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“A most unique and enjoyable hotel.....” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of McMenamins Kennedy School

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McMenamins Kennedy School
Ranked #39 of 137 Hotels in Portland
Certificate of Excellence
Vernon, Canada
Level Contributor
27 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“A most unique and enjoyable hotel.....”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 26, 2013

I recently stayed at Kennedy School during a visit to Portland, based on the recommendations of a relative who lives there. I wasn't quite sure what to expect in a hotel that used to be an elementary school (and built in 1915), but was pleasantly surprised.

The room was large, clean and comfortable, with a somewhat simple decor given it's previous "life" as an elementary school. The rooms are fitted with modern electronic card access keys. The heating in the room worked reasonably well, although I had to use the small supplemental heater that was provided to bring the room up to "comfort level" in the mornings (of course that wouldn't be a problem in the warmer months). The bathroom was modern and clean. No television was provided and I DID miss that, although I can appreciate the cost and difficulty of installing cables in an old building. There was good Wi-Fi service in many areas of the hotel, although not in my room. Wi-Fi service was good in the restaurant and many of the other common areas.

it was great fun to explore the many Bars and other facilities in the hotel. My favourite was the Boiler Room, which as the name implies was formerly the school boiler room. The eclectic decor of the upstairs portion was especially interesting, as the railings are made with pieces of pipe and radiators fitted together. The main restaurant was large and the quality of the food was great. A big old pot-bellied stove was provided in one corner, which added to the atmosphere.

Having a movie theatre on the premises is a nice touch, as is the ability to have a beer while watching a movie. It would have been nice if they offered optional butter topping for the popcorn, which wasn't entirely enjoyable when served "dry" (it also seemed overly "salty").

I didn't have time to try the soaking pool, but it seemed to be very popular and was usually full. The hotel has a small gift shop that offers a selection of Mustards and other organic foods that are also made by McMenamin's. I wanted to bring some of these items back to try them, but was travelling with carry-on only, so that wasn't possible. They do offer mail order service though.

The hotel location in the north east part of Portland is very convenient, as it's not far to the downtown area, there are a lot of nice restaurants and other businesses in the area, and it's very convenient and easy to get to the airport. I will definitely try to stay there again on my next visit to Portland.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Euro_Traveller-50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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538 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (126)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Victoria
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 25, 2013

We always stay here when in Portland altho there are more Mcmennamin's hotels in this city to try. They are super fun places to stay. The art work is fabulous...very art deco. Pretty much a staple at a Mcemennamins. The soaking pool is just that.....a larger than average hot tub to soak in. The rooms are in old classrooms, with chalk boards. We have always staying in the girl's ballroom. Very large and great if you are travelling with kids. St. Patrick's Day festivities are a blast and very busy due to the influx of neighbours from the surrounding residential area. My fave is to grab a drink and meal then go flop in a big comfy couch in the auditorium and watch a movie. Beer, pizza and a good movie in comfort.....so great! The public transport is easy to use to get into the city.

Room Tip: Stay in the old part of the school. There is no fitness center and the pool is a soaker, not a swimm...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 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 BARBARA P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
70 reviews
70 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 22, 2013

I stayed here back In December after a recommendation from a friend who lives nearby. Its not centrally located, but via buses etc you can get into town in 15-20 mins. The suburban feel is nice, and you walk to the Alberta arts district pretty easily. Plenty to see and do right on your doorstep!

The building itself is a school conversion. It maintains the look and feel of just how it was when it was full of kids. I think its a triumph. Too often old buildings are displaced with new, more profitable interpretations but this stays true to its routes while also providing guests with novel angle on a place to stay. I understand there's a modern annexe now, but it wasn't open when i was there. I also think it means that the local community don't feel too detached from it. As such, those living nearby are allowed to use the soaking pool and of course all the other fantastic facilities such as the various restaurants, bars and cinema (which i enjoyed twice FOC)

My room was an old grocery shop. Big windows, warm, large space, weird chalk boards everywhere. No tv, which was good and bad in both ways.

I think the hotel represents a great attempt to be a bit more than a place for transient people. It always seemed full even when the rooms perhaps weren't. They've worked hard to create a destination, and that will have consequences to guests and locals alike, but for me it works really well and i'd love to see something like it in the UK.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Brodiej
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 17, 2013

We used to love the Kennedy School. Old and quirky, classroom chalkboards and wonky spaces, it was an interesting and playful place to be.

They've since added a new wing which is, well, NEW. It sounds and smells new. It is a highly manufacttured effort at charm. Some new rooms are TINY. Not a chalkboard to be found.

With the added rooms has come crowding. It's gone from feeling like a happy find to just another business herding people through. You don't really get to enjoy the old building with the cost of your stay, just go stand in another line.

That said, the staff is top notch. They seem well versed in dealing with the disappointment of long-time. customers. Sadly, they just can't make the place what it used to be.

For a comfy bed and a parking space, there are plenty of other options.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Irukandji206
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 12, 2013

We've stayed at many McMenamin's properties over the years, solo, coupled, and with kids.
Everything was up to expectations except the pool situation. We had chosen Kennedy School specifically to take advantage of the soaking pool. This is nothing like the Edgefield pool.
Hotel guests only from 8-10 in the morning? Really? The rest of the time it was overpacked with people. It's a great premise to give back to the neighborhood (neighbors can use the pool free by showing id)
Exploring the grounds, the movie theater, restaurant, bars are typical McMenamins....fun.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank 27jbs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Safford
Level Contributor
44 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 9, 2013 via mobile

I stayed at McMenamins during a workshop and was terribly disappointed. The rooms do not have televisions and have odd artwork and light fixtures. The halls are dimly lit with upside lighting that is creepy and casts foreboding shadows. Maybe the decorators thought it would be clever or even eclectic, but unless you have a head full of dreadlocks or drive a Volkswagon van from the 60's it is neither. I thought the food was edible until the last evening when I ordered a pastrami sanwich on a pretzel roll with fries and I developed food poisoning. Great way to end my stay.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Pearl11Safford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 29, 2013

I love that this "hotel" is an old elementary school. It's fun walking around the building and visiting the bars and restaurant in it, and they've done a great job making it look nice. Our room was neat--an old classroom with high ceilings and walls covered in chalkboard. The bed was comfy and the bathroom was clean, and the soaking pool outside was pretty and relaxing. I feel like the price was a little steep--guess you pay extra for the novelty factor.

My main issue with our stay here was the noise level. Perhaps it's the big, echo-y hallways and rooms, but we could hear practically everything in the hall outside our room and in our neighbors room. Our next-door neighbors appeared to be a group of boys who were part of a wedding party that rented out part of the hotel, and they were up until about 4am, which meant that we, too, were up until about 4am, listening to them be drunk, rowdy, and throw up. Not cute. We notified the hotel staff who said they would ask the neighbors to quiet down, but we didn't notice a difference.

So, yeah, novel place to stay, and perhaps some of the rooms are in quieter locations than ours was, but I definitely wished I'd gotten a good night's sleep!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank demureninja
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

Property: McMenamins Kennedy School
Address: 5736 NE 33rd Ave, Portland, OR 97211-7302
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:
#27 Romantic Hotel in Portland
#29 Family Hotel in Portland
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — McMenamins Kennedy School 3.5*
Number of rooms: 57
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Mcmenamins Kennedy School Portland

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