Portland Sees Green
BY Aefa Mulholland
August 05 2009 12:00 AM ET
Max, the city's convenient light rail, zips from downtown over the Willamette River to the Convention Center in just minutes, so don't relegate your stay to standard convention-adjacent hotels. Stay central and be poised to take advantage of time off. Perched on top of Macy's department store on the northeast corner of "Portland's living room," Pioneer Square, the stately Nines (525 S.W. Morrison St.; 877-229-9995; StarwoodHotels.com ) is a masterpiece of contemporary decor. Rooms feature decadent eight-foot turquoise velvet chaise lounges, raindrop-effect chandeliers, 42-inch flat-screen televisions, and 350-thread-count linens. The 331-room, eco-conscious Starwood property betrays a love of art, including 400-plus pieces from local artists in its collection. Start your day with a hearty breakfast featuring fennel sausage or orange mascarpone mini-waffles at Urban Farmer in the luminous seven-story atrium, sweat in the unusually large fitness center, or browse some of the 3,000 books available for loan in the intimate library. In 2008 the once-dowdy Hotel Modera (515 S.W. Clay St.; 503-484-1084; HotelModera.com ) was transformed with a multimillion-dollar renovation and a transfusion of mid-century retro-modern style. Modera sits at the quieter end of downtown near Portland State University. A fourth light-rail line, the Green Line, opens this month and runs from Union Station to the Modera, making the hotel a good choice if you need to catch Amtrak from Seattle or want to connect with other rail lines to the Japanese Gardens, the convention center, or the airport. Guest rooms are adorned with bold dramatic touches, such as dashing orange and red pillows and faux-fur throws. Outside in the hotel's courtyard, blazing fire pits take the chill out of cool Portland nights. The 174-room Modera offers free wireless, passes for a nearby gym, complimentary European breakfast, and late checkout.
Facing Stark Street's popular gay bars, the 79-room Ace Hotel (1022 S.W. Stark St.; 503-228- 2277; AceHotel.com/Portland ) is within walking distance of downtown's business district, fun shopping, and the Pearl neighborhood's restaurants, galleries, and bars. Rooms feature distinctive murals and unusual flourishes, including vintage furnishings, claw-footed tubs or glass-walled showers, and, in larger rooms, turntables (the hotel has its own vintage vinyl collection for you to borrow from!). It's a good way to experience Portland's endearing quirks firsthand-and in comfort.