97205 Travel Guide
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:
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Along with college girls, suburban grandmothers and soccer moms, we too were secretly titillated by E. L. James' erotic Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. We toted the books on planes, read by the pool in Sin City (with just about everyone else in Vegas) and sometimes, we sheepishly skimmed while waiting at the drive-thu for our coffee.
As we got deeper into Anastasia and Christian's complex relationship, it turns out that we were only doing our job. The Heathman Hotel in Portland as a prominent setting to the story made us wonder, 'Why doesn't the Heathman have a Fifty Shades of Grey package ?'
Well, it turns out they do.
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.
We have a serious heart-on for the Clyde Common restaurant at the Ace Hotel Portland and it's easy to see why--we had lunch there for just $10. And it was a phenomenal lunch too as we ordered an aged monterey jack and marinated anaheim pepper grilled cheese served with fries, creme fraiche and the sweet harissa which our bro Jaunted told us all about the other month. Throw in a Coke and the bill came to $10 even. Swoon. Just another reason to love Portland in general, it's way affordable.
Want to know what it's like spending the night at the ACE PDX where rooms are as low as $95 a night? Check out our full review with video and photos right here.
Last week, we wondered if toiletry dispensers were unsanitary or not but over at the Benson Hotel in Portland, you won't have to worry about that since the hotel offers both toiletry dispensers and toiletry bottles. And with the good stuff too--Gilchrist & Soames.
There is one exception though. Unless you prefer using hotel soap, you will have to pump the dispenser for the shower gel as that was not offered in bottle form. Go figure.
Okay, it's official; we are totally on the look-out for hotel rooms that feature the little extra amenity of a wall-mounted bottle opener. First, we spotted in the business traveler-oriented, $300+ rooms of the Sofitel Heathrow Airport, and now one has made an appearance in the hipster-centric $95 rooms of the Ace Hotel Portland. Beerit transcends all economics and demographics.
Truly, having a bottle opener fixed to the wall (and therefore not so easily stealable) makes total sense in a hotel room. No need to call room service at 2am when you've cut your teeth trying to open a bottle you thought was screw-top. And, if you have a special guest up to your room for drinks, the suave movement of popping the cap without having to fuss with a gadget is some minor James Bond seduction stuff. At least, to us.
How often do you see a hotel flagrantly bragging about their employees? Almost never, because the job of a hotel is to focus on the guests and brag about them, right? Wrong, if you're Portland, Oregon's Hotel Lucia, because they have it written right on their exterior:
Through these doors walk the most outstanding Employees anyone could ask for
We were just walking by this side, employee-entrance door when the bright green words attracted our attention. You don't even need to be a guest at the Lucia to smile about their employees, because this cute little gesture from the management says it all. We wonder if the workers even look at it anymore, or if employees of other hotels walk past and get a little sour. Regardless, this is something we've never seen before at a hotel, and good on them for showing a little public appreciation for their staff.
You know the scene. You open the door to your brand new hotel room, run over to the window, open the blinds and bam, you are hit with the anti-view. Maybe you are looking down a dirty alley, witnessing a drug deal, staring at an air shaft in the face, or seeing a brick wall. Whatever you are viewing it is not extremely pleasurable. Help out your fellow hotel mavens by uploading your anti-views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number with the not-so-easy-on-the-eyes view.
This is a classic case of "you get what you pay for." A stay at the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon comes with the hipster cache that the other three Aces also enjoy, but oftentimes that means sacrificing things like valet parking and chocolates on your pillow at turndown. For rooms starting from $95 per night, however, that's completely understandable.
For the past month now, guests at the Ace Portland have taken a particular liking to room 215, often making daily pilgrimages there in the mornings between 7am and 11am.
It might (just might) have something to do with the following: the ever-innovative Ace has converted a previous Junior Deluxe room into a fully-fledged breakfast nook, whose adorable kitchenette offers yummy, fresh nibbles like yogurt, dried cherries, and hard-boiled eggs.
Without any official announcement or heavy promotional push, the room, which offers a family-style dining table as well as bar seating, opened in early March, and is one of the healthiest hotel breakfasts we've ever had.
A single barista/waitress greets guests as they arrive, offering a choice of brioche or spelt toast. Classical music plays gently in the background, and on a recent weekday morning, we got so cozy, we could have spent hours just eating toast and stirring our coffee. Virtually every ingredient offered on the buffet table is regionally-sourced, seasonal, and, we should add, delicious.
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There’s nowt like getting discounts on your shopping, and nowt like going with the flow in a place like Portland and getting all chippy against The Man, so the new holiday shopping package that the Ace Portland has just launched is getting us even more excited than the moment on our first trip there that we were told there was no sales tax in Oregon.
The Stick It To The Man package goes one stage further and offers you 10 percent off a standard room, 10 percent off things you buy at the Ace (including yummy Malin + Goetz smellies) and 10 percent off purchases from a selection of local retailers.
The discount is good for 35 independent shops in Portland including Billygoat Vintage, Muse Art and Design and Camellia Pure Beauty. And if you don’t know what these are, fear not, because they’ll also slip you a copy of eat.shop Portland to navigate your way around the beacons of hipsterdom.
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UPDATE: Al Gore is no longer an "inconvenient" hotel guest. He's been cleared of all charges in the Portland case.
It looks there's yet another hotel sex scandal involving a politician. This time it's former vice president Al Gore who's been accused of sexually assaulting a massage therapist in 2006 at the Hotel Lucia in Portland.
The National Enquirer says the massage therapist, a woman, recently detailed for Portland police all the unwanted sexual contact between her and Gore. The report is 73 pages long and full of bizarro stuff but here are the highlights--apparently Gore requested an abdominal massage and when the therapist showed up, she said Gore had been drinking. He then proceed to do/say the strangest things over the course of a "massage" including making her listen to a song by Pink, washing down chocolates with Grand Marnier and grabbing her from behind.
Flipping pages in bed isn’t exactly our idea of foreplay, but for solo travelers and super geeks, The Heathman Hotel offers a “Books By Your Bedside” package. Home to one of the country’s few catalogued hotel guest-lending libraries, this package includes accommodations for two, a tour of the hotel’s library, a hardcover edition of a book written by the hotel’s most recent guest author and other goodies.
Authors Anthony Bourdain and David Sedaris both made appearances at the hotel within the past two months. Thomas L. Friedman, a popular environmental writer, as well as Annie Leibowitz, the famed celebrity photographer, were at The Heathman back in April. Michael Pollan graced Portland with his politically-correct presence in January, along with Calvin Trillin.