Silicon Valley’s Spanish Inspired el Prado Hotel

Best known for being the home of tech giants like Google and Apple, Northern California’s Silicon Valley is making a name for itself in the hotel industry. The el Prado hotel is one of the latest in a string of property openings, offering a new level of service for both business and leisure travelers.

el prado hotel lobby, Palo Alto

The Spanish-inspired boutique hotel features 62 guestrooms spread throughout four floors. Formerly known as the Garden Court Hotel, it underwent a significant renovation and began welcoming guests in October 2021. The feeling you get when you first walk into the lobby is more like arriving at an elegant home than a hotel.

el prado room living space

I stayed in Deluxe Queen Queen room on the third floor with my college-age daughter. The guestroom was notably spacious; even with two queen beds footed with loveseats, there was still a significant amount of living space to move about. The space had a light and airy feel thanks to an exterior wall consisting almost entirely of windows and a pair of French doors that opened to a balcony overlooking the hotel’s center courtyard.

The room had a classic white and rich, blue color palate. Built in the 1980s, it boasts architectural touches not commonly found in new hotels, including coffered ceilings, over-sized floor molding and solid wood doors. Live plants — one on the desk and another on the balcony — added a welcoming, homey feel to the space.

guestroom bathroom at el prado hotel palo alto

The white marble bathroom had a sleek look; the shower/tub combination had a glass door and there were shiny silver fixtures throughout. The vanity however was quite small. My daughter and I struggled to find enough space to store common travel toiletries like hairbrushes, toothpaste, and make-up.

I was impressed by how quiet the el Prado was during our weeknight stay.  You’ll likely see mostly business travelers on weekdays, with weekends attracting the leisure set.

Although the room certainly was spacious and comfortable, some travelers may be disappointed by what the room is missing. There are no USB ports, so you need to come fully- prepared with the correct gear to charge your electronics. You won’t find a refrigerator, just a chock-full, and thus basically not useful mini-fridge filled with drinks for purchase. There’s also no coffee maker, or electric tea kettle.

Complimentary coffee and tea are available from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. on every floor, but if you crave caffeine any other time of day, for now you’ll likely have to leave property or order room service. An onsite coffee bar is reportedly coming soon.

Don’t leave the el Prado without making a stop on the second floor to take in the solarium filled with lush green plants and plush furnishings. From 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily, a small bar features a delicious selection of Spanish tapas. Along with marinated olives, Croquets de Queso, and blistered shishito peppers, a selection of cocktails, beer, and wine are available.

el Prado solarium, Palo Alto, Ca

For those who prefer a more formal, sit-down meal, Italian restaurant, Il Fornaio, is located adjacent to the property and shares the center courtyard. (The courtyard also features a large fireplace and comfy outdoor furniture ideal for lingering with a glass of wine before or after dinner.) For those interested in exploring the neighborhood, restaurant and shop lined University Avenue is also steps away.

A small fitness center is located on the third floor of the hotel. Guests looking to keep up with their fitness regime will find a selection of equipment including a treadmill, stationary bike, free weights, exercise mats and more.

The hotel is conveniently located between two major airports; San Francisco International Airport is located 20 miles to the north, and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport is 17 miles south. Stanford University is about a 15-minute drive.

Rates for a Deluxe Queen Queen start at $399 and include Wi-Fi. Valet parking only for an additional fee; a complimentary charger is available onsite for those traveling with an electric car. Dog-friendly rooms are available for an additional fee. Make your reservation directly at the hotel website or through an online booking site such as or Priceline, where you might get a better rate.

Review and photos by San Francisco Bay Area travel writer and television correspondent Dana Rebmann. She paid a media rate for her stay at el Prado hotel, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.

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