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“A converted motel” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Zen Hotel

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The Zen Hotel
Ranked #5 of 27 Hotels in Palo Alto
Certificate of Excellence
Berkeley, California
Level Contributor
127 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“A converted motel”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 25, 2012

If the word "hotel" brings to mind a multi-story structure with a spacious lobby, with a coffee shop and bar near the reception desk, think again. The Zen Hotel is a remodeled motel. Nicely remodeled, with clean, attractive rooms, but nothing more. The staff is friendly, the location is convenient. A hot breakfast buffet is included in the price.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Grandpa284
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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314 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    160
    124
    17
    11
    2
See reviews for
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (84)
Date | Rating
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  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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English first
Near San Francisco
Level Contributor
48 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 21, 2012

This place was very pleasant and a great deal. We loved the beds, the showers and the breakfast in particular. This site was clearly once some sort of motor lodge. low square buildings have been made modern and up to date. The decor was nice and not at all like what we usually see at such modest prices. While close to El Camino Real, traffic noise was minimal and it was easy to get on and off this major blvd because the driveway leads you to a side street with a traffic light. also, I am very particular about smells and this place was great. the rooms smelled fresh and clean not like cleanser/chemicals. Room 211 is on the ground floor and has a back door that leads to a sweet (shared) garden space, great airflow. My mom stayed in a nearby room (201) and it was also nice but did not have a back door. We both rave about this place!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank cymbidian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Davis, Calif.
Level Contributor
25 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 13, 2012

My husband and two teenage sons stayed two nights here one holiday weekend in order to visit Stanford University. The Zen Hotel was reasonably priced & very conveniently located for exploring the campus and the town. The front desk staff were friendly & helpful with suggestions & directions. The hotel was very quiet -- we could occasionally hear other guests coming and going in their cars, but otherwise no noise.

The room was a little crowded for four people, but we managed okay. If I stayed here again with my kids, I'd probably get two adjoining rooms & just splurge for some extra space. I'm not crazy about the design choice to put the sink out in the main room and have only the toilet & bathtub behind closed doors. It's handy if you have one person taking a shower, say, and another person brushing their teeth. But where it's not so great is the middle of the night (or in the morning when teenagers are trying to sleep in) -- there's no way to quietly use the bathroom then wash your hands if the sink is right off the main room with no partition.

This was a relatively minor complaint, however. The room was otherwise very comfortable. They do this strange thing with their pillows, where they sort of fold them in on themselves so they're more like squares than the traditional rectangles, but then you try to use them & you realize they're just regular pillows they've "origami-ed" into squares. (Maybe it's supposed to look more Japanese? I don't know -- I'm Japanese-American & have spent a lot of time in Japan & this doesn't strike me as particularly Japanese.) Whatever. The beds are very attractively appointed. In fact, everything in the room looks quite tasteful, as does the exterior.

Breakfast is served in the main lobby, which is a simple but comfortable space. The breakfast options were also simple but perfectly adequate: yogurt, cereal, toast, bagels, eggs, some kind of breakfast meat (sausages or bacon), oatmeal, fruit, coffee, juice. Also some kind of chocolate-marble muffins that my boys just LOVED. They provide a few different papers to read & CNN was on the TV most mornings, audible but not overwhelmingly loud.

All in all, a very pleasant stay. If either of my kids gets into Stanford, I could see spending the night here again!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank WritingRetreater
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Terni, Italy
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 13, 2012

I've been staying at the Zen hotel for 1 week in the last July, and I found it really confortable and not too much expensive, considering the accomodations prices in that area. It was clean, with an internal useful parking, good rooms, nice breakfast, and an efficient wi-fi connection. Furthermore there is a shared external garden, really well-kept, with fountains and bench, that creates a relaxing atmosphere, ideal for the evening after a day of hard job, and just before to have a dinner in one of the restaurants around. Also the position in fact is very good; it's located on the camino real with any kind of services really close. If I'll come back to Palo Alto, in future, I'll surely try to book a room at the Zen Hotel!

Room Tip: If you have a car, it's better to have a room at the ground floor, because you can park in front...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 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 Valerio P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maine
Level Contributor
83 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 955 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 5, 2012

What a wonderful surprise on noisy El Camino to be able to sink into this quiet, tastefully-appointed and reasonably-priced place. It used to be a motel and retains that architecture but goes beyond any motel I've ever seen.

Would definintely stay there again thanks to its serenity and convenience to the southern Bay Area.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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?
1 Thank Quality1989
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ricberr, General Manager at The Zen Hotel, responded to this review, November 7, 2012
Dear guest,

Thank you for your wonderful comments. It seems like this was your first time staying at The Zen Hotel and we are thrilled to learn that your good experience helped us earn a 5 of of 5. We look forward to another opportunity to welcoming you again to our hotel.

Sincerely,

Ricardo Berrospi
General Manager
THE ZEN HOTEL
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northbrook, Illinois
Level Contributor
37 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 31, 2012

Check in was great . I got there at noon and they had a room for me. My room was made up with care and had a back door to a running water fountain for ambience. Breakfast was free and was different each day. The location is 2 miles from campus an easy drive to California open space hiking trail and plenty of restaurants. Good choice as an alternative to big chain hotels. I would stay here again.

Room Tip: Ask for the 1st or 2nd floor with the fountain in the back
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 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 emery2e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
71 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 137 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 28, 2012

I was put in charge of selecting and booking a hotel in Palo Alto for a company trip. We had a strict budget, but also wanted someplace that would be updated, comfortable and convenient. After reading and comparing reviews of pretty much every hotel in the area, I decided to take a chance on The Zen Hotel. It turned out to be a great decision, and my entire team was really happy with our stay here.

I worked with Ricardo to arrange the group booking. He deserves special recognition for getting our group booked, dealing with several rooming changes and last minute credit card confusion. He was unfailingly helpful and polite, a real asset to this hotel.

The Zen Hotel has free parking, free wifi and free breakfast. Very cost effective, and a big plus for our group. The breakfast was pretty tasty, too! Cold cereal, oatmeal, various hot dishes (eggs, bacon, etc.), pastries, coffee and juice. Definitely a nice way to start the day. From Zen Hotel to downtown Palo Alto (University Ave) never took more than 10 minutes in the morning, which was very convenient. The staff at the front desk were really nice and helped our team with all manner of requests. There is a Walgreens directly across the street for any needed snack or supply runs.

I was booked into a room right at the corner of El Camino and Maybell, and the first night I was woken a couple of times by larger trucks passing by. The next day, I bought a cheap pack of earplugs at Walgreens and slept undisturbed the rest of my stay. My co-workers stayed in rooms further from the street and had no trouble with noise whatsoever. My room was spacious and nicely updated. It was very clean and the decor was modern and tasteful. The bed was comfortable, the bathroom immaculate, and there was a fridge, coffeemaker and hairdryer in the room. The space seemed recently redone and was a great place to call home for a week.

The last night we were in town, our client arranged for us to stay at the Crown Plaza just down the street. Let's just say that it paled in comparison to The Zen Hotel, and we were all sorry we'd had to move. If business takes us back to Palo Alto, I would absolutely book us at The Zen Hotel again. It was a very positive experience and a most comfortable stay.

Room Tip: If you're sensitive to traffic noise, ask for a room away from the road or pack ear plugs.
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Erin74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Zen Hotel

Property: The Zen Hotel
Address: 4164 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306-4075
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Palo Alto
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Best Value Hotel in Palo Alto
#3 Romantic Hotel in Palo Alto
#5 Business Hotel in Palo Alto
#5 Family Hotel in Palo Alto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — The Zen Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 37
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In the heart of Silicon Valley, The Zen Hotel offers daily full hot breakfast buffet that includes freshly made smoothies, Peet's and Santa Cruz Organic coffees, Mighty Leaf teas, sausages, bacon, scrambled eggs and much more. L'occitane toiletries and free true high speed Internet are standard in all guestrooms. Minutes away from Stanford University, Shoreline Amphitheater and tech companies such as HP, Facebook and Google; The Zen Hotel offers great value and is a fantastic choice for business and leisure travelers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Townhouse Hotel Palo Alto

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