Hip Portland Hotels

by Joy Uyeno

Portland's hotels are a reflection of the hip, eco-friendly and down-to-earth attitude of the city's patrons. From a hotel that was once an elementary school to an establishment that transports guests to Hollywood's golden era, this Northwest city's hotels are as quirky as Portland itself.

Jupiter Hotel

The Jupiter Hotel was once a motor lodge, which was converted into a boutique hotel in 2004. Each of the 81 guest rooms features low-scale, contemporary furniture, simple bathrooms and a desk/bench area. Floor-to-ceiling murals cover the far wall of every guest room, and chalkboard-painted doors give guests a space to brainstorm, make lists or write notes. The hotel is connected to a bar called the Doug Fir, which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and also acts as a venue for live music. The Jupiter is a pet-friendly hotel and offers rooms at a discount after midnight.

Ace Hotel Portland

The Ace Hotel in Portland is set among the hip shops and restaurants of the Pearl District. What was once a "slightly dingy" hotel called the Clyde was transformed into what New York Times writer Matt Gross describes as "a boutique reincarnation," with rooms that illustrate Portland's love of everything vintage, rustic and original. The comfortable beds are dressed in crisp white sheets with thick, wool military-style blankets and down-feather pillows. Stacked suitcases and old books act as nightstands, and some rooms include working record players (guests can borrow vinyl from the front desk). The hotel lobby is flanked by the tres chic Clyde Common restaurant and a Stumptown cafe.

McMenamins Kennedy School

The McMenamin family is famous for creating fun, quirky spaces, and their Kennedy School Hotel is no exception. The building was erected in 1915 as an elementary school, and what were now classrooms are now large guest rooms. Each room still has the original blackboards in tact, along with comfortable chairs, queen- or king-size beds and desks. In addition to the rooms, the Kennedy School is home to a soaking pool, movie theater (seating is made up of vintage couches), five small bars, a brewery, restaurant and gift shop.

Hotel deLuxe

The Hotel deLuxe transports guests to the glamour of 1940s and '50s Hollywood, and the decor is made up of mid-century modern elegance set against a backdrop of rich silks and velvets. Each room is decorated with crystal reading lamps, photographs from old Hollywood films, and crisp white sheets over plush down comforters. The Driftwood Room is Hotel deLuxe's upscale cocktail lounge. The hotel's restaurant, Gracie's, serves up an atmosphere of classic Hollywood style with an eclectic mix of American-, European- and Asian-inspired dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Hotel deLuxe made Conde Nast Traveler's Gold List in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

About the Author

Joy Uyeno has been writing about travel, food, fashion, culture and finance since 2005. For three years she wrote a column for the "Honolulu Star-Bulletin" aimed at young and first-time travelers. Her writing has appeared in several local and national publications, including the 2008 anthology "Honolulu Stories." She holds a Master of Arts in writing and publishing from Emerson College.