Portland might not seem like an obvious destination for business or leisure travel, but it may just be coming into its own as a new hot spot. And leading the way is the newest incarnation of Hotel Fifty, a boutique hotel that has grown from a self-described “mom-and-pop” place into one of the premier high-end hotels in the city.
A rendering of a newly renovated room at Hotel Fifty
“The hotel was built in the late 1950s,” says Debbie Young, Hotel Fifty’s director of sales. “It was a cute little mom-and-pop hotel for quite a while. Then it was purchased by Starwood, and was a mid-scale hotel, and then just recently, last fall, it was purchased by [Coastal Hotels].” Coastal, she says, is converting it into “an upscale, trendy hotel.”
A $7 million makeover of both the hotel’s interior and exterior is expected to end in the next few weeks. “We actually never closed,” Young says. “We worked through the renovation floor by floor, which hasn’t been easy. They redid all of the guest rooms, lobby, restaurant, everything.”
Portland is ranked the second-greenest city in the world
A grand reopening is scheduled for September. One major aspect of the renovation was to bring the hotel in line with various green practices. “Reuse/renew is very big in Portland,” Young says. “We’re one of the greenest cities in the country.” (According to a 2007 article on environmental website Grist.com, Portland is the second-greenest city in the entire world—Reykjavik, Iceland, came in first.)
“It was very important to be able to reuse what we could in the hotel,” Young says. “They reused the bathroom sinks, and they look brand new.” In fact, environmentally concerned guests can easily get to the hotel using public transportation: The local light rail comes directly from the airport to two stations near the hotel.
Business, Pleasure...or Both
Situated in downtown Portland, Hotel Fifty is ideal for both business and leisure travelers. “It’s just a great location to have a nicer hotel,” Young says. “The city demands it. We’re surrounded by businesses that want [their guests] to stay in a more upscale hotel with a good restaurant and have all the amenities a nice hotel has, like room service and a nice lounge/bar.”
A rendering of a Hotel Fifty bathroom, which will feature recycled sinks
But for all its boutique aspects, she adds, the hotel is far from pretentious. Close to parks, museums and theaters (Portland is renowned for its theater and music scene), the hotel is simply “a nice, comfortable place to be,” as Young describes it. “We can fulfill the needs of a business traveler who wants to have a high-powered meeting and impress a client, but we can also cater to a family with kids,” she says. In fact, Young suggests guests can combine their trips and bring families along to enjoy a relaxing weekend after a business meeting. At the hotel, Young recommends that guests book the River or Bridgeview rooms, which offer premium views.
Several of the hotel’s special deals appeal to different kinds of travelers: some offer special access to the local museums or the Portland Zoo, and one offers tickets to the Japanese Garden and the Portland Classical Chinese Garden. In keeping with Portland’s fame for its microbreweries and brewpubs, Hotel Fifty also offers a package for attendees of the Oregon Brewers Festival at the end of July. “We have up to a hundred brewers across the street showing their wares,” Young says, and then amends: “Or letting you taste their wares.”
Agents should call 877-505-7220 and speak to Young to make reservations.