McMenamins Kennedy School
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Historical Traveler Reviews McMenamins Kennedy School Portland
Unique + Friendly, Great Neighborhood
I was going to be in Portland on business and booked the room over the phone after reading reviews and browsing their website. I received a nice discount for 4 nights in early January. It was a good deal and I enjoyed the stay, the staff was very friendly, the rooms were big and clean and have chalkboards to doodle on. There are no TVs in the rooms which was sort of a surprise - even so, I didn't really mind it that much. The one real downside was that the room heat was spotty - very hot the first day then freezing the next night. (There are no heating controls in the room - you need to call the front desk.) The bathroom (standing shower) was retro-style new and nice.
The Kennedy School food isn't spectacular, just average bar fare. The Courtyard restaurant is noisy/crazy when full of families. Best to avoid - there can be long waits. Breakfast was very good and much more relaxed. Try the breakfast sausage and marionberry jam. The McMenamins site-brewed beer is excellent (esp. Terminator Stout and Nebraska), however, as a non-smoker, I was nearly overwhelmed by the (mostly) cigar smoke in the Detention and Cypress bars. One night there was a smoky haze in the hallway outside the Detention bar and I decided not to go in. In the Cypress bar you can eat, but I didn't because it was too smoky. The Honors bar is non-smoking, but no one ever seemed to be in there (there is a strict no-smoking rule in hallways and guest rooms).
The best part about this hotel is that you can stay here and still be a short bus ride away from Downtown Portland. The #10 bus stops in front of the school and for $1.35 you can be downtown in 15-20 minutes. While I was there, I never needed a taxi. Plus, only a block away from the hotel is a Walgreens and a New Seasons Market which is loaded with an amazing assortment of fresh food, produce, pre-cooked deli items, vegetarian fare, beer, wine, cheese, bottled water - you name it. There is also a liquor store and a take away pizza place.
In summary: I could have stayed downtown but glad I didn't because of the Kennedy School neighborhood. The hotel is very unique and worth a visit but watch out for kids running pell mell through the hallways and visitors with beers checking out the art in front of your room. The average age of the staff is 20-something and the guests are around 30-something, so keep that in mind. The Kennedy School is for the young and the young at heart. I would stay there again.
Good and Bad
Good points: friendly staff, unique rooms using old classrooms with an educational theme. Better than average food. Free hot pool. The Hammerhead Package (for an extra $10 you get a meal, a beer and a cinema ticket).
Bad point: probably not suitable for children. Some of the beers were a little disappointing - but we wanted to stay at a microbrewery
An Amusement Park for Adults!
What a great experience! Having read the other favorable reviews, I agree completely and am not sure what else I can add. The only drawback: We went to see Portland and had so much fun at the Kennedy School, it was hard to get out to see anything else! Well, okay, we did take a drive up the Columbia River one day, and stopped at McMenamin's Edgefield Lodge for lunch. And stopped there again for lunch on our way from Portland to Bend. And once we reached Roseburg a couple days later, of course we had to visit McMenamin's Roseburg Station for dinner. And then we got home and made reservations at the St. Francis School in Bend, which will be opening in November . . . . Hey! Can I buy stock in this company?!
Not for Me
We booked the Hammerhead package for 3 nights, left after 2.
Food is lousy bar food,service is poor,rooms are spartan, dark and noisy,beer not as good as it used to be.Location not that great either.
Portland Oregon Very oen warm people!!!
My son wife an i spent 4 days at the KENNEDY HOTEL.
The people were very helpful n friendly. Rooms were very clean n cozy.
Hotel was very kid friendly. Food was excellent!!
I am a cook. Very fine beer on tap[there own beer]
Great movie theatre. Live music.
All the people who work there are very friendly.
Prices were reasonable. Could not ask for more.
I would highly recommend the KENNEDY.
You would be foolish not to stay here
I don't know where to start-- this was the best hotel! We got the Hammerhead package for $109, which includes a room, 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners and admission to any movies playing at the hotel that night. This is an amazing deal for a very clean and interesting hotel. Kennedy School is a converted elementary school which is now a brewery, restaurant, hotel and movie theater. A great deal of whimsy and humor went into the makeover, with chalkboards in all the rooms and lots of artwork relating to the school's background on the hallway walls. Our room was tastefully appointed, the food was really delicious pub-style fare, only to be equalled by an amazingg breakfast. I would stay there again in a heartbeat and am actually looking at how I can schedule my next vacation to be close to another McMenamins hotel!
How fun to step back in time...
How fun to step back in time to the 60's era elementary school atmosphere! You simply can't pass up a stay at the Kennedy School if you attended elementary school in an older building during the 60's or 70's. We recently spent a night back in time when we stayed at the Kennedy School on July 7th, 2004. It was so fun walking the halls of the school, enjoying the artwork and talking about our own days going to an elementary school very similar to the Kennedy School. There is plenty to look at and do at the Kennedy School to take up an entire evening that you won't feel the need to go anywhere else for the evening. We ate both dinner and breakfast and enjoyed 2 movies in one evening. If you choose the "Hammerhead" package, your dinner and breakfast meals along with movie admission are covered in your room charge.
The auditorium is now a "movie theater", but not like one you would expect. The "seats" of the theater are vintage velvet or leather covered chairs and couches. First come first seated - so be forewarned, the locals come and pay to see the movies at the Kennedy and the primo seats to view the movies are on the couches! The couch seats go first so go early (about 30 mins before the movie starts) so you can get a couch, but even if you don't the chairs are comfortable enough! The movie screen is very large and easily viewed from anywhere in the room. The sound system was just like when we were in elementary school (we are somewhere in our 40's if this helps to provide a clue). We saw "Mean Girls" and "Kill Bill Vol 2". It was such great fun with the laughter of adults and kids alike in the room during the film.
The food at the Kennedy school is highly recommended. We had the prime rib and grilled chicken salad for dinner. For breakfast, we had the French toast and Apple Pancakes. The food is NOT school fare but of a higher end restaurant quality. All of our food was served hot. The coffee at the Kennedy school was also very good. There is seating outside by a large outdoor fireplace that overnight guests and locals alike can enjoy.
Our "room" was literally a classroom! We had a queen size bed with a full bathroom and shower. (Now the bathroom did have the distinctive feel of school with the open emptiness but hey, this is the atmosphere we paid for!) The room was extremely clean with NO odors whatsoever as you are FINED $50. if you smoke anywhere near the sleeping accomodations!
Side note, we took a trip ( 5 blocks away from the Kennedy School) to the streets and shops of Alberta. A TOTAL waste of time. The people who work in the shops are snooty, although they are very young and seem to be struggling to make this area work they don't really care to make the atmosphere of you wanting to buy anything worth your while.
OTHERWISE, take a step back in time, enjoy writing all over the chalk boards in your room but also enjoy a very peaceful night's sleep at school!
Loved the Kennedy School
My husband and I stayed there in July of 2002 for just one night. Once you reach the school, be prepared to step back in time! The artwork on the long corridors is fabulous, and our room was adorable, complete with it's own blackboard still intact. We bought the mid-week special of room, two free ales, dinner for two and breakfast for two as well, for just $109! After we checked in we hit the Honors Bar for their own fresh brewed raspberry ale, then we hit the Detention Bar for single malt scotch. Dinner was great on the patio with their tasty cheeseburgers and great brews again. Breakfast was served in the charming restaurant that was formerly the gymnasium, I think; the whole experience was like being in Junior High School all over again! I can also recommend the McMenamins brothers renovated Olympic Hotel and Restaurant in Centralia, WA, and also Edgefield, their renovated Poor House and Farms near Troutdale, on the Eastern side of Portland. I can't wait to see if there are any McMenamins establishments closer to Seattle, where I visit each summer. I applaud the efforts of the brothers in taking run-down properties and giving them life again; these guys have style!
Kennedy School is lots of fun!
The Kennedy School is so much fun! The room we had was enormous, and well appointed, far above my expectations for the price. The beer was very tasty but the food was horrible, don't eat there if you can avoid it. A must is the soaking tub, a hot tub the size of a small swimming pool, in an intimate courtyard. A great way to meet locals, too, as they allow locals (for a small fee), to take advantage of the soaking tub as well. It's in a residencial neighborhood but the Portland transit system is very easy and there's a bus stop right in front.
A wonderfully alternative night's lodging!
What a treasure! My husband and I spent a week in the Northwest and our stay at the Kennedy School was one of the highlights. This hotel is actually an old elementary school which has been beautifully remodeled into a hotel, restaurant and cinema. We checked into Mr. Toad's room and were delighted with the large room, comfy bed and generally cozy atmosphere. We had a delightful dinner in the restaurant, which seemed to be a popular place in its own right, then enjoyed a movie in the attached theater. That we could do everything without leaving the hotel (who would want to?) was a treat, especially considering the winter weather was wet and cold. Breakfast the next morning was included in the room rate (as was the movie) and was very good. The halls of the hotel/school are worth a look around, filled with folk art. We visited other McMennamy properties just for a look around or a meal and enjoyed them as well. I'd definitely return!
TripAdvisor Reviews McMenamins Kennedy School Portland
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