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"2017 Cold Wars Review of the Host" Topic

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Stepman320 Mar 2017 3:04 p.m. PST

If anyone has bothered to read my posts in regards to the Host, I've always been a fairly big supporter of the facility. They treated my family very well a few years ago when we got stranded in a snow storm.

Anyway…my expectations have usually been met. Understanding I just need a place to shower and lay my head in relative comfort with working climate controls along with palatable food. This time not so much…

My wife usually goes with me on these trips to catch up her NETFLIX and Chill and to escape our 4 kids.
We got into Lancaster Thursday night after an hour and 10 minute drive from Baltimore. Check in was easy. She went ahead to the room while I pulled the truck around to the closest door. She's on top of stuff, tonight was no different. She inspected the sheets and mattress seams for bugs but while doing this discovered several human hairs on the pillow case and sheets (none were short and curly). There was smears of lip prints on the mugs and several of towels had rust stains on them. She called the front desk and the housekeeping staff was quick to rectify the situation.

The food at the restaurant, whoa boy…So breakfast is pretty much an impossible thing to get wrong and the Host provided a palatable meal in those regards. Bacon was a little to floppy for our tastes but that's just us. The mugs were dirty here as well and once again my wife was on that $#!t. The carafe was pretty scuzzy as well…Dinner on the other hand sucked. I went against my own rule of sticking with things that they usually get right and taste pretty good. The burger, quesadilla, soup have always been good. But I decided on the special. Veal Parm, my favorite. Yet they got it wrong…the pasta was dry, the flavorless sauce was watery the veal was miniscule and tough. My wife go the salmon on the recommendation of an older lady that was eating there with her husband (don't believe they were gamers). It was dry and the maple gaze was the consistency of warm tea drowning her veggies…The lunch spread downstairs was fine. The nachos were good and my wife thought the pizza was fine.

The building needs work. How someone hasn't died on the crumbling steps yet is beyond me. And of course the leaking roof was ever present. It did seem as if any housekeeping was addressed quickly. Bathrooms were clean as could be…though the one in the vendors hall was rather ripe and could be smelled as far as the "Age of Glory" booth…

Host, you got a couple of our shows coming up…get cracking…These issues seem like they can be fixed pretty easily now time to show us you want our money…

Personal logo Jeff Ewing Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2017 4:31 p.m. PST

Thanks for taking the time to do this. It's good info.

"NETFLIX and Chill" -- I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian20 Mar 2017 4:55 p.m. PST

We saw what you did there…

Personal logo Jlundberg Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2017 8:28 p.m. PST

Woke up Saturday morning with the ceiling leaking onto my bed

Ember52 Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2017 9:03 p.m. PST

Some Host observations:
- Our room had new individual AC/heat units (very nice) and flat-screen TV. That was the only sign of upgrades so far.
- Bathroom was functional but barely so. Peeling walls in shower, finicky toilet, etc. Hot and cold water were available.
- Beds and bedding, worn but serviceable.
- No visible leaks in 400 hallway or in the public areas I saw.
- Upstairs beef/hall pig buffet was fine. Downstairs food service area was consolidated to one station resulting in slower service. (The overworked service staff did their best to keep up.) Limited options, fair quality at best, some increased prices.

Overall, it seems that upgrades/rehab are underway, but there's a lot that still needs doing. We'll see how things go as we head to 2018.

TSD10120 Mar 2017 11:35 p.m. PST

I don't get it. Why do people continue to eat at the Host when they know of the problems and a ton of choices are 5 minutes away? You can even sit in a sofa by the entrance and order delivery if need be.

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2017 5:28 a.m. PST

My take…. nothing got worse and there were a heck of a lot of improvements…. I want to hear form some of the folks who stayed in the completely refurbished rooms….

My room was pretty much the same as always…. except, there was ample hot and cold water. Bedding was actually in great shape, however thinner than the old stuff.

Work was being done all over, this was very obvious.

As for food…. I ate 2 breakfasts form the buffet… they were both very good…. For the rest of my meals, I ate at the stand downstairs and went out twice for dinner and once for breakfast. I got my usual bread bowl and it was fine… I got to pick off some of my friend's brisket.. again… not too fatty, thick slices and very tasty.

Things are definitely improving…. and with those improvements, well.. I expect to see prices go up slowly too….

On the whole. the experience was better than in years past…

historygamer21 Mar 2017 5:32 a.m. PST

I'd second what Dan just said. My experience too.

Lord Ashram21 Mar 2017 6:15 a.m. PST

Yeah, the Host is pretty crappy, as far as hotels go, but what can you do.

Restaurant looked to be having MASSIVE problems; we wait to be seated for dinner for maybe eight minutes, with not a single employee showing up and plenty of seats in the house. We ended up walking away, but heard a number of people saying the service was just terrible. Room was okay, although a bit dingy. Place smelled, as always. Would love for the convention to happen in a beautiful hotel, but what can you do.

Virginia Tory21 Mar 2017 6:36 a.m. PST

I thought it went well, overall. Room was OK (new thermostat set up a yuuuuuge improvement).

Food was so-so. Buffet seems to have gotten more expensive, but it's serviceable. Hall pig seems to have remained a constant (you certainly won't starve at the Host, but you won't get haute cuisine, either).

As noted by others, there are other outside options--you just have to risk losing a good parking space (assuming you have one).

Overall the climate control seems to have improved. I've gamed multiple times in Distlefink and it was like being inside a dirty gym sock.

This time was much nicer.

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2017 7:17 a.m. PST

"Overall the climate control seems to have improved. I've gamed multiple times in Distlefink and it was like being inside a dirty gym sock."

That was a subtle human pheromone experiment that had to be halted due to funding cuts.

Virginia Tory21 Mar 2017 7:38 a.m. PST

>That was a subtle human pheromone experiment that had to be >halted due to funding cuts.

Ok, that's a good one…

Personal logo rampantlion Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2017 7:39 a.m. PST

Our room had been recently remodeled and was quite nice. There are still plenty of signs that the Host is still a work in progress though. My only complaints were about slow service in the bar and restaurant but I am hoping that this is because those areas are supposed to be redone soon and no attention is being paid to them yet. All in all, I have no serious problems with the Host and hope that it is used for future cons.

Larry R Inactive Member21 Mar 2017 7:43 a.m. PST

Room was ok but not worth the price. I pay it only out of the convenience of being on site. No hot water in the shower, more like luke warm, but had hot water in the sink, go figure. Walk from room to gaming area you had to go through the "being worked on" section, it stunk. Saturday breakfast buffet was good and service was good too. However, son and I were one of the first there. Stairs from hotel to vendor area is a lawsuit waiting to happen. I actually thought of talking to the management about closing it off. I mean it is really bad and with so many older gamers I was worried someone would get hurt. Really surprised no one did. All in all it was OK. I am easy to please that way, beats the 20+ years sleeping on the ground. I just can't figure out why HGMS still contracts there. Must be a great price because there are plenty of other places much better to host a convention.

Al Swearengen21 Mar 2017 9:16 a.m. PST

"I just can't figure out why HGMS still contracts there. Must be a great price because there are plenty of other places much better to host a convention.

You must be new here. If was so easy to find another site that met all the requirements ( cost being chief among them ) it would have happened by now.

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2017 9:39 a.m. PST

I wanted to add….
First.. OMG, YES…. so YES!!! That staircase from the hotel to the vendor barn is indeed a serious accident waiting to happen….. I pray that gets fixed before Fall-IN! this year…. that is one of my most serious concerns there!!!

Number 2….. the service in the bar and restaurant…. well, the service in the breakfast area/side was never what I would call fast, but it was much faster than the other 2 areas….. The bar service was very slow and the service in the restaurant was insanely almost non-existent. I have yet to have an actual bad meal there, but they could do well to hire a few more wait staff or at least re-allocate some during feeding times!!! I know the staff that IS there work hard to get the job done, but it is a simple logistic issue…. the restaurant needs another couple staff in it.

Larry R Inactive Member21 Mar 2017 9:52 a.m. PST

Al, not new here just not privy to the negotiations.

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2017 10:22 a.m. PST

Our room had the new thermostat/AC controls and the flatscreen: two points to the good. The shower had hot water late at night (1am)--another plus. The sink basin needed/repair. The king-sized bed was wonderfully firm. Mrs. Carp, who is vegetarian, despaired at the sight of the "Hall Pig" greeting those trying to access the restaurant, but that's an HMGS thing. With regards to the restaurant, the selections availsble to non-meat-eaters were rather sparse. As mentioned by others, compiling the concessions may bring the food service into one convenient place, but the Host needs to put in a second register or more, and make two lines to move business along faster. And, again, the prices jumped substantially from November. Handicapped Access is there, but the ramp to get to the downstairs rest rooms, and the chair lifts from lobby to the 300-level rooms and the lift from lobby down to the Tournament/Wally's Basement areas need to have some signage to alert those who require it to be able to find it. The restrooms were well taken care of, and with one exception, the response of the staff was courteous and prompt. Now, if only they'd open a hot tub/jaccuzzi for us old arthritic pharts's joints, Paradise would surely be close by.

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2017 10:29 a.m. PST

So, Dan, since you are a mover and shaker in HMGS, I assume all these comments are to be presented to the Host as feedback/areas of focus for next negotiations? There are quite a few good, solid comments made here, and more to come, I should think.

historygamer21 Mar 2017 10:43 a.m. PST


Also, the Distlefink layout was perfect, IMHO. Lots of room to move between tables (hint, hint). ;-)

Russ Lockwood21 Mar 2017 11:03 a.m. PST

Ah, the Host, a long-past-its-glory, run-down dump of a hotel…our dump, mind you, for a couple of weekends a year, but still a long way from being a two-star hotel.

At least they're trying, but compared to any chain hotel I stay at on vacation, this is pretty substandard.

I had a revamped room next to a room being revamped. New bathroom looked great, had hot water in the morning, and only leaked a little. New Heat/AC unit in window worked great, but the thing sounds like a jet engine spooling up when it turned on. Nuthin' like a 747 to gently wake you up every half hour. I ended up turning the thing off -- room holds the temperature. New door to balcony replaces the old door/window combo -- may have something to do with that. Nice TV, not that I spend much time in the room.

Mattresses have not been changed since the Kennedy era -- like sleeping in a hammock. Carpets haven't been cleaned since the Eisenhower era. I thought when they said they were refurbishing rooms, they were refurbishing the entire room.

As for the rest, well, needs massive work would be the kindest thing to say.

I figure the only reason why they haven't fixed those rickety handrails on the steps between hotel and tennis barn is that if you fall and sue, you just might end up the owner of the Host.

A hotel bar without draft beer is like a Lampeter Room without heat…oh yeah, it didn't have any heat during the evening. And there's still no draft beer in the bar, which needs a few extra tables and chairs. Definitely needs extra wait staff at night.

Didn't eat in the restaurant, but had a competently prepared burger and fries at the bar. Did eat breakfast, which was the same quality level as years past. Ate at the BBQ -- competently done. An extra server would have helped, but it was fast enough.

Purchased one cup of coffee in the dealer hall -- used to be 12 oz at $1.50 USD at Fall In. Was 8 oz and $2.50 USD at Cold Wars. That's carrying the convenience cost a little too far.

COMMODORE LMV Inactive Member21 Mar 2017 11:07 a.m. PST

I used to love going to the Host for the cons. It had that feeling of staying at Grandma's house. HOWEVER! Grandma died 10 years ago and nothing seems to be getting better. The flea market room was freezing every night of the con. The food is disgusting. The parking lot was unplowed in many spots. I no longer sleep at the host, for the same price and for a clean, modern room I stay next door. Over the last twenty years I have endured what seems like everything except a POLTERGEIST at the host. I will never stay there again, but if it is getting to the point where I do not even want to game there anymore. My biggest wish (after heat) would be wooden ramps at all doors for carts.

steve1865 Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2017 5:07 p.m. PST

The Host is improving a little bit. It is very cheap. the host is convenient. As I am handicapped it being close to all games is great. The food is poor ,but is edible. The best food was the ice cream bar. Big portions and free toppings. I am glad the next conventions will be at the Host. The price at Va is more than double than at the Host. I would rather spend money figures books or figures than a room.

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2017 10:12 p.m. PST

A side note, not dealing with the Host, but with the HMGS: Could the names on the tags be made bigger, so we can see who we're standing next to or walking by?

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2017 5:49 a.m. PST

@ Cap n Carp…. yes, of course they will be brought to their attention. Most of it already has been. The only problem presenting right now is that the contracts for 2018 are a done deal… BUT…. yes, the Host is aware of this and they said they would do something.

@ historygamer… thanks, I listened when folks said Fall-In! was tight. I will have this improved for Fall-IN! 2017 also. Currently I am slated at the CD for 2017.

grtbrt22 Mar 2017 7:51 a.m. PST

As always I am surprised to see that people expected any improvement in the Host ,especially the restaurant .
HMGS and it's attendees have shown that they will put up with all those "little" things without making a fuss -a fuss meaning things that cost the host money .
How many of you refused to pay for your room ?
How many refused to pay for the substandard food ?
I am betting the answer is almost none .
Hotels make changes in staffing and quality when it costs them money not to .

As to Hotel price – the newer hotels around the Host are cheaper and a lot better. I will never stay in the host again and haven't since 2 Fall-ins ago .

BTCTerrainman Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2017 8:22 a.m. PST

I found this interesting……This is the other dumpy hotel down the street from the host (next to the Country Inn & Suites and across from Dutch Wonderland).


Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2017 8:24 a.m. PST

Thanks, Dan: I should have guessed this, since you and the HMGS team have been receptive and responsive all along.

cturnitsa Supporting Member of TMP22 Mar 2017 8:37 a.m. PST

The Host is a dump. However, in the defense of the new owners, they are trying to improve things. It won't be over night. And the hall pig needs tending, in the off-season.

historygamer22 Mar 2017 9:54 a.m. PST


IIRC, that hotel was linked to the Host may years ago – perhaps part of a larger complex resort. That said, it makes the Host look like a five star hotel.


Thanks for listening. Big supporter of you and all your efforts. Thanks. You are the man! :-)

PS – Big nod to John Spiess too. One of the few BoD members to stop by my game and say hello and introduce himself.

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