Right now, downtown Portland is jammed with business travelers, visiting family, and curious out-of-towners. That means Portland hotels are packed, and, given Portland's popularity, rack rates might not fall much in autumn. Those planning trips further out, however, can factor in the city's surging development, with at least 10 brand-new hotel projects now underway.
But what does that mean for Portland's established hotels? If the current wave of "refreshes" are any indication, it means hotels like the Nines know they'll be fighting for your love. Here’s where five hotels are putting their money.
HOTEL VINTAGE: Graffiti and Games
Last April, Hotel Vintage finished up a $16 million renovation—naming and theming every one of their 117 rooms after Oregon wineries. More recent additions include a newly renovated two-story lobby, bar, and even a game room equipped with the original Oregon Trail game. They've also partnered with Viva La Free, a nonprofit in North Portland, to create permanent free-hand murals on three ninth-floor hotel balconies.
THE NINES: Artful Reboot
Rated as one of Oregon's top hotels by US News and World Report, tourists (and pro ball payers and celebrities) have long flocked to the Nines. Last month, owners enlisted the hotel's original designer, ForestPerkins, for a property-wide refresh. All 331 guest rooms have been redecorated, as well as meeting rooms, ballroom, club lounge, lobby, and guest corridors. New artwork has been added throughout hotel, with pieces from Portland artists including Karen Russell. Winding down the hotel grand staircase, a chandelier of 11 strands of 35-foot glass forms a synesthetic ode to birdsong, with audio and a light show to boot.
EMBASSY SUITES BY HILTON PORTLAND-WASHINGTON SQUARE: Flush with Hope
In Tigard, Embassy Suites by Hilton’s multi-million dollar renovation was too lavish to ignore. In June 2016, the 356-room hotel unveiled a transformation that includes a new atrium, upgraded meeting space, improved indoor pool, and rebranded restaurant. High-efficiency appliances and lighting, composting programs, and bathroom upgrades aim for energy savings—along with a reduction in water use by 1.7 million gallons a year.
PORTLAND MARRIOTT DOWNTOWN: Bike Inn?
Finished in January of this year, the 506-room hotel splashed new colors of greens, blues, and grays on the walls. The Portland Marriott Downtown also refurbished 44,000 square feet of meeting space, ballrooms, and its M Club Lounge and fitness center. Special hanging racks for bikes were also incorporated in selected specialty guestrooms.
BENSON HOTEL: Still Playing the Classics
Opened in 1913, the coffered-ceiling, wood-paneled Benson Hotel is a time-tested treasure, with the dust and wear to prove it. Currently, the hotel is undergoing a $14 million, two-year renovation with a stated goal to give a more contemporary European feel, while also nodding to the Benson's early Portland roots. Brand-new commissioned photography of Portland will soon hang in the guest rooms. Completion of the Benson's revamp is slated for 2017.