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“One of the last of the old hotels in Palo Alto”
Review of Cardinal Hotel

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Cardinal Hotel
Ranked #13 of 27 Hotels in Palo Alto
Reviewed December 2, 2013

I grew up in Palo Alto, from 1963 to 1979. So my review may be colored somewhat nostalgic. I remember many, maybe hundreds of times walking or driving or bicycling past the Cardinal Hotel in my youth, not knowing anything about it. I had never set foot inside the doors until my recent visit to stay with family (11/28/2013). This year, there were no extra family rooms, so I had to reserve my room in a hotel. I had considered the typical chains (Motel, 6; Best Western; etc), and Dinah's, but I went online to see about downtown PA hotels. The Cardinal looked appealing: an old-style classic hotel from the last century, well-kept and open for business. My stay was from Wednesday through Monday morning. I was smitten by the Cardinal's vintage architecture, construction, looks, atmosphere, and charm as soon as I walked in the front door. The Cardinal is a hotel from the old days, or "European style" as some others have said. So, don't expect a swimming pool, gym, massage rooms, tennis courts, underground or room-side parking or any other accoutrements that the modern commercial "Hotel/Motel" chains offer. This is an authentic old-world downtown hotel, and the experience is of another era. For instance, the entire hotel, including your room, is heated by old-fashioned steam radiators. You will have a radiator in your room -- no central heat or air. If it's too hot in summer, please find a table fan in the linen closet to set near the outside window. Downstairs in the period lobby, please find a large fireplace and comfortable couches to sit on. The old-fashioned manual elevator is also a well-preserved touch from the past.

In or near Palo Alto there are cheaper hotels to stay in, and there are other hotels with more modern amenities, but I will be returning to the Cardinal for its charm. And by the way, I found the rooms 5/5 for cleanliness, the sleeping is mostly quiet, the beds and pillows comfortable, and the service is excellent. I am now a Cardinal client who will return again many times.

Room Tip: * Rooms that look at Hamilton or Ramona Streets may be noisy on Friday & Saturday nights * Shar...
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Max R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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102 - 108 of 226 reviews

Reviewed November 27, 2013

Stayed a couple of nights at this old-style hotel in downtown Palo Alto. Very much enjoyed it. It is a mini-version of what you could call the "Barton Fink" style Californian hotel built, I am guessing, in the twenties or thirties. No horror stories here though, the management were just great (including shipping me the coat I had left behind) and the room quiet and roomy.

Stayed: November 2013, traveled on business
Thank StretherMelbourne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2013

Stayed here three nights while attending a reunion. The room was very clean, quiet, newly painted and furnished. I got a cheap room without an attached bath or toilet (there was a sink). Served my purposes perfectly and saved a good bit of money. More expensive rooms have attached bathroom that are still cheaper than area hotels. The location is perfect for exploring PA; parking wasn't a problem; friendly staff. The lobby looks like I remember it 30 years ago, but not still nicely furnished and warm. Great location to find PA restaurants.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Covesiders
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 9, 2013

This was my first time staying at the Cardinal Hotel, as I was in town for a big football game. The Cardinal Hotel is located right in the middle of downtown Palo Alto. Restaurants, shops, and bars are all within walking distance. Stanford stadium is also a short 15 minute walk from the hotel. If you stay here, I recommend requesting a room with a private bath. Since this hotel is European style, I booked a room with a shared bath (which is located down the hall) and it was a little inconvenient. Although the shared bathrooms were clean, I'd prefer my own in-room bathroom on my next visit.

Room Tip: Choose a room with its own private bathroom even if it costs extra.
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Alex L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 30, 2013

The "European" style room, which means a shared bathroom located in the hallway, allows you to stay in a very nice hotel in the heart of the shopping and dining area on University Ave. for a bargain price. The hotel has a great deal of character, the rooms are modern, clean, and comfortable, and the property is easily accessed via Caltrain.

There are two showers per floor, and two toilet rooms, all of which were very clean. Although one shower was a little dated in appearance, the other was nicely modernized. Both had excellent water pressure and hot water. Each room has a sink for added convenience.

If you are overly sensitive to noise, be aware that you can sometimes hear neighboring TVs through the wall, and that the noise from the large bar across the road can be heard on loud nights, even with the windows shut. Also, there is no parking associated with the hotel, leaving you to hunt for spots in the adjacent neighborhood.

Room Tip: For less noise, ask for a room not facing Ramona St.
  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled on business
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Thank TravelTie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2013

First, I have to say I love this place because I accidentally booked the wrong date (off by one month) which they quickly rectified after I called them. I was supposed to stay 10/1 but accidentally booked for 9/1 (which was the next day from the day I was booking). I called at 5am local time (which was much later where I was) and they were able to quickly change it without any fee or penalty.

The hotel is in a classic old style and in a way reminded me of the hotel in the shining on a smaller scale (this is not a bad thing, I loved that movie!). I had a European style room with shared bathroom which was a first for me but the bathroom was very clean! The room was small but probably average for the area of Palo Alto. The bed was brand new with very clean and new high quality white down comforter. The room had a sink in it which I appreciated. I had a very sophisticated set up for tech connections to the tv (usb, firewire, etc, hdmi). The hotel uses old school metal keys which I found quaint.

The hotel had free coffee and tea 24 hours in the lobby - it was a high quality blend from a local coffee maker. The hotel was in a GREAT location. I didn't drive so can't comment on parking.

Overall, would definitely stay again, the hallways and public areas are older and classic but the room has all modern amenities which were higher quality than any other place in this price range.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled solo
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Thank fallingleaf21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2013 via mobile

Good value, great location, nice large room and very clean and comfortable. Huge and charming lobby with fireplace! Our group used the library to pre-party before football game. Parking can be a bit difficult.

  • Stayed: September 2013
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1  Thank dabtrustee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cardinal Hotel

Address: 235 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301
Location: United States > California > Palo Alto
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Suites
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Palo Alto
Price Range: $134 - $180 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Cardinal Hotel 2*
Number of rooms: 59
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Experience Old World charm in vibrant downtown Palo Alto. Built in 1924, the Cardinal was Palo Alto’s premiere Hotel. Today the ambiance remains; the gracious lobby still provides a delightful glimpse of Old Palo Alto. Enjoy the hotel’s warm atmosphere and proximity to world class dining, shopping and Stanford University. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cardinal Hotel Palo Alto

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