The MacMaster House B&B (1041 SW Vista Ave., 503/223-7362 or 800/774-9523, www.macmaster.com, from $100 d shared bath, from $140 d with bath) is behind downtown in the West Hills, close to Washington Park, in one of the city’s ritziest neighborhoods. The eight guest rooms in this mansion include two units with private bathrooms. Parking is free.
Thank goodness not every vintage downtown hotel has been turned into a modern luxury Xanadu. Travelers looking for a great value will like the Mark Spencer Hotel (409 SW 11th Ave., 503/224-3293 or 800/548-3934, $100 and up, parking $21), a former residential hotel that’s now a comfortable lodging just a few blocks from shopping and dining in the Pearl District. The rooms once rented as apartments, so even the standard guest rooms are spacious and have complete kitchens. The suites are truly large and apartment-like, with a separate bedroom, living room, and kitchen. Rates include continental breakfast.
The recent renovation of the 1912 Ace Hotel Portland (1022 SW Stark St., 503/228-2277, www.acehotel.com/portland, $125 and up, parking $20) has turned a historic but down-at-heel property into a distinctive, quintessentially Portland hotel. Spare but stylish guest rooms reflect the city’s recycling ethic with a mix of salvaged fir, vintage fixtures, and army surplus, while custom-made Pendleton blankets and eclectic murals by local artists enhance the unique sense of place. There’s a youth hostel vibe in the budget guest rooms with shared baths (including $95-per-night “band rooms” that comfortably sleep three and share a bathroom). But the Ace also offers understated luxury in top-floor suites ($250) as well as an unbeatable location a stone’s throw from both the Pearl District and the center of downtown.
With nearly 800 rooms, the Portland Hilton (921 SW 6th Ave., 503/226-1611, www.portland.hilton.com, $129 and up, parking $27) is Oregon’s largest hotel. And while there’s no denying that the Hilton is largely a business and convention hotel, there are good reasons for leisure travelers to spend the night. First, the hotel is absolutely in the center of the city, close to shopping, the arts, and public transport. Second, the hotel has just undergone a $27 million renovation, and everything is absolutely shipshape. Standard guest rooms frequently represent the best value in the city center. Rooms are in two adjacent buildings: the original hotel, with a 12,000-square-foot athletic club and indoor pool, a restaurant, and a bar, and the newer Executive Tower, with larger guest rooms (an additional $20), a fitness center, a bar, and a restaurant. The Hilton takes its environmental duties seriously: This is the largest Green Seal–certified hotel on the West Coast.
The large Marriott Downtown Portland Waterfront (1401 SW Naito Parkway, 503/226-7600, www.portlandmarriott.com, $129 and up) is a convention hotel that faces Waterfront Park, with half the views over the Willamette River toward Mount Hood. It’s an excellent location if you’re visiting Portland for a waterfront festival; when it’s not booked with conventioneers, it’s also one of the most affordable of the downtown hotels. Standard guest rooms aren’t huge but are nicely furnished; facilities include an indoor saline pool, a large fitness area, a regional fine-dining restaurant, a large sports bar, a coffee shop, and free wireless Internet. The hotel underwent a $7 million upgrade in 2008 and has earned Green Seal certification for its environmentally conscious hospitality operations.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel