Pay attention to bad reviews -- they are accurate
We were treated shamefully by the staff here. Our group (10 mature and responsible high school students, 4 parent chaperones who were scheduled to compete in a robotics competition the next morning) reserved with this place well in advance. We told them about our groups' size and needs in advance, and the motel assured us that all would be well.
We arrived around 11 pm. We went (nicely, politely, quietly) into the lobby to check in. The young woman at the desk was unfriendly; she was soon joined by the manager/owner (Mr. A. Shah), who unexpectedly went ballistic (picture the "Soup Nazi" from Seinfeld) and started calling us "liars" and accusing us of either having too many people per room and/or of lying to them about the numbers of people we planned to have in the rooms. Dumbfounded, we tried to explain (nicely, politely, calmly) that we had been assured by his motel in advance that we could have as many as 4 people per reserved room, so long as one of the 4 was an adult, and that since we had 4 rooms reserved, 4 adults (1 per room), and would have no more than 2 or 3 students per room (again, we had 10 students), we were well within the "rules" that Mr. Shah kept yelling about.
Throughout our attempted explanations and conversations with this man, he kept interrupting and raising his voice, telling us to leave and to stop lying. Then he accused one of our students of taking his photograph, and demanded that the student stop taking photos. So far as I saw, none of the students had in fact taken his photo. No matter; Mr. Shah just continued yelling and generally creating the impression that he is a part- or full-time belligerant, paranoid lunatic.
Seeing that we were not dealing with a rational person, we started calling other hotels and motels in the area. Mr. Shah continued yelling at us to leave immediately, making it very clear that (a) he would not honor our advance reservations and that (b) he would nevertheless charge our credit card (the one we'd given to the hotel in advance to book the rooms) for the full charges for the 4 reserved rooms (yes, the ones he wouldn't let us into). He did in fact charge for the 4 rooms!!
Thankfully, we called the Days Inn (less than a mile away at 7475 El Cajon Blvd. in La Mesa) and they were able to accommodate us immediately in very very nice rooms (probably better than this Travelodge, since Days Inn had 1 bedroom suites (2 queen beds) with separate living rooms (and fold-out couches) and kitchens for just $79 each). We drove to the Days Inn and checked in without any problems from them. In fact, the Days Inn desk person, Mr. Hitesh Patel, was extremely pleasant and professional.
I CAN'T WARN YOU STRONGLY ENOUGH -- AVOID THIS PLACE LIKE THE PLAGUE. Maybe you'll be lucky, as some reviewers have apparently been, and enjoy the "privilege" of having your reservations honored by these people. But you could easily be another unfortunate traveler like us, finding yourself without shelter late at night for no discernible reason and despite all your best efforts. I have no idea what kind of problem -- mental, legal, criminal, whatever -- the staff here is experiencing, but there is absolutely no excuse for this kind of harassment and treatment. Someone else in our group made the reservations, and this would've been my first stay at a Travelodge. I will never attempt to stay at a Travelodge in the future (like another reviewer below stated, the Travelodge corporate office told us that they would forward our complaints on to the staff at the Travelodge La Mesa for response -- fat lot of good that will do, since obviously these are the same people who acted so badly in the first place!). I will be contacting the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce and anyone else I can think of starting tomorrow to complain further about this place and its crazy management staff. Proceed at your own risk.