Town Square

Post a New Topic

Palo Alto's newest hotel, Epiphany, opens downtown

Original post made on Mar 10, 2014

The first in a spate of planned Palo Alto hotels -- the Epiphany -- is debuting today at 180 Hamilton Ave. in downtown.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, March 10, 2014, 9:46 AM

Comments (41)

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2014 at 10:13 am

Interesting name for a hotel. Will the next ones be called Christmas, Easter, Hannukah, Ramadahn, etc.?

Or are we talking about an awakening hotel because of all the noise surrounding it. Perhaps it will just be an insightful place to meet.


Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 10, 2014 at 10:20 am

This hotel has no on-site guest parking & terrific sound effects provided by CalTrain. Just what PA needs, if all its visitors arrive by rail.

Posted by HowTotallyKool, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 10, 2014 at 10:22 am

Is this the one that got approved with no parking - if so, I suppose all the so-kool guests will arrive by train or ride their internet-of-things bikes from to Hamilton Avenue from the airport...

Posted by Enough!, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 10, 2014 at 10:54 am

Oh joy! More people. 22 minute commute from Walgreens to the Community Center. How's about we shoot for 40?

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 10, 2014 at 10:59 am

The building went up in 1975, so I guess that's when the no-parking approval happened. Maybe people will arrive in cars with pink mustaches. Or more likely airport limos. They do indicate valet parking, who knows where. I was surprised that room rates show as low as $239 in the near term. Jump to $700 on Commencement weekend. I don't know how we'll ever figure out how to spend all that TOT that will be coming in.

Posted by Sparty, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2014 at 11:41 am

Sure are a lot of clueless commenters here who apparently have missed the train after train after train after train after train that pulls up and lets of people with their luggage at the Caltrain station.

Posted by Silly, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 10, 2014 at 11:47 am

Sparty, isn't it great the none of the guests will have off-site meetings will have off-site meetings will have off-site meetings to which they'll drive, to which they'll drive to which they'll drive.

Isn't it great that none of the guests will have anyone drive to meet with them at the hotel at the hotel at the hotel.

News Flash: You can rent cars in Palo Alto to get to your meetings.

Posted by pro tip, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 10, 2014 at 11:50 am

Pro tip: there are luggage racks on the 3rd Caltrain car (counting from the north end) of every train.

If you're doing business with downtown Palo Alto companies, why bother renting a car?

Posted by Sparty, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Silly-- do all the hotels in SF-- including the JDV have parking? Do you make a habit of taking all your luggage with you on vacation or business? Who holds it for you? The receptionist?

Did you miss the taxis all over Palo Alto? Heck there's even people taking taxis to grocery stores. I know this would be the first time EVER that taxis travel to and from a hotel, but hey, Silicon Valley is an innovator.

Posted by Silly, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 10, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Sparty, as a matter of fact I did leave my luggage with the company receptionist when I was routinely doing business in Washington, DC. I'd check out of my hotel in the morning, go to the company and put in a full day and then catch the 5PM flight back to SFO. I even took taxis to/from the airports.

Many SF hotels have parking garages and/or valet parking.

Many PA hotels -- the Garden Court on Cowper, the Westin and its neighbor on El Camino etc. -- all have highly profitable parking garages and/or paid parking lots for their guests and their guests' visitors.

The point is that PA traffic is becoming so bad that people routinely comment on it to strangers and plan their days to avoid the worst of it. The city knows about the huge parking problem DOWNTOWN and still did its usual nothing.

Posted by Sparty, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Funny, Hotel Keen is 80+ booked all month, and the nat'l avg is under 60%.

Guess not having parking and being just a gutted old residence--with no parking-- doesn't hurt.

Posted by What's right?, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 10, 2014 at 12:48 pm

An entire building of elderly and disabled people lost not only their long-time homes but their community, which was subsequently replaced with a luxury hotel that is using the same building. This transition provides business for Epiphany, hotel taxes for the City, work for IDEO, etc....but was this a moral action - to evict relatively helpless people with few options (and little political power) to make room for a luxury hotel firm to operate? I'm not sure exactly how this happened...but I am sure that, as a long-time Palo Alto resident, I don't feel comfortable with it.

I would be very interested to read thoughts on this issue from other Palo Alto residents. Are Palo Alto's values changing? Are we doing the right things as a City? What portion of our economic and political resources should be used to help the poor, the disabled, the elderly, the homeless? What are our responsibilities? How do we choose to conduct ourselves as a City? Can we feel proud of the way our City is acting towards the least fortunate in our midst?

Posted by Robert, a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Hey Silly, if guests don't like the traffic or have a need to park a car, prepare to have your mind blown, there's more than one hotel in Palo Alto! Clearly people are being *forced* to stay here, as made evident by $700 a night prices...

If you want to keep living in the past, might I suggest a rust belt city? Cleveland? Detroit? No traffic, plenty of parking, and no need to worry about those pesky developers who want to let new people move into your community.

Posted by Sparty, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2014 at 12:56 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Silly, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 10, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Sparty, ok. You don't like the poor or homeless or elderly or the local merchants.

How about shame on those people with their $2,000,000+ homes and condos downtown who stupidly believe their $20,000 or so annual property taxes entitle them to a parking space somewhere near their homes?

If we're going to lose most of our amenities as a city where we often can't even back out of our driveways, maybe our taxes SHOULD be on par with the Rust Belt cities.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 10, 2014 at 1:21 pm


Forget the poor and disabled! Ship them off to Modesto with all of the minorities who don't know how to code!

Born and raised in PA and I am absolutely disgusted by the shift in priorities and values. Not even a shift, more of a hostile takeover by the tech elites. Do these people really not care about the people they are affecting? Social Darwinism to an extreme. Google and FB should have mandatory empathy and emotional intelligence training.

I cannot wait for this bubble to burst!

Posted by Robert, a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Hey Bob? Correct me if I'm wrong, but was it Google or Facebook employees that fought measure D, and have Google and Facebook employees been fighting the construction of any affordable housing?

Posted by Bob, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 10, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Robert, yes you are correct! But if you realize how much of an impact these companies are having on the previous communities they should be doing MORE! They owe it to the communities they are gentrifying and the multi generational families they are pushing out. I understand that these tech companies have no direct connection to the hotel but they ARE the reason for its opening and the displacement of the disabled and poor residents. Therefore they should say "hey, you know what, a lot of people REALLY hate us and we are clearly having a negative impact on some people, so we are going to do something good, like help plan and improve public transportation for the entire Bay Area, that way we can all live in greater harmony".

It's baffling the way these companies ignore anyone living outside of their "campus". And no giving kids a free pass in muni does not solve anything. If you're going to "rape and pillage" look at past examples and do it differently.

Posted by Silly, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 10, 2014 at 3:57 pm

While we're on PA values, did you all read the article in the SJ Mercury News on how backed up all the demolition guys are scraping the $1,000,000 homes to build bigger homes? Last year PA lost more than 80 older homes, including some really beautiful Birge Clark houses to put up 8-bedroom McMansions with HUGE windows overlooking the neighbor's equally tiny lots, the same as the previous few years with more yet to come.

I guess the new owners think they're building those huge homes with huge windows in the rural woods. Or they just like giving people a thrill when they run downstairs in their undies to get their morning coffee. More money than brains.

Drive down any street and look at all the holes in ground!

Feel free to join our naming contests: House of Hubris, Casa Magnificaca, Stables of Versailles....

Posted by Me, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 10, 2014 at 4:04 pm

What's Right and Bob,

Casa Olga financially collapsed in 2009 owing to "state budget cuts and a bureaucracy that delayed payments for services to patients for six months or longer" according to an Aug 21, 2009 article in Palo Alto online. So it's not as though the nasty, capitalist pig hoteliers evicted the old people. The hotel simply saw an oppurtunity to use a vacant building.

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Why should Facebook, Google or Apple worry about housing, I am sure they will pay someone to build, or pay their employees more to live here. This is why we have land developers, they building housing, stores and oh yes hotels.

A person could come in with money and build anything they want, this is called filling a need. Yes it seems we do have a need for $239 to $700 hotels rooms, or eat $100 dinners.

People who purchased their homes for $500,000 now can see the old family home for $2,000,000, the take your money and drive up the costs someplace else. Yes this does happen.

This is why certain places hate people coming in with millions, snapping up the real estate, needed the same services as they have in Palo Alto.

Here is an idea, lets control what people can buy or not buy, what businesses can charge, limit products, goods and services. Control what businesses you can open, limit the amount of capital, don't bother trying to attract workers, people with brains or the idea to start anything.

This hotel was approved as a different, they probably pay somebody to use their parking lot. I am sure most people are using a hire a car (limo or taxi), or some other means.

Not everyone wants to drive.

Posted by curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 10, 2014 at 4:10 pm

"If you want to keep living in the past, might I suggest a rust belt city? Cleveland? Detroit?"

A mere half century ago, those towns were as noisily arrogant over their status at the pinnacle of the industrial heap, and as smugly sure of their permanence there, as you-know-where is now.

So stick around. Our industry is far more portable than theirs was.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 10, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Good points all. I guess my biggest concern is the total disregard for community this tech boom has brought us. Isn't this worth fighting for? Don't you want to have a relationship with your neighbor? Your neighbor who cleans the school where your child attends? Or would you prefer that custodian be shipped in from the Central Valley 2 hours commuting each way building a strong resentment for you and your child while they clean up their feces.

Building that human connection is vital to a strong community. Enclosing a severed utopian community that only exists on a tech campus does nothing for the surrounding communities! Just look at the police office FB just hired?? WTF? What will happen when FB moves and the community loses that office Zuck had been paying for??

Techies need to learn how to have some heart and not just say " well if they were smart enough they would be able to live here". Disgusting approach to life.

Posted by Sparty, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2014 at 4:51 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Me, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 10, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Your humane concerns are totally valid and admirable, and mixing the socioeconomic classes in one zip code is probably an ideal way to foster an empathetic community. But I think that ship has sailed in this community and many other attractive places on the planet and I can't think up a practical real solution for it. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in an unguarded moment of candor early in his administration, said that, "If New York City is a business, it isn't Wal-Mart—it isn't trying to be the lowest-priced product in the market. It's a high-end product, maybe even a luxury product." That was an honest assessment that applies as well or better to (much smaller) Palo Alto. When a place becomes very attractive to wealthy people, it becomes impractical/unaffordable in the extreme to keep it socioeconomically mixed.

Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2014 at 5:00 pm

The Hotel has no parking. It is in the Downtown Parking Assessment District. It is very difficult to understand exactly what assessment the Hotel is actually paying as in-lieu fees to the District under the converted use to Epiphany Hotel.

Posted by Inept City Council, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 10, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Where are the cars, limos and taxis that are unloading hotel guests in front of the hotel going to park? Are they going to double park in front of the hotel as they unload the luggage? There doesn't appear to be any area to accommodate these cars. That is going to create quite a traffic jam at that corner. We can thank our city council for creating yet another parking problem for our town.

Posted by Palo Alto Native, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 10, 2014 at 8:06 pm


I am sorry that this has happened to my hometown. I wish there was something that could be done, but I am afraid
that it is to late. It will be interesting to watch what happens.

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 10, 2014 at 8:30 pm

>> "It will be interesting to watch what happens."

The advocates of "granny flats" may not realize the short evolution to servants' quarters. Or maybe that's the plan.

Posted by Domad, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 10, 2014 at 9:42 pm

Is the el Palo Alto mural an homage to the poor and disabled that once lived there? I hope the ghosts haunt the techies that stay there.

Posted by litebug, a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2014 at 10:31 pm

former 38 year resident of P.A.

I kept scrolling down down down trying to find some remark about the people who were displaced by this luxury hotel. Took me a long while to find a mention or two of the effects on them.

From what I read here everything that had been increasingly troublesome about a town I formerly loved for decades, has mestastisized since we moved to Oregon in 2008. Nothing I hear about Palo Alto makes me interested to even return for a visit. I miss the Santa Cruz mountains, coastside and the towns over there but not Palo Alto nor Silicon Valley. A total rat race for very well paid self centered rats. I'm glad I knew it in its heyday when it was a really great place to live.

Posted by jaa, a resident of University South
on Mar 11, 2014 at 4:24 am

"The Epiphany Hotel a dynamic home base for business or pleasure in the heart of Silicon Valley"

"displacing disabled and elderly people"

Doesn't sound like anybody's got a heart to me.

Posted by Neilson Buchanan, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 11, 2014 at 9:19 am

The hotel's parking issues are twofold. First, the hotel has contracted for up to 40 parking places underneath the Lytton Gardens facility on Everett...entry via back of that building thru parking lots. Experience will reveal if this is enough parking for overnight guests. There is no known contingency if demand exceeds 40 valet parking spaces.

What about infrequent peak periods such as big game? Probably demand far in excess of 40 parking spaces. City government will monitor the adequacy of hotel's valet program for overnight guests as conditions of hotel's valet parking permit.

Second issue is parking for restaurant patrons and hotel employees. These patrons and employees will add to the competition for fixed parking supply within the commercial core and onto residential streets. The hotel is just one of four new developments to be opening on Hamilton Ave alone. None of these projects has sufficient on-site parking and will add to the competition for parking spaces.

Posted by businessdecision, a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 11, 2014 at 10:53 am

It interests me that coders always stress how badly they want to change the world.
Do they hate it THAT MUCH?
If so, why?
Or is it just narcissism run wild?

Posted by Midtown, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 11, 2014 at 11:10 am

Bottom line, they just added about 100 cars a day to the parking mess. It looks like they pay the parking assesment district for 92 nonexistent parking places. All approved by our CC, based on Casa Olga needs in 1975.

Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 11, 2014 at 11:16 am

@Neilson re parking
What about the assessments for in-lieu payment to the Parking Assessment
District? Do you have knowledge of this? Can you sort this sort out as to what Joie de Vivre is actually paying the District? Casa Olga had a reduction or "reimbursement" for 117 spaces of the original requirement of 200 spaces less 5 provided on site due to it's use as a care facility leaving 78. Epiphany took out the 5 on-site spaces and converted it to an 86 room Hotel/restaurant. A May 2012 staff report refers to an arrangement
pertaining to this but it is not clear to me. As an 86 room Hotel and restaurant what would the parking requirement be and what is Epiphany being
assessed for?

Posted by Deep Throat, a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2014 at 11:32 am

The use of Lytton Gardens IV's parking on Everett Avenue for this hotel described above by Neilson Buchanan was not known at the time the City Council refused to consider Ken Alsman's appeal of the hotel project on July 23, 2012. Parking for the hotel is not an approved permitted or conditional use for the senior housing project's Planned Community zone district (PC 4053) (Web Link): "(a) The permitted only use shall be housing for low and very low income seniors, and accessory uses incidental thereto" ... "(b) No uses shall be permitted in this zone other than that use specified in paragraph (a)"

Did the Director of Planning and Community Environment approve a minor amendment to the PC zone district regulations for PC 4053 without providing constructive notice to the public? If so, was it legal to consider the amendment minor to avoid a zone change that requires public hearings before the City Council and the Planning and Transportation Commission? Was there even an application filed to amend PC 4053 to allow the parking at the Everett Avenue project?

Posted by Me, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 11, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Litebug and JAA

It is demagogic and factually erroneous to claim that this new hotel is displacing anyone. Check your facts. This very website reported in August, 2009 that:

"The eight-story building adorned with the giant mosaic of El Palo Alto at the corner of Emerson Street and Hamilton Avenue is the latest victim of state budget cuts and a bureaucracy that delayed payments for services to patients for six months or longer, according to its owners.

Weary of the struggle with government and now in their 70s, the four partners who built and managed the building since it opened in 1975 have finally given up and will close the intermediate health care facility in the coming weeks. All 88 residents will be moved to other facilities, homes or will be returned to the care of their families, Wanda Ginner, a board member and co-owner, said."

If you want to be demagogic, you're on safer ground saying that:

"California bureaucrats forced 88 seniors from their homes by slow paying their caregivers." Or,
"Skinflint California legislators and undertaxed California taxpayers together refuse to pay adequately for Senior care."

But blaming the new hotel for displacing these Seniors is just entirely baseless.

Posted by send, a resident of Southgate
on Mar 11, 2014 at 5:25 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 11, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Those of you lamenting the loss of low income housing - blaming the new hotel owner/business is neither accurate or truthful. It's well documented as to why Casa Olga folded (state budget cuts and delayed payments from the state)...the new hotel had absolutely nothing to do with it. The hotel did not evict anyone.

Comment about curbside parking for limos, etc.: The curbs along the Hamilton/Emerson corner have been painted white (= passenger loading zone) for decades.

Posted by Amelia, a resident of Mountain View
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:33 am

I love the remodel! I wish Palo Alto would do something similar with the streets and sidewalks... something similar to downtown Mountain View and Los Altos.

If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Touring the Southern California “Ivies:” Pomona and Cal Tech
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 5 comments | 3,142 views

Couples: Parallel Play or Interactive Play?
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,398 views

Just say no
By Jessica T | 6 comments | 1,333 views

SJSU Center for Steinbeck Studies to Honor Author Khaled Hosseini on Weds Sept 10
By Nick Taylor | 0 comments | 790 views

Candidate Kickoff Events: Public, not just for supporters
By Douglas Moran | 3 comments | 326 views