OR Travel Guide
There are rides, and then there are Rides. This is definitely a Ride.
The vintage cars come complete with chauffeur, and will ferry you in and out of town for free on weekend nights. You don’t have to reserve a slot, though it’s recommended – we didn’t, and had to wait an hour or so until there was space.
It’s time for Guess the Hotel revealed! Yesterday we introduced you to the creepy lobby display of the West Coast hipster hotel that had been inexplicably abandoned for 43 years before being opened up by the current owners in 2007.
This is the Commodore Hotel in Astoria, Oregon.
The Commodore was built in 1924 as a 24-room hotel for travelers on the Portland train and the ferry to Washington. Then in 1964 it mysteriously closed from one day to the next. As in, closed the doors but left furniture, belongings, everything inside, right down to magazines and cigarette stubs by the beds. Nobody knows why, though they think it might be to do with the arrival of the Astoria-Megler Bridge.
In 2007, the current owners bought it, opened it up, and commenced renovation, while saving much of what was found in the rooms for the spooky lobby display. It opened as the Commodore in 2009.
These days, there are 18 rooms: suites and cabins. Cabins are small rooms with a washbasin inside and shared bathroom facilities down the end of the corridor. Not scary shared bathroom facilities though – there are separate toilets for men and women (huzzah!), each toilet and each shower is in its own closed room rather than public cubicles, and when we toured the hotel they were spotlessly clean. There are two showers and two toilets per floor, shared by six cabins. Could be better (could be ensuite), but not an alarming ratio.
One of Portland’s most revered landmarks, and one of its prettiest buildings, has now been re-branded as Sentinel Hotel (No "THE" needed.)
Formerly the Governor Hotel, Sentinel retains its predecessor’s legacy and provides a great example of repositioning a historic property into a 21st century hotel.
The hotel takes its new name affectionately from a design detail that is repeated along the roof parapet. The consensus is that these robot-looking, terra cotta carvings represent sentinels--protectors or guardians--looking out over the city.
The building, robot sculptures and all, opened in 1909 as the Seward Hotel and in 1932, was renamed the Governor Hotel. Following a rather sizeable stint as a carpet store post WWII, the "Governor" was re-elected, so to speak, as a luxury hotel in 1992. This incorporated a circa 1923 building next door, which is now a National Landmark and provides the beauteous historic backdrop for the hotel’s main public areas and event spaces.
Provenance Hotels purchased the Governor in April 2012 in partnership with Woodbine Development Corporation. Together, they dropped $6 million on renovations for the hotel that included the guest rooms, four floors of meeting space and the lobby along with new F&B--Jake's Restaurant and the Jackknife bar.
You crowdsource your friends and followers on social media for help and advice on where to eat, where to stay and what to buy. So why shouldn't hoteliers crowdsource for ideas on opening and operating a hotel? That's what one newbie hotelier is doing right here on HotelChatter.
Here's the second in a series of questions on what should be included in his 30-bed hotel along the Oregon coast. We're not making promises or anything but imagine if, by opening day, the hotel has all of our suggestions inside. Pretty cool, huh?
But enough pipe-dreaming. Here's what our newbie hotelier, KB, wants to know now:
Next question, each room in the hotel has a kitchen. There is not a restaurant at the location. What type of items do you need in the room or available at the front desk?
We say, stock the pantries with some basic pots and pans and utensils as well as some dish soap and a dish brush. Also, have one-cup coffee makers (like Keurigs) on hand. Another nice touch would be a little basket of munchies but filled with snacks that are made in the area or Oregon in general. Lastly, since there's no restaurant, a binder of menus from nearby restaurants or delivery services would be helpful for folks who don't want to cook
[Photo: Newbie Hotelier]
We love hotel renovations nearly just as much as we love new hotels. But what we really love about hotel renovations is seeing the transformation that happens when an old, tired and lackluster room gets a modern makeover and transforms into new, spiffed-up, stylish guest room. Or put more simply, we love comparing the Before and After.
Portland's Hotel Lucia opened in 2002 and has just undergone its very first renovation. "The original design was done so well and so well maintained," they tell us, "that is far outlived the normal shelf life for a hotel design".
Hmmm. We think that paint color and sofa outlived their shelf lives too.
Watch the old make way for the new after the jump.
The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!
As everybody must know, Kimpton Hotels' host a much-loved Wine Hour every evening from 5 - 6 p.m., and if the Hotel Vintage Plaza in Portland's wine hour is as popular as those we've experienced, they must have a few (hundred) empty bottles knocking around. In the spirit of recycling and of Christmas, the hotel has put those empties to good use and decorated their tree with them -- and it looks so much classier than the wine bottle "decor" of our college days.
The hotel still has rooms open next week over Christmas from December 24-26 for about $128 a night. Plus, you know, free recycling services.
Photo: Facebook/Kimpton InTouch
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If you're staying at the RiverPlace Hotel in Portland this week, and are looking for General Manager Ryan Kunzer, you won't find him anywhere in the hotel. Which isn't to say he's not working.
He'll be working, alright, but instead of a traditional office, Kunzer has temporarily stationed himself inside a bubble tent in the middle of Pioneer Square.
Starting yesterday, Kunzer will spend three nights working and sleeping inside the 24-geodesic dome as a way to promote the hotel's renovated guest rooms, which are fresh from a $2.5 million makeover.
As a way to introduce the new look to locals and potential guests, RiverPlace has re-created a guest room inside the tent for all to see (literally). Kind of a genius PR stunt, if you ask us. No pedestrian who stumbles upon a pop-up bubble hotel in the middle of a public square would ever be able to pass by and not want to peek inside.
Hopefully, the reviews will be positive...
Rates from $284/night.
[Photo: RiverPlace Hotel]
Here's the latest happening in the luxury hotel world as told by Just Luxe's own Lena Katz. Got a question about luxury hotels, the travel biz, and where to stay? Send it in and we'll have Lena answer it.
We’re huge fans of the IFC sketch comedy show "Portlandia", for so many reasons: It taught us interpretive canoe dancing is totally a real thing and reminds us that the dream of the 90s is alive!! (btw, that’s the theme song’s catchphrase.)
Downtown Portland's Hotel deLuxe, which was featured in the recent episode “Squiggleman,” just announced a "Pilgrimage to Portlandia" package that incorporates goodies seen in past episodes. The Art Deco hotel is a 130-room artsy urban haven from the Provenance Hotels group.
Here are some perks you'll receive with their themed package:
Yesterday, we told San Franciscans about 3 Portland hotels worth checking out on their next SFO-->PDX jaunt. But another hotel popped up in the scene earlier this month, and it's part of the small but fun Northwestern group known as Provenance Hotels.
Provenance's other hotels are pretty much all uniformly modern, somewhat arty, and all distinguished by subtle themes. There's Seattle's local artist-supporting The Max, Portland's Hollywood-adoring Hotel deLuxe, Tacoma's glassed-out Hotel Murano.
And now, Portland gets its third Provenance with the historic Governor Hotel, originally built in 1909 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Get ready for the summertime airline routes! This is the best time of the yearnew destinations are on sale and airplanes are getting ready to head either south to the sun or north to the cooler temps. In Virgin America's case, it's north to the Pacific Northwest. Portland will begin receiving the SF hipsters from the first week of June, and we've got some suggestions on where to stay...
· The Ace Hotel. Duh. This is a no-brainer. The Ace is somewhere you can score a room for as low as $95/night, eat a $10 grilled cheese lunch, work in a communal mezzanine loft space and still walk with a swagger. Its location is ideal for walking outside and running smack-dab into the young, underground culture for which Portland is famous (and Powell's Books is like, 3 minutes away on foot). For everything you can't reach on foot, The Ace will happily rent you a hipster bike. To see just what the cheapest room at The Ace looks like, check out our gallery here. Rates from $95 per night.
A new 70-room inn has gone up next to the Fifth Street Public Market in Eugene, OR, and its name? Inn at Fifth. Gotta love those Pacific Northwesterners and their upfront, uncomplicated way of doing things.
The hotel, which opened in February, has seamlessly integrated the locally-owned businesses from the neighboring market into a long list of guest perks; and that's not surprising, as the owner of the hotel is the same guy who owns the Fifth Street Public Market.
OregonLive took a look at the place recently, and in addition to the lobby and rooms themselves (simple, sparse, and modern with iPad docks, Kuerig coffeemakers and gas fireplaces), we're digging all the services offered to guests from the market next door. Luggage, kitchenware, home decor, and toys within spitting distance from your room? Check. Spa accessed from the lobby? Check. Wine and cheese sent up in a basket the courtyard? Yup, that too.
The hotel, which looks more like an inn than a hotel, was previously a Larkspur Collection hotel before Kimpton took over. Now it boasts free WiFi, an evening wine-tasting, the Kimpton Pets program where your furry friends stay for free, a riverview courtyard and deck to hang out on and the Three Degrees Waterfront Bar and Grill which serves up fresh, local and seasonal ingredients.
The hotel is already a 2012 Traveler's Choice winner on TripAdvisor and the reviews are quite impressive. Kind of like the best ones we've seen on TripAdvisor in a while. The only bad thing might be valet parking which is $31 a night.
On the bright side, rooms start at just $199 a night.