Friday, Mar. 26, 2010

Hotel deLuxe

Old Hollywood–style glamour pervades this elegant, slightly-off-the-beaten-path hotel. You'll feel it from the moment you ascend the wide marble steps into the grand lobby, with its ornately carved moldings and coffered ceilings. At the dark, wood-paneled Driftwood Room (one of Portland's iconic lounges), local deal-makers hobnob in cushy leather banquettes. Sophisticated diners frequent the restaurant Gracie's, which serves globally influenced Pacific Northwest cuisine. The old-school plushness is reinforced in the 130 rooms, with angular Art Deco-esque furnishings, crystal lampshades and black-and-white stills from classic films adorning the walls (more modern nods to entertainment — flat-screen TVs and iPod docks — are here, too). Pay the extra $20 or so for a King Feature suite and you'll get an elongated sitting area as well as a bedroom.

Room to Book: The swish Marlene Dietrich Suite, which has a custom-made circular bed, shimmering crystal lamps and panoramic downtown views.

Insider Tip: For similarly alluring digs but a more central downtown location, check out the deLuxe's sister property, the Hotel Lucia, at 400 SW Broadway.

Hotel Monaco

The Portland outpost of the Kimpton group's Monaco brand sits along a busy downtown stretch that, while lacking in curb appeal, provides easy access to the riverfront and the Portland Saturday Market, and is walking distance from the Pearl District and Old Town. A makeover in 2007 freshened up all 221 rooms and suites; all now sport striped wallpaper, beds with leather headboards and 32-inch plasma flat-screen TVs (suites have French doors off the bedrooms leading to expansive sitting areas). All the familiar Monaco amenities are here — like special packages for travelers with pets, complimentary evening wine socials, in-room spa treatments and loaner goldfish on request.

Room to Book: The four 850-sq.-ft. Grand Suites are ubercushy, with two-person jetted Fuji tubs, wet bars and dazzling skyline views.

Insider Tip: At the nightly lobby wine socials, the artistically inclined can request paints and an easel for doodling while sipping Oregon Pinot Noir (a little gimmicky, but still fun).

Hotel Vintage Plaza

Oenophiles appreciate this Kimpton group beauty, which offers wine-themed accommodations in a stately 1894 building downtown. Each night, guests can sip complimentary local vintages in front of a leviathan marble fireplace in the lobby; afterward, they can retire to one of the hotel's 117 rooms, which are done up in color schemes and fine Italian linens reminiscent of Tuscany. (The guest quarters aren't quite as delicious as those at the Hotel Monaco, but a major interior redesign in late 2008 refreshed all the fabrics and much of the slightly dated furniture.) Small but notable perks — like free Wi-Fi, newspaper and overnight shoeshine — abound, and hotel staffers are perhaps the most attentive in town. The in-house Pazzo Ristorante serves outstanding regional Italian fare, along with a (natch) well-edited wine list that includes top-notch Tuscan Chiantis and Piedmontese Nebbiolos.

Room to Book: Any of the three Garden Spa rooms, which have private wooden decks with hot tubs. Room 910 has the best view of the downtown skyline.

Insider Tip: The hotel's resident wine expert can help you plan a foray into nearby Willamette Valley Wine Country; if you want to plan an itinerary in advance, e-mail the hotel before your arrival.

Inn @ Northrup Station

The only boutique lodging option in the trendy Nob Hill neighborhood, Northrup Station is one of those easily missed gems that even locals may not realize is a hotel. The long, three-story, contemporary building (which basically looks like a residence) fronts palm tree–lined Northrup Street and the handy Portland Streetcar line — and is just a stone's throw from such landmark restaurants as Paley's Place Bistro & Bar and Wildwood Restaurant & Bar. The all-suites property harks back to the '70s with its mid-century-modern aesthetic and slightly kooky color schemes (there's a generous use of mauve, lime green and orange). The value here is great, especially considering the generous dimensions of the 70 units — all of which have fully equipped kitchens, granite counters and two TVs apiece. Parking, breakfast, Wi-Fi and Portland Streetcar tickets are included with your room rate.

Room to Book: South-facing units on the third floor overlook pretty Northrup Street and get lots of light.

Insider Tip: Make good use of your unit's kitchen by shopping for provisions in the neighborhood. Both Trader Joe's and City Market — one of the best gourmet food shops in the city — are nearby.

RiverPlace Hotel

Designed to resemble a grand Victorian seaside hotel (but with a Northwest craftsman style — it was actually built in the early '80s), the waterfront RiverPlace easily has the city's best Willamette River views. Set at the southern edge of downtown, at a nice remove from the hustle and bustle, the property overlooks the grassy Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park, a marina and a promenade lined with boutiques and sidewalk cafés. A library stocked with books and a glowing fireplace warm the lobby; on sunny days, guests can sit in teak rocking chairs on the porch, admiring boats on the river. The 84 rooms have earthy color schemes and Arts and Crafts–inspired furniture, as well as Wi-Fi and CD and DVD players; many have separate sitting parlors. Three Degrees Restaurant and Bar turns out top-notch regional northwestern fare and has romantic water views. Fitness buffs will like the free passes to the city's best gym, the RiverPlace Athletic Club, just a five-minute walk away.

Room to Book: Rooms 325 and 425 are enormous fireplace suites with whirlpool tubs and panoramic views of the Willamette River, Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park and the downtown skyline. Rooms ending in 02, 08, 16 and 17 also have terrific views.

Insider Tip: Guided kayak tours of the Willamette, offered through Portland Kayak Company, leave from the RiverPlace Moorage, adjacent to the hotel.