McMenamins Kennedy School

McMenamins Kennedy School

8.6
Wonderful!
40 reviews
Ranked #1 in Portland hotels
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  • 9.8
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  • 9.0
    Nightlife Lovers
  • 8.6
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  • 8.4
    Art & Design Lovers
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5736 N.E. 33rd Ave., Portland, OR 97211
1 (888) 271-2681Edit info
This is undoubtedly my favorite hotel to have been in. It's also on just about every list of unusual hotels in the United States that you may find. It's an old converted elementary ... Read more
school that still has the feel of being an elementary school. It's got four bars, including the detention bar and the boiler room bar, a restaurant in the old cafeteria, a soaking pool, and a movie theatre. They will sometimes have events in the gym as well. The theatre, located in the auditorium, has couch seating, and plays a variety of movies at various times. The one downside, or perhaps positive if you're so inclined to believe, is that there is no TV in the rooms.

Amenities

Restaurant
Swimming Pool
Spa Services
Free WiFi
Internet Access
Free Parking
Cribs Available
Pets Allowed
Room Service

Member Reviews(40)

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Amazing hotel and entertainment complex created from an old elementary school. If you experience poor weather during your stay, I recommend going to catch a movie, get a beer, a pizza and kick back in the recliner chairs in the former school auditorium. Pizza is fine, other food not so much. A few of their beers are ok but far from the best brewery in town. The building and the entertainment options are the draw.

Recommended for:Family TravellersNightlife Lovers
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Lake Forest

I unfortunately didn’t get to partake in all the wonders that Kennedy School held, such as an overnight stay or the soaking pools, but had a fantastic evening there on NYE visiting their multiple bars. The place is steeped in history, brews its own beer and spirits, and also mixes cocktails to boot (star knocked off because I felt their cocktail game was a little weak).

Recommended for:History BuffsNightlife LoversHipsters
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Rochester

This is undoubtedly my favorite hotel to have been in. It's also on just about every list of unusual hotels in the United States that you may find. It's an old converted elementary school that still has the feel of being an elementary school. It's got four bars, including the detention bar and the boiler room bar, a restaurant in the old cafeteria, a soaking pool, and a movie theatre. They will sometimes have events in the gym as well. The theatre, located in the auditorium, has couch seating, and plays a variety of movies at various times. The one downside, or perhaps positive if you're so inclined to believe, is that there is no TV in the rooms.

Recommended for:History BuffsHipstersArt & Design Lovers
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Pro 2018
Los Altos

This used to be Kennedy school, it was converted to a hotel. We came for their soaking pool. It's free for hotel guests, and $5 for visitors.

Recommended for:Outdoor EnthusiastsHistory BuffsAdventure Travellers
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Directly across the street from the house! Great old converted elementary school. Burgers & full menu/ Breakfast Lunch Dinner. Cocktails & their own microwbrewed beer, Large salt water soak pool, nightly movies in the auditorium, free live music in gym on Thursdays, hotel,

Recommended for:Outdoor EnthusiastsHistory BuffsNightlife LoversHipsters
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Seattle

Love all the McMenamins hotels - the restaurant here is good and has some interesting offerings from time to time. A local tradition.

Recommended for:Family TravellersHistory BuffsArt & Design Lovers
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Huntington Beach

Why does everything in Portland have to be so cool? This is place has great vibes. As a former teacher myself, Ive always wanted to have a cigar and a drink in Detention hall and watch an R rated movie in the auditorium. Love coming to hang out here.

Recommended for:Hipsters
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West Linn

Pleasant place for business meetings, food is bland and dry like all McMenamins, especially turkey sandwiches. The hotel idea in an old grade school is just plain creepy and weird. Pictures in this place are hauntingly ugly

Recommended for:Students
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Pleasant Hill

11/2012 - UPDATE

My Son and I had Dinner at the Courtyard Restaurant on a recent Friday evening. I did not begin well. The friendly greeter informed us that there would be at least a 15 minute wait and suggested that we go across the hall to the Cypress Room, as we could expect the same service and menu.

Wrong! The Cypress Room was understaffed and to the point that we had to bus our own table and wait and wait, as did other like minded folks. Actually, there were a few that skipped to the head of the line, as the harried Cypress Staff had little help or clue what was going on, and were just trying (unsuccessfully) to make order from chaos.

We left and I headed back the the Courtyard where another employee bluntly told me that of course we weren't going to get good dinner service at Cypress! After all, it's only a Bar!. In other words, I was bearing witness to a common Portlandia idiosyncrasy (with thanks to the Animal House Movie): You Fucked Up, You Trusted Us!

I immediately asked to speak to the Manager, as it was better to get out my frustrations regarding unacceptable service now instead online later. My Son took off down the hall out of embarrassment. :)

The Manager listened well to what I had to say. I made it clear that all I wanted was fair treatment and to wait my turn, knowing that it would come. She then got my name on the wait list, gave me a light buzzer, and within the originally stated 15 minutes (which I should have done in the first place), we had our seat. No Comps were offered, of which I didn't ask or want.

Once seated, service was fabulous and the food was very good. The Kid had Mac and Cheese (with Chicken) and I went for a Sausage Calzone. We washed all that down with Root Beer and Triple IPA respectively. The acoustics here were also much better than the Cypress Lounge, which was great for intelligent Father-Son conversation.

The Cypress part of the evening was easily a 2 Star experience, which redeemed itself to 4 Stars at the Courtyard. I suspect that McMenamins has a great business model here, especially judging by the happy crowds, not only at the Courtyard and Cypress, but at their other bars at the Kennedy School. But that's not really an excuse to let the hordes overwhelm the service model, is it?
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After a recent Sunday breakfast, my son and I took the walk from NE Alberta and 33rd, and proceeded up to McMenamin's Kennedy School to play hookie. We walked the halls without a pass and ended up in the Principal's Office for Detention (and the gift shop). Maybe that was because we didn't raise our hand indicating "Number 1 or 2" before we went to the bathroom.

My son and I didn't eat or stay here, and our visit was pretty much limited admiring the architecture and buying a nice tile bowl at a Holiday Art event in one of the rooms. Places like this also bring back fond memories of childhood misbehaviour and awkwardness, past friends (some who I have reconnected with on Facebook or sadly not), and Teachers of who you could not utter their first names.

So now that I know the School Bus route to the Kennedy School, I'm sure that I will be "attending classes" here again. And that will probably include a sleepover.

Recommended for:Art & Design LoversFamily TravellersHistory Buffs
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Savannah

This review is for the general grounds, restaurants and auditorium, and not as a hotel guest - I've never been in one of the rooms.

The Kennedy School is a neat little place that I often take guests for a quick bite or a movie and a walk around. It's a 1920's schoolhouse that has been converted into a number of Euro style hotel rooms, a soaking pool, an auditorium with movie projector and a bunch of smaller bars and restaurants. It's a great place to watch a movie and have a slice of pizza (or a pint).

McMenamins has a number of properties in the Oregon & Washington - Kennedy School and Edgefield are certainly my favorites. It's know among locals that you go to these places for the vibe and the history - not the service, and usually not the food. It's solid pub fare, but it's not going to win any Michelin awards - and the service is notably, laughable, consistently slow and strange.

But the buildings are fantastic, with odd little paintings all around, historical architecture and atmosphere, and usually decent to - good pub fare & bar options. Just don't expect fast, or sometime even friendly service, and go to enjoy the day.

Recommended for:Art & Design LoversBudget TravellersHistory Buffs
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Local from Portland

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to live in a converted school, you'll love the Kennedy School. This hotel and restaurant is inside an old schoolhouse and is a great place to visit even if you don't plan to stay the night. They serve decent pub fare and McMenamins' signature microbrews, but many people come simply to soak in their hot outdoor soaking pool, which can be used by non-guests of all ages for a small fee.

Recommended for:Family TravellersFoodiesWellness
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Labro

One of a small chain of family-owned quirky brewpubs, this multi-media experience is perhaps my favorite. Located in an old elementary school, this McMenamins locale features hotel rooms (in old classrooms), several bars serving McMenamins microbrews (including one where you can throw peanut shells on the floor), a movie theater specializing in second runs for cheap, and a better-than-average restaurant with an outdoor patio. It's a great place to stay, or just visit for the night. (Plan time to wander the halls, where photos of historic students and faculty line the walls.)

Recommended for:Family TravellersLuxury TravellersHipsters
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Local from Portland

A repurposed elementary school turned into a hotel and entertainment complex.

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Seattle

The McMenamins are a small chain of concept hotels refurbishing historic buildings and creating a fun pub scene.

I love looking at old buildings and seeing how they are restored and brought back to life this alone makes this hotel an experience. The school auditorium is converted to a movie theater and multiple rooms are bars.

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Berkeley

It's probably trite to love this place, but they have the goods.

There is something deliciously subversive and chronologically displacing about wandering the halls of an elementary school with a cocktail in your hands, years after it should all be a vague memory.

Adding to this temporal shift is the theme bars in the honors bar and the detention room bar, perhaps mirroring my experience with school, which were my favorites. The working water fountains, and various other genuine details of the school induce a really vivid and fun temporal rift. All one needs to make the nightmare perfect is to suddenly notice you are wearing bunny slippers or are naked.

I didn't stay in the hotel, but I will as soon as I can.

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Vancouver

McMenamins has definitely got it down. These guys know what they're doing when it comes to making a place cool to hang out. This one in particular may seem creepy at times but is really cool. I went there to watch Hangover 2 and the theatre was great! Cool seats, ordering menu, just a great place to have a good time overall. Definitely recommended it.

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Daly City

I could write a small book on how much I loved the Kennedy School. Let me tell you, after you stay here you might wonder why other brothers haven't done this before. The Kennedy School was once a real elementary school. The McMenamins remodeled the school into a wonderful hotel/restaurant/micro brewery. What could be better than that. Not only will you be able to sleep in a guest room fashioned from your second grade schoolroom. You'll be able to eat dinner and have a great brew in the converted auditorium while you watch a first run movie. Guest watch FREE. Afterwards take a soak in the heated soaking pool. This could be a reason to take your first trip to Portland. Let me know how you enjoy it. BOOK NOW .

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New York State

Such a cool place to stay when you are in Portland. It is away from downtown so not the most convenient location for exploring the city. Nonetheless this place was soo cool. Its an old elementary school that has been converted into a hotel. Administrative and rec space has been converted into restaurants, bars and a movie theater (free movies for guests). The classrooms are now hotel rooms. Check-in is the old principals office.

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Santa Clara

The Kennedy School is a series of pubs and bars based in a building that formerly used to be an elementary school. McMenamins, the owners, kept some of the hallways and school pictures intact, so instead of entering a classroom, you'll enter a pub or cigar bar. It's very cool.

Recommended for:Nightlife Lovers
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Alamogordo

I'm a big fan of the Kennedy Theater and its comfortable vintage couches and chairs, table room for a pitcher of stout and my personal pizza. I have been to every other part of the school though, having had friends who worked there and taking every single person I ever knew to see it. From the heated pool, hotel rooms, restaurant (with great outdoor seating), detention bar, boiler room..., the entire school, even its hallways is a treasure trove of strange and interesting art, good beer and great food. Exploring it and checking out all its features makes you feel like a free mason at a secret special lodge built just for you. I moved away from Portland but this is one of the things I miss the most about it.

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Amenities

Internet Access
  • Free WiFi
  • iPod docking station
Dining & Drinks
  • Restaurant
  • Breakfast available (surcharge)
  • Coffee shop or cafe
  • Coffee/tea in common areas
Fitness & Recreation
  • Billiards or pool table
  • Garden
  • Outdoor pool
  • Spa tub
Parking
  • Free self parking
  • Parking (limited spaces)
Accessibility
  • Accessible bathroom
  • Roll-in shower
Traveling with Children
  • Cribs/infant beds (surcharge)
Pets
  • Pets allowed
  • Service animals exempt from fees/restrictions
Services & Conveniences
  • 24-hour front desk
  • Smoke-free property
  • Free newspapers in lobby
  • Gift shops or newsstand
  • ATM/banking
  • Designated smoking areas (fines apply)
Bath
  • Private bathroom
  • Free toiletries
  • Hair dryer
  • Shower only
In-Room Dining
  • Room service (limited hours)
Media & Technology
  • Phone
Housekeeping
  • Daily housekeeping
Other Room Amenities
  • Iron/ironing board
  • Desk
  • Free local calls
  • Free newspaper
Property Info
  • Total number of rooms - 57
Other Policies
  • Noise-free rooms not guaranteed
McMenamins Kennedy School

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