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“Great take on how to integrate a hotel into a community” 5 of 5 stars
Review of McMenamins Kennedy School

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McMenamins Kennedy School
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   5736 N.E. 33rd Ave., Portland, OR 97211   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #41 of 132 hotels in Portland
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
74 hotel reviews
Reviews in 69 cities Reviews in 69 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
“Great take on how to integrate a hotel into a community”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2013

I stayed here back In December after a recommendation from a friend who lives nearby. Its not centrally located, but via buses etc you can get into town in 15-20 mins. The suburban feel is nice, and you walk to the Alberta arts district pretty easily. Plenty to see and do right on your doorstep!

The building itself is a school conversion. It maintains the look and feel of just how it was when it was full of kids. I think its a triumph. Too often old buildings are displaced with new, more profitable interpretations but this stays true to its routes while also providing guests with novel angle on a place to stay. I understand there's a modern annexe now, but it wasn't open when i was there. I also think it means that the local community don't feel too detached from it. As such, those living nearby are allowed to use the soaking pool and of course all the other fantastic facilities such as the various restaurants, bars and cinema (which i enjoyed twice FOC)

My room was an old grocery shop. Big windows, warm, large space, weird chalk boards everywhere. No tv, which was good and bad in both ways.

I think the hotel represents a great attempt to be a bit more than a place for transient people. It always seemed full even when the rooms perhaps weren't. They've worked hard to create a destination, and that will have consequences to guests and locals alike, but for me it works really well and i'd love to see something like it in the UK.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (55)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Seattle, Washington
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2013 via mobile

We used to love the Kennedy School. Old and quirky, classroom chalkboards and wonky spaces, it was an interesting and playful place to be.

They've since added a new wing which is, well, NEW. It sounds and smells new. It is a highly manufacttured effort at charm. Some new rooms are TINY. Not a chalkboard to be found.

With the added rooms has come crowding. It's gone from feeling like a happy find to just another business herding people through. You don't really get to enjoy the old building with the cost of your stay, just go stand in another line.

That said, the staff is top notch. They seem well versed in dealing with the disappointment of long-time. customers. Sadly, they just can't make the place what it used to be.

For a comfy bed and a parking space, there are plenty of other options.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2013

We've stayed at many McMenamin's properties over the years, solo, coupled, and with kids.
Everything was up to expectations except the pool situation. We had chosen Kennedy School specifically to take advantage of the soaking pool. This is nothing like the Edgefield pool.
Hotel guests only from 8-10 in the morning? Really? The rest of the time it was overpacked with people. It's a great premise to give back to the neighborhood (neighbors can use the pool free by showing id)
Exploring the grounds, the movie theater, restaurant, bars are typical McMenamins....fun.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Safford
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 9, 2013

I stayed at McMenamins during a workshop and was terribly disappointed. The rooms do not have televisions and have odd artwork and light fixtures. The halls are dimly lit with upside lighting that is creepy and casts foreboding shadows. Maybe the decorators thought it would be clever or even eclectic, but unless you have a head full of dreadlocks or drive a Volkswagon van from the 60's it is neither. I thought the food was edible until the last evening when I ordered a pastrami sanwich on a pretzel roll with fries and I developed food poisoning. Great way to end my stay.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Seattle, WA
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

I love that this "hotel" is an old elementary school. It's fun walking around the building and visiting the bars and restaurant in it, and they've done a great job making it look nice. Our room was neat--an old classroom with high ceilings and walls covered in chalkboard. The bed was comfy and the bathroom was clean, and the soaking pool outside was pretty and relaxing. I feel like the price was a little steep--guess you pay extra for the novelty factor.

My main issue with our stay here was the noise level. Perhaps it's the big, echo-y hallways and rooms, but we could hear practically everything in the hall outside our room and in our neighbors room. Our next-door neighbors appeared to be a group of boys who were part of a wedding party that rented out part of the hotel, and they were up until about 4am, which meant that we, too, were up until about 4am, listening to them be drunk, rowdy, and throw up. Not cute. We notified the hotel staff who said they would ask the neighbors to quiet down, but we didn't notice a difference.

So, yeah, novel place to stay, and perhaps some of the rooms are in quieter locations than ours was, but I definitely wished I'd gotten a good night's sleep!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Portland, Oregon
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

We hosted our company winter party in the Gymnasium and I was really pleased. The catering staff were easy to work with and accomodated some unusual requests on our part. Our lead server made sure to connect with me often during our event and addressed all of my needs from heating and lighting to pre-purchased gift cards. My husband and I stayed the night along with my boss and her spouse. The rooms were comfortable, though they didn't provide robes for the soaking pool as they do at their other properties and the building is noisy at night, even in the new wing.

Room Tip: The Ramona room was really cute and a fun reminder of the books I read as a kid.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

This place is absolutely amazing and unique! They took over an old elementery school that had closed down, remolded it using repurposed materials taken from the building and kept the original look and feel of the building; The mosiac tile work is amazing! There is a bar, brewery, restaurant, hotel, theatre (you can get real food and beer while watching a movie), soaking pools, and a whiskey & cigar bar called detention! A must place to visit when in Portland.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about McMenamins Kennedy School

Also Known As:
Mcmenamins Kennedy School Hotel
Mcmenamins Kennedy School Portland
Address: 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave., Portland, OR 97211
Location: United States > Oregon > Portland
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Best Value Hotel in Portland
#49 Business Hotel in Portland
#51 Family Hotel in Portland
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — McMenamins Kennedy School 3*

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