Staying at Dinah’s Garden Hotel in Palo Alto

Sometimes, don’t you find that lodging while away can be a bit, repetitive? Check in, acceptable room with the basics that you will need. Many times, we travel just to see the sights. We don’t necessarily mind if our accommodations are nothing to write home about.

That is why, I have a rule at Along Comes Mary to only tell you about the hotels that are daring to be different. To make you savor your time in your temporary bedroom, admire the scenery, and feel like you are staying somewhere with great history.

Dinah’s Garden Hotel of Palo Alto is one of these unique locations. In the 1950’s, we were at the height of Americana. A legion of “motor touring.” motels were popping up along all the highways. Dinah’s owner Raymond Handley and his partners were not interested in building another cheap “in and out” style motel along a highway. Rather, they set out to create a truly unique lodging experience. One that offers an “oasis of serenity and peaceful hospitality to every class of traveler”, says their website.

A koi fish pond awaits you at Dinah’s, too.

And, that they certainly did. It also didn’t hurt that Handley and his wife, Milla Louise, were avid art and antique collectors. Dozens of their pieces are right within the rooms and guest cottages of Dinah’s. You can find everything from a pair of 19th century life-size Indian processional elephants at the entrance of the hotel to my favorite piece seen: a 2nd century A.D. Gandharan stone Buddha in the lagoon area. Surrounded by the sounds of the waterfall and lake, this tranquil lagoon is one of the examples of how Dinah’s was conceived to take you away from the hustle and bustle just moments away.

You will find genuine, unusual works of art throughout the hotel and gardens. Check out this wooden bench!


I had such a great view from my patio. This made it difficult to leave my room but my presence was requested at a fabulous drinks and appetizer soiree. Held at the pool, this gives visitors a chance to relax, mingle and hear some great live music while taking a swim in the pool or munching on some delicious small bites and wine.

You probably have a good guess what I enjoyed partaking in. Fess Parker Syrah and Morgan Wines Pinot were on hand. You know I can never resist a Parker varietal!

After an incredible peaceful rest, I awoke eager to try something Dinah’s Pool Side Restaurant is known for: their orange juice. Fresh squeezed daily, this glass was another perfect example of just why San Mateo County prides itself on being as “Fresh As it Gets”. I have had some great OJ in my day, but, I can see why this is their go-to favorite beverage. Even the color was more, well, “orange” than usual.

Breakfast of Champions at Dinah's Pool Side restaurant.
Breakfast of Champions at Dinah’s Pool Side restaurant.

Having continually been named “Best Hotel in Palo Alto”, Dinah’s is an ideal location for those passing through, visiting students of Stanford (or maybe you are a potential student) or, even a great alternative to staying in San Francisco or San Jose. So much is at your fingertips in San Mateo County, and Palo Alto is one of the gateways.

I cannot thank Dinah’s enough for my wonderful, hosted stay. Visit them HERE and book your trip now! xo

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