Christmas Celebration in Oregon
The 10-story, concrete and brick hotel was built in 1927, as the New Heathman Hotel. There was much fanfare at the grand opening. The modern hotel was expected to be even more high end than the first Heathman, built just a year before, about a block away.
Fun at the Door
The 50-dollar valet parking fee was a little steep, but we were getting a well dressed doorman, after all. He wasn't dressed in the Heathman's, traditional, red, beefeater's uniform. But, I kind of liked the new Portland look, with green jacket, gold knit cap and turtleneck.
Our doorman was able to give us a little scoop about the bronze statue near the entrance. Zelda the bulldog, was wearing her own little beefeaters costume. Her job was to remind folks that Heathman's is a pet friendly hotel... and to offer water from her bowl to passing pooches. The real celebrity dog, of Zelda Wisdom was born in Portland and evidently visited the hotel on occasion.
Bowler Hats and Beer
After we passed through the revolving door, we headed through the lobby towards the curious map mural. The Double H, check-in desks were quite fun, with little hat stands, holding black bowlers.
One check-in stand was more fun than the others. It held a metal tub of iced beers. We were invited to grab one, or come back later.
While the 6 of us gathered and got checked in, I took a quick peek at the holiday decor. The lobby's tree sparkled, right between two glowing pillars. The stairway heading from the mezzanine down to the library, was filled with greenery and lights.
The view from the stairs was pretty snazzy. It was a Saturday afternoon and Heathman's traditional Russian Tea was finishing up. There were silver tea services, tiered trays of pastries and lots of people decked out for the holidays. (Decked out for Portland, not New York)
Heathman's Headwater Grill was empty at 4:00, but it was full a couple hours later. The chef is one of Portland's best.
I loved peeking at the sleek Grill and imagining the Aloha Room from years ago, when the square columns were painted blue and an impressive mural of King Kamehameha covered one wall!
We're used to a lot of double letter stuff, coming from Texas. Seems like every ranch you pass is a Double R or Double D, with a branded looking image on the sign. I spotted plenty of double H images in Heathman Hotel, from fireplace screen to door handles. I should have had my daughter pose with a few. Heidi's initials went from HZ to HH, when she married.
Extra Perks at the Gym
Don and I made sure to have a look at the gym, since we'd heard there was a speed bag. That's something Don is actually quite good at. Unfortunately, the bag was a little deflated so he wasn't inspired. I however gave the climbing wall a try... since the music playing in the gym encouraged me, with Girls just want to have fun...
We were given 3 rooms on the 10th floor, none of which was 1003, which is evidently the most haunted. (Something about a suicide!?) The elevator doors opened to a nice piece of art. The hallway was filled with more art. Nothing looked a bit haunted.
Our room was not huge, but it was freshly remodeled with a giant TV and comfy bed. The window offered a view of Broadway, with Christmas lights, here and there. Portland Theatre's neon sign, festively reflected off the glass building across the street. I wish I'd taken a pic.
There were lots of Heathman packages with food and champagne that we could have purchased. However, we didn't see any packages for "Celebrate your son's recent passing of the California Bar!" So we iced down our own champagne and had a little surprise toast with "the kids" a couple hours later.
Odd and Small
I had to get a photo of the artwork in the corner, near the window. I would love to hear the stories, behind each of those curious faces.
There was art in the bathroom also, but it was hidden behind the door. In fact the bathroom was so small there was no room to brush your teeth, unless you closed the door. Clean, lovely and new, but very small for such a nice hotel.
At 5:00 we gathered in the lobby, for complimentary cocktail time. I can't even remember what the special holiday beverage of the day was, but we had a fun time clinking glasses and catching up. We were excited to spend the first night of our Christmas holiday, at the festive hotel.
Moving into the Library
At one point, I peeked in at The Library and realized the tea crowd was gone.
With no guests, I could get a better look at the place and imagine the 2-story room, back when it was called the Tea Court Lounge. Back then, there were no books, but it looks like there was a mighty fine organ.
View From Mezzanine
The mezzanine was part of the hotel long before any renovations. Now the upper walls are covered with art. But the view from above was extra fun, with chandelier, more art and holiday decor.
Sitting in the Library
Our small group moved into the library and found a perfect spot by the bookcases.
I grew up when people whispered in libraries and certainly no one drank cocktails. So we broke a couple of my childhood library rules. However, there was something so peaceful and relaxing about the space, we weren't tempted to misbehave. I was too busy looking around to act up.
Behind me, I noticed a collection of lovely teapots displayed on the steps.
There was a real library table, with lamps for reading.
Across the room was the wall of windows and art.
The sun had already set outside, but the glowing (fake) windows warmed the room. I didn't learn about these 3 stunning pieces of art, but I did read that there are at least 250 original pieces of art in the hotel.
The library collection began over 30 years ago. Today there are about 3,000 books, all signed by the author. I had a little fun with the sliding ladder. I behaved. Chali checked the shelves until she found a book she recognized. "My dad has this one!"
What we didn't find on the shelf was the erotic romance novel, 50 Shades of Grey. None of us had that book on our radar, so we weren't exactly looking for it. However, it probably was there somewhere, since I learned later that the book mentions the Heathman Hotel about 18 times. I guess a few scenes from the movie, were filmed in the hotel, also. Hmm? Maybe it's time to read that fine piece of literature.
One of the best parts about the hotel was the location. Even though the weather was cold and damp, we wandered down Broadway and enjoyed posing with the 75-ft Douglass Fir, in Pioneer Courthouse Square.
A Good Night in Downtown Portland
We ended up walking to Portland City Grill and having an appetizer dinner on the 30th floor. I wish we had experienced the hotel's restaurant, but we might have missed this beautiful view. The drizzle just added to the scene. I pretended it was snow.
The Heathman gave our family a perfect start to our 4 days of celebrating. The decorated downtown location, got us in the holiday mood. The rooms were cozy and comfy. The doormen and library gave us just enough formality and class, to make our stay feel special. Most of all there were hints of Portland that welcomed us... from quirky art to welcome beers, to beret wearing guests with dressed up doggies!
A good visit.
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!