Review: Sheraton Palo Alto Hotel, California
The Sheraton Palo Alto is located in the heart of Palo Alto's commercial center – just between Stanford University and University Avenue. Palo Alto has become famous in the last decade not just because it was Facebook first home in California but also helped incubate Paypal and Google on University Avenue.
Room rates are a hefty $300-$500 for a weekday stay. It's not unusual to see the hotel completely sold out during the week. I stayed just after Christmas and the rates were a better $119. There were plenty of BRG options available but the BRG team did not work over Christmas and my claims got lost in the process. I'm sure I filed 24 hours before my check-in but the email system the Starwood BRG team uses did not register it until late that day.
My stay was wrought with lot's of small but annoying issues. Let's start from the beginning.
Check-in was friendly but no upgraded room was available at 2 PM of the day of check-in. 30 minutes later a room showed up fortunately. I did a pre-check-in earlier and when I came back I just got my room key. However there are a number of Platinum amenities that got lost in translation doing this.
The property (as all Sheraton should) has a lounge. But the lounge was closed – 'because of the holidays' – I later discovered the homepage mentioned a closure because of 'renovation' during the holidays.
For a closed lounge Hyatt offers Diamonds 2,500 Gold Passport points (irrespective of the reasons as long as the hotel usually offers a lounge). Starwood has no such fixed policy in place.
I received a breakfast coupon (in addition to the 500 points Platinum amenity). I was hoping for an assortment of drink coupons and maybe $10 of free food but it wasn't to be.
The breakfast was a mix of hot and cold options. I liked the fresh berries and yoghurt. I really could not connect with the hot items or pastries. Surprising – all espresso drinks are charged extra.
The hotel is made of a number of buildings and it's rather easy to get lost in the maze. Northern California cools down to freezing during the winter nights – it's not helping that the hotel is essentially open air and as soon as you step outside it's freezing including the breakfast room.
The room itself was appointed well and was quite spacious. The carpet was fresh and the beds and lines were some of the best I had in ANY hotel bed worldwide. While I could see the busy El Camino Real it wasn't audible. Combined with the chilly air I had some of the best hotel sleep ever.
Parking clocks in at $14.95 per night. There is free street parking in the area but the city of Palo Alto checks on overnight parking vigorously.
I checked with the hotel staff for their policy of the closed lounge compensation – the had no trouble issuing 500 Starpoints and 2 drinks vouchers for me on request as a 'one time courtesy'.
Also the hotel pool is thankfully heated to about 80 degrees but there is no hot tub.
The WiFi was capped at 2.5 Mbit – no super slow but hardly as good as most other hotels in high tech Silicon Valley.
All in all this wasn't a great stay. I liked the rooms and beds but I'm not a fan of the hotel policies. I also did not like the motel like setup with the freezing air in the halls and breakfast area. I'd certainly would not pay $300+ for a weeknight (well only corporations do probably).