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“Fun, Charming, Historic, Eclectic Property” 5 of 5 stars
Review of McMenamins Kennedy School

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McMenamins Kennedy School
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3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   5736 N.E. 33rd Ave., Portland, OR 97211   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #34 of 132 Hotels in Portland
Kailua, HI
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Fun, Charming, Historic, Eclectic Property”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

Nothing like spending a comfy night in a building that used to house a school and has been re-invented as a brewery, several bars and restaurants, a movie theatre and the largest salt-water jacuzzi soaking pool we've ever used. This was our first overnight visit at the Kennedy School. Our previous visit had been only for food, beverage and entertainment. The McMenamin brothers have a winner here. The decor is uniquely fun and you can pick up a printed "tour" of the art in the buildings. We overnighted in the English Wing - the newer rooms. As mentioned by another reviewer they are of adequate size unless you're traveling with lots of over-sized luggage. The rooms are very clean and they have entertaining decor. There are no TVs in the room, but who cares? There are lots of hallways to travel plus the bars and restaurants. The gift shop has been moved into a more commodious space since our last visit and we were enticed to take home a T-shirt for my husband and wine for the two of us. Since we were returning from Pullman to PDX for a flight out, it should be mentioned that the Kennedy School is VERY close to the rental car drop-offs and within less than two miles of gas stations needed for topping up the tank. Our room was the "Ramona" for the character from Beverly Cleary's books. All decor and artwork reflected the theme. Lots of history here as well as good food and drink - and the price is exceptionally reasonable. We were only a couple, but this is an excellent family stop. Food, beer and wine review will be created under the restaurant heading.

Room Tip: The "swimming pool" is the soaking pool - probably about 36" deep. For a fee the pool...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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338 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (73)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Austin
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2013

We spent the last night of our Oregon vacation here, and it was a great choice. After a long drive in from Crater Lake and with a morning flight out, we wanted a place to relax but enjoy our last day of vacation. We enjoyed a brew and shuffleboard in the pub, a great dinner with outdoor seating, and the " classroom" we stayed in was big and comfortable. The atmosphere is fun and all of the staff was friendly and helpful.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Roseburg, Oregon
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013 via mobile

We stayed at the Kennedy School recently and really enjoyed our experience. We stayed in one of their newer rooms. They aren't really big rooms but sufficient. The room was very clean and nice looking. My wife does like to watch TV at night and in the morning and there aren't any TVs in the rooms. Didn't really matter much to me though. The fact that you can walk around the facility and drink is super fun. Their different themed bars were great. We spent most of our time in the "Boiler Room" that had pool tables and shuffleboard. Their beers are great but I wasn't impressed with their signature cocktails. All in all it was great and we will be back.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 4 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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Atlanta, GA
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

I'm so glad I chose the Kennedy School for my first night in Portland! The parking was ample, and the service was good. The hotel itself is unique and historical, really cool decor inside and comfy. The rooms are pretty big and private. I stayed in the ABC room. The decor was old-fashioned, just like it should be in a hotel made from a historic elementary school. The shower was a little small, but the bathroom was average size. Overall, I have no complaints about the room.

I ate dinner and breakfast there at the Courtyard restaurant, and the food was delicious and inexpensive, and service was good too. Their gift shop is so unique and fun, so make sure to go there too! The price for my overnight was quite reasonable compared to other Portland hotels. I plan to stay here again.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

We stayed here on the last night of our trip to Portland, OR. The McMenamins compounds are basically the same across OR and WA, with the same food menus, same beers, and same drink menus. (McMenamins makes their own beer and spirits, and uses some of their alcoholic beverages in their mixed drinks.)

The Kennedy School was literally an elementary school back in its day, and the hotel rooms in the original wing are literally the classrooms! We stayed in the new wing, which is a recent addition that was so new it still smelled of fresh paint (not a complaint)! The Kennedy School compound is an artist's dream, as there is something to see everywhere you look. Artistic details range from mixed and matched antique lighting fixtures with amber bulbs, (the amber lighting is a blessing after a night of drinking at the compound), faux painted walls, hand painted scenery and borders, framed photos of the school back when it was actually a school, and art collages, among other creative details to the pubs and restaurants. You can spend an hour or more walking the halls and checking out the artwork, various pubs, and activity rooms. Within the compound are several pubs, a brewery, a main restaurant, a salt water soaking pool, a movie theatre, and places for live music.

Our favorite pub for design style was the Boiler Room, which looks like a steam punk fantasy, but it was very crowded, so we opted for the Honors Bar, which is tiny room, with a pot belly stove in the center, and only plays opera music. We also ate in the main restaurant by sitting at the bar, which is first come, first served. The wait for a table was over an hour, but we got a bar seat within 10 minutes by sheer luck. The food is basic pub food, and not at all greasy. Our favorite item was the Tater Tots, which are light and crispy, and can be ordered in any of the bars as an appetizer! The mixed drinks are fun to try, and they are not strong.

BRING YOUR SWIMSUIT for the soaking pool, and be prepared for it to be crowded. The salty water is therapeutic and worth braving the crowd. Don't worry about being seen in a swimsuit, as the lighting is dim, and all shapes, sizes, and ages are in the pool, and nobody cares what you look like so long as your "parts" are all covered! Also take the minimum amount of stuff with you to the pool, and wear flip flops. When we were there lockers were all full, so we hung our stuff on the fence, and some of it got wet.

We went through the compound in one night, and it was enough for us to get the full experience and have a lot of fun. If I lived locally I'd come here to use the pool, or to see a movie, or hear live music. The movie theater uses old couches strung together as the seating. There was not any live music playing the night we were there, but it would be fun to see a live show here. All in all, this place has a post college party scene feel, and young couples do bring their children with them to enjoy it.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the new side, especially it you are a reader. All of the new 22 rooms have literar...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Vernon, Canada
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2013

I recently stayed at Kennedy School during a visit to Portland, based on the recommendations of a relative who lives there. I wasn't quite sure what to expect in a hotel that used to be an elementary school (and built in 1915), but was pleasantly surprised.

The room was large, clean and comfortable, with a somewhat simple decor given it's previous "life" as an elementary school. The rooms are fitted with modern electronic card access keys. The heating in the room worked reasonably well, although I had to use the small supplemental heater that was provided to bring the room up to "comfort level" in the mornings (of course that wouldn't be a problem in the warmer months). The bathroom was modern and clean. No television was provided and I DID miss that, although I can appreciate the cost and difficulty of installing cables in an old building. There was good Wi-Fi service in many areas of the hotel, although not in my room. Wi-Fi service was good in the restaurant and many of the other common areas.

it was great fun to explore the many Bars and other facilities in the hotel. My favourite was the Boiler Room, which as the name implies was formerly the school boiler room. The eclectic decor of the upstairs portion was especially interesting, as the railings are made with pieces of pipe and radiators fitted together. The main restaurant was large and the quality of the food was great. A big old pot-bellied stove was provided in one corner, which added to the atmosphere.

Having a movie theatre on the premises is a nice touch, as is the ability to have a beer while watching a movie. It would have been nice if they offered optional butter topping for the popcorn, which wasn't entirely enjoyable when served "dry" (it also seemed overly "salty").

I didn't have time to try the soaking pool, but it seemed to be very popular and was usually full. The hotel has a small gift shop that offers a selection of Mustards and other organic foods that are also made by McMenamin's. I wanted to bring some of these items back to try them, but was travelling with carry-on only, so that wasn't possible. They do offer mail order service though.

The hotel location in the north east part of Portland is very convenient, as it's not far to the downtown area, there are a lot of nice restaurants and other businesses in the area, and it's very convenient and easy to get to the airport. I will definitely try to stay there again on my next visit to Portland.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Victoria
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

We always stay here when in Portland altho there are more Mcmennamin's hotels in this city to try. They are super fun places to stay. The art work is fabulous...very art deco. Pretty much a staple at a Mcemennamins. The soaking pool is just that.....a larger than average hot tub to soak in. The rooms are in old classrooms, with chalk boards. We have always staying in the girl's ballroom. Very large and great if you are travelling with kids. St. Patrick's Day festivities are a blast and very busy due to the influx of neighbours from the surrounding residential area. My fave is to grab a drink and meal then go flop in a big comfy couch in the auditorium and watch a movie. Beer, pizza and a good movie in comfort.....so great! The public transport is easy to use to get into the city.

Room Tip: Stay in the old part of the school. There is no fitness center and the pool is a soaker, not a swimm...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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

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:
#4 Best Value Hotel in Portland
#26 Romantic Hotel in Portland
#38 Family Hotel in Portland
#42 Business Hotel in Portland
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — McMenamins Kennedy School 3*
Number of rooms: 57
Also Known As:
Mcmenamins Kennedy School Portland

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