written by Julie Lee
If these walls could talk, the stories they would tell.
Built in 1927, the Heathman Hotel is a storied, iconic Portland landmark. From the foyer, guests feel special. Beefeaters, traditionally known as loyal protectors of the building, greet patrons at the door. At check-in employees escort guests to their room, acting as concierge by sharing city knowledge on restaurants and sites when prodded.
Heathman Hotel is committed to art, with custom-made pods instead of a bulky reception desk and an art gallery upstairs that alternates quarterly.
One lesser known feature is a private hallway between the hotel and the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Erected in 1927 and rediscovered in 1984, it is used today by VIP guests who perform at the concert hall, or those who are simply looking for a quiet exit.
One of many unique features about the Heathman is the upstairs library, with more than 2,700 signed first edition books. The catch? The author has had to stay in the hotel to contribute a book, creating a who’s who list of guests. Books can be checked out during a hotel stay.
Heathman has larger sized rooms for a boutique style hotel, with 300 square feet being the smallest. Celebrities who visit town often stay in the grand suite, an apartment sized space with a comfortable living area, complete with a fireplace and spectacular views. Although specific names are not given for discretionary purposes, many former presidents, musicians, artists and other notables have had extended stays in the grand suite.
The dining room at Heathman Hotel is a mainstay for business meetings and special occasions, drawing in everyone from twentysomethings looking for that special spot to get engaged to Oregon governors. A little local charm was lost under the most recent owner, a national conglomerate of restaurants. Expect that to change. With Vitaly Paley and his team taking over the restaurant by the end of this year, the dining room at the Heathman will be restored to the hub and heart of the city, as it’s always been.
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