The front desk was largely intact and as it must have been before, particularly compared with the battered state of so much of the building. (That is, if you disregard the collapsing ceiling panels.)
There's even what remains of a courtesy waiting area across from the check-in; segments of a mirrored wall were still hanging on, and the couch was as inviting and comfy-looking as anything saturated with sewer water can be. And here we find the calling card of a couple of local artists who took the time to visit the Howard Johnson's before I did. Did they smash all the windows? Very possibly not, but I will say this: 61ack 4eart! A 4 looks nothing like an H! I get the 614 thing, okay, but it just doesn't hang together. As for you, Blame...as you were.
So much of the walls had been destroyed that it was possible to explore the entire building without being restricted to anonymous corridors. Most of the time, in fact, it was easier to simply walk from room to room through ragged openings in the drywall. It's also easier, on the ground floor, to walk from the lawn directly into any room, because there's not much blocking your way.
Bathrooms, bathrooms everywhere, nor any one to use. It's easy to forget just how many damn bathrooms (full baths) there actually are in a modern hotel. The plumbing must be a byzantine horror. Passing from room to room like a ghost through the walls, I constantly had to skirt dislocated toilet bowls packed with black, noxious hobo shit. That's an abandoned-building detail that you might not expect, but rare is the derelict toilet which remains free of post-plumbing poops. Just be glad I swore off bathroom photos after there were just too many of them, looking too similar. If you've seen one toilet, you've basically seen them all. (Except in Japan.)
Despite the nearly-obliterated walls, the upper floors were quite sturdy and clearly still supported the occasional work crew dismantling the place. And while the metal exterior stairframe had been shorn of its risers to discourage climbing, the carpeted interior staircases were easily navigated.
The majority of the rooms were the same thing. Even without furniture and curtains they still had roughly the same floorspace, that little closet, a bathroom, and a door into the central hallway. Only way upstairs, on the third floor (which only existed on one side; the other topped out at three), were there rooms with a few more amenities.
Look, a minibar! The set of rooms overlooking the courtyard on the third floor were larger and clearly more expensive to reserve. The doorways were larger and the bathrooms were vast--jacuzzi bathtubs, possibly?-- and they had a wall of windows (long gone, of course) overlooking the pool/pond/barbeque grills/walkways at the center of the hotel. I'll bet it was fun to stay here, in a way; the view must have been cool at night, with the pool lit up, and the bathrooms must have been great--not to mention the minibar with its mini-liquors only six times retail price--but honestly I can't picture how you'd make proper use of such a room. A big party, I guess, but I can't stand being with a big party at a hotel. The minibar must have become a curse when nobody wanted to go to bed and everyone started getting sick and sleeping on the floor. We've all seen it.
We're not done with the minibar yet. Apparently it used to have a stylish wooden bartop surface, but the crews had just gotten around to removing them. They stood outside the luxury suites' doors, as you can see above.
These steel doors in the main corridor scared the holy hell out of me by swinging loose every once in a while, after a long, long pause. The noise was overwhelming in the silent hotel, and it sent me scurrying into a linen closet once or twice. Good fun.
Take a look at the bar and restaurant here.