This was my first stay (one night) at the Garden Court Hotel and upon arrival I was immediately impressed by the beautiful building. We arrived a couple of hours after check-in began (3 p.m.) and experienced no wait for the valet to take our car and to go thru the check-in process. Parking was $17 per night--a very reasonable fee. The hotel lobby is located up a flight of stairs embellished with beautiful tiles. The European ambiance of the lobby was warm and welcoming, as was the gentleman who checked us in at the reception desk. From the beginning to the end of our stay I was so pleased with the professional, refined, yet congenial demeanor of the hotel staff. They are indicative of a very well-managed hotel.
I previously hadn’t stayed at a hotel which required using one’s keycard to access the elevator (going up only). Additionally, one of the keycards (we received 3) needed to be left in a wallslot to activate the power in our room.
Not long after we arrived, I received a call from the front desk making sure that we were comfortable (we were). A welcome card and a plate of fruit (apple, orange and dried cranberries) were also in our room. Somewhat later, 2 members of the housekeeping staff came by with chocolates and checked to see if we needed anything for the evening. When we picked up our car the next day, the valet gave us 2 bottles of Voss water as a departure gift.
Our room #309 was on the top (3rd floor) and located about a hundred steps from the elevator. I actually enjoyed walking the attractive halls and looking out windows to the courtyard below where views of the building’s lovely architecture could be seen along with flowering plants and a pretty fountain.
Although our room was not that large (it was a Queen Deluxe) the floorplan was attractive and functional. The contemporary decor and furnishings were done in predominantly black and white, with natural wood accents. The room had thick wall-to-wall carpeting with a bold geometric design. Large format, texural photographic images of landscapes and architecture were on the walls of our room as well as in the hallways.
Our room had a queen bed with upholstered headboard and a very comfortable mattress, but I found the 4 pillows to be too squishy soft. The bed had a comforter inside a duvet with no separate top sheet or blanket which made it difficult (well, impossible) to stay at a comfortable temperature--it was either no cover at all or the whole shebang on top. Unfortunately for us, this was combined with a very powerful A/C fan (even on the lower setting) which blasted cold air across the bed and was also quite noisy. We tried turning the fan off completely (the room became too stuffy) as well as setting the thermostat higher to no avail comfort-wise. Consequently, neither my husband or I slept well due to the alternating too cold/too hot temperatures resulting from the bedding paired with the A/C on steroids. This was the only major problem we had during our stay--but it was a big one.
Furnishings in our room inc’d a long upholstered bench near the foot of the bed, 2 small nightstands each with a phone and a wall sconce above, and a cabinet which held the honor bar and container of snacks--a nice array of drinks and treats and more extensive a selection than at most hotels. Prices were pretty reasonable too. Wine glasses and champagne flutes were provided.
Our room’s small foyer had a good size desk with its own phone and a large upholstered chair. Power outlets were conveniently accessible right above the desk top. Lighting throughout our room was good and reading at night presented no difficulties.
The closet was roomy and contained plenty of hangers. It also held a cabinet with shelves and 2 drawers. A duo of luggage racks was provided. Had we been staying several nights, there would have been enough storage space.
From the foyer area French doors led out to a small balcony with a metal table and 2 chairs. The balcony overlooked a parking area and alley below and surrounding buildings, but we did enjoy a gorgeous sunset sky from the location.
Large windows with blackout curtains were located adjacent to the bed. We did hear garbage and delivery trucks in the parking area from about 5 a.m. The more expensive courtyard view rooms would be much quieter I would think.
Amenities inc’d: (3) phones, iPod dock/clock radio, wall-mounted LG flat panel TV, in-room safe, free Wi-Fi, iron and ironing board, and (2) bathrobes and slippers. In the morning a San Francisco Chronicle was placed in a fabric bag and hung on our door rather than left on the floor--a nice touch! From 6 a.m. complimentary coffee and hot water for tea along with good quality muffins, pastries and fresh fruit were available on each floor in the lobby area near the elevator. But one needs to get there early as most of the pastries were gone by the time I meandered out at a little after 7 a.m. We didn’t have a chance to use the fitness room on our floor, but peeked in and it was nicely equipped.
Our bathroom was delightful! Not large, but not too small either--just right! The floor, walls and shower surround were covered in the same grey/white marble tiles that were sparkling clean. The counterspace was adequate and the lighting fixtures provided good, even light. A wall-mounted makeup mirror and hairdryer were handy. There were plenty of oversized towels although their texture was somewhat coarse. A small bottle of body wash was provided, but there was no bar soap for the shower.
The oversized shower (no tub) had glass doors and a large, fixed overhead showerhead (rainshower) plus a wall-mounted hand-held one. The temperature control was somewhat slow to respond and the lever controlling the 2 showerheads was a bit awkward to figure out. But once they all were set, the water pressure and temperature were fine and the “shower experience” was a very nice one. There was no bathroom fan and the vent wasn’t able to keep up with the humidity created by a hot shower so the room became quite steamy.
Our primary reason for being in Palo Alto was to visit Stanford and the magnificent Rodin sculptures at the Cantor Center for the Arts. The campus was minutes away from the hotel and a stress-free drive. Even though our time was limited, we walked around the neighborhood surrounding the Garden Court and it was a great pleasure to see the well-maintained historic homes, tree-lined streets and beautiful blooming gardens that flowed out to the sidewalks and curbs. It was a gorgeous sight! We stopped for a coffee drink at Peets and noted the California Pizza Kitchen across from the hotel, although we didn’t eat there. We did have dinner at Il Fornaio, which is part of an upscale Italian restaurant chain, located on the bottom level and across the courtyard in the Garden Court’s building. The restaurant was bustling with activity that Sunday night and we had an enjoyable dinner there. They have an impressive wine list too!
The lovely ambiance, superb service and attention to details that we experienced at the Garden Court reminded me so much of a boutique hotel in Santa Barbara, one of my favorite locales. Had we not undergone the “temperature torture” while trying to sleep, I would have given the Garden Court “5 circles” without any hesitation. Reading a number of reviews by other guests, I found no mention of a similar scenario, so I have to conclude that it was just an unusual combination of factors that resulted in our problem. I hope to be able to prove that theory one day with a return visit to the Garden Court!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Garden Court Hotel and Event Venue rated in 2014 - Four Stars by Forbes Travel Guide. Located in downtown Palo Alto's tree lined streets this luxury boutique hotel offers 62 guestrooms and suites. Ideal for business travelers, meetings in Silicon Valley, leisure guests exploring the area and brides looking for a romantic wedding. With contemporary chic design, charm, luxurious amenities, attention to detail, spectacular location and privacy this ultimate urban retreat is amazing! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Garden Court Palo Alto
- Hotel Garden Court