Graduate Palo Alto Hotel Opens in California
Graduate Hotels announced the opening of Graduate Palo Alto. The property is located in the heart of downtown Palo Alto at 488 University Avenue, blocks from Stanford University and within the former Hotel President.
The storied has been renovated and restored to honor the building’s past, as well as the history of the neighboring community. The six story Graduate Palo Alto features 100 keys and two signature food and beverage concepts – Lou & Herbert’s, a lobby level, day-to-night café, and President’s Terrace, a vibrant rooftop bar with unrivaled Palo Alto views. Design throughout the hotel embodies the personality and age-old tales of the community through bold, layered décor rooted in storytelling. Graduate Palo Alto is the 33rd hotel in the Graduate Hotels portfolio.
Created for travelers who seek memory-making journeys, Graduate Hotels is a thoughtfully crafted collection of hotels that reside in dynamic university-anchored cities across the U.S. and U.K. Each property celebrates and commemorates the optimistic energy of its community, while offering an extended retreat to places that often play host to the best days of our lives.
“Since the inception of Graduate, we have dreamed of developing a hotel in Palo Alto,” said Ben Weprin, Graduate Hotels CEO and Founder. “To have that vision come to life in such an iconic landmark property in the center of gravity of downtown is a dream come true. Bringing Hotel President back to life in its original purpose, as designed by local famed architect Birge Clark, has been both magical and rewarding for our team. We are beyond honored to open the doors to the community once again and reintroduce the hotel, rooftop terrace, and public spaces to travelers from around the world.”
Designed by Graduate Hotels’ in-house design team, Graduate Palo Alto’s design takes inspiration from a 1958 photo of the original property, paying homage to the history of the landmark and its Spanish Colonial architecture. Considered the city’s most coveted place to stay for the first half of the 20th century, Hotel President was named after President Herbert Hoover, one of the first students to enroll at Stanford. Details throughout the property honor Hoover, as well as the myriad of legendary alums, age-old university traditions and symbols and monikers synonymous with the state of California and neighboring Palo Alto community.
Upon arrival, Graduate Palo Alto’s lobby welcomes guests into a refreshed yet familiar space, boasting a grand, two-story entryway and ceiling with wooden beams, replicated to resemble original woodwork, that draw guests from the entry into the main lobby area. A custom carved-wood credenza serving as the front desk is complemented by a custom hand-woven tapestry, inspired by California landscapes. An expansive lobby gallery wall anchors the room, showcasing a mix of eclectic, vintage art inspired by Spanish Colonial interiors and native botanicals and animals. The display frames a new, non-wood burning, fireplace. Warm colors and rich textural fabrics adorn inviting seating vignettes placed throughout the welcoming area. Graduate’s signature communal table sits proudly in the lobby, enveloped by a dozen chairs fittingly embossed with the letter ‘G’.
Preserving the integrity of its past, Graduate Palo Alto features original restored details that establish a strong sense of place throughout the property such as the exterior façade, windows and entry marquee; historic Spanish Colonial tiles throughout replicated to resemble originals; original hotel elevator, in addition to a new elevator which makes the rooftop accessible for the first time; original decorative ceiling beams reinstalled throughout the lobby lounge; and the restoration of the building’s original central stairwell.
Perched between the second and sixth floors, residential-inspired guest rooms marry school pride with cozy natural textures that complement the tree lined streets and distant Silicon Valley views.
Stanford pride beams throughout, from pillows embroidered with the football team’s unofficial chant, “Whose House?” and “C-House,” to custom art depicting Cardinal traditions and legends. The original interior photo of the Hotel President from 1958, which largely inspired Graduate Palo Alto’s design, is featured in each guest room. Ornate brass and wood headboards are decorated with California redwood silhouettes and local legends are displayed above the writing desks, such as a drawing of actress and Stanford alumnus, Sigourney Weaver; a painting of a quail, California’s state bird; and polaroid photo of former Cardinal and legendary tennis champ John McEnroe. Guests will also find art depicting the classic novel, Of Mice and Men, written by Stanford Cardinal, John Steinbeck. Echoing university excellence, guestroom halls are lined with notable years of achievement throughout Stanford history and are based off the longstanding senior year tradition (dating back to 1896) of leaving behind time capsules on the quad.
Food & Beverage
Perched atop the six-story hotel, President’s Terrace is a restoration of Hotel President’s original rooftop garden. The concept will open weather permitting later this month. Featuring 360-degree views, the rooftop offers an intimate setting, complete with an outdoor fireplace, woven wicker barstools and couches with plush pillows. President’s Terrace serves playful cocktails crafted in collaboration with globally acclaimed mixologist, Bad Birdy, along with a rotating natural wine list. Serving as a vibrant gathering space, President’s Terrace will offer events and programming tailored to locals and visitors alike.
The lobby level, day-to-night café, Lou & Herbert’s, is named in homage to Herbert Hoover and his wife Lou Henry, who he met while studying at Stanford. Tailored to both on-the-go guests and long-winded reunions, the menu offers a range of quick and delicious bites and refreshments. Guests can savor seasonal roasts from San Francisco-based Saint Frank Coffee, alongside a California-driven all-day menu with dishes ranging from Power Pancakes and freshly baked pastries by Manresa Bread for breakfast to West Coast oysters and Tuna Tartare for dinner. In the evenings, the bustling café transforms into a welcoming bar for locals and hotel guests to enjoy an easy-going drink with friends or coworkers.
From Graduate Palo Alto’s central location, guests can explore the best of the area, whether in town for a Cardinal win or exploring University Avenue shops, galleries and restaurants. The hotel additionally is pet friendly and offers complimentary bikes for guests looking to explore. Guests and locals can pop into President’s Barber Shop and Hemingway Cigar and Tobacco, both longstanding fixtures of the neighborhood and located within Graduate Palo Alto.