We recently stayed two nights at McMenamins Grand Lodge for a wedding that was held on the property. Not being from Oregon, we didn't know the first thing about McMenamins and their various properties. The building, though a bit of a trek from Portland, was beautiful, both inside and out, with colorful and bountiful landscaping and murals and portraits covering almost every inch of available space on the walls. The place is full of character and history, with each room being named after either an important person in the history of Oregon or the building (or just to the country itself) and the interior of that room telling the story of that person via a story painted on the walls. We could easily have spent a day just wandering the building and learning all about the history of the place and the state.
Our room was small, but well appointed-loads of towels in the well-sized closet as well as complimentary robes. As other reviewers have noted, both rooms share a communal bathroom which is where the robes comes in handy. Personally, I found the communal bathroom to be no big deal. Each floor has a few "public" ones that contain just toilets and then a few "womens private" and "mens private" which are only accessible through your hotel room key and have showers. A bathroom was only a short walk from our room in either direction and I never had a problem waiting for the use of a shower or toilet. Also, there was a sink in our room, which meant we didn't need to run to the bathroom to brush our teeth or attend to other small things.
The staff was friendly and we never tried the bar or restaurants on site, but it was nice to know they were there. Bands played both nights and there was a lot of outdoor recreation going on throughout the day, with people playing disc golf or walking or, on the day of the wedding, partying to the "Oktoberfest" event the lodge put on. From what I could tell, that went on most of the day, with various bands and food and beer, of course. Never a out-of-hand drunken bash, though, and since the wedding was on the other side of the building, we never heard or saw any thing after about 4 pm.
If this review were based solely on decor, character and charm, I would give the Grand Lodge 5 stars. However, I enjoy sleeping at the end of a long day and this is where the Grand Lodge failed miserably. We were sharing a room with another couple and we knew going into it that we would be a) sleeping on a rollaway bed and b) living in a cramped space for 2 days. That was fine. What we didn't know is that a) the hotel doesn't have AC. Didn't seem like a big problem given Oregon temps in late September but b) the room had 0 air circulation unless you opened the enormous window which c) had no screen. And, if you were lucky enough to have a room on the side of the hotel that featured the court yard, you could hear people enjoying their night, the band playing, smokers going out for a midnight smoke, that couple from down the hall who decided to take a bottle of wine out to the patio at 2am, cars driving by on their way to the parking lot...every little thing, all night and all early morning long. It boiled down to 2 choices: 1. Sleep with the window closed and risk death by heat stroke or 2. Sleep in relative comfort while listening to a chorus of night time partying and meeting some interesting little bugs in your suitcase in the morning. Not wanting to sleep in our own sweat we chose option 2. I'm guessing I got about 3 hours of sleep the first night and maybe 4 the nest night because I was just so tired my ears managed to block out the noise for an extra hour. And I had ear plugs, btw.
I'm not someone who enjoys predictable Motel 6-type places. I love character and history, I like a place that plays up unique angles. But the point of any place that essentially sells a bed for the night-be it a corporate chain, a small B&B or a great local legend-is that people want to sleep there. I can see where the Grand Lodge might be a great event venue, a good place to catch a bite to eat and good conversation on a lovely patio. But maybe they should call it quits when it comes to allowing people some sleep-almost every guest at the wedding that stayed at the lodge had the exact same complaints that we had and we all agreed that, while the place was lovely, it was a horrible place to catch a restful night of sleep.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Make a grand escape to McMenamins Grand Lodge! It's all in the details here, with the stately columns and winding drive, wide green lawn, 77 European-style guestrooms, restaurants and small bars and some of the most fantastic artwork to ever grace these walls.Built in 1922 as a Masonic & Eastern Star home, the Grand Lodge has stories to tell. Renovated and opened by McMenamins in 2000, what was once tranquil and serene is now vibrant and colorful. Here the walls do speak... as do the doorways, the hallways, and even the overhead pipes. (Look up...)Inspired by the history of the city of Forest Grove and the building itself, McMenamins' artists have infused the Grand Lodge with original artwork and historical photographs – all tributes to the cast of characters who left their mark before us. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mcmenamins Grand Hotel Forest Grove
- Mcmenamins Grand Forest Grove