It's really a shame that the Howard Johnson name has taken a hit over the years. I can remember staying in them as a child with my parents when we traveled and needed to stay somewhere on a budget. It was no Ritz Carlton, but it was clean and quiet. Unfortunately, it seems that the Howard Johnson of Warrenton has not received a new set of blankets or new carpeting since the 70s. I have stayed in all kinds of places, in many countries, and have a pretty open mind to accommodations, but I do have standards and elements of a hotel experience that have to measure up for me to give a glowing review. Cleanliness, age, water pressure, quiet.
The check-in area was not attached to the hotel but had all the signature characteristics of a HoJo - that big spire, the orange-shingled roof and oddly shaped building. The space was nice enough, but with no signs or painted instructions on the pavement, the breezeway normally set aside for check-in was a dangerous thruway back into the hotel. But that wasn't the best part of check-in. It was the young couple who grew impatient with OUR check-in process and asked for the 'application to fill out' so they could get their room. The diarrhea of expletives that flew out of the young lad's mouth when he learned that they were sold out was priceless. At what point is it a hotel's fault that they've become a no-tell motel? I don't know, but the satisfaction on the clerk's face at being able to turn them away was priceless.
The parking area - I'm pretty sure there were fewer spaces available than there were rooms and that created a problem. What was there was very narrow and seemed to shrink as though in Wonderland when the 'duallies' and conversion vans started rolling in. Our little Scion was a speck by comparison.
The hallways - windows with no screens, wide open. I'm all for fresh air, but not for late summer bug life having a welcome mat to just outside my doorway.
The room - clean enough, though there was obvious wear in the carpet, in some places down to the weave holding the fibers in place. All appliances were unplugged, so it took a while for the fridge to cool down, and there was no alarm clock anywhere. Pulled back the fairly new looking comforter to find a blanket so pilled, so worn there were actually places where the light came through it. The sheets were clean - THANK GOD, but I made the mistake of trying to sit on the edge to put on my shoes and nearly rolled right off it.
The shower - the final disappointment. The water got plenty hot, but it barely came out of the shower head. Thankfully the showerhead had settings and putting it on massage (the hardest pressure on the dial) forced the water out just enough to be able to rinse my hair. Also thankfully they do not use a water softener - otherwise it would have taken an eternity.
Finally, safety - There was nothing to indicate that it was a dangerous location, but it definitely felt like it. Poorly lit, though fenced in parking was one problem. The hotel was sort of wedged back behind another business (not set back like some of the newer hotels are, but squeezed in between a restaurant and a neighborhood) and made me feel like if something happened no one would know I was back there. The back door of the hotel was wide open at all hours - not unlocked, wide open. Even when I shut it behind me, I went out to my car later and found it wedged open again.
So... not the worst hotel experience I've ever had, but a far cry from the best. The price was only $59 a night and while I've been pretty good at getting great rates for great rooms, this was one of those instances when I got exactly what I paid for.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC