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“Sleek, modern boutique hotel in downtown Palo Alto” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hotel Keen

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Hotel Keen
Ranked #17 of 27 Hotels in Palo Alto
brooklyn, ny
Level Contributor
28 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Sleek, modern boutique hotel in downtown Palo Alto”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 21, 2011

This economical find in downtown Palo Alto is a winner. While gearing up to search for a one-night accommodation in the area, the trusty NY Times decides to publish a review of this place and I was sold. It reminds me the most of the Elements hotel line, with its willingness to dispense with typical hotel components and focus on modern amenities.

Take your usual hotel room and name all the things a modern traveler staying only a short time would rarely use (i.e. lounge chair, dressers, full desk, both nightstands), trim it all out, then make innovative use of the remaining space so even if its a smaller room, it wouldn't feel that way. Hotel Keen does that quite well. It has a very clean, streamlined aesthetic, down to the cool, blue lights lining the halls outside the rooms. The rooms and fixtures are quite new and good quality.

+ Small footprint but smart use of space, the single nightstand doubles as a small desk with overhead storage, ample shelf space, whiteboard, roomy bathroom and shower, plush bed, good quality linens, bathrobe, wall-mount tv has extra shelf space for miscellaneous small items, free wi-fi

- No closet space (just a knob to hang up to 2 items), no safe, no bathroom door, just a heavy curtain with magnetized closure, single chair, no full-length mirror, no parking

Just a note, I almost thought their desk chair was the wonderful Herman Miller Aluminum Office Chair but alas, it was just a replica. Still, quality was no worse than a usual chair, and the aesthetic fits.

Highly recommended for single, short-stay travelers looking for a good location at a great price. Although there's no parking available, street parking late at night is easy to find. I'd definitely stay again.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank azalie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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176 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
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English first
london
Level Contributor
87 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 19, 2011

The hotel has done all it can to be as stylish as it can be at this good price. Some other conference guests were a little alarmed at the lack of a door - only a curtain - to the bathroom. The windows didn't open or opened onto a wall. This was all compensated for by the great service from friendly and helpful staff, ready availability of tea, coffee and snacks, glass of wine, free wifi. Some Euros may be baffled by the (included) breakfast which is entirely sweet apart from boiled eggs in iced water.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank baribegum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spokane, Washington
Level Contributor
81 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 14, 2011

This small boutique hotel (recently remodeled) is tucked into the business district of Palo Alto. We were attending a Stanford football game and decided to try and find a room at the last minute. The Keen had one room left! Because it was last room, it was the handicap accessible room, so the shower was massive. The room was small but comfy. We walked to the game (1 mile easy walk) and enjoyed some nightlife downtown (the Rose and Crown was a fun pub) and slept well that night. You can hear morning noises like doors and footsteps, but I put in my earplugs and went back to sleep. The breakfast was fine, although not deluxe. The coffee was great. The only drawback.... our room had a curtain between the bath and bedroom instead of a door, but maybe this was because we had the handicap accessible room. The staff was friendly and efficient. If you want a place that's NOT a run-of-the-mill chain hotel, you will probably enjoy the Hotel Keen.

Room Tip: The clerk told us they are generally full during the week, so call ahead.
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank pachamama57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pfriedman, General Manager at Hotel Keen, responded to this review, November 29, 2011
Thank you very much for the review. I am glad that you found us and do hope that you return. Too bad about the game (unless you were rooting for Oregon).
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
42 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 9, 2011

I've stayed here twice for business. It's a gorgeous space, the designer (Orlando Diaz-Azcuy) did a phenomenal job of making the space visually interesting. I particularly like the use of the blue lights along the main hallway's baseboard.

Pros:
The location couldn't be any more convenient. The free breakfast of pastries, yogurt, coffee/juice/tea, boiled eggs is minimal, but delicious. While the rooms are on the small size, I don't mind because the bed is super comfy. And when traveling, you don't stay in the room for that long. The staff is extra friendly and accommodating, even offering to run out and get food for me when I inquired about restaurant deliveries.

But there are a few things that are missing for me...
- Would love to have in-room coffee/tea so I don't have to get dressed and go to the lobby to get my morning fix.
- Toiletries - while lovely - are too minimal for my needs. They provide shampoo/conditioner, soap... and that's about it. The occasional body lotion if you're lucky. I am used to rooms that provide small tubes of toothpaste, shower cap, shoe mitt...
- TV viewing options are woeful. Limited channels and no OnDemand movies. I live by those when I'm traveling!
- No light above the desk... task lighting would be nice for when I need to work.
- The walls are quite thin - I could hear someone coughing lightly and zipping up his suitcase in the morning.

If you can live with those quirks, you couldn't ask for a more modern, swanky place to stay.

Room Tip: Ask for a room away from the elevators.
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2011, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank lisaomalleyca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pfriedman, General Manager at Hotel Keen, responded to this review, November 29, 2011
Thank you so much for your return visit and taking the time to share thoughts. I did want to point out that we do have many additional amenities available at the front desk: Sewing kit, shoe mitt, shower cap, toothbrushes with pre-pasted bristles, razor and shave cream, ear plugs, q-tips and personal hygiene products - all for free. As we have cartless maid service we felt it fair to keep these items in a central location. Realizing that our guests may not be aware of these items' availability we are now looking at having them in room at all times. Until that time we will continue to offer them through guest services.

On the task lighting, there is a light fixture above the desk - perhaps it was turned off at the fixture versus the switch on the electrical plate. I apologize for that.

And while I can't get a coffee machine in room, we are adding a self serve espresso/cappucino machine in the lounge to make getting dressed a little more worthwhile.

We hope to see you back soon!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
auckland
Level Contributor
32 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 2, 2011

We stayed here two nights and had a great time.
Style is modern and fresh.
Location is right on the money.
Great little breakfast included in lobby.
Staff were all welcoming and warm.
Beer in honesty bar went down a treat after a night out.
Highly recommend if you are looking for a alternative to folksy hotels that abound in California.

Room Tip: Go up one from the starter room for extra pace for not much extra price.
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank lovethejetfuel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
20 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 16, 2011

I stayed at Hotel Keen on a recent trip to Palo Alto. Its downtown location near Stanford and the transit center is great. Also, it has some of the lowest prices of any hotel in the area. The rooms were small but clean. The interior finishes were nice. The hotel really tries to be environmentally friendly, with CFL lighting, natural toiletries (shampoo, etc.) in recycled paper boxes printed with soy-based inks, etc. I did not have any problem sleeping: the room was quiet and the bed was comfortable. The included breakfast consisted of yoghurt, cereal, granola, not-fresh pastries, and boiled eggs.

The main downside is that the hotel offers nothing other than your room and breakfast. There is no restaurant. There is no fitness center. There is no pool. There is no parking (other than Palo Alto city parking, which forces you to move your car every 2-3 hours during the daytime on weekdays). There is not even a washroom in the lobby, so you have to go elsewhere to use the bathroom before or after you check out.

This is the place to stay if you want a simple, nice, clean room at a good price and you need nothing else.

Room Tip: All rooms are essentially identical
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Stayed September 2011, traveled solo
Helpful?
Thank jrissman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
87 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2011

Hotel Keen is a recently remodeled older building in Palo Alto. If you want to stay in downtown, it's in a good locatio - it's very convenient to all the shops and restaurants. The staff is nice, and helpful, but I didnt ask very much. There is no parking specifically for the hotel- you can park in one of the conveniently located free city lots, but from 8AM -5PM on weekdays, you have to move your car from zone to zone every two hours, and weekend nights get really crowded-I wound up parking several blocks away in a residential neighborhood one night.

The hotel itself is nicely decorated, but there were quite a few things that just weren't comfortable. They put a STRONG lavender scent in all the rooms -strong enough that after airing out the room for most of the day it was stiill difficult to sleep at night. The bed was centered under an AC unit, that blows directly downward. Everywhere they had to keep soap was a flat, polished surface, so bars of soap cemented themselves down as they dried out. There was a very bright LED in the wall socket next to the bed, bright enough that I had to cover it to sleep. The TV enclosure looked like it had been broken somehow- extra connectors hanging down from behind the TV. The Internet policy will read your email and prevent you from sending or receiving some emails. They will block some Internet applications as well.

More examples of not thinking- I had breakfast one morning and they had a granola-yogurt-fruit combo, but the granola was served with a little plastic teaspoon, and there were no bowl, only paper plates. the furniture was situated so that it was hard for people to serve themselves at the asme time others were eating.

In general, an inexpensive place to stay in downtown Palo Alto, but Nothing special.

In general,

In general

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Bumblebarb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Keen

Property: Hotel Keen
Address: 425 High St, Palo Alto, CA 94301-1621
Location: United States > California > Palo Alto
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #17 of 27 Hotels in Palo Alto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Hotel Keen 2.5*
Number of rooms: 42
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