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“A great hotel for one day or for three months”
Review of Cardinal Hotel

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Cardinal Hotel
Ranked #12 of 27 Hotels in Palo Alto
Reviewed 29 May 2009

I am writing a review of The Cardinal Hotel In Palo Alto for two reasons. First, I was very surprised to read the few negative reviews of the hotel - a criticism I truly do not understand - and I want to offer some observations which are I feel are more balanced, more accurate, and more reflective of what most people experience when they stay there. Second, after more than a decade of visiting Palo Alto and always staying at the Cardinal, I want to express my deep appreciation publicly for the fine service and excellent facilities I have enjoyed at this hotel during both brief and extended stays.

When I was in the process of moving to Palo Alto three years ago, I stayed at The Cardinal for several months while I searched for a permanent residence in the area. During this time, I was continually impressed with the high quality of service - especially the daily care of my room - with the friendliness and helpfulness of the people who manned the front desk, and with the reputation which the hotel enjoys as one of Palo Alto unique institutions, combining “old world” charm with contemporary value and service. And I especially enjoyed the convenience of staying in a location which is both in downtown Palo Alto and which is easy walking distance from Stanford University.

On the basis of this particular experience, as well as many one and two night stays at The Cardinal over the past ten years, I confidently recommend - in fact, strongly urge - any one I know who is visiting Palo Alto to stay at The Cardinal Hotel. It’s a wonderful hotel at a wonderful price.

2  Thank celticsniners
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 May 2009

The good old (however recently renovated) Cardinal is a home away from home, if you ask me. I have stayed there a number of times in the course of the last 15 years and find it super. The service is great and Bob (at the front desk) is insuperable. It is also great to see that the majority of the people working there are the same as 15 years ago (including Blanca at the reception and Maria up on the 3rd floor). Quite something, indeed. The rooms and bathrooms are spacious and clean, coffee is always readily available downstairs and the elevator does not make you feel you are taking off on a Concord everytime you take it.

Sure there can be a little noise because you are right in downtown Palo Alto but it is enough to close the window for the noise to fade away immediately. No air conditioning I find a plus. It is better for the environment and for your health as well. Whenever I asked the reception to please make a dinner reservation on my behalf (two such requests during my last stay) they made it and with a big smile on their faces. And everytime I have asked for advice on places where to eat, I was always given good and personalized advice. Not the standard list of nearby restaurants but a smaller and more detailed list based on the people's actual experience. Also, when I was just there, it was rather cold (for April and for Palo Alto). The heating in the rooms was perfect and I did not feel cold in my room or in the hotel once.

The location of the Cardinal is super (I walk everywhere from the Cardinal and this is truly unique for the US and for California in particular), the service is wonderful and personalized (and Bob is a true gem, someone with whom you can also have an informed conversation on history, philosophy, music, on virtually anything), the atmosphere is cozy and unique. I like it a lot.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled on business
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1  Thank Linda_CO2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 February 2009

This hotel was clean and pretty. The facility features are nice (although the mattress is very hard). If you care more about cleanliness and pretty surroundings, then you may like this hotel.

The drawback is in the service. If you expect any type of service besides checking in and out of the hotel, you can forget it. The employees reminded me of people from "The Twighlight Zone". If you're traveling for business, it might be ok, but I wouldn't recommend it for pleasure because it will ruin your stay. There is no parking specifically for the hotel. I arrived there on Thursday evening as it got dark. I could not find any close parking and ended up parking 1 1/2 blocks away in a parking garage. I had to drag my suitcase and other belongings with me to the hotel. For a single woman, I was very nervous about having to do so in the dark.

Also, the hotel does not have a restaurant and the staff are clueless as to what restaurants deliver. I did go to the Italian restaurant next door and ordered out. The food was good. There was no other information about what restaurants are around unless you walk around the area yourself. I did not want to go out walking around in the dark by myself.

I would recommend bringing ear plugs with you. The area is very noisy, especially if your room overlooks the alley as mine did. You can forget about sleeping in past 5:30 am because the garbage trucks and recycling crews are hard at work making as much noise as possible after that.
I thought Internet access was free, however there is a $5.00 charge per day to use it. The staff is efficient in processing the charge and did not seem to have issues with that type of information.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled solo
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1  Thank rnr515
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2009

We stayed at this hotel for the Stanford Reunion. We did not feel appreciated by the front desk staff. For every complaint we were told to talk to the manager - who was not there when I checked several times, and did not make an effort to contact us and review our problems. Also, when I called the person on the phone when making reservations was not friendly enough. However, the location was great, parking was not too much of a problem, and the room was quaint. You really can't beat the price if you get a room with a shared bathroom. Everything was clean. The street was VERY NOISY all night long with parties and college students walking back and forth below. There was no air conditioner, but the weather in California is mild enough that you can just leave the windows open if you don't mind the noise below. I will stay there every time I visit since I'm a heavy sleeper and don't mind the small room. Very nice lobby. I had a nice time.

  • Stayed: October 2008
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1  Thank horselovercaligirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 November 2008

A very nice, quaint place with personality in Palo Alto with relatively easy access to the bus to the Stanford campus and to some quality food and shopping. I found the front desk staff quite friendly and helpful, contrary to what some guests have stated in their reviews. The room was very clean and moderately sized, and I found the furniture and bed comfortable. The bathroom was also very clean, but the shower was a little cramped because of the window (and protruding sill). My only real complaint was the street noise, particularly the side alley at my window (on the southwest side of the building) that had a row of large trash dumpsters. Friday morning must be the trash day given that I was jarred awake in the morning by the sound of MANY dumpters being shaken, one at at time, into a large truck. Otherwise, I enjoyed my stay and would stay there again.

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled on business
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1  Thank BluesTraveling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 November 2008

WORD OF WARNING...DO NOT STAY AT THIS HOTEL!!!

I stayed at this hotel with a group of coworkers while on business. While the hotel has a charm to it, the price is nice, and the location is great, the service SUCKS!!!! The staff at the front desk are rude and unhelpful. When someone in the group asked Bob, (the guy behing the front desk) where the restaurants were Bob pointed his finger and motioned around the corner. That was it!! Someone else asked the lady (tall with short cropped hair) at the front desk if she could reserve a taxi for them for the airport. The lady behind the desk pulled out a sheet of paper with numbers of taxi companies on it and told her she'd have to call herself. Jeez...what are we paying for??? Then another coworker asked Bob if there was heat because the rooms were cold. Bob said "well it's just that time of year!" After much banter back an forth Bob agreed to turn the heat on only for THAT night. Keep in mind that it was cold the other 3 nights we were there but Bob refused to turn the heat on that week. This kind of service is worse than a section 8 slum lord!!! It's also illegal to not turn the heat on when the outside temperature reaches a certain point. Aside from the service, the walls are paper thin and you can hear every word of your neighbors. You can also hear the floor creek above you when someone is walking on it. You can also feel the springs in the bed. While the bathroom was nicely renovated the toilet bowl ran all night. We felt horrible because our group was large and we were priced out of the other hotels in the area. So word to the wise, unless you're borderline on being homeless for the night, you may find your stay more pleasant at other hotels even if they are further away.

  • Stayed: October 2008, travelled on business
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2  Thank worldtraveler1228
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 October 2008

This is a charming small historical hotel located in the heart of downtown Palo Alto. The cleanliness is just outstanding! I have never had a cleaner room. The staff is friendly and the rooms are exceptionally nice for an older hotel! The have great amenities: Fantastic Italian Gourmet In-Room Coffee, Flat panel TV’s and wireless internet. As a business traveler I really appreciate the location and quality as well as great service.

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled on business
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1  Thank IrishOne041
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 94301-2530
Region: United States > California > Palo Alto
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 27 Hotels in Palo Alto
Price Range: £100 - £126 (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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