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Garden Court Hotel 4.0

Palo Alto, San Francisco Bay Area, California

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Review Summary

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  • Convenient downtown location, within walking distance of shops and restaurants
  • Beautiful rooms feature classic decor, flat-screen TVs, and private balconies
  • Marble bathrooms have rainfall showers and Molton Brown bath products
  • Tasty on-site restaurant is known for its brick-oven pizza and brunch
  • Morning coffee and pastries, and a weekly reception with free wine and snacks
  • 7,000 square feet of meeting and special-event space
  • Fitness and business centers
  • 24-hour room service
  • Pet-friendly
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout


  • No pool, unlike many nearby hotels
  • No full spa (though in-room treatments can be arranged)

Bottom Line

The Garden Court Hotel is a standout boutique property in Downtown Palo Alto. The hotel's 62 beautiful rooms are the highlight; they have elegant white-and-blue decor, upscale amenities, marble bathrooms, and in many, balconies overlooking the quaint courtyard. Property features include an upscale Italian restaurant, 7,000 square feet of meeting space, and a small fitness center. Though there is no spa, the hotel can arrange in-room massages, and owners can bring pets for a one-time fee (which covers pet-friendly amenities such as beds and treats). Those looking for more features -- such as a spa and a pool -- may consider the nearby, 200-room Four Seasons Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto or Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, but guests return to the Garden Court for its elegant rooms and intimate vibe.

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This upscale boutique hotel has a quiet, elegant vibe

The Garden Court exudes a refined vibe from the minute guests walk into the small lobby. Outfitted in neutral tones -- with attractive touches such as local photography, fresh flowers, and a fireplace -- the lobby feels like it's part of an elegant home rather than a business-friendly hotel. But make no mistake -- this certainly is a business-friendly hotel. Garden Court's main customers are business travelers, due to its downtown Palo Alto location and business-oriented amenities. But the hotel's weekly wine reception, quaint courtyard, and gorgeous rooms make it well-suited for couples as well. Leisure travelers will likely appreciate the hotel's address: It's on a quaint, tree-lined street, just off of downtown's University Avenue and within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and spas. Children are welcome -- the hotel offers tots welcome gifts and the restaurant features a kids' menu -- but the elegant (read: quiet) vibe and lack of a pool may turn some families off. The nearby Four Seasons, Creekside Inn, Rosewood Sand Hill, and Stanford Terrace Inn all have pools.


In Downtown Palo Alto just off of University Ave, lined with restaurants and several businesses

The Garden Court hotel is located in Downtown Palo Alto, on a quaint tree-lined street just off of University Avenue. This is a convenient spot considering that the Avenue is the street that Downtown is centered around -- and where numerous restaurants and businesses are found. In fact, companies such as Facebook and Google got their start in offices along the street. It is a good location for business travelers as well as tourists, because the downtown area is not only home to several businesses but is also the main tourist area of Palo Alto. Plus, the residential neighborhood adjacent to the hotel is an pleasant spot for a stroll as there are several parks.

Palo Alto is located in the heart of Silicon Valley, overlooking the southern part of the San Francisco Bay, and right off Highway 101. It is a laid-back town, home to world-famous Stanford University, with beautifully tended lawns, a couple of museums, and an impressive church on-site. Another main draw in Palo Alto is the top-notch shopping (mostly found at the Stanford Mall) and unlike other areas of Silicon Valley, this small city has a lively feel that makes it a nice spot to visit. The hotel takes a little under an hour to reach from both San Jose International Airport and San Francisco International Airport.


Standout rooms with elegant decor, private balconies, and tech-friendly amenities

The 62 rooms have an elegant, classic American look with striped furniture, crisp linens, fresh flowers on the bedside tables upon arrival, and a blue-and-white color scheme. Beds are dressed in Italian linens and down mattress toppers; hypoallergenic bedding is available on request. Love seats with pretty accent pillows sit at the foots of the beds, and the spacious work desks' drawers are stocked with all kinds of supplies, such as glue, scissors, post-its, paper clips and staplers. Rooms have French doors that open up onto balconies overlooking a quaint courtyard. 

The marble bathrooms have a similarly sleek look. Though standard rooms have shower/tub combos, they maintain the upscale vibe with glass doors and shiny fixtures, including rainfall showerheads. Molton Brown toiletries and terrycloth robes are provided. Other room amenities include large flat-screen HDTVs with HD channels, iPod docks, free Wi-Fi, and minibars stocked with fancy items such as Veuve Clicquot, artisanal chocolates, and mini bottles of Grey Goose. Turndown service provides treats like chocolate. 

Room size varies significantly, even among rooms of the same category. For example, a Deluxe Queen room is 250 square feet, a Deluxe King room is a 350 square feet, and a Deluxe Queen Queen room comes in at 400 square feet. Nonetheless, none are cramped and they feel larger than those at the Four Seasons. Upgrading to the Grand Deluxe Suite or Penthouse gives guests bathrooms with separate showers and jetted spa tubs, and the Courtyard Deluxe Fireplace King room and Penthouse both have cozy fireplaces. The Grand Executive King, the Grand Deluxe Suite, and the Deluxe Suite King all have sofa beds. 

Several Deluxe King and Deluxe Queen Queen rooms, located on the second floor, are wheelchair-accessible. The hotel is equipped with an elevator, and as a pet-friendly hotel, the Garden Court permits service dogs. Accessible rooms include lowered beds, roll-in showers with seats, and wheelchair-accessible sinks and toilets. Housekeeping cleans the rooms twice a day, and cribs and rollaway beds available upon request.


Popular Italian restaurant, small fitness center, and meeting and special-event space

The on-site Il Fornaio is owned and operated separately from the hotel; it's an upscale Italian chain with over 15 locations in California and several others scattered throughout the U.S. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is known for its Sunday brunch, with fresh-baked pastries and a long list of breakfast entrees with an Italian twist. For lunch and dinner, entree options focus on brick-oven, thin-crust pizza and fresh-made pasta. It is a popular spot for business lunches and dinners. A kids' menu is available, and tots may get a kick out of watching the kitchen crew toss the pizza dough and throw it in the oven. Though the indoor decor is relatively generic (with burgundy booths and mirrored walls), tables are topped with white linens, and the outdoor patio, with a gurgling fountain and a striped awning, is a nice addition. Room service is available 24 hours a day.

Garden Court's fitness center is small, but adequate. It has a handful of cardio machines (a treadmill, bike, and elliptical), a weight-training machine, a rack of free weights, and medicine balls. Towels and ice-cold water are provided. Most other hotels in the area also have fitness centers (some much larger -- such as the one at the Four Seasons), but since the Garden Court is a much smaller property, it gets points just for having one on-site. 

Due to its Silicon Valley location and on-site business amenities, the Garden Court attracts mostly business travelers (although couples and families stay as well). Aside from the chic, 24-hour business center -- which has two large work desks with Mac desktops and printers -- the hotel offers 7,000 square feet of meeting space, and a banquet supervisor is available to help to coordinate meetings. The hotel's downtown Palo Alto address is convenient for those traveling on business.

The Garden Court is a nice choice for a Palo Alto wedding, with attractive outdoor spaces, a tasty on-site restaurant, and an elegant vibe. The hotel provides a wedding specialist to assist in the planning and execution (the wedding specialist can offer suggestions for outside vendors for the cake, floral arrangements, entertainment, and photography), and its ballroom can fit up to 250 guests for a seated reception, or 300 guests for a standing reception. The bride and groom can choose from a selection of China, linens, and candle lighting provided by the hotel, and Garden Court can provide catering services.

As a boutique property, the Garden Court Hotel focuses on service. The hotel offers a solid list of services that make it worthy of its luxury hotel status, including free pastries and coffee in the mornings and weekly receptions with free wine and appetizers. Free fruit and water are available in the lobby throughout the day. Garden Court provides 24-hour concierge service, same-day laundry and dry-cleaning, and overnight shoe shine. In-room spa treatments are available. On-site parking costs a daily fee and Wi-Fi is free throughout. One of the most pet-friendly options in Palo Alto, the Garden Court allows furry friends (up to 120 pounds) to stay in the rooms for a fee. 

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520 Cowper St, Palo Alto, California 94301-1823, United States


(650) 322-9000

Room Types

  • Courtyard Deluxe Fireplace
  • Deluxe King
  • Deluxe Queen
  • Deluxe Queen Queen
  • Deluxe Suite King
  • Grand Deluxe Suite
  • Grand Executive King
  • Penthouse

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