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McMenamins Kennedy School
Ranked #33 of 141 Hotels in Portland
Certificate of Excellence
Woodland, Washington
Level Contributor
75 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Go to another hotel”
Reviewed January 15, 2014

I am a frequent guest at McMenamins. This is the worst one that I have ever stayed at. The staff was rude in the bars and the hotel was to loud. They dont have enough seperation from the bars to the rooms. The place is unique like all of McMenamins hotels it just was not worth the stay.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Damon L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloria M, Manager at McMenamins Kennedy School, responded to this review, January 18, 2014
I thank you for taking the time to provide your comments and apologize for the customer service issues you encountered during your stay. This is not in line with our service practices and will be following up with the approprite management and addressing the issues you have brought forth. Additionally I welcome the opportunity to further discuss your recent visit and will be sending you a private message for more details. We value you as a frequent patron of McMenamins and would like to have the opportunity to make this right.
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582 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (133)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 8, 2014

A property so unique that it ends up being a destination unto itself. If you're trying to decide if this hotel is for you, ask yourself the following questions:

• Are you just looking for a place to crash? That is, do you just want to check in, go to sleep, then get up the next morning and move on? If so, then the answer is NO.

This hotel is less about luxury and convenience, and more about providing a unique experience that takes a bit of time to appreciate. If you do what I did my first visit, and just blow in and out, you will end up paying for an experience you won't get to appreciate. And the location is a bit off of the beaten path for those looking for an "off-the-exit" place to stay the night.

• Are you looking to have all the typical room amenities, like TV w/pay-per-view, super-fast wi-fi, room fridge, etc.? Then the answer is probably NO.

This hotel is less about modernity and more a celebration of quirkiness. I have stayed in two different parts of the hotel, and both times my room had a sparse but clean bathroom, no TV, and featured a comfortable but basic setup. This is not a quiet, relaxing sort of place where the bed is so comfortable you just want to bury yourself in the sheets and sleep forever, or where you set up a laptop on the desk in your room and power through some work.

• Do you like wandering aimlessly, exploring local history, looking at original artwork, and appreciating an everything-including-the-kitchen-sink, more-is-more approach to interior design? Then YES, book a room now.

If the album cover aesthetic present on the Smashing Pumpkins' 'Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness' mashed it up with a PBS documentary about a neighborhood school, this is what you would get. I could spend an hour just walking the hallways and looking at all of the art, perusing the historical displays, and taking in the funky architectural details that grace the building. And then when you get back to your room, you can pick up the chalk and draw on the old-school (literally!) blackboards.

• Does the idea of checking in and then taking a dip, watching a movie in a theater while sitting on a comfy couch, going on an art walk, having dinner by an outdoor fire, seeing a live band perform, shooting some pool, going bar-hopping, then falling asleep in a bed with a hand-painted headboard themed on a particular work of literature, all without leaving the hotel, appeal to you? Then YES, book now.

You don't even have to have an itinerary elsewhere in Portland to have a good time in Portland. Just check in and make the rounds in the building. On both of my stays (weekends) the place was hopping with a mixture of guests and locals coming here to hang out. It had a party vibe going well past midnight, which makes sense as they brew their own beer on site.

This place is amazing.

Room Tip: The rooms in the "English Wing" are in a separate building than the main school. Those roo...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Brian C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloria M, Manager at McMenamins Kennedy School, responded to this review, January 31, 2014
Thank you for your wonderful review and comments. We are different from your typical hotels and we take pride in this. We look foward to seeing you next time you are in Portland.
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oceanbug123
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2013

It's 8pm and I see about 12 kids all screaming and running around the hall. Many of them are in their pajamas and I feel awkward as they run around like it's an actual school.

I think is ridiculous to bring your children here! It's disruptive and obnoxious, reallllly!

I won't be back to Kennedy School, the other properties are not like this!! Fix it!

Service was terrible as well. Horrible experience.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank oceanbug123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloria M, Manager at McMenamins Kennedy School, responded to this review, January 8, 2014
Thank you for your feedback. We take all reviews seriously and I will be sending you a private message to get more details about your stay.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, NV
Level Contributor
196 reviews
75 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 159 helpful votes
Reviewed December 20, 2013

This is a place like few others. Part of the McMenamin's chain, this hotel and its associated restaurants and bars is a real find. A converted early 20th century, sprawling single-story school, its original rooms and halls have been converted to a miscellany of restaurants, meeting spaces, bars and hotel rooms. A movie theater. A soaking pool complete with wood-nymphs (your mileage may vary). Everywhere, eclectic art adorns the walls. You can spend an hour or so, as if at an art gallery, wandering the corridors.

The main restaurant is spacious, beautifully and eclectically decorated (like the whole of the Kennedy School), and served by waitrons with great training and attitude. The food is a mix of standard fare and creative experiments. We stuck to the riskier and more creative food, which will probably be different by the time you visit, and were never disappointed. In fact, on a few occasions we were amazed. Definitely five-star for a hotel.

Several bars are scattered around the property. Some notes... Detention bar: deliciously smoky, great for cigar fanciers but others may want to give it a wide berth. Honors bar: tiny, 3 x 5 m, so dimly lit the bartender had to use a flashlight to keep up with her figures, La Boheme playing on a discreet stereo, Gothic fitments, expensive but given the personnel:customer ratio it has to be.

Rooms: fabulous on first sight. Ours, the Mirror Mirror room, was part of an old classroom still adorned by the original chalkboard and other fixtures. We laughed like children on first entering it. What a refreshingly different experience!

That said, the transition was sketchier than it should have been. We searched for the cognitive dissonance of old and modern, low- and high-tech, and found a shotgun marriage between the two rather than a real relationship. No Internet in the rooms, no coffee in the rooms, low-end (though functional) in-room bathrooms. Very few sockets for modern devices hungry for charging. These items are trivial to add after the cost of the transformation from run-down school to trendy, upmarket hotel. Lack of these essentials for the modern traveler cost the Kennedy School a star, I'm very sorry to say. I would it were otherwise. Management, take note.

That said, if you are holidaying and have little need for connectivity or operate on your own hotspot anyway, and have brought along a multiple outlet adapter, and count charm above finish, as you should, the Kennedy School is a fabulous Portland destination.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank SoItinerant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloria M, Manager at McMenamins Kennedy School, responded to this review, December 27, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to review us. Your comments are delighful and your feedback is appreciated. We are always striving to make our guests experiences more enjoyable and your comments do not fall on deaf ears. We provide complimentary WIFI through our entire building. Some areas do have a better connection. We will speaking with our IT department to find a solution to this. We do not provide coffee in the rooms, but we do have coffee avaialble to our guests at the Front Desk from 7am until 11am, and sometimes earlier if requested. We roast our own coffee and have different selections being brewed through out the morning. We provide powerstrips by the bed so guests can plug in their electoronic devices. The powerstrips are slightly hidden under the bed for aesthetic reasons. We look forward to seeing you again.
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Entiat
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed December 15, 2013

This place is full of funky, artistic and historical fun. Simple, roomy, guest rooms have been refurbished from old schoolrooms. Comfy beds, clean bathrooms. The real draw is the rest of the building; multiple pubs and restaurants, a brewery, a movie theater, a tiny cigar bar (AKA "Detention") where you can enjoy a bourbon and cigar---worth the experience even if you are a non-smoker like me! The soaking pool is wonderful, just wish it was open a bit later each evening. Great neighboorhood with the fun and artistic Rose District within walking distance.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Zaptastic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloria M, Manager at McMenamins Kennedy School, responded to this review, December 27, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write such a wonderful review. The building alone is a wonderful reason to visit us. Next you are here you may want to try the self-guided Art Walk. It is a fun activity to do if you are interested in the history and art work in the building. We look forward to seeing you again next time you are in Portland.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashville, TN
Level Contributor
176 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed December 12, 2013

I have become o big fan of the McMenamin's properties. The Kennedy School is the latest in our list of hotels we've visited. The property is in the suburbs north of the city center. (fairly close to the airport) There are pubs and restaurants, the heated soaking pool, a movie theater and meeting rooms available. The quirky artwork is here as in every property. We stayed in the new "English Wing" with a large, clean room and a comfy bed. The books on the shelves prompted my wife to read enough to buy a copy of one of the books from Powell's the next day. We filled our room's mason jar with cider and strolled through the school before taking a dip in the soaking pool. We may have found a new home base for future trips to Portland.

Room Tip: A benefit of the English Wing is its distance from the hustle and bustle - and noise - of the rest o...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TreadLightAdventurer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloria M, Manager at McMenamins Kennedy School, responded to this review, December 27, 2013
Thank you for your wonderful review and feedback. We are delighted to hear our guests are enjoying the books we provide in the rooms. It gave you folks the perfect reason to head to Powells Book Store. We look forward to seeing you again and hope we do become your home base in Portland.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson
Level Contributor
95 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed December 8, 2013

This is a total experience, not just a hotel. Do not book here if you want a typical hotel, you will be disappointed. If however, you want an eclectic experience - this is the place for you. No TV, no radio, just a elementary school converted into a living art vibe. No coffee in the room, but free coffee in the lobby @ 5am, so just a short walk. Everywhere you look there is art and a cleverly named room that is a gathering place - a theatre, steam pool, and too many bars to name. Our kids bought their passport and we had fun exploring to obtain stamps. They brew their own beers, distill their own alcohols & wines (elsewhere). Good bfast in the courtyard, ok happy hour. A fun place to try!

Room Tip: We had the Cherry room which faced the main street, did not seem to matter
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Lbjcartier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloria M, Manager at McMenamins Kennedy School, responded to this review, December 10, 2013
Thank you for your thoughtful review. We are not your typical hotel and take pride in saying that. The new McMenamins Passport is definitely a fun way to explore the property and other locations. We look forward to seeing you again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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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