The employee "sustained non-life threatening injuries" in the struggle, and managed to get to a phone in the hotel room, at which point the man fled, said Nicole Acker, spokesperson for the Menlo Park Police Department.
The hotel, at the border with Santa Clara County, is just north of the bridge across San Francisquito Creek.
The victim described the man as black and about 5 feet 10 inches tall with a slender build. He wore dark jeans, a black waist-length zip-up jacket over a long-sleeve light blue shirt, and a black baseball cap, police said. He had covered his face with a black ski mask and wore black fabric gloves, police said.
Police are asking anyone with information to call 330-6300 and ask for the investigations unit or Officer Felicia Byars, or call the anonymous tip line at 330-6395.