This Stylish Palo Alto Hotel Near Stanford University Boasts the City’s Only Rooftop Bar

Credit: David Mitchell Photography

Located just blocks from Stanford University, the Graduate Palo Alto plays an ode to its nearby neighbor. Similar to all the hotels within the Graduate portfolio, it encompasses the university without leaving a single detail to be spared. The hotel reopened in 2023 after an extensive renovation of the architectural gem. 

Credit: David Mitchell Photography

Decorated with an eclectic California-inspired style, the hotel is housed within the former President Hotel, an elaborate six-story colonial hotel that was in its heyday during the 1900s. After shuttering in 1929, it became an apartment building until it was acquired and renovated into the Graduate Palo Alto. While most of the space is newly renovated, original details such as the exterior, staircase, and front hall were kept to keep the properties’ historic identity. 

Credit: David Mitchell Photography

Details like a gallery wall of vintage California-inspired artwork in the lobby showcase a strong sense of California throughout the property. A large, wooden communal table, a signature of Graduate hotels, is a welcome hangout spot for students and businesspeople alike. Plus, the custom-made tapestry behind the check-in counter plays homage to the former hotel, which once had a tapestry hung in the exact same spot. 

Credit: David Mitchell Photography

The 100 guest rooms feel comforting, making it like you stepped into your home versus a hotel. Each guest room displays Stanford-themed memorabilia on the walls, alongside a C-house emblazoned pillow on the bed, which plays homage to the chant sung at the college’s football games. Each room also features a bold wallpaper and wooden headboard that are both inspired by California’s Redwoods, along with Spanish architecture in the bathroom, and a pink velvet couch. Try to book a room on the Stanford side, where some of the rooms come with romantic Juliette balconies.  

Credit: David Mitchell Photography

On the ground floor, Lou and Herberts is the main draw. Named after Herbert Hoover and his wife, who are both former Stanford alums, the restaurant serves food all day, from a breakfast burrito and avocado toast in the morning to tuna tartare, oysters, and a bread and ‘butter’ dish made from whipped bone marrow butter in the evening. All the drinks are equally as exciting with names that evoke Hoover’s legacy such as ‘The 1929’ and ‘Herb & Lou’s First Date.’ 

With the only rooftop bar in the area, you can imagine that the Graduate Hotel Palo Alto is a popular spot. Dubbed the President’s Terrace, the rooftop bar is a garden oasis with cozy white sofas, rattan bar stools, terracotta flooring, and an outdoor fireplace. The food menu is pretty much the same as the menu in Lou & Herberts with the addition of sharing-friendly options like the Presidental Crudite (vegetables with a smoky eggplant and cucumber dip). However, the drink menu largely differs from the one downstairs with options like ‘A Weekend in Burning Man’—a sweet and spicy tequila drink served in a plant-like holder, along with other fruity concoctions. 

Top Takeaways:

Location: Palo Alto, California. 

Rating: Four-Star

The Vibe: Stanford University’s most stylish boutique hotel.

Food + Drink: Despite the many cute spots within the college town, guests will enjoy the two onsite options, Lou and Herberts, an all-day eatery on the ground floor, along with the only rooftop bar in the area, President’s Terrace. 

Amenities: Rooftop Bar, Pet-Friendly Accommodations, Free-Wifi, Housekeeping Services, Complimentary Bike Rentals, Special Rates At Nearby Barry’s and Yogasource. 

Our Favorite Thing About the Hotel: Its detail-oriented design and adorable, cozy rooftop bar. 

5 Nearby Attractions: Stanford University, Hoover Tower, Cantor Art Center, Stanford Theatre, and Stanford Shopping Center. 

Any Personal Neighborhood Recs? The area surrounding the property features an abundance of adorable restaurants, including Son and Garden, a flower-filled brunch spot, and Taverna, a Greek restaurant where you can expect to see tableside 

Rooms: 100 guestrooms

Pricing: Rooms start at $250 per night, but go upwards depending on the dates of your stay. 

Closest Airport: San Francisco International Airport (SFO) 

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