When I thought about what to drink in uber-cool Portland, Oregon, I thought of craft beer, cold-brew coffee, and creative cocktails. Wine? Not so much. But that was before I learned that Oregon is one of the top wine-producing states in the U.S. and that much of that wine is produced in the Willamette Valley, just south of Portland.
I learned even more about the Oregon wine scene, when my husband and I spent a weekend at the Hotel Vintage Portland, a fun downtown boutique property that’s recently been revamped with an Oregon wine theme. Here’s the scoop.
Once known as The Imperial Hotel, the 10-story brick and stone building that now houses the Hotel Vintage dates back to 1894. It became part of the Kimpton Hotel Group in 1991, as the brand’s first property outside of the San Francisco area.
The Hotel Vintage reopened in March after a more than $10 million renovation. The theme at the new 117-room Hotel Vintage seems to be wine, art, and fun.
Facilities and Services
The fun starts in the Hotel Vintage lobby, a popular spot to hang out, particularly during the complimentary daily wine hour, which is standard at Kimpton properties. At the Hotel Vintage, staff pour Oregon wines every evening.
More local wines are available at the bar, where in addition to the bar stools at the counter, you can hang out in several seating areas, with leather couches, comfy chairs, and illuminated red walls.
Although it’s hard to tell from this photo (above), the lobby rug is designed as a Google Earth view of the Willamette Valley. Cool, right?
Follow the spiral staircase up from the lobby to a games room, which has a pool table as well as a video game station with old-school Atari, PlayStation, and Xbox games.
The hotel has several other nooks for entertainment. On the 8th floor, they’re installing guest computers, which will include copies of the “Oregon Trail” game for the kids. On the 7th floor, a corner will be devoted to board games. The lower level has a small fitness room.
Guest Rooms and Amenities
On each floor, a historic Oregon map highlights the wineries from a particular Willamette Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area). Each of the guest rooms on that floor is named for one of the wineries in that region and stocked with a bottle (available for purchase) from that wine producer.
In most rooms, the beds have carved wooden headboards made of dark distressed oak. Walls are chocolate brown and white, with a section made of cork to continue the wine theme.
Red sofas add a burst of color to the white, beige, and brown soft goods and furniture. Other amenities include flat-screen TVs, minibars, iPod docking stations, and a yoga mat in every room. The bathrobes are soft grey sweatshirts, complete with hoodies.
Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel. It’s free to members of Kimpton’s frequent stay program. Otherwise, it will cost you $13/day.
As in many older buildings, the rooms at the Hotel Vintage Portland come in lots of different shapes and sizes.
On the 10th floor, the “sky loft” rooms have greenhouse-style windows that let in lots of light (and electric window shades that you can close when you don’t want to see the sun).
Three “garden spa” rooms, located on the 9th floor, each have an outdoor terrace with a private hot tub.
The standard rooms, in the 285-350 square foot range, are cozy, but they don’t feel cramped. If you want a lot more room, consider the “King Reserve Spa Suites,” at 650 square feet, with separate sitting and sleeping areas, a dining table, and a two-person soaker tub, or the two-level “Luxury Suites,” with more than 1000 square feet.
Throughout the hotel, rooms have fun, wine-themed art pieces, like this wall hanging made of wine corks.
Other wall art looks like graffiti, in some of the bathrooms, public spaces, even the stairwells, keeping with the property’s up-to-date, almost edgy image and cheeky sense of humor.
Location and Rates
Standard double room rates at the Hotel Vintage Portland, which is centrally located downtown, currently start at about $250/night. Rates don’t normally include breakfast, although complimentary coffee and tea is served every morning in the lobby and some packages do include a morning meal. You can get breakfast (as well as lunch and dinner) at the hotel’s Pazzo Ristorante, an Italian dining room, or walk to any number of nearby cafes and eateries. Also nearby are several food cart pods, with lots of great munching options.
You don’t really need a car in Portland; it’s a pedestrian- and bike-friendly city with good public transportation. If you do have a vehicle, budget $43 per day for parking (valet-service only) at the Hotel Vintage. Cyclists can borrow one of the hotel’s complimentary loaner bikes to go exploring.
If you want to sample Oregon wines, though, you don’t have to go anywhere, now that the Hotel Vintage has been revamped into Portland’s wine hotel. Cheers!
Hotel review by Vancouver-based travel, food, and feature writer Carolyn B. Heller. Hotel lobby photos courtesy of Hotel Vintage Portland. Other photos © Carolyn B. Heller. Travel Portland hosted my stay at the Hotel Vintage.