We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Going Back to School”

Best prices for -
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 7 more sites!
McMenamins Kennedy School
Ranked #32 of 144 Hotels in Portland
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 5 January 2008

Six long-time women friends (from the time we were 5 to 62) decided to "play," giggle, and have a local long-overdue slumber party. The Kennedy School was most accommodating, offering two huge rooms including space for roll-away beds in a suite called "Girls Play Court!" We enjoyed excellent service at the restaurant/pub, comfortable beds, beautiful plants and shrubs surrounding the school and courts, a free first rate movie in plush living room furniture, a soak in the hot tub, free bottled water and pots of coffee in the AM. Surrounded by lots of lively grade school art and merry guests we even attended a bluegrass dance event in the gym which had brought in a lot of local young people and families. It was a warm, friendly, soul and body-satisfying experience and we are all now getting caught up on our rest. Thanks for being there, McMenamins!

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank clpb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
Reviews (607)
There are newer reviews for McMenamins Kennedy School
See the most recent reviews
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language

558 - 564 of 607 reviews

Reviewed 30 November 2007

Our family stayed five nights in two rooms built from a single classroom--the Hopscotch room and the Blues room. As other people have said, the accomodations are pretty basic but the property more than compensates.

The beds are queen-sized and rather lumpy and sagging, but warm and with good pillows. There is no television nor any other entertainment, but with free internet, a computer and DVDs we brought, and loaner books in our room we didn't miss it. OK, I lied....we did miss it, but we didn't realize we missed it until we got back.

The bathrooms are nice but small and only have showers. The water is hot and the pressure is decent. There was a bit of mold on the inside door seams--housekeeping is WAY fast and not very thorough. There are two soaps and one shampoo/conditioner combo provided in the room. If you forget to bring extra toiletries, there is a Walgreens and organic market only one block down the street from Kennedy School.

The rooms come with a desk, chair, two nightstands, and either a wardrobe or classroom cloakroom, which was nice for storing items. Pencils, pub coasters, bottled waters, and empty pint glasses are also set out on the desk.

When I called to confirm our reservation, the front desk staff were a bit snotty--they thought I was weird for confirming. But given the number of problems I've encountered in the past, I'd rather be annoying than find myself without a room. Maybe they felt bad about that, because when we got there they gave us a surprise 10% discount without saying why.

We ate and drank at all the bars and the restaurant. Note to California visitors: the Detention and Courtyard bars are still smoking, and even though we were cool about it, it was suprising how much it ended up making your throat scratchy and clothes stink. You can buy cigars in both these bars. The beers were excellent--we tried them all. Also try the Spanish and/or Moroccan coffees--fantastic. Each bar has a wood stove which makes up for the relatively cold halls of the hotel. The Honors bar was nearly always empty while the Detention one was usually packed with people enjoying the jazz and/or watching sports on one of the two tvs on the property. The Cypress Room was WAY packed at any given time and also stayed open the latest.

We didn't try the soaking pool--the little changing room stank and turned us off. The movie theater looked great but there was no movie playing that we really wanted to see.

We ate at the Courtyard Restaurant every day. The Schoolhouse breakfast was only $6.60 and included eggs, toast, bacon/sausage, potatoes, and a generous fruit garnish. Other standouts: smoked cheddar and crab fondue (heavenly!), pesto pizza, hazelnut french toast, chicken pasta (I don't remember what else was in it), brewer's salad. The food's not gourmet but way better than pub grub and a decent price.

One note of caution: I can't stand curry spice and it was heavily in the tofu scramble and the distillery salad's chicken, but wasn't listed on the menu. The servers, however, were some of the nicest I've ever met and happily replaced my order.

The only major complaint was that once the Cypress Room opened, the smell of cigarette smoke would come into our room if the heat was on. The hotel staff said they would check into it after we left (we didn't complain about it until our last night).

One block down the street is also an alehouse, a Subway, a barbecue stand, and Hotlips pizza. That was some of the best pizza I've ever had. They sell it by the slice and use only local ingredients. We each pigged out on two slices plus a soft drink apiece for less than $15.

Kennedy School is a great base for exploring Portland. We also happened to visit a couple other hotels, and the quietness of the surrounding neighborhood and proximity to downtown Portland made this place a true find.

  • Stayed: November 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
7  Thank AnonymousSac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2007

Wow.

McMenamin's Kennedy School is, without a doubt, the most unusual lodging we have stayed in. I work in a hotel, so really the last place I want to be in while on vacation is a hotel.


***General Impressions***
Kennedy School is housed in a renovated elementary school, and evidence of the building's previous life still exists throughout. The former principal's office is now the front desk and gift shop, the former auditorium is now a movie theater, and the old gym is now a meeting room. Bookworms like us take note: There is even a library (housed, not surprisingly, in the school's former library) that houses books guests are welcome to read back in their rooms. (It's tough to find a time to get in there when there's no meeting going on, though.)

Most fun of all, the place where decades ago teachers lounged is now a wonderfully relaxing, heated pool that is very refreshing after a long day. Do be sure to check out the artwork along all the corridors. A self-guided tour pamplet is available from the front desk.


***The Courtyard Restaurant***
We had the pleasure of eating at The Courtyard Restaurant (formerly the school's cafeteria) three times: twice for breakfast, and once for lunch. The prices were reasonable, and the portions quite large. Neither of us was able to finish all of our food, and without refrigerators in the rooms, we had no way to keep it, either. But they really do feed you well. Service is attentive, and the waitstaff very friendly. (Do they even hire introverts there? :-) ) On our last morning, though, the waitress brought us our bill then disappeared, leaving us frustrated with the lack of ability to close out our tab and depart back to the airport. I was finally able to track someone down after the 20-minute or so delay, but this lack of final detail did cut into our enjoyment ever so slightly. Nonetheless, the Courtyard is highly recommended, especially if you have the time to spend a leisurely mealtime.

There are some other places to eat there (notably the Honors and Detention Bars), but we did not visit those during our stay. Looked very lively, though.


***Oh, yeah, the rooms themselves . . .***
For the record, we stayed in the "Marble and Hopscotch" room, located at the northeast corner of the building.

The school's former classrooms have been converted into hotel rooms, complete with the original ceiling lights, chalkboards, and oh, yes, those school clocks we watched all too well back in the day. :-) Each has its own bathroom with shower. (I would have liked a tub, but that's a very minor issue.) The queen size beds are quite comfortable, and the rooms also contain a desk and wardrobe. I did find that, in our room at least, the provided lighting was just barely adequate for reading, so for people who may have weaker eyesight, I might suggest bringing a portable book light. Again, a very, very minor issue (We didn't spend a whole lot of time in our room), and the gentleman at the front desk assured us that they were looking into better lighting in the rooms.

We had fun writing messages on the chalkboard, and the housekeeping staff had I am sure just as much fun writing cute messages back to us. Having a fresh copy of the local daily paper, <I>The Oregonian</i>, waiting outside our door each morning was an unexpected pleasant surprise. Oh, and the coffee they serve at the front desk (free to guests!) is, and I say this with no reservations, *THE* best coffee I have ever tasted. Wow. No question about it, hands down, best coffee ever. Don't miss it!


***Closing Thoughts***
The school is in an older residential neighborhood, and there is a lot to see and do in the general area. Just a block away is a wide variety of restaurants, and there is a Walgreen's Drug store to pick up any supplies or snacks you may have forgotten at home. Despite other reviews to the contrary, the public transit in the area is excellent, with two bus lines (the 10 and the 57) whizzing right by every few minutes. We never had to wait more than a few minutes for a bus, and there is an automated number you can call to find out in real time when the next bus will come by. If you do want a schedule or map, though, the front desk staff will definitely give you one, and will also help you plan a trip to where you are going. A car is definitely unnecessary in Portland though it might be helpful for the initial trip from the airport if you have more than two bags. (We only rented a car for one day of our stay, when we travelled up north to the Olympic Peninsula.)

The staff is very easygoing, and definitely every single employee we encountered went above and beyond to make sure we had a great time. We saw singles, business types, couples of all ages, and families with children. (I never got a chance to ask a child what he or she thought about going to school on vacation.) The place also draws a large local crowd to the theater, restaurant, and pool, so it's really a great place to meet people who live in the area.


***The Verdict***
McMennamin's Kennedy School? HIGHLY recommended. As described above, the only two complaints I have are very minor, and my only regret about this place is that we couldn't stay longer. This creative, unique establishment gets an "A+" from us. WE WILL BE BACK!!!!

I will be placing pictures on my weblog at www.livejournal.com/~jumbach in the near future.

  • Stayed: October 2007, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank jumbach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 October 2007

I'm a local Portlander, and a big fan of the way McMenamins rescues old landmarks which may otherwise be torn down in the name of "progress" and brings them back to life. This place is a favorite, as it retains much of the same ambience as it did when it was built around 1913.

The lunchroom, gym, and the assembly rooms have all been redone with a mix of quirkyness while retaining the flavor of old Portland. Kids love it as much as grandparents and great grandparents because most of us can relate to it in some manner.

The photos of students, teachers, and principals who wandered the halls between 1913 and 1973 hang on the walls like a museum. The expressions never changed too much in those 60 years of education.

The beer is excellent if you are a lover of microbrews. There is also a good selection of wines. I've been ordering the Communication Breakdown Burger for almost 20 years. And the prices are reasonable so you don't need to bring the bank.

It's worth stopping here if you are in town----a memorable restaurant that is definitely unique to the area.

  • Stayed: October 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank pdxjeff1959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 September 2007

I loved the decor of this converted elementary school-turned-hotel and the atmosphere was great. Comfy bed, fantastic movie theatre (free for hotel guests!) and fabulous soaking pool. Just about my only complaint is that one of the very friendly front desk people gave us wrong directions....three times.

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank APhillips817
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 September 2007

McMenamins have been very creative and imaginative in transforming an old elementary school into a fascinating place to stay and explore. We just stayed one night and met friends for a dinner elsewhere, so we didn't use the movie theater or the soaking pool, but it was fun to check in at the old Principal's office and to have a closet in our room that extended the width of the room--with hooks at about the height of our waist (the old cloakroom). But there are a few things to know about that might bother some people. The bathroom is clean and reasonably sized, but only has a shower, with few of the shampoos and other amenities that one expects to find. There is wireless in the room, but few electrical outlets, so we had to unplug the desk lamp to plug in the computer. The lighting in general was not very bright, so reading in bed was not easy, and there was no light in the closet. As others have noted, there is no TV in the room. The room is good sized, but the furniture, while attractive looking, is not exceptionally comfortable. I'm not quite sure about the logistics of using the soaking pool--it might be wise to bring your own towel if you want to use the pool, as the towels in the room are adequate for drying off after a shower but not luxurious or numerous. (And there are no terry robes). But if these kinds of things are not show-stoppers for you, it's an amazing experience to stay here and I have a feeling I will remember it for quite some time to come.

  • Stayed: September 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
4  Thank Culture_Lover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 September 2007

My husband and I were dissapointed in our stay at Kennedy School. We would not go back. For what we paid i would expect it to be nicer. The towels were thin and wimpy, and there was no tv in the room. I realize that their goal is not to have you stay in your room the whole time watching tv and they expect you to use the facilities but not everyone can sit in a bar and drink or hang out in the restaurant or watch movies. I really think that they need to provide television in the rooms for those people that like that as part of a vacation. I also didn't like that it was so far from everything. If you are looking for a relaxing, plush, service oriented vacation do not go here.

Stayed: September 2007
2  Thank wabadee1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Travellers also viewed these Portland hotels
Downtown
Crystal Hotel
Crystal Hotel
#42 of 144 in Portland
297 reviews
Jupiter Hotel
#67 of 144 in Portland
564 reviews
Inn at Northrup Station
#7 of 144 in Portland
1,084 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
Downtown
Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to McMenamins Kennedy School? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about McMenamins Kennedy School

Address: 5736 NE 33rd Ave, Portland, OR 97211-7302
Region: 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: £140 - £199 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — McMenamins Kennedy School 3.5*
Number of rooms: 57
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com and Agoda so you can book your McMenamins Kennedy School reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Mcmenamins Kennedy School Portland

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing