Jack London Inn
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Historical Traveler Reviews Jack London Inn Oakland
Hard to beat if you are a trainspotter
We decided to book a night at this hotel as we had to catch an early train to Santa Barbara the next day and according to Tripadvisor it was close to the AMTRAK station. While I expected trains would be close, I was very surprised to see trains passing outside the hotel's front door up the middle of the street. It was quite relaxing watching them go past, the noise wasn't really a problem once we got used to it, I was woken once by a train whistle in the middle of the night but I just went back to sleep again almost straight away. We found the staff really friendly; I don't think they get much non-USA visitors as one of the receptionists had never seen a British passport before. While the room was clean, they décor was very 1970's and could do with modernisation. If you get bored of Jack London Square, you can get a ferry to San Francisco from a terminal only 5 minutes walk from the hotel.
The Inn could use some renovation, but the whole area is being reborn so I assume this is just a matter of time. There's also a loud train (whistle) that runs along the front of the building, but the sound is pretty muted on the inside - nothing to keep anyone awake unless they are used to the silence of the countryside. A minimal fee is charged for garage parking, and restaurants, shops and the ferry are a close walk.
What made the stay outstanding was the privilege of witnessing first-hand the enormous efforts made by the staff for the benefit of hurricane survivors who have made their way to Oakland. Besides becoming their "home", long hours are being put into facilitating local discounts, managing donations, organizing job fairs, scheduling everything from the children's school attendance to the family's laundry needs and investigating housing possibilities. All this while continuing to run a business and give first-class attention to all the guests.
Each displaced person has their own story, one of a life suddenly put on hold. From what I could see, the staff is tirelessly responsive to these very human needs and are working extra hard and long to implement quick and comforting solutions. I was so impressed with the "heart" of the Jack London Inn.
Great hotel, Great price
This hotel felt warm and welcoming the moment I walked in (the first time.) The front desk staff is always very friendly and helpful. I've been to this hotel a few times in the last year and will stay again.
The only problem I had was that the room was a bit stuffy due to the windows being specially made to reduce noise from the trains which go right through the street the hotel is on. I requested a fan and was given one very promptly by the (maybe overly) friendly night housekeeper. Suggestion: Ask for a room on the back side of the hotel, Although the trains are fun to look at the back side of the building has windows that open to let extra fresh air in.
The hotel has other great features to consider for the price... the lobby has a courtesy computer with the internet on it, nice work out room, 2 blocks from the ferry to San Francisco, walking distance to oakland's china town and the downtown shopping area, right across the street from Barnes and Noble and smack in the middle of countless great restaurants, and again the staff is great... oh yeah and a free paper delivered to your door every morning.
I think this place is great, like any hotel I've stayed at... it has it's quirks, but overall I think it's the best you can do for the price in this area.
Trains Not A Problem
I have been alternating stays at Jack London Inn and Executive Inn&Suites everytime I visit the Bay Area, and for Memorial DayWeekend, I opted for J.L.I.
I have never had a problem during my stays at the Jack London Inn; the staff is friendly and helpful, and the ferry, BART, and Amtrak stations are close to the hotel. Many people complain about the train and pedestrian noises, but it doesn't really bother me that much.
The hotel is located in the heart of Jack London Square, and the area is safe with a variety of restaurants and entertainment to chose from. The rooms are not fancy, but they are clean and it is a good deal for the price. If you need an affordable, convenient place to stay in Oakland, I would recommend the you check out the Jack London Inn.
Not the best place to stay
If you are looking for a cheap motel for a night or two and do not mind loud train noises or a lot of street noise, this is the place for you. The rooms are small, not very clean, and the beds are not comfortable. The bathroom is very small and only has a stand-up shower, no bathtub.
Worst experience ever
went out shopping ,,,they gave away my room then gave me a room with 1 bed for 2 people i asked for 2 beds ,,room had loud fan on roof hell on earth,train horns at 6 am.
Do stay here if you love the continual sound of trains. Don't if you are a light sleeper. Garbage collection was loud in the mornings as well and Saturday night partying and slamming of doors was annoying. The rooms were dingy. Housekeeping at its best was fair. We were never given more than one washcloth so we took to helping ourselves off the cart. The first day of our 4 night stay, we arrived back at our room in the afternoon to find fresh towels stacked on top our unmade beds with a note (we are short-staffed so were unable to clean your room today). After a call to the desk, the room was subsequently cleaned. On the plus side, the hotel is close to transportation (ferry and BART); the pastries at the Continental breakfast were fresh, not pre-packaged, and there was a free internet station at the desk. We were supposed to have a special internet price, but it was not all that cheap, so I would say look elsewhere.
Use this hotel if you have no other choices!
We reserved sleeping and meeting rooms for a company meeting. The rooms were substandard. The sleeping rooms were dingy. Our meeting was interrupted by the sound of train whistles which blew every 15 minutes or so. After 30 minutes into the meeting, we checked out of the hotel because the conditions were intolerable for a business meeting. The hotel should have warned us of the interruptions caused by the train when booking the rooms. They didn't and refused to refund our entire prepayment when we checked out early from the hotel. This experience left an indelible impression on my colleagues and I have yet to live down their laughter at my bad judgement in selecting this establishment.
If you grew up next to the tracks ...
The railroad passes through the street where the hotel is located. The engineers blew their whistle at every intersection. We stayed there in August of 2002 and it still upsets remembering it. Unfortunately, the windows and walls were no match for the volumne of noise.
February stay at the Jack London Inn
The hotel was fair. On the one hand, the hotel desk staff were very personable. But, on the other hand, I had some problems with my room from the get go and had to deal with those matters for several days.
Unlike other chain hotels I've stayed at, my hotel room was not cleaned everyday.
It has a nice exercise room.
But, the walls are too thin and you can hear your neighbors and they can hear you. It can get annoying. And, for a few nights, there was loud music playing from their second floor where they rent out space for social gatherings. Like many others on the floor, I couldn't sleep very well at all (I slept 3 hours) and the noise didn't stop until late at night.
The rooms could have been configured better. I didn't like the large wooden headboard attached to the mattress. The workdesk also was right up against the bed. Not very good - you can easily hit your head by accident against these things.
The lighting in the room reminded me of the Days Inn. It was very dark.
At other hotel chains, the rooms are nice and bright. The room would be fine just for retiring at night, but I generally stayed at the hotel to get some work done on certain days, so the problem with a lack of light was a problem, especially after it got dark.
There's a train that rolls past seemingly every 5 minutes once the afternoon starts into the night time. It's a plus if you love trains and you aren't distracted by the noise, but many of my neighbors were really irritated by the noise. Amtrak California carrying passengers and a lot of cargo roll across the street right in front of the hotel.
The hotel is conveniently located across from Jack London Square. It has a Barnes and Noble and several restaurants. However, everything is very pricey (with the exception of Dolma's Cafe / Berkeley Farms which is located right near the hotel on Broadway -- breakfast is inexpensive there (right next to that is the Buttercup Kitchen, adjacent to the Best Western, where you can get breakfast (and it's cooked very well), but is a little more pricey)).
But, it's just a few blocks from Chinatown and just several blocks away from the center of downtown Oakland. For basic needs and good restaurants (including those reasonably priced), I really recommend going to the City Center in between 12th & 13th Streets on Broadway.
Everything is there, including a Kinko's, Jamba Juice, GNC, several restaurants (including La Salsa).
The hotel is very convenient as far as public transportation is concerned (BART [underground subway], AC Transit - the #72 takes you to downtown Oakland, ferry & buses also can take you to SF).
Bottom line: Good buy if you're on a tight budget and you want convenience. (It would be more convenient with a gym and grocery store nearby, but it's reasonably in a good location.)
TripAdvisor Reviews Jack London Inn Oakland
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