Portland isn’t exactly the kind of city that’s known for being “fancy.” Which made it a bold move for the Starwood Luxury Collection to add a sleek 15th floor on top of the iconic Meier & Frank department store building in downtown Portland—and turn the top nine floors into the swankiest hotel in town (see that play on words with the name now?). Because who would have thought that Louis XVI chairs, tufted white leather and teal velvet, crystal chandeliers, and ornate wallpaper would be seen in the city famous for plaid, beards, and twee bird patterns? But, in true Field of Dreams fashion, they built it and the travelers came out of the woodwork, hungry for a luxury hotel that embodies the Rose City, from its environmentally conscious practices and farm-to-table restaurants to its extensive art collection and rooftop honey bee colony. And that’s to say nothing of the private club-like Library, a collaboration with Portland icon Powell’s Books, the world’s largest bookstore, that allows hotel guests to borrow from a curated collection of 3,000 books during their stay. As it turns out, it’s not all that hard to dress Portland to the nines.
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Across the street from Pioneer Courthouse (and, consequently, Pioneer Courthouse Square), the Nines sits right in the center of Portland, amid the bustle of its lively downtown. Perched above Macy’s, it’s ideally situated for those looking to shop—not only is the Pioneer Place shopping center also just across the street, but the trendy streets of nearby West End are lined with hip boutiques. The area is also filled with art galleries, theaters, and museums—the Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center aren’t far away—and landmarks like Powell’s Books and Voodoo Doughnuts are within easy walking distance. There’s also a MAX (the city’s light rail system) station just across the street, putting the rest of the sprawling city within easy reach.
Need to Know
Rooms: 331 rooms, 13 suites. From $249. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: In the soaring, eighth-floor lobby atrium, Urban Farmer attracts a well-heeled crowd of discerning locals to its “modern steakhouse” cuisine (locally sourced meats and seafood, paired with the finest local produce) and extensive drinks menu (with a focus on Pacific Northwest wineries, breweries, and distilleries) for three meals a day. The rooftop Departure restaurant serves beautifully arranged modern Asian cuisine—sushi, dim sum, bibimbap, and everything in between—in its sleek, scenic dining room; both the after-work happy hour and the late-night happy hour are especially popular. Cocktails and light bites from Urban Farmer can also be ordered to the leather Chesterfield-filled Library. Spa and gym details: In addition to the well-equipped, 24-hour fitness center, where personal training sessions can be booked in advance, the hotel has a workout closet from which guests can borrow equipment like yoga mats and soccer balls, as well as Nike Fuel bands. The hotel does not have a spa.
Who's it best for: Travelers who appreciate traditional luxury. Our favorite rooms: The 12th-floor Club Level rooms are as spacious, decadent, and filled with natural light as many of the higher-tier rooms and suites (especially those with corner views), but they also include access to the floor’s luxe Club Lounge, a private club-like space that serves an extensive free breakfast each day, a free happy hour each evening, and free late-night desserts. The lounge is also staffed by a private concierge to see to guests’ every need. In-house highlight: Ask about the free guided art tours offered by the hotel’s concierge; in addition to the original commissioned works by local artists that decorate rooms and common areas, the hotel has an impressive collection of 419 works of art by acclaimed Portland artists.