New hotel in Palo Alto: Is this a bright idea?

Palo Alto, site of much contemplation and many a brainstorm, gets its first Epiphany in coming weeks. The Epiphany Hotel, that is.

To create the hotel, the San Francisco-based Joie de Vivre chain, known for converting older properties into stylish, casual lodgings, has taken over the Casa Olga, a former residence for seniors and disabled people. The result is an eight-story boutique hotel on Hamilton Avenue, a block from the college town’s main drag, University Avenue. Stanford University is handy, as well.

As of Thursday, the hotel, which will include a ground-floor restaurant, was taking reservations for stays beginning March 17. To start, rates will go as low as $199 on weekends. On weekdays, when most business travelers check in, there’s a $349 opening discount rate before even the lowest rates climb to $400 to $500 nightly.

The hotel’s design is by Steinberg Architects (based in Palo Alto) and McCartan Interior Design, which worked on Joie de Vivre’s popular Hotel Vitale near the San Francisco waterfront’s Ferry Building.

The hotel’s 86 rooms include four suites, some including Murphy beds, the better to serve corporate gatherings during the day. Amenities include water by Fred, a Sausalito-based company that uses refillable flask-shaped bottles.