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“What's not to like?”
Review of Arena Hotel

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Arena Hotel
Ranked #33 of 75 Hotels in San Jose
Reviewed October 15, 2009

This is a "find"! I've been going to conventions in San Jose ever since their conference center opened, and I've stayed in all the hotels around the center: the Fairmont, the Sainte Claire (my favorite), the Hilton, the Marriott. But they're all way over $100/night, sometimes approaching $200. Plus $15 or so a day for Internet access. Plus another $15 or $20 for parking. But I booked a room in the Arena at $54 + tax, with free Internet, free parking and ... free breakfast and heavy hors d’oeuvres in the evening.

They call the hors d’oeuvres "dinner," but that's stretching it a bit. Still, nice cheese & crackers, and beef tacos the night I was there, all you can eat. Better than you'll get at the Fairmont! Breakfast is very nice, eggs, hot cakes, and a selection of both healthy and sugar cereals. Plenty of tables in the large dining area.

The rooms aren't new, but what do you expect for $54? The bed was fine, comfortable, and the furnishings were okay. Micorwave and refrigerator were nice, but with the meals downstairs, I didn't really need them.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled on business
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Thank BreckH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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287 - 293 of 373 reviews

Reviewed July 23, 2009

Would you return to this hotel on your next visit to this city?

Definitely not. The mattress was so old that the springs in the middle gave *no* support; I slept in a "V." The pillows were very lumpy. There were no safety features in the bathroom: a grab bar to assist one in getting in and out of the tub, no bath mat to prevent slips in the tub. Room did not feel clean or fresh. Housekeeping did not replace coffee or cups, did not wipe up spilled hand lotion on the nightstand, or pick up items on the floor. Clearly, the maid needs a checklist to work from.

How would you rate the friendliness of our staff?

Rather than friendliness, let's talk about communication and followup skills; both were inadequate. Things I complained about to both the night- and day-shift front desk clerks I had to re-explain to the manager. I left my cell phone number with the front desk clerk, and the first thing the manager said to me was "I couldn't reach you in your room today," implying that she did not have my cell phone number. The manager told the head of housekeeping on Tue. morning to install a bath mat, and the mat was not installed until sometime Wednesday. The manager's attitude about installing a second grab bar in the tub was that (a) other guests would not want a second bar and (b) I was a damned nuisance upsetting her routine. Frankly, I think other guests would appreciate the additional safety features!

There was no system in place to notify a guest whether a request had been taken care of. For example, there was a note taped to the desk at night by the day staff, but I had to ask about the followup to my request, or else no one would have communicated with me. Moreover, this note was written so cryptically that and the night desk clerk had no idea what it meant.

How would you rate the cleanliness of your room?

Poor. As mentioned above, the room felt musty and dingy. The maid did not replace coffee or cups, did not wipe up spilled hand lotion on the nightstand, or pick up items on the floor.

Were all items in your room in good working order?

No. The bathroom fan was very noisy and was not fixed during my stay, despite my reporting it the morning after I checked in.

Additional Comments

Breakfast service was atrocious. My first morning, by 7:30, you had run out of sausage and bacon. The eggs were reconstituted from powdered eggs, not fresh, and were covered in some shredded, fake cheese analog. The whole mess sat like a brick in my stomach and plugged me up, if you get my drift. I ate at my son's the second day. The third day, at 9:15, there was no bacon or sausage or yogurt. On all days, no one was wiping down tables as guests left, making the entire experience unpleasant.

Stayed: July 2009, traveled solo
1  Thank jake3_14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2009

I booked online at hotels.com for 63USD + tax for a king bed room, they quote you higher than this if you call or walk in. This place is really good value for money. They provide free breakfast and dinner. There is free Wi Fi, a fridge and microwave in the room too. Hotel staff is polite and very helpful. They sent someone immediately when we couldn't get the bathroom switch to work. Like others noted, the food is simple fare but is very much good enough. There are a few restaurants down the road if you want to eat out. We enjoyed the jacuzzi. Highly recommend this place if you are on a budget but like to have a nice place to stay at.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank PPG2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2009

I can't understand the discrediting reviews, for the money we paid it was a great value. It's central to everything, the complimentary breakfast was good and the staff was very friendly and professional. Will gladly stay there again and highly recommend it to my friends and family. Keep up the good work!

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Wandlust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2008

I stayed at the Arena with 4 girlfriends so we could see a concert one block over at the HP Pavilion. It was a nice room, we booked 2 queens, but they gave us a King with a pullout, kitchen and huge tub. it was very comfortable, nothing hugely exciting. I gave it four stars because of the location to the Pavilion and for the staff. The staff was super helpful!

They provide a pretty decent breakfast buffet for free, who can complain about that? I saw some people saying it was bad, but it was free....

Overall, a great stay for a fun night at a concert and very affordable.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Thank nicolep11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2008

I understand some of the negative reviews folks have given this hotel, but for what I paid and what I expected, it is great value. Sure, you can spend more than double this and stay at the Fairmont Hotel down the street. But then, if you had the money, why didn't you do that in the first place?

I stayed here on a business trip. Normally, I stay with Marriott hotels, but I work with a small company and try to do my part by keeping travel costs down. Arena Hotel far exceeded my expectations. The staff was always courteous and responsive.

1) The location is within 5 minutes walking from Caltrain station, so I didn't need to rent a car. I took Caltrain to all my meetings in Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Francisco.

Also, some reviewers noted how this hotel was in the middle of nowhere. I disagree. It has a great little coffee shop across the street, a drug store next to it. Several restaurants are within a mile radius. You can walk or take the light rail (from the same Caltrain station) into downtown San Jose. I actually walked everywhere. (But walking 10 miles a day is nothing to me.)

2) Free wi-fi. For those of us married to our laptops, this was a big bonus. Even at the ritzy hotels I've stayed at, somehow, they still justify exacting a price for their wi-fi. This, I find, is ridiculous.

3) The room is well kept, clean, and quite spacious actually. The sheets and towels are clean. The bed is comfy enough. The pillows are not to my liking, but hey, am I going to knock the hotel down for this?

4) The jacuzzi was rather a nice indulgence after a long day or two of being on my feet. Do I care if my hotel room has a jacuzzi? Normally, no. But it was a nice perk.

To be fair, the hotel suffers from a single problem: It's worn and outdated, as some other reviewers have noted. The decor's a bit tacky and the bedding's that typical motel style design. The TV has limited channels (but has HBO). The overhead light didn't work. The rooms had that stale whiff of smoke, harkening back to the days when smoking was allowed. Unless the hotel does a complete remodel, that smell is buried in the rugs and walls. I've even smelled this at some supposedly fancy hotels, so I guess I don't hold this against the hotel as some other reviewers have.

I've slept in everything from five star hotels to dormitory rooms at hostels to a tent on the beach, so perhaps I am just less fussy. But for $100 a night, Arena is a great value.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank pcypcy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2008

If you want nice memories of San Jose - don't stay here. It looks alright from the outside and entrance hall, but as soon as you come to the room you will be very disappointed. It's very old and dated, nearly shabby. The room I stayed in was big but with old furniture with stains, you did not want to put your clothes down. The kitchenette looked so old. There was a machine that blew cold air into the room and it was not clear where to turn it off, had to go down twice to reception to find out as there was no number in the room how to call reception. Don't get me wrong - it was clean, they came every day and exchanged towels, etc. and the reception staff was very helpful and friendly but it could not make up for the room. The air in the hotel is very bad, like there is never fresh air. I stayed in the third floor and never really saw anypone. You felt really abandoned. The TV was old as well, reception of channels were bad, no MTV.
The food was one of the worst things, the cooked breakfast you would not even give to your dog. For the cereal and packed cakes and stale bread they provided platic cutlery and bowls. I did not even want to try out dinner. It is worth spending the money and staying in a 4 star hotel. This seemed not even worth the 2.5 stars.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Thank travelbee07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Arena Hotel

Address: 817 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126-3156
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Jose
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #33 of 75 Hotels in San Jose
Price Range: $151 - $258 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Arena Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 89
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Arena Hotel features 89 spacious guestrooms offering floor plans from Deluxe King Rooms, Double Queen Rooms, to Deluxe suites. We offer corporate rates, AARP rates, and extended stay rates. We are located within walking distance to downtown San Jose and HP Pavilion. Enjoy our complimentary breakfast and dinner services during your stay. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arena Hotel San Jose
Arena San Jose

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