Often referred to as the greenest city in the country, Portland, Oregon, is experiencing an urban renaissance that's bringing a different kind of green to its historic downtown. What started as a revitalization of Pioneer Square over a decade ago has spread into an urban renewal of turn-of-the century warehouse spaces, glassy new condo high-rises and elegant city living in areas like the Pearl and downtown business district. Late last year, the city debuted The Nines, its latest and greatest luxury hotel atop the former Meier and Frank Department Store originally built in 1908 and now operated by Sage Hospitality and managed by Starwood's brassy Luxury Collection.
The Nines, which is Portland, Oregon's latest luxury hotel, is located atop the former Meier and Frank Department Store originally built in 1908.
What to expect: Portland has had a very white winter, with more snow days than locals claim to admit. On clearer spring days, the recent snowfall yields spectacular vistas of Mt. St. Helen's and Mt. Hood in the distance, framing a horizon of new condo towers and 20th century banks that dominate a skyline bigger than its half-million population would suggest. The Nines is located on Pioneer Square, home to a fully glass-enclosed mall with tenants like Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom as well as newer outposts like Juicy Couture. The location makes for an easy connection to the airport accessed without a single train change via MAX light rail for around $2.50. The first impression: One-way streets, endless rail lines and left-hand turn restrictions make driving to the hotel a lot of work. An all-white façade with miniscule signage points to a single-lane valet area that's more like a loading zone but with a crew of attendants with freshly buzzed haircuts greeting you by name with umbrella in hand. Yes, it's raining again in Portland. What looks like a mini check-in desk is actually the bell desk, which guides you to the elevators that take you to the eighth floor lobby, bypassing floors 1-7, which are partially occupied by Macy's. Elevator doors open to vintage, oversize windows framing spectacular views of the skyline and river. A groovy soundtrack of lounge anthems plays in the background.