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“Creative and Distinct - Immaculate” 4 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 #40 of 132 hotels in Portland
Seattle, Wa
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Creative and Distinct - Immaculate”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2013

I have heard of McMenamins and have always wanted to stay there. The room we stayed in was small but quite adequate and probably the cleanest I have stayed in anywhere. The decorations of the room, in the case for the Riddle master of He'd, were just wonderful. The bed was quite comfortable. The grounds with the restaurant and bars are also nicely decorated and ver comfortable. The staff were very friendly and helpful in all respects.

I would highly recommend staying here.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloria M, Manager at McMenamins Kennedy School, responded to this review, June 20, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write a review. We strive to give the best customer service and cleanliness is a top priority. We look forward to seeing you again soon!
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314 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 (64)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Vernon, B.C.
Top Contributor
204 reviews 204 reviews
60 hotel reviews
Reviews in 81 cities Reviews in 81 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2013

I have never stayed in a McMenamins property before. However, after my stay at the Kennedy School hotel in Portland, this will change!

I thoroughly enjoyed this off-beat hotel. Think of a 100-year old school that has been converted to a hotel - but much better! For instance, this location has a fully operational brewery (the Hammerhead IPA and Summer Kolsch were both outstanding). It also has a great courtyard restaurant and many other places to imbibe in fine Oregon beer and wine. There is even a cool cigar lounge if you want to partake.

The rooms were relatively small but clean as a whistle. They were "period" rooms with old fashioned decor. I loved the fact there was no t.v. in my room. Outstanding! But i did have access to the internet (free) which is a must.

One of the coolest things is that it is a pet friendly hotel. I have a dog and we always have difficulties trying to find a place that will allow us to bring him. Bingo - here it is!

Well done McMenamins. Like Arnie Schwarzenegger once said - "I'll be back".

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled on business
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloria M, Manager at McMenamins Kennedy School, responded to this review, June 20, 2013
Thank your for your review. We are so glad we met your expectations and look forward to seeing you again. Please be sure to visit our other locations. Every location is unique and I am sure you will not be disappointed.
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Little Rock, Arkansas
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2013

We stayed one night here and it was an interesting place. The whole Kennedy school is bustling with activity and we enjoyed our stay. The rooms really do have their own charm. While I am not sure it would be where I chose if we returned to Portland, I am glad we stayed a night on this trip.

  • Stayed June 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloria M, Manager at McMenamins Kennedy School, responded to this review, June 20, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to review us. We hope we do see you again and you give us another opportinuty to meet your expectations.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

I stayed 3 nights by myself here while visiting family in Portland and it met my expectations. I read ALL the other reviews on it, so I felt like I was going into it with the right expectations...if you do that, then you won't be disappointed.

There's a movie theater there that I didn't get to enjoy (no time) but my sister had been there and she said it was neat (you can order drinks and food and there's just a bunch of old weird couches and chairs in there)

What I like best about this place is the location. It's not in the busy crazy downtown, but rather tucked back into a normal residential neighborhood, so you get more of a local feel when you're walking around, and that's what I go for when I stay places...I want to feel like I live there for minute, and not so much like a tourist. The hotel itself does NOT offer 4 star luxuries at all...it's an old school, so it's a bit noisy at times, the bathrooms aren't fabulous, the bed wasn't terribly comfortable, but it makes up for all that in eclectic charm. I had the "Mrs. Palmer" room, which had chalkboards lining the entry hall and one side of the bedroom opposite the bed. There's chalk, and I'm an artist, so at night before bed I couldn't help but add to the murals that were already there. That was fun. I got an okay night's sleep, and had fun exploring the place (the grounds are big) and my sister and I enjoyed the soaking pool at night after walking around the neighborhoods all day.

There's not a lot to do within walking distance, but the bus system is easy to navigate (I downloaded the PDX app on my iphone and was able to see the bus routes and stops I needed) and there's stops within 2-5minute walks all around the hotel.

The food on site...you should skip it and just go out and explore all the wonderful places to eat around town. Even the dive bars have good food! The hotel does have a couple of cute bars on site...The Detention Bar and the Honors Bar....they're teeny tiny and really cool looking. I didn't end up drinking at either, but I peeked in and wish I had. Also, the hotels coffee is crap. Again, you're in Portland, so you have the worlds best coffee all around you, don't waste your time at the hotel...go out and explore...There's a place called Extracto Coffee within walking distance that was pretty good...I also recommend Courier Coffee which is downtown, and Barista which was on Alberta street (great fun street)...there's a wonderful ice cream shop a few doors down from that too called Salt & Straw (crazy fun flavors like Pear-Blue Cheese....it's good, trust me.)

Overall I recommend it for younger or more eclectic people...if you're used to the Embassy Suites or the Hyatt this place is NOT for you.

Room Tip: Ask for something away from the eateries so it'll be quieter. There's a new section of the...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloria M, Manager at McMenamins Kennedy School, responded to this review, June 20, 2013
Thank you for your feeback. We are happy you had a great stay. Please be sure to visit us again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2013

The Mcmenamins experience is all I hoped for. I toured this hotel in May 2012 and could not wait to stay in May 2013. It was 80s prom night and we attended that too. While there was every opportunity to hose guests selling 'prom wear' they kept the price of that so low it was affordable and I found the same pricing in the gift shop. All of the staff we encountered was completely 'up' and knowledgeable about the whole chain. The fact that there was no TV in the room was not expected (did not read ahead) but not a problem at all. We socialized the whole time we were there! I now vow to stay at every hotel in the chain! Next stop Crystal Hotel in September, Edgefield next May!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloria M, Manager at McMenamins Kennedy School, responded to this review, June 8, 2013
Thank you for your feedback. We are so happy you enjoyed the McMenamins experience. We look forward to having you again. I am sure you will enjoy our other properties too.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburg, Texas
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
98 helpful votes 98 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2013

I love staying in quirky places, my husband -- not so much. But we both enjoyed our stay at the Kennedy School. We wandered the hallways and soaked up the history of the old elementary school. The cafeteria is now a restaurant, the gym is a live-music venue, the auditorium is a movie theater, the detention room is a cigar bar and the boiler room is a microbrewery! The little water fountains are still functional. The courtyard is nicely landscaped with a warm soaking pool -- only it was full of kids so we passed on that.

Our room in the English Wing was very quiet and comfortable with a great bed and large bathroom. The sink is in the bedroom. Every room in the English Wing had a novel or literary theme, which the teacher in me loved! Heavy curtains cover the large windows so you can sleep in.

The restaurant was quite crowded at 6 p.m. and the wait was over an hour long, so we snagged a couple of seats at the bar and had a good dinner there -- not great, but okay.

There was no coffee maker in our room, which was a drawback. We didn't mind not having a tv at all.

The hotel is located on the east side of Portland, which made it easier to get on the road for a day trip to the Columbia River Gorge.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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.
Gloria M, Manager at McMenamins Kennedy School, responded to this review, June 8, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write this review! We are so glad you had a great time with us. We look forward to your next visit. We take all feebback seriously and will be speaking the restaurant manager about the ok dinner you had. Come back and see us soon.
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Corvallis, Oregon
Top Contributor
499 reviews 499 reviews
42 hotel reviews
Reviews in 65 cities Reviews in 65 cities
114 helpful votes 114 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

I stayed here once before about 11 years ago, but we wanted to come back and stay in the new English Wing. I’m not sure if it was just our room, but it sounded like a motor was running under our room the entire stay. It made it quite difficult for me to get to sleep. We found that they store food in the basement, so I’m assuming it was from a refrigerator or a freezer, but it was awful. I would recommend you stay on the 2nd floor in the main building if sound bothers you. But be aware the weekend we were here there were 2 weddings, a community sing and a celebration of life going on. With the music and sounds from those, along with the 3 bars, a restaurant, and the theatre this place stays hoping much beyond 10 pm.

We also ate here a few times. It started poorly when we asked to sit outside, were told there were no tables, even though we could see them. We were then seated inside (and I hate it when no one tells you that it’s happy hour, but we found the menu) and waited 5 minutes, no service, then noticed the next couple that entered the restaurant was seated outside, at the table we wanted. We flagged down a server and explained our frustration. She seated us outside and became our server and was awesome. A bad experience turned around.

We also ate here for 2 breakfasts and 2 nights in the Cypress Bar (The Boiler Room had much too loud music). The main issue was getting our bill. We always ended up having to go and find someone to find our bill, but often times they couldn’t find our server or which bill was ours. It’s a busy place, though, so we understand.

The nice thing though, is there are a theatre (the times were not convenient for when we were available) and a soaking pool (again, we didn’t use it—the first night was packed with people and the 2nd night it was raining.) But we did enjoy the bars and it’s walking distance to a few other restaurants/bars/stores. Be aware though that parking can get tight on weekends, especially if there is a wedding or other event where a lot of extra guests are parking.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
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, May 31, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write this review. It has great feedback for our operation and we will use it to improve the operation here. We are looking into your comments about the noise from the basement in the new wing and are looking for solutions. The bar and restaurant manager are aware of your review as well and will be working with the team to better the service. We sincerely sorry that your stay was anything less than great and hope that you will stay with us again in the future.
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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:
#3 Best Value Hotel in Portland
#32 Romantic Hotel in Portland
#40 Family Hotel in Portland
#40 Spa Hotel in Portland
#42 Business Hotel in Portland
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — McMenamins Kennedy School 3*
Also Known As:
Mcmenamins Kennedy School Portland

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