When we were visiting friends in the San Francisco Bay Area, we needed a hotel in Menlo Park and picked the Residence Inn for its convenient location. If you have read my review of the Residence Inn Experience, you know exactly what to expect. Marriott is one of the most reliable hotel chains and this Residence Inn did not disappoint!
Location: The Residence Inn Menlo Park is located just off Camino Real in the center of Menlo Park. It’s walking distance to the Menlo Park Caltrain station (with connection to San Francisco, the airport and San Jose and 30-45 minute drive from the San Francisco airport and 10 minutes to Stanford University and Stanford Shopping Mall. There is free parking in front of the hotel. It’s on a quiet street, set back from the road and next to an empty lot, making it pretty quiet. That could change if construction should start next door!
Room: We had booked a Studio Suite and it looked exactly like described in the Residence Inn Experience. There is a large open floor-plan kitchen with a counter with chairs for two, a full-size fridge, microwave, cooktop and coffee maker, as well as white ware and silverware.The living room has a large work desk and a comfortable sofa-bed to lounge on or sleep, accommodating up to four people in the suite. To the side is the bedroom with a king-size bed. It’s open to the living room and has just enough space to walk around the bed. The large TV is wall-mounted, can swivel and is shared with the living room, so you can watch from the bed or sofa. Off the hallway is a large bathroom, with a walk-in shower with glass door and a wide sink with plenty of surface space and shelves for your toiletries. The entrance area, kitchen and bathroom have a wood-finish tile, a very trendy look. The cabinets in all rooms are dark wood, also very contemporary. The bedroom has a red wall, adding a splash of color and the sofa has them colored pillows. It all adds up to a very modern look and a significant upgrade from the boring Residence Inn off the past! The furniture, fixtures and materials used are of good quality, appropriate for a mid-scale hotel. The free Wifi was fast at 6.2Mbps and reliable.
Hotel Features & Restaurant: The hotel is a low-rise complex with multiple connected buildings. It’s not the classic condo complex design and more a regular hotel layout. There is parking up front and in the back. The Residence Inn has a small fitness room, a laundry room and the breakfast restaurant and “Great Room”, a mix of lobby and living room. All of it is standard Residence Inn with regards to decor and features.
While the rooms and lobby have received upgrades over the years, the breakfast really has not. You get pretty basic American breakfast, including fruit, pastries, coffee and some hot breakfast options like pancakes, eggs and meats. It comparable to a Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express, which is a little disappointing considering the price category Residence Inns in the US have moved up to. The choices are neither very healthy (considering this is California), not very high quality and there is no espresso machine, standard at most breakfast buffets in Europe in hotels of similar price.
Service: The service was professional, yet not as friendly as you’d expect in the US. We were checked in quickly and the check-out was as professional and quick. Housekeeping had done their job well and the room was prepared perfectly. As a limited service hotel, there is no other service to be expected, so no bell boy or concierge.
Rewards: As a Marriott Rewards Gold member, my status was not recognized, there was no welcome amenity and no room upgrade. It didn’t make a big difference as we were only there for one night and didn’t need a larger room.
Conclusion & Value: The Residence Inn Menlo Park delivered just what the brand promises: A large, modern and clean suite with a full kitchen, living room, work space and comfortable bedroom, offering you plenty of space for a longer stay or room for four in a pinch. The included breakfast was ok and the lack of elite recognition disappointing, but I would not hesitate to stay again and would recommend it – if you like Residence Inns elsewhere, you’ll like this one, too. At a price of $138/night during the quiet holiday season, it’s great value. The same room can be as much as $400/night on a busy weekday thanks to the booming Silicon Valley economy – far beyond anything I’d consider good value. Unfortunately that’s true for many hotels in the Bay Area, so plan ahead when you are traveling for leisure!