone". (That's how bad their level of "cleaning" is!!!) My wife and I went into town to buy toilet cleaner and Lysol. We cleaned the entire bathroom ourselves. To me, there is never an excuse for this level of filth. I realize I was not staying at the Ritz, but I always expect my hotels/motels to at least appear to be sanitary. I don't mind that so many things in our room did not work, nor that the only two vending machines outside did not work either, nor that the pool was closed down by the health inspector, nor that the sink had no stopper, but that the place was in need of a deep cleanse is concerning. The owner seemed friendly and seemed like an amiable, reasonable human being, but we would never go back there again unless they replaced the carpets, cleaned the walls, got new wallpaper, cleaned the bathrooms, etc.

There is honestly more I can add here--like the shower curtain that was bandaged together (How much does a plastic shower-curtain cost?)--but there is only room for so much. I will say this, though. I should have noticed right from the start that the place was a dump when I saw the owner and his daughter. Their clothes were dirty and he was sleeping on an old, dirty couch with a completely-stained pillow with no pillow case. Who runs a business like this??? Stay away. Just read the other reviews, too. This place is the most horrible place I have ever stayed in.

Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank Trevellikeaking
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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66 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
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English first
Santa Cruz, California
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed July 26, 2011

After reading its reviews, we were somewhat apprehensive about our decision to stay here. What we found, however, was that in spite of problems (and there obviously were some, such as non-functioning soft drink and ice dispensers, swimming pool covered up, untended plants, etc.) the basics were fine. Our room was clean, the bed comfortable. We had air conditioning, tv, a phone. The owner was helpful and brought us an extra bed lamp so we could both read comfortably. We would stay here again. The price was certainly right!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank nnancyas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbia, CA
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 26, 2011

My brother and family stayed at the Columbia Inn and were horrified. I felt so bad listening to their complaints.

It's an utterly trashy and disgusting motel that shouldn't be in business.

They had to move from the first room they were put in as it smelled like rotten carpet.

The 2nd room wasn't much better but since it was 9:00 at night and his wife and two small children had been driving for 6 hours, they bit the bullet and settled in.

The place was filthy! The bedspreads were old and looked like they hadn't been washed in years. They immediately tore them off the bed. They didn't take their socks off the entire time as the carpet was so dirty and nasty looking. My brother didn't encounter any bedbugs, but the thought of them in such a filthy place kept him tossing and turning all night.

The bathroom was old and "crusty" The knob to fill the bathtub was an old cabinet pull knob. Everything looked like it was pieced together to keep things from falling apart.

He paid $60.00 for the room plus tax and would have had better accommodations if they had slept in their car. They don't mind older hotels and have never minded staying at a Motel 6, but this place didn't even come close to any Motel 6, even in the worst cities.

The owners of The Columbia Inn place should be ashamed of themselves for keeping such a trashy hotel.

My brother was seriously questioning what kind of people the owners are or what kinds of personal problems they might have that keeps them from cleaning and fixing up the place a bit.

They could never get it up the standards of a Motel 6 in the worst part of a city though.

That's why I'm recommending it be torn down.

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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ColumbiaPierce
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
Level 6 Contributor
49 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 135 helpful votes
Reviewed July 3, 2011

I've been coming here for years, through a series of owners and managers, and seen the place go through various stages. The big “plus” is the location. Columbia is one of my go-to getaways from the Bay Area, and the motel is just across the road from the state historic park and preserved Gold Rush town. I like to walk and hang out around the town, and go for nighttime strolls when it’s quiet and looks like an Old West movie setting. Other than the costlier historic hotels, this is the only lodging where that’s possible. It’s convenient for driving to Sonora, Angel’s Camp, Murphy’s, Twain Harte, or Pinecrest. An overall “very good” rating is not just for the motel, which is not truly “very good,” but for all the advantages of staying there.

As to the “stages” it has gone through… I recall when the pool was open, the ice machine worked, there was full-time staffing and the lobby was open with a sitting area and reading material. I also recall when some rooms were SROs for folks in rehab, just paroled, or a step above homelessness. The place has had a lingering reputation. What it is now is nothing like what it has been at some other times. And yet, in all the years I have been coming, I have never truly felt unsafe. I’ve always found the staff to be courteous and helpful, and those owners I’ve met were also cordial.

For the cost, it’s a decent place to stay and everything usually works. Yes, it's old and needs work. The potted plants are dead, the soda and ice machines have been for years, the stairs are decrepit, and the room carpets are worn. On one recent visit, I had to ask for a lightbulb and the phone plug kept falling out of the wall jack. But the rooms have always been clean and stocked, and they have microwaves and mini fridges.

On two visits this spring, the lobby has been unstaffed; you'd ring a bell to call the manager, or the manager would see you coming because she and her husband lived in the motel. Housekeeping was by request only, by hanging the door sign or telling the manager (however, she asked every time she saw me if I needed anything). The reason: no staff. The only employees were these two, one partly disabled, who were expected to function as manager, desk clerk, maintenance and laundry worker (laundry is done in-house), housekeeper by request, and whatever else needed doing. The owners would not hire anyone else. When these owners bought the inn, their main hotel experience was from one of them being a maid, then they got the notion that they wanted their own place. They own a restaurant in Sonora that evidently takes much or most of their energy. They also do inefficient things like going to Costco in Modesto or buying light bulbs half a dozen at a time, when they could be using vendors that make bulk sales and deliver.

The pool is permanently closed because it does not meet current safety codes and upgrading it would cost too much. It is kept full and covered because draining it would cause it to dry out and crack, according to the manager. I've often suggested to the manager that it should be replaced with a landscaped area with chairs, picnic tables, and other niceties for guests to use in good weather. There is now no such area. She said it had been mentioned to the owners--but that would cost money too. The manager also said she would like to see the lobby open to guests, which would require full-time desk staffing; it has a TV that she said the owners put in for their enjoyment, and a couch littered with hair shed by the owners’ dog, but I don’t think I’ve seen the owners in the lobby in 2-3 years.

I can air this now because the manager confided that she and her husband planned to give notice soon and leave at the end of June. I wished them well; I’ve enjoyed staying over the years and they were always cordial and pleasant. She had no idea what the situation might be like once they left, and of course, neither do I. I hope it works out, that the owners can get new staff and keep the motel in business. If they come to their senses, have adequate staff, and make a few changes and improvements, this could be a much better place and be filled every night with people who want to enjoy historic Columbia.

If you’re interested in staying, call ahead or check the website to be sure it’s open. Get a room on the front side, facing the parking lot. There are rooms on the back side, which is upstairs because the building is built into a hillside. The hillside is covered with trees and gets very little sunlight, so it’s colder and darker and has a vaguely damp feeling. If you’re skittish, it can also be a bit spooky; you never see people or activity in the back, and you can easily imagine your next-door, long-term tenant neighbor shooting up, cooking meth, or counting the loot from his/her latest mini-mart stick-up.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Frisco_Roadrunner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakdale, California
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed March 1, 2011

This is one of those places that isn't actually a motel- it's a short term residence for tweekers. At check in I was denied a ground level room because that's where the "long term residents" stay. I mean laundry-hanging-outside-on-lawn-chairs type of residents. People were literally partying outside our room until dawn. We got no sleep and we spent the whole night scared to death someone was going to break in to our room.

  • Stayed February 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank HoffBees
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Flagstaff
1 review
Reviewed August 31, 2010

I am shocked that the fire department hasn't closed that place down for violations. I kept waiting for my foot to fall through the deck, the outside lights were falling off the walls and full of bugs. No lights for the stairs, so try that at midnight. There was so little hot water that I decided to skip the shower especially after I had to try to wash this amazing stream of working ants down the drain where they were coming up from, the pool was closed, the ice machine and soda machine was broken, and I couldn't keep my cell phone charger plugged into the outlet as it kept falling out. I kept thinking that I was staring in one of those hilarious vacation movies!. Oh! And try getting a second key from the manager. HO HO Ha. Good luck. No second key for you! You must share your key. Tough luck for you! One key per customer. She was the key Nazi. The entire place reminded me of old hotels on old rt 66 in Flagstaff where the drug dealers live.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank shilii_nez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mayville, Wisconsin
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed June 22, 2010

stayed here again for our annual prospecting trip. once again the hospitality of the folks there didnt disapoint us. sure a bit of work on the place is needed, but a nice comfy bed and hot shower after a hard day of gold digging is all we needed. that makes this place a great value for us. i am not sure what others expect of this place? they want the quality of the ritz-carlton at bargain prices apparently. the rooms are clean, everything works, and the managers are top notch. i dont always get that at high end hotels. we will most definately be back again next year!!

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank trussbypaul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Columbia Inn Motel

Property: Columbia Inn Motel
Address: 22646 Broadway St, Columbia, CA 95310-9767
Location: United States > California > Columbia
Amenities:
Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Columbia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Rob and his fiancé Cheryl have put a lot of hard work, dedication and passion into the Columbia Inn Motel to make it a positive experience. We enjoy meeting and getting to enjoy our guests personally. Our goal is to make everyone feel at home while visiting ours. Rob served 14 years in the Air Force and has had several ventures since. One of which is 49er Mining Supplies, that he opened in 2001 and is currently located adjacent to the motel office. Rob's knowledge of mining is vast and he loves sharing with all. We invite you to come to the Columbia Inn Motel located in the heart of the Mother Lode and take a step back in time. Be sure you take time to visit the historic Columbia State Park which is a short walking distance from us. ... more   less 

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