Sleep by the Water at Valley River Inn

valley river inn, willamette river
Pulling into the driveway in front of Valley River Inn felt like returning to Eugene, Oregon for a college reunion. It’s been awhile since I visited my University of Oregon stomping grounds. Some things have changed, like several new building on campus, as well as a new (to me) stadium, while other things have stayed the same, like Valley River Inn. This hotel and restaurant, located on the Willamette River, has always been the place to take your parents when they roll into town. This time, I was rolling into town as an alum, not as a journalism student.

hotel, valley river inn, eugene

As I checked into the hotel, I was greeted warmly by a front desk associate who asked if I’d stayed with them before. Of course, I went into detail about how I’d held my graduation brunch in a private room at the Sweetwaters on the River restaurant and I proceeded to gush about my fond memories at Valley River Inn. This old girl, we’re talking about the hotel, not me, has been around since September of 1973. The property has seen its share of famous celebrities; Elvis has slept here, Ray Charles has performed here, ballerinas from Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet have twirled here and former President Bill Clinton has been a guest here while campaigning for his wife Hilary.

bike ride, nancy brown, willamette river

While not as important as a visit from the Thai Royal Princess in 2006, guests -and their pets- are made to feel welcome here. Depending on what you have planned for a visit in Eugene, you’ll be able to walk to Valley River Center for some retail therapy or hop on a bike (additional fee required) to explore the 12 miles of Ruth Bascom trails along the Willamette River. There’s plenty to do in this college-centered town for the outdoor lover, wine enthusiast or the craft beer afficionado. If you want to workout during your stay, Valley River Inn offers a fitness center, indoor whirlpool and huge outdoor swimming pool with sundeck.

chowder, sweetwaters restaurant

The hotel offers 257 rooms ranging from courtyard and pool views to Willamette River views. I stayed in a king deluxe room with a river view and a color scheme of gold and earth tones.

Sweetwaters on the River offers Pacific Northwest cuisine. On my visit I started with their signature Dungeness crab chowder and followed with the local king salmon and a rich chocolate cake for dessert. Breakfast is offered for an additional fee, including hot items, in addition to breads, scones, muffins and assorted pastries. Guests can dine inside or enjoy the covered outside deck beside the water.

salmon, valley river inn, eugene

Rates start at around $100 to $300. The hotel will be undergoing some changes so as always, check the website for current pricing and package deals. You can also make reservations through Travelocity.

Review and photos by travel writer Nancy D. Brown. Her stay was hosted by Valley River Inn during her visit to Oregon Wine Country, but her thoughts and opinions are her own.

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