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“A little Musty and Dusty, but so much Fun” 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 #42 of 132 hotels in Portland
Los Angeles
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
“A little Musty and Dusty, but so much Fun”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2013

When you can open the windows and sit outside for a beer, the old house smell does not bother much.
This is a fun hotel, the kind where you spend as little time in your room as possible. If you're planning on lounging in your room and zoning out infront of the TV, this is not the right hotel for you. For one, there is no TV and the noise from outside can be bothersome, when you have some yapper standing outside your open window (and remember, the window needs to be open so you can breathe fresh air).

The bed is soft and you will roll to the middle a bit, but the King size mattress is big enough to avoid this. The blankets are the old, brown, fuzzy kind and the pillows are not great. Don't rely on their soap and shampoo, they're Made in China.

The hotel is located very close to Alberta Street which has some great restaurants and it's also close enough to any other part of the city you'd want to get to (by car).

25 minutes from amazing hiking at the gorge. Grab a sandwich at the German Bakery on the way and you're set for a day of outdoor wonder.

The best part of this hotel is the fun factor. 5 different bars, with much character, great mixed drinks. Monkey Punch!! And the food is good too. Free movie nights at the fabulous theater.
I don't get the appeal of the soaking pool, but they have one.

It's weird and it's fun, especially if you surprise your partner and don't tell them anything about it before you go.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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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289 people have reviewed this hotel

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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
ny
Top Contributor
105 reviews 105 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2013

We checked into the Kennedy School for a wedding in Portland. Our stay was 5 days. The bed was very comfortable, but had an indentation in the middle and we rolled into it every night. The antique wardrobe served us well for the hanging clothes, but there was no place to unpack the suitcase. It would not have been inconvenient if we had a shorter stay or had brought less clothes. The wedding required several changes of outfit. The restaurant provided a convenient and tasty breakfast each day (not included in the price of room) and the variety of bars was really fun. We took advantage of the 100 degree soaking pool several times, so bring your bathing suit. Do plan to use it during guest only hours of 8am-10am and 8pm-10pm. The pool gets quite crowded during the day with locals and their families who may pay by the hour. We would have loved to take advantage of the movie theater and the comfy couches with a bar and real food service. It would have been a great place to eat and catch a movie (admission to theater free for hotel guests). We just didn't have the time since we were so busy with the wedding. There are some great eating spots and local stores within walking distance and a convenient grocery store with wine just a block or so over. All in all, it was quirky and fun. We really enjoyed the art on the walls of the old school and all of the original woodwork. Loved writing on the chalkboards in each room. Don't expect your typical chain hotel room and go with the concept.You'll be happy!

Room Tip: The English wing is supposed to be quieter, but there is not much room around the bed. They do have...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Los Angeles
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2013

I'm trying to be as objective as I can in my reviews. So i gave this place 4 stars, when personally it was more of a 3 star experience for me, but that's just me. It's a converted school house and even though they've done an amazing job with the conversion, it's still clearly a school house. and a big one. a maze of long, cavernous hallways leads to the rooms and all the bars/restaurants/attractions the place has to offer. It's like a mini resort that you never have to leave, which is great because it's not in the most happening neighborhood. As far as the rooms go - you literally sleep in a (partial) class room. Mine had a chalkboard and a closet with coat hangers for the pupils coats. The ceilings are super high, with giant windows. So while some might find the concept neat, and it kind of is, to me it also was slightly creepy and definitely not cosy. Also, there are no TVs. They make up for it with super fast free wireless, but I prefer to plop down on my bed at the end of a busy day, switch on the tv and mindlessly enjoy the maelstrom of garbage that cable has to offer, over actively searching for something that i might like on the internet.

At 110-140 dollars it's a good value for portland though and it's close to the airport. Plus everything feels like it's straight from Portlandia. From the weird/funny decor all over the place to the tatted and pierced staff. Everybody is friendly and competent, so in the end you can have a four star stay here if school houses are your thing.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
Richland, Washington
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2013

I had heard about this place and finally got a chance to stay for a night. It was a fun place being it was an old school that was converted, room is small, no TV and for the cost $140, I have stayed in a lot better places for that price. The restaurant was OK, I tried their signature burger and found it just average and not worth the $10. One item to note, the speed of this restaurant is horrible, and quite noisy, almost like a cafeteria full of kids with the sounds bouncing off the walls, it is hard to hold a conversation with the person across the table from you. The place has a couple bars, they are small and noisy as well, but they serve a nice selection of beers. All in all, I will not stay here again, I stayed here as I was attending a meeting, but if I go again, I'll stay elsewhere as the uniqueness wears off quickly.

Room Tip: All rooms are fun,
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
Mel J, Manager at McMenamins Kennedy School, responded to this review, April 20, 2013
Thank you very much for your feedback. We take your comments very seriously and appreciate your taking the time to let us know. I am sorry to hear that you would not stay with us again. I am addressing your concerns regarding the food and slow service with the restaurant manager and chef. My sincere apologies for not making your stay as wonderful as it should have been.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, USA
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2013

I had only one day in Portland (two nights) and I booked this place hoping I would get a concentrated shot of Portland flavor, which I did. The hotel is wonderful - funky, fun, full of places to eat and drink. I did get a room in the new wing (added on, not part of the school originally) and, as other reviewers said, the room WAS small, but very comfy and of course you have the rest of the place to hang out in. The soaking pool is very nice and was not crowded when I used it (btwn 8 - 10pm, for hotel guests only). If all you did in Portland was go here, you'd be doing pretty good.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Rio Verde, Arizona
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2013

We spent four nights at McMenamins' Kennedy School Hotel in Portland, Oregon. It was a great experience. The former elementary school, built in 1914, has been transformed into a great hotel and restaurant destination for visitors and locals alike. Classrooms have been converted to guest rooms, the boiler room into a bar, the cafeteria into a fine restaurant, and an auditorium into a movie theater showing current films. You have four restaurants to choose from. You can wander the halls to enjoy the architecture and artwork. The movie theater is free to guests. Best of all the room rates are reasonable and the food is very good.

Room Tip: Choose a room away from 33rd Avenue. It carries a lot of traffic.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 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.
Albany, Oregon
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

McMenamins has done it again! Saved an old, unused building; and made it something special. Our dinner gathering with friends in the "gym" was great, and our "themed" room was lovely. Staff very helpful. This "special place" was unique and beautiful. Drinks in the Boiler Room to watching movies in their on-site theatre was amazing. Just look up at the ceiling of our 2nd floor hallway, the variety of lights were adorable. Only reason this does not get the highest rating: no tv's in guest rooms and those in the Boiler Room were for "watching" only~no volume, only loud music. So the NCAA Final Four game was watched down at The Station a 5 min. drive away. (Next review) Also, our 2 room key cards continued to deactivate our full stay! Never were near the cell phones! Had to go to front desk to "rekey" them for room entry. Very annoying and disappointing.

Breakfast was very good, but our server had a tough time getting our orders correct. No fruit side dish was served, though ordered by my husband. Coffees put on tabs, though we don't drink or ordered any.

It is a great hotel for families as well as couples. There was a children's birthday party in one main room during the day. Young families were using the "resting pool" to swim and get warm in. All very special, to serve their guests.

Being a former elementary school in northeast Portland, it is located in a residential neighborhood. Once the parking lot is full, and it was on Saturday night; you have to drive around looking for a place to park.

Our bed was very comfortable, and you could not hear a sound from the outside. Which was very nice for a good sleep.

A great place to stay off the beaten path in Portland. There is an alternative to downtown Portland and the national hotel chains!!!

Room Tip: Request, if possible, your room in the original building not the new building if possible. That way...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 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
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:
#4 Best Value Hotel in Portland
#31 Romantic Hotel in Portland
#50 Business Hotel in Portland
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — McMenamins Kennedy School 3*

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