The smiling doorman, all dressed in red as a British Beefeater, greets you and holds the hotel’s front door open as you enter. You take note of the bronze statue of an English bulldog sitting on the sidewalk. It’s Zelda, you later learn, and she’s holding a water bowl to welcome visiting pooches.
Where in the world are you?
You’re in downtown Portland, Oregon and entering the Heathman Hotel, one of the last remaining grand hotels in this Pacific Northwest city.
The Heathman Hotel, replete with polished wood paneling in the lobby, was built in 1927. It was restored in 1982 – 1984 to its original décor both inside and out, and it’s now a National Historic Landmark.
One thing that never goes out of style is service, and the staff at the Heathman considers service an art. Our 10th floor guest room, for example, offered a French press coffee pot with freshly ground coffee. Early in the morning, we discovered we needed extra cream. I called the front desk, and a pitcher of milk was delivered to our door almost before I could hang up the phone.
All guest rooms, in fact, are supplied with a French press pot and a lovely wood box of coffee and teas. There’s free WiFi, robes, slippers, as well as ear plugs (not needed as the hotel is extremely quiet) and eye shades (also not necessary with the curtains drawn). Complimentary bottles of water come with the nightly turndown service, itself a lost art at most hotels these days. We even found two luggage racks in the closet. This made us smile, as we almost always have to request a second rack from housekeeping. There are pillow and mattress choices, too, though we found those already placed in our room to be just right.
While you might be accustomed to fine in-room amenities, there’s more to the Heathman in its public spaces. Each floor displays a striking Andy Warhol print from the artist's “Endangered Species” series.
If you like books, you’ll love browsing in the Mezzanine Library. The book cases contain more than 3,000 first editions signed by writers who have stayed at the hotel. Stephen King, Amy Tan, former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, to name drop a few.
Did I mention live jazz in the lobby lounge? It happens Wednesday through Saturday nights.
You’ll find the Heathman Hotel at 1001 SW Broadway at the corner of Salmon Street. It’s a short walk from Portland’s handy MAX light rail. Phone 800-551-0011 or 503-241-4100. Check the web at www.heathmanhotel.com. The Heathman is a member of Historic Hotels of America and Preferred Hotels.