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“Excellent value hotel for family gatherings and events in downtown Palo Alto” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Cardinal Hotel

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Cardinal Hotel
Ranked #13 of 27 Hotels in Palo Alto
Palo Alto
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Excellent value hotel for family gatherings and events in downtown Palo Alto”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 July 2009

Thanks to the Cardinal Hotel. You have been very gracious to my family for the second time now - once during our reunion a few years ago and this time for my daughter's wedding. I really love it that there is a good old-fashioned hotel in town. The following is a short description of the hotel.

The rooms are smallish but very tastefully done and comfortable with large windows that overlook downtown Palo Alto and its civic plaza. The hotel has both rooms with ensuite bathrooms there are also rooms that use common bathrooms - in other words, there is something for multiple budgets.

The hallways are wide and bright with windows at each end and the ceilings much higher than the normal ceiling heights of today's buildings, very necessary since the hotel has no air conditioning although this is not needed in Palo Alto much except for a few weeks a year.

They have a beautiful lobby with comfortable old style furniture, and authentic old fashioned telephone switchboard and rotary phone, even a bank vault door because perhaps the building served other purposes in the past.

There is complimentary coffee and tea in the lobby which is not the usual weak variety you find in most hotels and there is internet in the mezzanine room for those who need to check their emails. Most of all, the place is so centrally located that if you need to visit Stanford or the downtown Palo Alto area, you can come in by Caltrain from SFO and walk to the hotel (3-4 short blocks) and be within walking distance of all the eateries and shops of the University Avenue area and a short shuttle ride to Stanford University.

They have a great wedding package for people who want to make this their wedding headquarters.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank world_traveler_also
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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196 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 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
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
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English first
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 July 2009

I have mixed emotions about this hotel... First impression was great. The lobby is gorgeous, the location is great, and the service was friendly.

The rooms are a bit plain (no big deal). The beds leave a little to be desired. They arent terrible, but I've definitely slept on much more comfortable beds.

What I didn't like was: no A/C or ventilation of any kind (it was July). Yeah, the weather in the bay area is nice, but when you open the window, you're on busy hamilton street. Even with the window closed, I can hear the truck traffic in the morning and the drunken college students at the bar across the street at night.

Also, only street parking is available (2 hr or 3 hr M-F).

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank marsy00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dublin
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 May 2009

I regularly stay at the Cardinal for business. As well as being a classic Californian/Spanish colonial throwback, think James Stewart in Vertigo or Cary Grant in North by Northwest, it is a wonderful antitode to the sterile, bland hotel chains. It is simple, but with most mod cons and it is terrifically located smack in lively beautiful downtown Palo Alto and thus offers a leafy, cosmopolitan, almost European city feel and thus a haven for those visiting Silicon Valley or Stanford University. I always stay there for the "Hey Norm" effect!

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank RossesRover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santa Barbara, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 May 2009

My job requires me to drive occasionally to the Bay Area, and I have been happy to discover in Palo Alto a hotel which is not only comfortable, pleasant, and conveniently located, but relatively easy on the expense account as well. I have stayed there on my last three trips to the area and have been very pleased each time.

The Cardinal Hotel is in downtown Palo Alto on the corner of Hamilton and Ramona streets, cattycorner from a large, free, 24-hour parking lot. From check-in to check-out, the staff of the hotel couldn't be more welcoming or helpful in recommending local restaurants (there is a very good Italian restaurant attached to the hotel and a terrific creperie next door), providing information about local events, and generally attending to any requests. Nearby Stanford University, I'm told, often has their professional guests stay at the Cardinal, and it's easy to see why. I recommend this hotel highly; it’s now the only one I stay at in Palo Alto. One final bonus, at least for me, is a highly regarded yoga studio right across the street. This is a great place to stay.

  • Stayed May 2008, travelled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank slowriter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Menlo Park
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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.

Helpful?
2 Thank celticsniners
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Florence, Italy
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Linda_CO2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 bubbles 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.

  • Liked — The beauty of the building
  • Disliked — The service, noise, and distant parking
  • Stayed February 2009, travelled solo
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank rnr515
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Cardinal Hotel

Property: Cardinal Hotel
Address: 235 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301
Region: United States > California > Palo Alto
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Suites
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Palo Alto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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