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“Unusual setting with a fun theme and convenience to NE Portland”

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McMenamins Kennedy School
Ranked #34 of 141 Hotels in Portland
Certificate of Excellence
Pearl River, New York
Level Contributor
241 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
“Unusual setting with a fun theme and convenience to NE Portland”
Reviewed April 25, 2013

We checked into the Kennedy School for a wedding in Portland. Our stay was 5 days. The bed was very comfortable, but had an indentation in the middle and we rolled into it every night. The antique wardrobe served us well for the hanging clothes, but there was no place to unpack the suitcase. It would not have been inconvenient if we had a shorter stay or had brought less clothes. The wedding required several changes of outfit. The restaurant provided a convenient and tasty breakfast each day (not included in the price of room) and the variety of bars was really fun. We took advantage of the 100 degree soaking pool several times, so bring your bathing suit. Do plan to use it during guest only hours of 8am-10am and 8pm-10pm. The pool gets quite crowded during the day with locals and their families who may pay by the hour. We would have loved to take advantage of the movie theater and the comfy couches with a bar and real food service. It would have been a great place to eat and catch a movie (admission to theater free for hotel guests). We just didn't have the time since we were so busy with the wedding. There are some great eating spots and local stores within walking distance and a convenient grocery store with wine just a block or so over. All in all, it was quirky and fun. We really enjoyed the art on the walls of the old school and all of the original woodwork. Loved writing on the chalkboards in each room. Don't expect your typical chain hotel room and go with the concept.You'll be happy!

Room Tip: The English wing is supposed to be quieter, but there is not much room around the bed. They do have...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank dancer735
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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582 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (133)
Date | Rating
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English first
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
32 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed April 23, 2013

I'm trying to be as objective as I can in my reviews. So i gave this place 4 stars, when personally it was more of a 3 star experience for me, but that's just me. It's a converted school house and even though they've done an amazing job with the conversion, it's still clearly a school house. and a big one. a maze of long, cavernous hallways leads to the rooms and all the bars/restaurants/attractions the place has to offer. It's like a mini resort that you never have to leave, which is great because it's not in the most happening neighborhood. As far as the rooms go - you literally sleep in a (partial) class room. Mine had a chalkboard and a closet with coat hangers for the pupils coats. The ceilings are super high, with giant windows. So while some might find the concept neat, and it kind of is, to me it also was slightly creepy and definitely not cosy. Also, there are no TVs. They make up for it with super fast free wireless, but I prefer to plop down on my bed at the end of a busy day, switch on the tv and mindlessly enjoy the maelstrom of garbage that cable has to offer, over actively searching for something that i might like on the internet.

At 110-140 dollars it's a good value for portland though and it's close to the airport. Plus everything feels like it's straight from Portlandia. From the weird/funny decor all over the place to the tatted and pierced staff. Everybody is friendly and competent, so in the end you can have a four star stay here if school houses are your thing.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
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Helpful?
1 Thank cosmodrome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richland, Washington
Level Contributor
482 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
Reviewed April 18, 2013

I had heard about this place and finally got a chance to stay for a night. It was a fun place being it was an old school that was converted, room is small, no TV and for the cost $140, I have stayed in a lot better places for that price. The restaurant was OK, I tried their signature burger and found it just average and not worth the $10. One item to note, the speed of this restaurant is horrible, and quite noisy, almost like a cafeteria full of kids with the sounds bouncing off the walls, it is hard to hold a conversation with the person across the table from you. The place has a couple bars, they are small and noisy as well, but they serve a nice selection of beers. All in all, I will not stay here again, I stayed here as I was attending a meeting, but if I go again, I'll stay elsewhere as the uniqueness wears off quickly.

Room Tip: All rooms are fun,
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled on business
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Helpful?
Thank Ranbud
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, April 20, 2013
Thank you very much for your feedback. We take your comments very seriously and appreciate your taking the time to let us know. I am sorry to hear that you would not stay with us again. I am addressing your concerns regarding the food and slow service with the restaurant manager and chef. My sincere apologies for not making your stay as wonderful as it should have been.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, USA
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed April 15, 2013

I had only one day in Portland (two nights) and I booked this place hoping I would get a concentrated shot of Portland flavor, which I did. The hotel is wonderful - funky, fun, full of places to eat and drink. I did get a room in the new wing (added on, not part of the school originally) and, as other reviewers said, the room WAS small, but very comfy and of course you have the rest of the place to hang out in. The soaking pool is very nice and was not crowded when I used it (btwn 8 - 10pm, for hotel guests only). If all you did in Portland was go here, you'd be doing pretty good.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Qarisma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rio Verde, Arizona
Level Contributor
36 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed April 9, 2013

We spent four nights at McMenamins' Kennedy School Hotel in Portland, Oregon. It was a great experience. The former elementary school, built in 1914, has been transformed into a great hotel and restaurant destination for visitors and locals alike. Classrooms have been converted to guest rooms, the boiler room into a bar, the cafeteria into a fine restaurant, and an auditorium into a movie theater showing current films. You have four restaurants to choose from. You can wander the halls to enjoy the architecture and artwork. The movie theater is free to guests. Best of all the room rates are reasonable and the food is very good.

Room Tip: Choose a room away from 33rd Avenue. It carries a lot of traffic.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Les H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Albany, Oregon
Level Contributor
554 reviews
59 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 190 helpful votes
Reviewed April 8, 2013

McMenamins has done it again! Saved an old, unused building; and made it something special. Our dinner gathering with friends in the "gym" was great, and our "themed" room was lovely. Staff very helpful. This "special place" was unique and beautiful. Drinks in the Boiler Room to watching movies in their on-site theatre was amazing. Just look up at the ceiling of our 2nd floor hallway, the variety of lights were adorable. Only reason this does not get the highest rating: no tv's in guest rooms and those in the Boiler Room were for "watching" only~no volume, only loud music. So the NCAA Final Four game was watched down at The Station a 5 min. drive away. (Next review) Also, our 2 room key cards continued to deactivate our full stay! Never were near the cell phones! Had to go to front desk to "rekey" them for room entry. Very annoying and disappointing.

Breakfast was very good, but our server had a tough time getting our orders correct. No fruit side dish was served, though ordered by my husband. Coffees put on tabs, though we don't drink or ordered any.

It is a great hotel for families as well as couples. There was a children's birthday party in one main room during the day. Young families were using the "resting pool" to swim and get warm in. All very special, to serve their guests.

Being a former elementary school in northeast Portland, it is located in a residential neighborhood. Once the parking lot is full, and it was on Saturday night; you have to drive around looking for a place to park.

Our bed was very comfortable, and you could not hear a sound from the outside. Which was very nice for a good sleep.

A great place to stay off the beaten path in Portland. There is an alternative to downtown Portland and the national hotel chains!!!

Room Tip: Request, if possible, your room in the original building not the new building if possible. That way...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank OregonExplorers4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Louisiana
Level Contributor
169 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed March 24, 2013 via mobile

I read about this place online, and I became curious. Passing through Portland on my way to Brookings, I thought that this would be an interesting location to spend the night.
Well, indeed it was! Beyond comparison, this hotel transformed from a former school, had all of the imagined charm amd then some. Corridors and hallways with artwork from another era, water fountains from our elementary years, old fashioned chalkboards with chalk and erasers where we could write thoughts all sent me on a journey backwards in time. There is a theater inside the hotel, showing 3 different movies each day, all for only $3. A warm and wonderful soaking pool was part of the magic. High ceilings and literature inspired themes in the guest rooms added an undeniable charm! There were many pubs and restaurants, the Boiler Room, the Honors Bar, the Detention Bar (where you can smoke a cigar if you so desire), the Cypress Room, the Courtyard Restaurant, and each had its own speciality and adornments. I especially loved the light fixtures! All of the staff were super helpful and friendly and the complimentary coffee in the morning was the icing on an already perfect cake!
All at a very fair price! Can't wait to return!

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank amyjemesouviens
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
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Also Known As:
Mcmenamins Kennedy School Portland

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