There are several luxury hotels in Portland, Oregon, some more interesting than others. Not every great hotel has a great story; some are simply constructed with every modern convenience in mind to please their guests. But great hotels with great stories? The rare beauties, that tie in a sense of their place and perhaps are relevant to the history and culture of their locale? Those storied hotels add to our vacations in invaluable ways. A vacation anywhere, can become a great travel experience with the simple act of booking rooms in a great hotel with a great story. The Nines hotel, in Portland, Oregon, is exactly this kind of hotel.
The Nines is a new iteration of an older, historic building in downtown Portland. What used to be an enormous (for its time) department store has been renovated; the former flagship building and headquarters for the Meier & Frank department store takes up a square city block right next to Pioneer Courthouse Square. While the bottom five floors are currently a Macy’s department store, the top nine floors — in other words, The Nines — are now this incredibly stylish, hip luxury hotel.
Just the Facts, Ma’am: The top nine floors of the Meier & Frank Building, The Nines, is an urban luxury hotel overseen by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. It’s one of the five largest hotels in Portland, Oregon, with 331 rooms including 13 suites. The entrance is not through the Macy’s, rather, there is a separate hotel entrance halfway down the block. The awning, taxi stand, carpeted entranceway and hotel doormen help alleviate any confusion regarding exactly how to enter the hotel. There are two restaurants at The Nines hotel in Portland, Oregon. Departures (Asian cuisine) is on the top floor and Urban Farmer (locally produced American fare) is on the eighth floor. A large menu for room service, wifi, large flat-screen HDTVs and turn down service are among the high-end amenities at The Nines.
More than a Hotel: The facts alone can’t convey the details that make The Nines hotel in Portland such a stand-out. I’ve stayed at a bunch of luxury hotels — don’t hate me, it comes with the job — and The Nines really strikes a great balance between pampering luxury and providing that hip sense of place you’d want to see in Portland, Oregon. The Nines is not designed “by the numbers,” in other words, it was designed with Portland in mind. First of all, it’s a pet-friendly hotel. Anyone who has spent any time at all in Portland will get the sense that pet dogs practically outnumber their human counterparts: this is a pet-friendly city! Secondly, The Nines hotel in Portland, Oregon is LEED Silver-certified. This is in no small part (but not solely) due to the aforementioned Urban Farmer restaurant on the eighth floor. More on that later. Lastly, though, is the interior design of The Nines. It’s the hippest luxury hotel I’ve ever stayed at. From the swanky Tiffany-blue furniture in the guestrooms to the fun chandeliers in the atrium and lobbies, from the sleek modern lines of the lobby furniture to the local artists highlighted throughout the hotel, there is no mistaking The Nines for a generic run-of-the-mill hotel. The art and interior architecture of The Nines brings the creative vibe of Portland right into the hotel. I think that’s absolutely wonderful.
Now, about that Urban Farmer restaurant I mentioned earlier. The decor here is farmhouse, which might seem strange in the middle of all the artsy cosmopolitan design elements, but it works. It’s not over the top with the farmhouse decor, just rustic and comfortable. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays). Urban Farmer is fantastic. The ingredients are sourced as much as possible from farmland around Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest. The menu changes often — and seasonally — due to the firm philosophy of locally sourced, organic ingredients.
Farm to table dining is a foodie fad in the United States, and some places do it better than others. The farm to table allure of fresh, non processed and carefully prepared menu items makes Urban Farmer one of the best restaurants for casual American dining I’ve eaten in in Portland — and Portland is a foodie paradise already. It’s not just for guests of The Nines hotel in Portland, Oregon, obviously, but I probably would never have discovered it if it wasn’t our choice for a lazy breakfast the first morning of our stay at the hotel.
Furthermore, the interior of The Nines hotel in Portland, Oregon still has the shadow of its architectural past — the top floor of the old departments store were the headquarters’ offices, and today the rooms are wrapped around the interior perimeter of the building, leaving a huge empty atrium-style space in the middle. If you’re in Portland, go check out the eighth and ninth floors; the sun shining through the glass ceiling onto the casual meeting areas and Urban Farmer restaurant provides a sense of light and openness rare in urban hotels. Well, if it’s sunny when you’re there. This is Portland we’re talking about. The openness remains even when it’s raining, though.
Anyone looking for a luxury hotel in Portland that truly weaves the feeling of hip downtown Pioneer Square district into the ambience of the hotel can’t go wrong with The Nines. The Nines is a top-rated hotel in Portland, Oregon. The history of the Meier & Frank building remains intact, and the sustainable travel/green living ethos of Portland is seen and tasted throughout. It’s a great hotel, with a great story. I’d absolutely stay there again. And next time, I might even bring the family dogs.
I received a complimentary stay at the Nines Hotel in Portland, Oregon as part of my ongoing Starwood Preferred Guest American Express “Amex Stars” partnership. SPG Amex cardholders can earn one Starpoint for every eligible dollar spent on the Card; double Starpoints on stays at participating Starwood Hotels & Resorts. It’s the fastest way to earn Starpoints on eligible stays.