In case of Sea Lions. Earplugs. That’s on the keycard-sized envelope stuffed with hot pink earplugs in each room at the Bowline Hotel. But don’t worry, you won’t need them. Yes, there are sea lions serenading from the adjacent docks and sea lions swimming by if you book a riverside room (and you should definitely book the riverside room). But the baritone bellows from the curious sea creatures only complement the sense of place you get at this hotel perched over the mighty Columbia River.
The sixth property from Adrift Hospitality, and their second Oregon location (the other one is Ashore Hotel in Seaside), the Bowline is a spot to behold in downtown Astoria. Set in a former seafood processing plant, harkening back to when Astoria was deemed the salmon-canning capital of the world, the hotel pays homage to the region’s salty roots in subtle ways. The designers retained all the original timber/frames in the building and feature historic prints from the Heritage Museum in the hallways.
In the riverfront guest rooms with their minimalist design, mirrors that evoke portholes and ample windows you almost feel like you are staying on a boat. Time slows down on the private balcony where you can spy sea lions and cormorants skimming along the river waves and the vibrant red hulls of massive cargo ships so grand in scale they seem like massive apparitions.
On the left, there’s the elegant arch of the Astoria-Megler Bridge and fishing boats bobbing in waves at sunrise and sunset. Even if you hit snooze, the view begs you to wake early enough to catch sunrise. Since the hotel is located right in the middle of town, it’s an easy walk to Astoria’s boutiques, galleries, restaurants and, of course, breweries. The neighboring business is the beloved Buoy Brewing Company. You’ll want to linger every minute you can at the Bowline, however, if only to enjoy those sea lions.
The thirty-eight guest rooms along with two luxurious suites—The Buoy and The Ice House—mix industrial design with thoughtful details, such as local artwork by Oregon photographer Justin Bailie and books from Astoria’s independent bookstores. Gas fireplaces add comfort to the rooms, and tall ceilings and large windows bring light even on oyster gray days. Large walk-in showers are stocked with eco-friendly toiletries, and some rooms feature large soaking tubs. Book a river view room for a private balcony that overlooks the Columbia River.
Relaxation awaits with two barrel saunas overlooking the river, the most recent perk added to the hotel. A spacious deck with fire pits, Adirondack chairs and leafy plants provides a picturesque point for morning coffee or evening cocktails. Located in the heart of downtown, Bowline allows easy access to the Astoria Riverwalk trail (which stretches 6.4 miles along the city’s waterfront) and the Astoria Trolley that travels to the renowned Columbia River Maritime Museum.
With glorious floor-to-ceiling windows, there’s no better spot in Astoria to catch a Columbia River sunset while eating dinner than The Knot, the onsite upscale bar and lounge. Designed by executive chef Jake Martin, the Scandinavian-inspired menu pays homage to Astoria’s rich seafood history. Recent selections include roasted mussels, heirloom carrots with cured rockfish and sorrel and black cod from Tre-Fin, the leading boat-caught fresh fish operation in the area.
All guest rooms have a smart TV, luxurious linens and jersey bathrobes. Select rooms feature large soaking tubs and riverside balconies. Pets are welcome in first-floor rooms and the Ice House. A pet fee of $50 per pet applies with up to three pets per room. Street parking is available, along with an electric vehicle charging station. Valet is $15 per day. Bikes are free to rent for hotel guests from the nearby Bikes & Beyond. Wi-fi is fast and free.