We recently spent a couple of nights in Portland (the primary motivation was to check out the Priority Pass lounge offering there). The Pacific Northwest is highly seasonal when it comes to hotel rates, and since it was the end of the summer travel season, hotel rates were still pretty high. In the past I’ve stayed at The Nines, which is an SPG Luxury Collection property. However, the rate there was over $500 per night over our stay.
Given Marriott’s takeover of Starwood, I’ve been trying to stay at more Marriott properties lately so I can report back on my experiences with their brands. Generally I’d rather review one of their independent brands rather than their cookie cutter brands, so I was happy to see that there was an Autograph Collection hotel in Portland. We decided to stay at the Hi-Lo Hotel Portland, where the rate was a more reasonable ~$220 per night.
The Nines has a fantastic location within Portland, which is to say that we were within walking distance of just about everything we wanted to see, with the exception of the Japanese Gardens. The hotel is only a couple of blocks from The Nines.
The hotel has a beautiful, cozy lobby. Inside the entrance and to the left is the bar area, which doubles as lobby seating.
There’s similar seating to the right of the entrance. The furniture almost reminded me of Cathay Pacific’s Pier Lounge in Hong Kong.
The check-in area was inside the entrance and to the left, and consisted of a small desk that was staffed by two employees. The one who helped me was friendly and efficient, thanked me for being a Platinum member, and presented me with two breakfast vouchers, as well as a $10 food & beverage credit as a welcome amenity.
We had been upgraded to a Corner King room, so we headed up to the second floor, where our room was located.
I loved the design of this place, and especially the exposed concrete combined with colorful carpet.
Upon exiting the elevator we turned right, and then our room (#215) was at the end of the hallway on the left.
The room had a narrow entryway with a sliding door to the bathroom on the left, and the rest of the room straight ahead.
Inside the entryway was an exposed closet and a mini-fridge, which also had a welcome amenity inside of it.
The centerpiece of the room was a comfortable king size bed with two nightstands.
In the corner of the room was a TV stand, and then next to it was a desk with a rolling chair.
While the desk was comfortable, the outlets were near the floor — it always surprises me when newly built hotels don’t install outlets on the actual desk.
Then in the interior corner of the room was a sitting area with a cozy couch and a seat.
My one real complaint about the room was that the sound insulation wasn’t good at all, and you could hear quite a bit of noise from the street. Furthermore, it’s sort of awkward to have a corner room on the second floor. When we kept the curtains open, homeless people would wave at us, and if we didn’t wave back, they’d start cursing at us (and we could hear it).
The bathroom was back near the entrance, and again, had a stunning design. Between the exposed concrete and brass fixtures, I thought the design was incredible.
There was both a walk-in shower and a bathtub.
Hi-Lo Hotel Portland Corner King Room shower
Toiletries were in large, reusable bottles, and were Hi-Lo branded. I thought they were pretty high quality.
Also in the room were two bottles of water — Essentia water, no less!
As mentioned above, there was a lovely welcome amenity waiting for us, including a bottle of Hi-Lo branded wine, two bottles of VOSS water, and a plate with cheese, meat, and bread. That was a very nice gesture on their part.
Wifi in the room was fast and free.
In the mornings the hotel offers complimentary coffee in the lobby from 6AM until 9AM. I always prefer to have a cup of coffee or two before I have breakfast, so I appreciate any hotel that makes it easy to get that first cup.
Both mornings we had breakfast at Alto Bajo, the hotel’s restaurant on the ground floor, just off the lobby.
This was a Mexican restaurant during the day, though in the mornings they had a more varied selection. The menu read as follows:
I’ve had some issues in the past with Marriott’s breakfast benefit, though I thought this was one was fair. As a Platinum member you get either the Hi-Lo Breakfast ($11) or The Portlander ($10), or if you don’t want either of those, you get a $10 per person credit towards anything else. However, beverages aren’t included (which worked out, since we were overly caffeinated by the time we went to breakfast, thanks to the free coffee in the lobby).
I tried The Portlander the first morning, and the Hi-Lo Breakfast the second morning. Both were tasty.
My one complaint about the restaurant, which I really can’t wrap my head around, is that they don’t have freshly squeezed juice, and also don’t have an espresso machine. That seems ridiculous for what’s supposed to be a luxury(ish) hotel. This is minor in the grand scheme of things, though.
In terms of the hotel’s other facilities, the gym is located on the basement level, and can be accessed 24/7 using a keycard.
Hi-Lo Portland bottom line
I loved this hotel. I found the design to be stunning (though I realize it may not be everyone’s taste), the service to be excellent (including at the entrance, front desk, and restaurant), and the location to be great. I’d recommend this hotel without hesitation, and would stay here again. What a great new option for Marriott and Starwood loyalists.