Finding a room in Hood River in the summer isn’t easy, and the rates reflect the area’s popularity. Weekend rates can be substantially higher than on weekdays. Nevertheless, the area has a surprising variety of good, relatively reasonable places to stay. Don’t forget to look into bed-and-breakfast and campground options if the area hotels are full.
All prices listed are summer rates; remember to add the 9 percent room tax within the city of Hood River.
The Vagabond Lodge (4070 Westcliff Dr., 541/386-2992, www.vagabondlodge.com, $65 and up) has lovely landscaped grounds with a playground for kids and is set back from the highway. Three guest rooms have full kitchens, and a number have large stone fireplaces. The best are the view rooms (extra charge), which take in an eye-popping vista of the Columbia River Gorge.
On the west end of Hood River, about a mile from downtown, Comfort Suites (2625 W. Cascade Ave., 541/308-1000, $120 and up) offers immaculate guest rooms and amenities such as a pool and spa as well as some suites with kitchens.
Riverview Lodge (1505 Oak St., 541/386-8719, www.riverviewforyou.com, $79 and up) has a pool and some suites with kitchens. Both hotels are within easy walking distance of Cascade Commons, Hood River’s shopping center, with several grocery stores and eating options.
In the heart of downtown is the Hood River Hotel (102 Oak St., 541/386-1900 or 800/386-1859, www.hoodriverhotel.com, $89 and up), an impeccably restored turn-of-the-20th-century hotel with a first-rate restaurant (Cornerstone Cuisine). Special vacation packages are also featured. The oak-paneled, high-ceilinged lobby, with a cozy fireplace and an adjoining lounge and restaurant, is particularly inviting. The river-view rooms also face onto the rail lines, so if you’re a light sleeper you may want to opt for a lower-priced town-view room. All in all, “the Hotel” (as locals call it) is a nexus of activity and the most charming in-town digs to be found.
A large 1909 home right on the edge of downtown Hood River is now the Oak Street Hotel (610 Oak St., 541/386-3845 or 866/386-3845, www.oakstreethotel.com, $129 and up), a small boutique hotel with just nine rooms, all stylishly furnished.
If being on the river is essential to you, Best Western’s Hood River Inn (1108 E. Marina Way, 541/386-2200 or 800/828-7873, www.hoodriverinn.com, $139 and up) is the only place in town to boast direct river frontage and even a small private beach. The rooms provide great opportunities to watch sailboarders, and there’s a lounge and a decent restaurant (the Riverside Grill) on the premises. Best of all, however, are the heated outdoor pool and spa. The only downside is that the hotel is a bit of a trek to downtown. There’s a complex formula for determining room rates, so it’s worth visiting the website before calling to make reservations.
The Columbia Gorge Hotel (4000 Westcliff Dr., 541/386-5566 or 800/345-1921, www.columbiagorgehotel.com, $159 and up) was built in 1921 by lumber magnate Simon Benson. It has been called the “Waldorf of the West” for its neo-Moorish facade, glittering chandeliers, and 207-foot waterfall on the grounds. Large wing chairs around the fireplace and fresh-cut bouquets in the dining room also bespeak the hotel’s enduring refinement. To get there, take Exit 62 off I-84, drive over the bridge to the north side of the highway, and follow Westcliff Drive west.
Spacious rooms with heavy wooden beams, brass beds, and period furniture clearly demonstrate what was meant by the “good ol’ days.” The readers of Condé Nast Traveler agree, ranking the inn among the top 500 hotels in the world. Rates are high, but a more romantic retreat would be hard to come by.
Immediately adjacent to the Columbia Gorge Hotel, and sharing its stellar views, Columbia Cliff Villas (3880 Westcliff Dr., 541/436-2660 or 866/912-8366, $169 and up) offers hotel-condo lodgings. The guest rooms can be put together into almost any layout, from basic hotel-style rooms to multibedroom suites with full kitchens.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel