Oregon’s Columbia Gorge is stunning anytime of year. Driving the scenic highway, with grand waterfalls and river views, is a sight to behold. From personal experience, I recommend you spend several days in this part of Oregon. You’ll need Oregon hotels near the Columbia Gorge. With that in mind, I have highlighted three Oregon hotels that I have personally reviewed. The Balch Hotel and Hood River Hotel are both historic, while Best Western Hood River is located right on the water.
Mt. Hood views at historic Balch Hotel
If you are a bicycle enthusiast or Oregon history lover, you’ve no doubt heard of Dufur, Oregon. Located in Wasco County, the Mt. Hood views at historic Balch Hotel will leave you relaxed and grounded. Unlike the pioneers traveling on the Historic Oregon Trail, life is easy for guests at Balch Hotel.
You won’t need a covered wagon to fit into this high desert landscape steeped in history. Whether you travel by car, electric vehicle or bicycle, you’ll want to slow down to experience the east end of the Columbia Gorge, where the Gorge meets the Deschutes region. Dufur, and the historic Balch Hotel, are the first stop on the Barlow Road out of The Dalles, Oregon.
When my husband and I checked into the historic Balch Hotel, we met bike riders enjoying the quiet country roads, as well as through travelers, stopping overnight before a Crater Lake visit. We enjoyed a two night stay in Dufur, Oregon after visiting the Hood River Valley and Mt. Hood Territory.
Fresh baked chocolate chip cookies await guests on their first night. Our queen room was on the 2nd floor of the hotel. While our room didn’t have the Mt. Hood view, we enjoyed our time in the garden area with lush green grass and a soothing water feature. There’s also a large, flagstone patio to enjoy happy hour, dinner or breakfast outdoors. FYI, as is typical inside a 100+ year old historic hotel, there is no elevator on the 3-story property. Staff is available to assist with luggage.
There are 20 guest rooms in the Edwardian-style hotel. Fourteen traditional rooms have shared bathrooms. Five signature hotel rooms and one signature suite have their own bathrooms. If you want the room with the Mt. Hood view (and a jetted soaker tub) you’ll want to reserve the king suite.
Breakfast at historic Balch Hotel
The Balch Hotel offers daily breakfast and dinner on weekends. You’ll want to check the website for Balch Bistro hours. The restaurant focuses on locally raised beef and farm fresh produce when possible. We ordered the strip loin steak from Little 77 Ranch and the hotel’s famous salmon cakes with a huge Balch salad. For dessert, we splurged on the strawberry rhubarb crisp with vanilla ice cream.
Breakfast is served in a basket, grab-and-go style in the bistro. Like dinners, the breakfast basket features natural products from their Azure Standard neighbor. (We visited the store near the hotel for a nice cup of coffee and brought home some Azure Standard products.) The Balch Hotel serves Post Canyon Coffee Roasters from The Dalles and Good Medicine Tea from nearby Hood River.
Wellness Experience at Historic Balch Hotel
If relaxation and pampering is important to you, you’ve come to the right place. While not a traditional spa with hot tub or sauna, Balch Hotel is a mini spa sanctuary. Co-owner Claire Sierra offers facials, wellness experiences such as meditation rituals or soul coaching.
Rates at the historic Balch Hotel vary per season and may range from $102 – $145 for traditional rooms, signature rooms range $136 to $239 and the king suite ranges from $166 to $328. Best value rates are in fall and winter on weekdays. Peak season rates fall on popular summer weekends. You can also compare rates on Expedia or Priceline.
Historic Hood River Hotel
Perhaps you plan to spend more than a few days in the Hood River Gorge area. While not on the Oregon trail, the town of Hood River is charming, with plenty of restaurants and independently owned shops. Here is where you’ll find another historic Oregon hotel near the Columbia Gorge. My husband and I stayed at the Hood River Hotel with our well-behaved Labrador Retriever.
From a bunkhouse that sleeps 10, to queen rooms and a family suite, there are numerous places to lay your head at Hood River Hotel. Book & pay in advance for cheaper winter rates. Compare rates at Hotels.com or Expedia.
Columbia Gorge River views
If you read my hotel reviews, you remember that I’m a Best Western hotels fan. Best Western Hood River Inn offers Columbia river views from most hotel rooms, as well as the restaurant. You’ll even have a Columbia River view from the swimming pool. Imagine watching wind surfers and kiteboarders dart across the Columbia Gorge while you lounge by the Hood River Inn pool.
Each of these Oregon hotels are dog-friendly and all offer on-site dining options. Click on the above links for in-depth hotel reviews near the Columbia Gorge.
Oregon hotels near the Columbia Gorge review and all photos by Oregon Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown who was hosted by the historic Balch Hotel. As always, all opinions are her own.