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“Four of us for six days . . . very comfortable!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Zen Hotel

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The Zen Hotel
2.5 of 5 Boutique Hotel   |   4164 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306   |  
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Ranked #3 of 24 hotels in Palo Alto
Washington
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Four of us for six days . . . very comfortable!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

It's difficult sometimes finding a place for us and our two 20-something children and this was perfect! We had a suite with two beds in one room and one in the other with a living room where we could hang out and play games with a mini-kitchen. Yes, it's a converted motel, but very nicely done and everyone on the staff was as nice as could be. Not to mention the hot breakfast -- a vast improvement over the cereal and stale muffins we often encounter. The beds were a bit soft for my husband's bad back, but otherwise it was terrific. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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140 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
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English first
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012 via mobile

This place exceeded our expectations for price, service and QUALITY! We initially had reservations made for us at the days inn down the road-we were in town for a funeral and all the extended family wanted to stay at the same place. After reading really nasty reviews on tripadvisor, we wisely asked to see the rooms before we checked in (there were 3 rooms for us, a small portion of the number of people coming. We were just the first to arrive).
The Days Inn was completely unacceptable. So we came to check out Zen. I really can't say enough about this hotel, I'd probably just live there if I could. Nicely modern, updated rooms, but comfy modern not like steel furniture or anything. My queen room was a fairly good size and had a desk and armchair with an ottoman. So we called the rest of the family and had them switch to Zen as well. The chair was so great my grandmother actually asked if they knew where she could purchase one. The breakfasts were simple but fantastic. They had eggs(REAL, not powdered!) some kind of meat aka bacon/sausage and some kind of potatoes everyday. Also very tasty oatmeal, fresh fruit, yogurt, several bread choices, and the muffins...words cannot describe the muffins. We stayed 4 nights and I was truly sad to go. I wil definitely be coming back next time I'm in the area. The rest of our family said the same. Whether its just an overnight stay or a few days time, Zen is worth every single penny.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Silver Spring, Maryland
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

My husband had business meetings in Palo Alto on November 13 and 14 and we chose the Zen Hotel for our stay. I may have had unrealistic expectations from the hotel's Web site's pictures, and was somewhat disappointed when we arrived at what was basically a motel fitted with boutique hotel furniture. But I was completely won over by the end of our three-night stay.

The staff was friendly and helpful, and although the breakfast was served in a small area that was once the motel office, it was really quite pleasant. The breakfast was varied and wholesome and freshly-baked cookies and apples were offered the rest of the day. There really is a nice feeling to the hotel, and the free breakfast, beverages and snacks, together with the convenient, free parking, add up to a very good value for the area, especially compared to the expensive high-end chains in the Palo Alto area.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Berkeley, California
Top Contributor
89 reviews 89 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

If the word "hotel" brings to mind a multi-story structure with a spacious lobby, with a coffee shop and bar near the reception desk, think again. The Zen Hotel is a remodeled motel. Nicely remodeled, with clean, attractive rooms, but nothing more. The staff is friendly, the location is convenient. A hot breakfast buffet is included in the price.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Near San Francisco
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 21, 2012

This place was very pleasant and a great deal. We loved the beds, the showers and the breakfast in particular. This site was clearly once some sort of motor lodge. low square buildings have been made modern and up to date. The decor was nice and not at all like what we usually see at such modest prices. While close to El Camino Real, traffic noise was minimal and it was easy to get on and off this major blvd because the driveway leads you to a side street with a traffic light. also, I am very particular about smells and this place was great. the rooms smelled fresh and clean not like cleanser/chemicals. Room 211 is on the ground floor and has a back door that leads to a sweet (shared) garden space, great airflow. My mom stayed in a nearby room (201) and it was also nice but did not have a back door. We both rave about this place!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Davis, Calif.
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2012

My husband and two teenage sons stayed two nights here one holiday weekend in order to visit Stanford University. The Zen Hotel was reasonably priced & very conveniently located for exploring the campus and the town. The front desk staff were friendly & helpful with suggestions & directions. The hotel was very quiet -- we could occasionally hear other guests coming and going in their cars, but otherwise no noise.

The room was a little crowded for four people, but we managed okay. If I stayed here again with my kids, I'd probably get two adjoining rooms & just splurge for some extra space. I'm not crazy about the design choice to put the sink out in the main room and have only the toilet & bathtub behind closed doors. It's handy if you have one person taking a shower, say, and another person brushing their teeth. But where it's not so great is the middle of the night (or in the morning when teenagers are trying to sleep in) -- there's no way to quietly use the bathroom then wash your hands if the sink is right off the main room with no partition.

This was a relatively minor complaint, however. The room was otherwise very comfortable. They do this strange thing with their pillows, where they sort of fold them in on themselves so they're more like squares than the traditional rectangles, but then you try to use them & you realize they're just regular pillows they've "origami-ed" into squares. (Maybe it's supposed to look more Japanese? I don't know -- I'm Japanese-American & have spent a lot of time in Japan & this doesn't strike me as particularly Japanese.) Whatever. The beds are very attractively appointed. In fact, everything in the room looks quite tasteful, as does the exterior.

Breakfast is served in the main lobby, which is a simple but comfortable space. The breakfast options were also simple but perfectly adequate: yogurt, cereal, toast, bagels, eggs, some kind of breakfast meat (sausages or bacon), oatmeal, fruit, coffee, juice. Also some kind of chocolate-marble muffins that my boys just LOVED. They provide a few different papers to read & CNN was on the TV most mornings, audible but not overwhelmingly loud.

All in all, a very pleasant stay. If either of my kids gets into Stanford, I could see spending the night here again!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Terni, Italy
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2012

I've been staying at the Zen hotel for 1 week in the last July, and I found it really confortable and not too much expensive, considering the accomodations prices in that area. It was clean, with an internal useful parking, good rooms, nice breakfast, and an efficient wi-fi connection. Furthermore there is a shared external garden, really well-kept, with fountains and bench, that creates a relaxing atmosphere, ideal for the evening after a day of hard job, and just before to have a dinner in one of the restaurants around. Also the position in fact is very good; it's located on the camino real with any kind of services really close. If I'll come back to Palo Alto, in future, I'll surely try to book a room at the Zen Hotel!

Room Tip: If you have a car, it's better to have a room at the ground floor, because you can park in front...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about The Zen Hotel

Also Known As:
Townhouse Hotel Palo Alto
Address: 4164 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Palo Alto
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Best Value Hotel in Palo Alto
#2 Family Hotel in Palo Alto
#2 Business Hotel in Palo Alto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — The Zen Hotel 2.5*
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