Just finished a 3 day weekend at the Nines (Starwood Luxury Collection) in Portland, OR. Apparently we brought the sun with us from Phoenix because we had beautiful weather for our visit. This was our 3rd weekend visit to Portland, so we are beginning to feel pretty comfortable with the public transportation and the various neighborhoods of downtown.
I have to admit that I was not that impressed with the hotel itself, but they do have a nice lounge. The hotel was carved out of an old Macy’s department store about 9 years ago, hence the fashion motif with naked mannequins in the lobby. I am no fashion person, but I was really thinking it was from the 1980’s until I was told the above story by the concierge in the lounge. So, design stuff aside, the lounge is open 7 days a week, serves a light breakfast in the morning, at 4 PM they put out beer and wine along with light snacks until 6PM with deserts out at 6:30PM. No limits on the beer or wine. We spent 3 hours in the lounge Friday afternoon chatting with 2 women from Seattle and none of us ever had to ask for a refill.
We arrived Thursday afternoon and, after a brief stop in the lounge, we walked over to Grassa for Radiatore (beef & pork bolognese, pancetta, pecorino toscano) with a beer. After that we went next door to Blue Star donuts for a desert donut.
After breakfast Friday morning we purchased our day passes for the TriMet system, which allows access to the City trolley, and we took the trolley out to the Nob Hill neighborhood. Our plan was to walk to Washington Park, walk thru the park and take the light rail back to town. On the recommendation of concierge Judy, we stopped at the Salt & Straw ice cream parlor. Wow, very tough decision, but we finally settled on a scoop of Strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper ice cream as our pre-lunch desert. As we walked toward Washington Park we decided to have lunch at Kornbatt’s NY deli. A lox & bagel was a delight for both of us. While we thought we were walking towards Washington Park we were passing some amazing displays of flowers in the yards that we were passing.
After a while I decided to check Google maps and discovered that we had missed a turn to get to the park. By the time we backtracked and walked to the park we had lost a couple of hours. The flowers we saw were worth it, but the day was slipping away. We settled for the park shuttle to get us to the other side of the park (Zoo) and the light rail station. After spending the afternoon with our new friends from Seattle we walked to one of the many food truck/trailers in downtown and shared a delicious mac & cheese with balsamic & ham.
Saturday morning we walked to the Farmers market in the North Park along the Portland State campus. While walking around we came across two different distillers and discovered that Portland has multiple distillers in the downtown area. Three of them are in the “alphabet” neighborhood, just north of Nob Hill. From the farmers market we went down to the waterfront and walked through the Saturday Market, filled with a multitude of hand crafted items. After the Saturday Market we purchased two more TriMet passes and headed back to the trolley and the Nob Hill neighborhood. Once there we headed back to the Salt and Straw hoping to try the Coava Coffee & Cocanú Craque ice cream. As we came down the block we saw a line extending out the door to the corner and down the block! So much for ice cream. We went back to Kornbatt’s for another lox & bagel. After that we walked down the road to 3 different distilleries, Aria (gin), Clear Creek Distillery (fruit brandies) and Bull Run Distilling (whiskey). After the distilleries, we took the trolley part way back to the hotel and got off and walked back to the Nines. We finished the evening in the lounge reading the WSJ that we had picked-up at the front desk that morning.
Sunday was another beautiful day walking around the Portland State campus neighborhoods with a noon checkout and light rail back to the airport. Our next trip is a weekend to the Palace Hotel (Starwood Luxury Collection) in San Francisco. Marriott and Starwood may still be separate, but the status match and the points transfers have beneficial to me.