Elegant rooms and suites, many with great views of downtown Portland
Excellent rooftop dim sum restaurant, Departure, with adjoining terrace bar
Pets weighing less than 60 pounds are welcome (for a fee)
Billiards room with lots of books and magazines for guests' use
Huge fitness center with large selection of cardio- and weight-training equipment open 24/7
Free basic Wi-Fi throughout
Fee for high-speed Wi-Fi
Valet drop off area inconvenient and frequently congested
Valet parking twice as expensive as most other Portland hotels
No swimming pool or hot tub
One of the newest luxury properties in town, The Nines, housed in the former Meier & Frank department store building, is easily one of the snazziest places to stay in the city. Its modern common areas have just a dash of quirkiness, and the 331 rooms are classically chic, with Tiffany-blue accents and elegant furniture pieces. There are also a couple of restaurants on-site, including the rooftop Departure, a trendy pan-Asian spot with a great dim sum menu. Among the hotel's eco-friendly efforts are half-off rates for the otherwise outrageously expensive valet parking for guests with hybrid cars, and wall-mounted bathroom toiletries instead of individual take-home mini-containers. The hotel has a fitness center equipped with a full range of cardio- and weight-training equipment, but no pool or hot tub. Guests who want a pool might want to consider the less-luxurious Embassy Suites Downtown, the Hilton, or the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront.
Historic building with eclectic, trendy interiors popular with a youngish well-heeled crowd
The Nines is housed on the upper floors of the historic Meier & Frank building, which was home to a Portland department store of the same name for many decades before the company got bought out by Macy's, which subsequently took over the lower levels of the building. Guests enter the hotel through a small entrance on Southwest Morrison Street, which is often clogged because of valet parking congestion.
Guests then take an elevator to the eighth floor to reach the lobby, an open-air interior courtyard-style space with dark-wood floors and a variety of seating areas, including open-plan patches of maroon rugs with a few tables and chairs, and square pod-like boxy seating sections with their own '70s-style retro decor. Off to one side is an art space with a few mannequins for decor. The eclectic modern look continues in the hallways, whose picture windows, draped with wispy, colorful curtains, offer great views of the surrounding cityscape. The hotel attracts both business travelers and tourists, and its attempts at a hip aesthetic draw in a lot of well-heeled young people.
Convenient downtown location by Pioneer Square, near public transportation links
The Nines is located in downtown Portland, diagonal to Pioneer Square (the de facto center of downtown), in a building it shares with a branch of Macy's department store (the hotel is on upper levels). It's a 10-minute walk to Powell's Books and the 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 three-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.
Elegant rooms and suites with marble bathrooms and amazing city views
There are three room categories at The Nines -- Superior, Deluxe, and Club Level Rooms -- plus one-bedroom Junior Suites and the one-of-a-kind Meier & Frank Suite. Pets weighing less than 60 pounds are welcome, for a fee. Decor is consistent throughout the rooms and suites, and the dominant color scheme is pale gold, taupe, off-white, and Tiffany blue. All rooms have 42-inch flat-screen TVs and DVD players, iPod docks, safes, minibars, and pillow-top beds, and many offer exceptional views of the city center (for the best views ask for a room with views of Pioneer Square and the adjacent Pioneer Courthouse). The huge marble bathrooms have terrycloth robes, rainfall showers, and Gilchrist & Soames BeeKind toiletries, although for reasons of ecology, they are presented in wall-mounted containers rather than in individual take-home bottles.
Club Rooms, on the 12th floor, offer some of the best views in the house (and that's saying a lot -- The Nines easily has some of the best views in all of downtown Portland). Guests in these rooms can also use the Club Lounge, which comes with such perks as an open bar, breakfast at no additional fee, and hors d'oeuvres. The Meier & Frank Suite is particularly striking, and has its own gold- and-chocolate-brown decor scheme, with touches of shiny olive green that add a 1970s-style touch to the otherwise classic space. The suite includes an eight-person dining table in the living area and a large master bedroom, along with a huge walk-in rainfall shower and a separate whirlpool tub in the bathroom.
Fitness center, two restaurants, one with a rooftop bar, business center, and valet parking
Although The Nines lacks a swimming pool and a hot tub, it does have an excellent 24-hour fitness center, with lots of treadmills, ellipticals, exercise bikes, resistance machines, and free weights. The Nines also has a business center with a printer, a huge scanner/photocopier, and a couple of PCs, although using the Internet on these computers can get expensive -- time is sold in 15-minute blocks. Guests are better off bringing their own devices, as basic Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel -- high-speed service comes with a fee.
There's also a Billiards Room with a red billiards table crowned by an antler chandelier with lots of leather booth seating and a large collection of books and magazines for guests to flip through. Airport transportation can be arranged on request, and the hotel offers shockingly expensive valet parking (with a half-off discount for guests with hybrid cars).
The Nines has two main restaurants: Urban Farmer and Departure Restaurant. Urban Farmer, in the lobby, bills itself as a "modern steakhouse" and serves duck, salmon, and the ever-controversial foie gras, along with a large selection of steaks. It also offers standard American breakfast items in the morning and sandwiches at lunchtime.
Departure Restaurant, on the rooftop level, gets much better reviews and features a huge selection of dim sum items along with sushi, kishiyaki, and wok dishes. Vegan and gluten-free menus are also available. The atmosphere is chic and modern -- but busy most of the time -- and there's an adjacent terrace bar that gets popular on weekends, especially with hotel guests.
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