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The Heathman Hotel 4.0

Portland, Oregon, United States

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Convenient downtown location near Portland Art Museum
  • All rooms come with kettles, French coffee presses and local tea and coffee, and minibars
  • Bed menu available with three types of beds to choose from
  • Historic hotel with arts-themed Signature Suites with portion of proceeds going to local nonprofits
  • Extensive on-site library with thousands of autographed editions to lend
  • Free evening wine social held week nights in the library
  • Small fitness center and business center on-site
  • Fine dining and 24-hour room service at celebrated Heathman Restaurant
  • Charming afternoon tea with choices for children
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout 

Cons

  • Some rooms look straight onto adjacent buildings
  • Breakfast not included in room rates
  • No swimming pool or spa
  • Small fitness center with limited equipment

Bottom Line

One of Portland's best-known and oldest landmark hotels, The Heathman, built in 1927, is one of the most classically elegant spots to stay in town -- it was the setting for many of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" scenes. This centrally located property has 150 rooms, including suites, with an "Art of Sleep" bed menu offering guests a choice of TempurPedic, European Pillow-Top, or European Feather-Top beds. Other in-room extras include French coffee presses with Portland Roasting Company coffee. The Heathman includes a small business center and a fitness center, and free Wi-Fi throughout. A big highlight is the extensive lending library housing thousands of autographed editions, many by local authors or those who have stayed in the hotel. The on-site Heathman Restaurant and Bar gets rave reviews from visitors and Portlanders alike, and the daily afternoon tea in the Tea Court Lounge has become a bit of an institution in Portland. Considering its location and opulence, the Heathman's rates are reasonable, but guests might want to compare them with the Benson Hotel down the street, which has a similarly historic atmosphere and arguably more elegant rooms. 

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Scene

Classic hotel with busy interiors, popular with both tourists and business travelers 

Doormen clad in English Beefeater attire greet guests at the hotel's entrance. A  statue of a small, similarly dressed English bulldog (named Zelda), complete with a  water bowl for visiting hounds, stands off to one side of the door. Inside, the interiors are elegant if a tad busy. The check-in area features a multicolored mural of peacocks and phoenixes on one wall. Large black columns compete with cream-colored marble floors, powder-blue chairs with gold-accented pillows, and check-in podiums that mix diamond-shaped motifs with large gold-sun motifs that appear to be inspired by the courts of Louis XIV. 

The lobby's main seating area, while still on the busy side, is a bit more classic, with a baby grand piano on one side, high wooden walls with arched cathedral windows, a number of oil murals, and plenty of seating areas. The space is topped by a crystal chandelier that hangs just below a loft area, connected to the lobby via a long stairway with blue-and-gold fleur-de-lis carpeting (another certain Gallic reference), and a wrought-iron balustrade.

Hallways are more subdued and corporate looking (as are the rooms, with the exception of the gaudy Sun King-inspired headboards). Considering its location and decor, rates here are reasonable -- a fact that seems to draw both business travelers and tourists alike.

Location

In the heart of downtown Portland, near the art museum and Portland's major concert hall

Map of The Heathman Hotel

The Heathman is located on Broadway Street in downtown Portland, a couple of blocks from the Park Blocks, a long strip of pleasant park space that has farmers' markets on Wednesday and Saturday, and next to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, home of the Oregon Symphony. It's less than a five-minute walk to the Portland Art Museum and Pioneer Square, the de facto center of downtown. The hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Powell's Books and the edge of the trendy Pearl District. There are plenty of restaurants, shops, food cart pods, and bars in the immediate area, and most of the city's major bus lines have stops within a five-block radius of the hotel. The airport is a 20-minute drive away (much longer during rush hour) and can also be reached on the MAX -- Portland's light-rail train, which stops a block away -- in about 45 minutes. 

Rooms

Elegant rooms with local tea and coffee, and choice of bed type, plus suites 

The Heathman has a variety of room types, most distinguishable by bed configuration and size -- they all have similar decor schemes. Most rooms have gray carpeting, dark-wood furniture, and cream-colored walls adorned with simple art prints. They're classic and upscale, if a bit corporate. All rooms come with kettles and French press cafetieres (along with local Steven Smith tea and Portland Roasting Company coffee), minibars, safes, and 32-inch flat-screen TVs. Guests have a choice of beds, and can select from TempurPedic, European Featherbed, and European Pillow-Top models. All have soft headboards topped with ornate metal decorative pieces designed to look like a setting sun that are mildly reminiscent of Versailles. (They may not be to everyone's taste.) Rooms have either city views or face adjacent buildings that have been decorated with colorful murals. Bathrooms are chic but on the small side, and have shower/tub combos, vanities with counter space, robes, slippers, and wall-mounted containers of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash by C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries.

There are also a few Signature Suites with portions of their room rates going to support local nonprofits. The Literary Arts Suite resembles a library or a writer's study, and it proceeds help support local literary organizations. The Portland Center State Suite, with theatrical costumes on the wall, supports one of Portland's most important performing arts institutions, while the Oregon Symphony Suite benefits the Symphony's Kids and Education Missions. The Fine Arts Suite, full of local artwork -- including pieces by Portland filmmaker Gus Van Sant -- supports the Pacific Northwest College of Art. 

Features

Library with thousands of autographed books, meeting and fitness facilities, and excellent dining

The Heathman's most unusual -- and celebrated -- feature is its enormous library, featuring more than 2,400 signed editions along with plenty of rare and unusual books. Many famous authors have stayed at the hotel, including Jan Morris (who wrote about it in one of her essays on Portland) and Wallace Stegner, and the hotel frequently hosts speakers participating in the city's arts and lectures series.  The hotel holds a wine social featuring local wines during the week.

The Heathman Restaurant & Bar has long been a popular spot for fine dining and offers a changing menu of French-inspired dishes, using predominantly Northwest ingredients. Breakfast is served a la carte and is not included in room rates. An extensive brunch menu is offered on weekends and includes breakfast items along with seafood and such signature dishes as stinging nettle risotto. Room service is available throughout the day and night. The hotel also offers daily afternoon tea, which includes finger sandwiches, cakes, and -- of course -- tea; there's also a specially designed "Peter Rabbit Tea" for children. 

The hotel also has a meeting room with audio visual equipment, and a business center with three computers and facilities for copying, printing, scanning, and faxing. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property. There's also a small fitness center with a few Precor cardio machines. There's no pool or spa, but in-room massage services can be arranged for a fee.

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Address

1001 SW Broadway Street, Portland, Oregon 97205-3004, United States

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