My kids have been begging to stay at the HoJo ever since we stayed at the Quality Inn & Suites across from it and walked by the fun water play area each day. So for our "Sparkle Trip" (it's what my daughter calls it when we go for the holidays and to see the lights and decorations and get me into the holiday mood) I booked it. Can't beat the AP rate of $59/night when it's available. But for this trip, I would have paid more happily (shh... don't tell the HoJo that!).
I was a bit concerned that it was December so the desire to use any water areas would be limited, but we went during a nice warm streak - compared to the 38 degrees at home, 70 would have been a warm streak, but we got high 80's for a few days! That's downright HOT! As a result, the biggest plus of the HoJo of this trip was Castaway Cove. Being able to come back to the hotel and take a break and play was fabulous. Other hotels haven't given my kids that "reason" to take the mid day break -- and since the park was open til midnight most nights, I needed the break! The best part to me about Castaway Cove vs traditional pool only hotels is that the kids are free to just play. I didn't have to be in the pool with them making sure they were safe -- the only area that was needed was the hot tub, which I think is oddly placed in the Cove, to be honest. We did spend some time at the regular garden pool which was a nice quiet break away from everything.
The hotel gift shop also offers a discount (10%) to AP holders, which was a nice surprise! We stayed in building one - where the gift shop is - so when we needed some extra milk for breakfast, it was so easy to just go downstairs and get it!
The room was huge and we were very comfortable. My only "complaint" isn't really a complaint as much as it is that I made a bad choice. I didn't see that the "Queen Standard Room" in building 1 was without a microwave. I knew it was on the freeway side and that normally doesn't bother me, but the lack of a microwave is one thing I learned I need to read and know better which rooms have them. The kids could have had something like Easy Mac (sold in the hotel shop!) for lunch on one of those breaks had I planned better.
The staff is friendly and very helpful - I was trying to print something from the computer in the lobby and I'm not a Mac person, so I was having issues getting the document to open in a way I could print it. The front desk person took the time to make sure I was getting it figured out and helped a lot - while continuing to check in guests. I've always felt a bit like I'm visiting a family friend when I check in there because they are just that friendly!
For those concerned about the walk...it's not that bad at all. If you aren't needing to stop for McDonalds or Quiznos (both along the walk on Harbor), then cross Harbor at the Manchester corner and walk along the Park side. You feel closer to where you are going and without all the cars pulling in for the hotels and restaurants, it's faster and a bit safer. Plus there is the short-cut through the shuttle area so you don't have to wait for the light and deal with the crowds at the main Harbor crosswalk at the entrance to the Park.
Will I stay there again? Most definitely - the kids have voted and it is now our official hotel for stays at Disneyland!