Portland, Oregon, is a major metropolitan and cultural outpost of the Pacific Northwest, set strategically near the mouth of the Columbia River and astride major north-south and east-west interstate corridors. One of the state’s primary centers for business and commerce, the City of Roses is also renowned for its outdoors context, with the Coast Range to the west and the Cascade Range to the east. Recreation opportunities within an hour’s drive include the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood and the Oregon Coast. Whether you’re staying for a week or a night, the city has plenty of hotels and motels -- not to mention hostels, bed and breakfasts and inns.
Both hotels and motels abound in the vicinity of the Portland International Airport, like Aloft Portland Hotel at Cascade Station, only a half-mile from the terminals. These accommodations are in northeastern Portland, just south of the Columbia River. Other clusters include the region around the Oregon Convention Center on the east banks of the Willamette River -- which includes the Inn at the Convention Center and others -- and downtown Portland itself, including the landmark Heathman Hotel. Lodging options are scattered throughout other portions of Greater Portland, including the unique neighborhoods of Southeast Portland and outlying communities like Gresham, Oregon City and Beaverton.
Portland's hotels and motels offer easy access to the city's major attractions. Many offer fine views of the Willamette River: The Best Western Plus Rivershore Hotel in Oregon City is situated just below Willamette Falls, a big horseshoe-shaped cataract, while the Avalon Hotel & Spa closer to downtown Portland sits on the shore of the South Waterfront District. Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest peak, dominates the eastern skyline from many points in Portland, including parts of the downtown riverfront. Powell's Books in downtown and the Japanese Garden in the West Hills are just two of the city's well-known cultural attractions. A number of lodgings, such as the Pearl District's upscale Mark Spencer Hotel, welcome pets.
Since Portland is by far the largest city in Oregon, most nationwide hotel and motel chains -- Best Western, Marriott, Comfort Inn and the like -- are represented here. Other options have a more local feel; one example is the McMenamins chain, which manages not only dozens of brewpubs and restaurants but also several historic lodging establishments. These include the Edgefield in Troutdale, just east of Portland and just west of the Columbia Gorge; this former poor-farm and its sprawling grounds offer overnight accommodations in guest and hostel rooms varying in size and amenities. As elsewhere, cost depends largely on the size and glamor of the establishment and the season: you may pay under $30 for motel rooms and many times that at a downtown hotel.
Reserve early if you're hoping to stay in Portland for major events like the annual Rose Festival. For dining options, some of the best deals in town are the food carts, clustered in large blocks at several points in downtown Portland and on the east side. Summer travelers may be surprised to find consistently sunny and dry weather; Portland’s reputation for rain is based on the winter wet season, when Pacific storms regularly pummel the Northwest. But umbrellas or ponchos aren’t always necessary: winter rains are often light and sporadic.
- MT Hood image by photosfromoregon from Fotolia.com