Garden Court Hotel
What We Love
- Continental breakfast is included in the Jetsetter rate
- Downtown location, walkable to shops and restaurants
- Smart-looking rooms and an uncluttered design
- Unexpected extras like gardenias at turndown and Smooth Egyptian cotton robes with soft terry cloth lining
What To Know
- San Francisco is 45 minutes away; San Jose 30 minutes away
- Rooms on University Avenue can be loud
- Courtyard rooms overlook the patio of a busy restaurant
- Overnight valet parking available for $24 per day; $15 per day for off-site parking Monday through Friday
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
Taking inspiration from traditional Mediterranean villas, the four-story, ochre-washed Garden Court is built around a terra-cotta fountain in the courtyard, in the heart of leafy downtown Palo Alto. The lobby has the feel of a drawing room, with rugs and a big stone fireplace — you’d never guess the hotel was built in the 1980s.
Bed & Bath
This Old World look ends in the lobby, though, because in 2010 the guestrooms were gutted down to the studs, and Spanish hotel designer Pablo Paniagua led a major revamp. The spacious rooms mix contemporary and traditional textures, most notably in the bold carpeting, which features interlocking white squares on navy blue or chocolate brown — like the Givenchy logo exploding across the floor. The bathrooms get high marks for the floor-to-ceiling marble and stainless steel wall sconces, but they lack bathtubs. Most rooms have big French doors that open onto balconies filled with wrought iron patio furniture, overlooking the hotel’s central courtyard.
Little details set the Garden Court apart from Silicon Valley’s big box chain hotels. Think Peet’s Coffee & Tea Service and assorted pastries on every floor, desk drawers filled with office supplies, and fresh gardenias and locally made chocolates on the bed at turndown. There’s free WiFi, multiple cordless phones, iPod docks and wall-mounted plasma TVs that show only high-def programming.
How to Get There
After being displaced from our home in the North Bay by a mandatory evacuation due to fires, we piled (dog too, of course!) into the car. We headed south not sure where to go or what to do and generally just feeling a bit dazed. When the kids were little, we lived in Palo Alto, so we decided to head that way and show them their old stomping grounds. They are teen agers now, with college on the horizen; a stroll around the Stanford University campus might be in order too. After a bit of research we decided to make a mini vacay out of what might have been a stressful time. With a quick phone call we were graciously accommodated by The Garden Court Hotel in downtown Palo Alto, very last minute and on one of their busiest nights. We were able to secure the last room they had available! When we arrived, we were warmly welcomed with lots of questions and concerns and the exchanging of stories and updates about the current state of the wildfires in Sonoma County. When we got to our room we found they had prepared a little dog area outfitted with a bed and bowls and paw wipes! We luxuriated at this lovely boutique hotel for two nights, enjoying the many restaurants and fun shops just steps away. If you are looking for an elegant yet cozy home away from home, where the staff are on point and warm, this little gem of a hotel is for you!
Fantastic location right in the middle of where you want to be in Palo Alto. Although the Hotel was undergoing renovations, they were extremely accommodating regarding being helpful at checkin and during our stay. The staff was pleasant and went out of their way to be gracious. Coffee is served everyday on each floor - when I went to get some at the end of the serving time for the day, a staff person who happened to be walking by noticed that the coffee was gone - asked my room number and brought up coffee himself immediately. Everyone we encountered asked if we were enjoying ourselves or needed anything- very nice. The room was extremely comfortable and the bathroom was great; we would look forward to another stay there again.
Our family stayed here last month to attend a wedding. I generally do not stay at boutique hotels because the consistency of service is unpredictable. We decided to stay here because the hotel was the wedding venue and we had children who would need to go to sleep immediately after the festivities. We were very happy we decided to stay here. Despite the fact that the hotel was undergoing renovation which had the front entrance closed off, we did not find it to be an inconvenience. Because we were staying in a weekend, the parking in the adjacent city lot were free and there was always a person available at the temporary entrance to assist with luggage.
The rooms are very well appointed and clean and each room seems to be unique. We had two rooms and the room arrangements were different from one another (a good thing). The hotel is not large. There is an Italian restaurant on the ground floor called Il Fornio which is affiliated with the hotel and food can be charged to the room.
Each morning, a continental breakfast with coffee, tea and pastries is served in the elevator lobby of each floor as well as the main lobby. It is replenished regularly throughout the morning.
The event area where the wedding reception was held was intimate which was just the right size for the wedding we attended. The event space opens into the hotel courtyard which gave guests plenty of room to move around.
The hotel is located in downtown Palo Alto. Stanford University is close by but unless you have plenty of time, it is not in a reasonable walking distance if you are rushing to get to a campus office. I do not believe there are any hotels adjacent to the campus given its layout. I think downtown Palo Alto is as close as one can get.
Overall, this is a very nice upscale boutique hotel and a very good venue for a small to medium sized wedding reception.