Inside The Commodore, Astoria's Hipster Hotel With A Creepy History
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.
The suites at the Commodore are just larger rooms with queen beds, a couch, huge windows and ensuite bathrooms. All rooms have original features – those radiators and vanity mirrors have been in your room since 1924. (So have the windows, so if you’re a light sleeper, bring earplugs, or choose an “interior” cabin, which actually overlooks a bright atrium.)
The Commodore is a block from the Columbia River (you can see the river and the bridge from rooms on 14th Street), but it’s also in the middle of town (Commercial Street seems to be turning into a mini Portland, from what we saw this visit). The hotel’s coffee shop, Street 14 Coffee, which merges with the lobby, is as fantastic as it is popular.
The Commodore has two siblings: the Norblad, which is more hostelly, if still trendy, and the Eliott, which is posher (it has a wine bar). Neither has such a creepy-cool history, though, so next time we’re in Astoria, we’ll be shacking up here.
Cabins at the Commodore start at $79. Suites from $109. Creepy history: thrown in for free.
[Photos: Julia Buckley for HotelChatter]