Aesthetics are big in Portland, whether it’s the beauty on your plate at a restaurant or the prevention of ugly suburban sprawl. Hotel Lucia, located in the center at 400 Broadway, fits in well. It’s historic on the outside and chic modern on the inside, with form and function fitting together just right.
This boutique hotel has a lobby that flows through three rooms, a sculpture anchoring the one reception is in and the Imperial Restaurant off of that. Further back is a the lounge area (pictured above) with artwork on all sides. Another room is more casual, with a gas fireplace burning on one side and natural light from the street coming in during the day.
Hallways and lobby rooms feature “the world’s largest permanent collection” of celebrity black and white photos from Portland native David Hume Kennerly, his work featuring faces you’ll surely recognize, from the White House to the silver screen.
The other star power comes from Imperial Restaurant chef Vitaly Paley, who is a James Beard Award winner and an Iron Chef America champion. He and Executive Chef Douglas Adams (no, not the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy one, the current season of Top Chef one) use ingredients sourced from Oregon when possible and have an open kitchen where you can see the action. Even on a weeknight it’s a “reserve ahead” place two years after opening.
The other restaurant on site is a Portland-cool diner, with excellent coffee, bakery items, and sandwiches with a twist. It’s got just the right amount of self-aware irony for this town: there’s a breakfast roll called “The Hipster.”
The dramatic hallways and 127 guest rooms received a couple million in renovation dollars recently, with the results unveiled at the beginning of 2014. Much of this went into upgraded soft goods like bedding and curtains, but also into making it much easier to recharge our growing cadre of devices. I can’t recall another hotel I’ve been in where it was so uncharacteristically easy to find multiple outlets and USB plugs by both the desk and the bed. The leather desk chair is comfortable and the new fiber optic internet is also lightning fast.
The rooms will exceed most travelers’ expectations. You get robes, a minibar, good lighting, an iHome music system with the latest iPhone connector, 40-inch cable TVs, and excellent blackout curtains. There’s Portland Roasting Coffee and Smith’s Teas available, or you can order fresh-squeezed juice in multiple healthy combinations. Or you can order rich ice cream from local purveyor Salt & Straw.
There are a few quirks that couldn’t completely be ironed out in the renovations, like standard combo bathtubs and safes that are too small for a laptop, but the tradeoff is that many of the closets are walk-in sized. Junior suites add more space and furniture, while the Gallery Suites offer a full living room and another bath.
There’s language on the website that you can’t book this hotel yourself if you’re under 21, but you can bring your pooch (for an additional fee).
Rates vary a lot depending on whether it’s a weekend (lower then) and what kind of package is included. Book directly with Hotel Lucia (see the offers page here for specials) or through Hotels.com or Priceline.
Review by editor Tim Leffel, who was hosted for one night at Hotel Lucia while writing an article on Portland. All photos by Leffel except the room shot, courtesy of the hotel.