Tales of a wandering lesbian

Five Stars

The Nines is a five-star hotel in Portland. In fact, it’s the only five-star hotel in the city. That’s an important point.

On my return trip to Portland, I booked a room at The Nines for a few nights. It’s in the old Meier & Frank building in downtown Portland, overlooking the Pioneer Courthouse.

Pio Courthouse View

It’s a pretty cool place. They hollowed out the building from the 8th floor up, to create an atrium that houses a fancy restaurant and several common areas, including a wood-paneled library/billiards room.

Before I get too far, I’d like to share the secret of how I was able to afford a room at The Nines: because it’s the only five-star hotel, you can use filters on Hotwire.com to make sure you get the best deal. Here’s how it works: usually you tell Hotwire what city and star-rating you want for a hotel, along with other things like how far it is form the city center. Hotwire comes back with a low price for the type of hotel, but doesn’t give you a name. That means you might get one of several different hotels in the area. It’s a bit of a gamble, but allows you to get a good deal on a room. However, if you plug in “Portland” and “five-stars”, the only option is The Nines, even though it won’t show you the name of the hotel. Excellent. What that meant for me is I paid the same for The Nines as any other big, downtown hotel, and a good bit less than if I’d booked direct.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, here’s the skinny on The Nines. It’s beautiful. The rooms are decorated in white, turquoise and silver. My king room had a huge flat-screen tv, a desk, minibar, marble bathroom and velvet chaise lounge.

Nines bath

It’s the kind of place where they have a turn-down service every evening. When I returned from gallivanting around Portland, I found my bed turned-down, my terrycloth Nines robe arranged artfully on the bed, the tv remote and room service menu out, jazz playing on the clock radio/ipod speaker, ice in the bucket, and little chocolate cakes on the nightstand.

Turn down Ice bucket Cakes

The hotel is a fairly quiet one, despite its downtown location. Atrium view rooms are available at a premium, and cut down on the street noise, if you’re really looking for a quiet retreat. The hotel houses two restaurants, one in the 8th floor atrium, and one higher up. It has a nice business center with faxing and copying services, as well as printers, computers, and an Ethernet hookup for your laptop. It also has free wireless internet if you’re feeling anti-social.

The only thing it doesn’t have is cheap parking. The only hotel parking is valet parking, an expensive indulgence in a city that prides itself on its mass-transit and pedestrian-friendly streets. I took the Max light-rail from the airport to my hotel for a few dollars. No transfers and it dropped me off a half a block from the hotel entrance. Portland is a great place to explore on foot, but there is on-street parking that is free at night, and a “smart park” city-owned garage a few blocks away if you insist on having a car.

My nights at The Nines were a welcome retreat. I found myself thinking that a decompression period in the hotel might be a nice post-leap ritual.

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1 comment

1 Brandi { 01.01.10 at 12:36 pm }

JEALOUS. The Nines is totally on my list of hotels to stay in!

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