Eugene is one of those quirky university towns located in the southern end of the Willamette Valley, about 100 miles south of Portland. With a population hovering around 165,000–169,000, this second most populous city in Oregon is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure-seekers. It’s even more special because rivers run through it. Since the Willamette and McKenzie rivers run through town, they afford multitude opportunities for rafting, kayaking, and canoeing. You’ll find that bicycling, running, jogging and walking are also popular pastimes in a city known for its progressive leanings.
Centrally located, Eugene easily serves as a hub-and-spoke for visitors coming down to visit vineyards and wineries to sample the famous Pinot Noir of Oregon. And there’s no better place for home base than the #1 rated hotel in the city – The Inn at the 5th. This boutique hotel incorporates an exciting urban design based on integrating laid-back luxury and local culture with the terroir of people and place. The emphasis is on Oregon’s unique vibe with an underscore on authentic people and quirky neighborhoods.
I am met at Eugene airport by a friendly driver from The Inn at the 5th driving a sparkling black Mercedes Benz. (The luxury shuttle service is provided to hotel guests on a complimentary basis). Great start I’m thinking to myself, but I’m silently musing how they are going to top this. It didn’t take long: After checking in I was asked if I would like a complimentary glass of Oregon wine or craft beer. Of course, I asked for a glass of the famous Oregon Pinot Noir. It’s just part of the welcome.
Walking into my suite room #421, I was visually greeted with an array of Pendleton woolen blankets on the bed and hanging on the wall, Pendleton throw pillows, Pendleton upholstered window seats, as well as historical photographs from the Pendleton Woolen Mills. I am in the Pendleton Suite. The new Pendleton Suite and a Pendleton blanket menu are recent innovations stemming from the addition of a retail Pendleton store adjacent to the hotel lobby. Guests can choose from a variety of complimentary Pendleton blankets, and may even purchase the blanket at a 20% discount following their stay.
Amenities abound at The Inn at the 5th. My suite showcases custom Italian linens, double vanities and a walk-in shower, along with Aveda toiletries. Luxurious robes hang in the closet. Two 42” flat screen televisions adorn either side of my cozy electric fireplace. And then there is the private butler pantry, secured with a lock and key from the outside. Great for room service.
Complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, local and national calls are available to guests, as is a complimentary mini-fridge with sodas and snacks located by the reception desk. You can work out anytime in the 24-hour fitness center or work-on-work in business nooks conveniently located on each floor. Plus, complimentary bicycles are provided by the hotel for exploring nearby University of Oregon campus or the offerings of Eugene.
One of the most coveted conveniences for guests at The Inn of the 5th is the adjacent open-air shopping and restaurants. Within a couple minutes walking distance are the Market Place which harbors Marché, a fine-dining French restaurant, the Blackboard Wine Bar, Provisions for breakfast and lunch, and Public Market Eateries that include new additions such as Market Ramen and Winner Winner which serves chicken dinners. Made-in-Oregon products are available at retail stores while Will Leather Goods resides in a stand-along red box car with a green and yellow cow marking the entrance. It is located in the parking lot, in front of the Market Place.
For those interested in booking a half-day wine tour, The Inn at the 5th offers a customized tasting tour of the Southern Willamette Valley. The Oregon Wine Tour Package Includes: bottle of red or white Sweet Cheeks wine, wine tote, Inn at the 5th wine opener, and bottled water for half-day tour in a luxury vehicle. Winery tastings include King Estate, Silvan Ridge and Iris Vineyards.
In the year 2020, The Inn at the 5th will be joined by a new sister hotel property called The Gordon. Located nearby, the same level of luxury and service will be part of the brand.
The Inn at the 5th is a non-smoking hotel that is also dog-friendly. A day spa is located on the premises. Rates start around $247 but can vary depending on season, day of the week, and type of room/suite booked. Inquire about discounts of 10 percent for AARP, AAA and military members. Offered when space is available.
You can make your reservations directly with the hotel’s website or you can compare rates and book through Trip Advisor. Note that TripAdvisor ranks The Inn at the 5th as the #1 property in Eugene. You can also compare rates directly at Expedia or other online booking sites.
Hotel review by Albuquerque-based travel & food writer/photographer Karin Leperi, who was hosted for review purposes. All photos and text by Karin Leperi.