The Nines, Starwood Luxury Collection, Portland, Oregon
The Nines in Portland, Oregon is a recent addition to Starwood’s Luxury Collection brand.
Staircase between The Nines 8th Floor lobby and 6th Floor conference rooms
The Luxury Collection brand of Starwood Hotels is a small collection of about 70 unique hotels, many existing as renovated historical buildings. Europe has several Luxury Collection properties on the Condé Nast 2008 Readers Choice Awards list. The United States has seen several of the latest hotel openings for the global Luxury Collection including the Joule in Dallas, the Equinox in Vermont, and the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills.
The Nines is located in central downtown Portland across from Pioneer Courthouse Square. The Square was designated as one of the 10 Great Public Spaces in the USA by the American Planning Association. With over 300 events annually on Pioneer Square Courthouse, the likelihood of something happening right outside the hotel during your hotel stay at the Nines is fairly good.
Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland, Oregon
The Nines Hotel:
The Meier and Frank building is a historic property originally designed as a major department store in downtown Portland. Architect A.E. Doyle’s terra cotta design building was the largest department store west of the Mississippi in 1932 at the time it was completed, 75 years after the first Aaron Meier store opened in Portland, Oregon in 1857. May Company purchased Meier and Frank in 1966, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, and in 2005 the May Company became Macy’s. The bottom floors of the building with the Nines Hotel comprise Portland’s flagship Macy’s store.
Historic Meier and Frank Department Store Building is The Nines Hotel
Meier and Frank was known as “the Store for Service and Accommodation”, a legacy the Nines seems to emulate. I overheard the concierges at the Nines 12th floor hotel Club Lounge assisting several guests with dining and activity plans in Portland and then following up with guests the next day.
The Nines Urban Farmer Restaurant in lobby
The remodeled hotel opened at the end of October 2008 with 311 rooms, including two Presidential suites, a hospitality suite, and ten junior suites. I stayed in Room 1128 and while the room seemed small at first with a bedroom space of only 12’ x 13’, I felt the room contained everything I needed for a comfortable and luxurious stay.
A guest enters the building at ground level and takes an elevator to the 8th floor lobby check-in. The 8th floor is mostly a large open-space atrium containing the Urban Farmer Restaurant and a variety of public spaces for seating. The Library is a quieter place on the 8th floor with a pool table and books from the local Powell’s Bookstore in Portland.
The Nines, 8th Floor lobby and Urban Farmer restaurant, Portland, Oregon
The rooms are wrapped around a square of hallways and the interior of the building is the large central atrium extending from the 8th to 15th floors. Rooms facing the interior atrium have large windows and some have sliding glass doors. The volume from the diners and guests in the hotel atrium was substantial during the evening of my stay and I imagine the noise from the dining area could make these rooms inconvenient at times with the window open.
Interior atrium facing rooms at the Nines, Portland, Oregon
My exterior-facing city view room, 1128, on the 11th floor faced north with a northeast view through the small 30-inch wide window in the corner. The lack of natural light was compensated by the wonderful hanging chandelier light reflecting crystal patterns on the wall paper.
Room 1128, The Nines, Portland, Oregon
The 42” Phillips TV provided lots of light in the small room and even some HDTV stations, however, the delay between channel changes on the TV was quite annoying and I kept the channel card within reach to travel directly between channels I wanted to view.
The Nines, Portland TV and desk
The four lamps in the room were all art pieces.
The Nines Desk Lamp
These are the kind of electronic features I desire for my home.
The bed was the most heavenly bed I have slept in for some time with the full array of bedding amenities one would expect in a luxury hotel.
The Nines bed
A comfortable 7-foot sofa provided a nice seating option for the room.
The Nines, sofa, Portland, Oregon
The Boston Electronics clock/radio was turned on by the maid service while I was lounging in the 12thfloor club lounge drinking a large glass of wine (concierge filled a water glass liberally with a Kendall Jackson 2004 Meritage which took me the good part of an hour to drink). A couple of tasty chocolates along with the bathrobe were placed on the bed for the turndown service.
The Nines turndown service, Portland, Oregon
The marble tiled bathroom only had a shower, no tub. Bath amenities are “Gilchrist and Soames” brand soaps and shampoos. Toiletries included bath soap, face soap, hair conditioner, body wash, mouth rinse, body lotion, and a couple of bath amenity packs.
The Nines Bathroom
The bath towels are absolutely heavenly. The 72”x36” plush towels are a delight to wrap around your body after stepping out of the shower. Dual flush toilets are a green feature of the hotel rooms.
Dual Flush ‘green’ toilet at the Nines
Free wireless internet and local/toll-free calls make the Nines in Portland a delight for the Starwood traveler. The telephone clock was one hour ahead on both room phones which had me confused on the actual time when I returned from the Club lounge. The phone did not work for outgoing calls at first and I called the desk twice before the phone functioned. My primary complaint for the hotel was a rude awakening with a 12:31am phone call to find nobody on the line. The hotel operator said there was no way to know who had called.
The mini-bar was electronically locked and I called the desk soon after arriving in the room, but I didn’t really want an engineering visit just to see what was inside. My London honeymoon hotel bill in 1989 cured me of mini-bar escapades.
The hotel has a variety of local artists’ pieces. I overheard a couple of guests questioning the appropriateness of the mannequin display at the lobby entrance to the hotel atrium.
Art adjacent to 8th floor Reception Desk, The Nines, Portland, Oregon
The hotel has a classic feel of a luxury environment in an urban setting. The guest room ceiling at 9.5’ is the type of space you tend to only find in older buildings in the USA. The guest room floors have doorways on the elevator side and the opposite side of the atrium where guests can view over the railing down into the atrium (if you do not already have an interior atrium facing room).
The elevators require a key card for any floor besides the 8th floor reception area and restaurants. You have to be quick with your key card. I found myself heading to the ground floor a couple of times when fumbling around my pocket for the card.
The 7th floor has a workout room and business center. The 15th floor will be the rooftop Departure Restaurant and is scheduled to open in Spring 2009.
The Nines Workout Room is large with a variety of equipment
The 12th floor Club Lounge has several food presentations a day. There were gourmet appetizers and complimentary wine and beer for the evening hours and desserts are brought out at 8pm. The lounge can accommodate about 40 people, but the setting has only a couple of regular size tables for eating and the overall lighting is fairly dark. There were only two small tables of regular dining height. Couches and chairs are set up around coffee tables and at least five seating areas around smaller tables made the room a nice social setting. Newspapers, a large screen Sony computer station, and a large screen TV in cabinet were available for guests.
Club Lounge at the Nines serves food several times a day
Two to three staff members kept service levels high every time I visited the lounge. The young staff are quite sociable and pleasant and each concierge took the time to greet every guest entering the lounge. In the evening there were just three to five guests in the lounge at any one time between 5:30 and 7:00pm and in the morning I saw a maximum of six guests at 7:00am to 7:30 when the lounge opened.
Breakfast spread included salmon, sliced meats, cheeses, pastries, cereals, small trays of sliced fruit, coffee, juices, and sodas.
The latest Starwood special offer has rooms for $199, however, Club access rates are $449 – a significant rate premium. SPG Platinum members receive complimentary Club Floor access.
The Nines lobby
All in all, the Nines is a fine addition to the Portland lodging sector.