Let me begin by setting the scene. In Feb 2011 my partner and I (from Melbourne, Australia) decided to plan a visit to my sister, a Portland local, for Christmas. Of course it was straight to Trip Advisor as we had never been there before for the list of the top 10 hotels. We wanted to host a catered Christmas day lunch and evening relaxed cocktail party in our room. Therefore we needed a table that could seat at least 6 (more family coming in from DC) and we expected to be joined by more guests during the evening.
From a table perspective it came down to 2 or 3 hotels in Portland with the Riverplace having the largest with a table for 10 in the Grand Suite. But it wasn’t just about the table as we were staying for 8 nights.
Did we want to be in the inner city (ala The Nines) or a short walk away?
Did we want a hotel with all the quirky styling’s of a modern art exhibition (ala The Lucia) or the more classically Oregonian styled (Riverplace)?
Did we want to be somewhere with friendly casual service or have the standard efficient, slightly aloof and not too involved good service we see so much in high-end hotels these days.
We opted for the Riverplace. It’s a short walk and even shorter trolley ride into the city. The hotel architecture and furnishing are classically understated Oregonian. The Grand Suite (please see photos) is on the 4th floor. It over looks the Willamette River with windows stretching the entire room and has a table for 10 with wet bar. There is a full size lounge suite with chaise and 2 wing-backed chairs centred around a lovely open fire. The bedroom has a huge double ensuite with 2 person spa bath not one of those UGLY uncomfortable corner things you often see. I love how you could close the double doors off to the bedroom, ensuite and walk in robe and still have access to a separate guest bathroom off of the main living area. I had indicated with my initial booking I would like the room decorated for Christmas, I wasn’t prepared for how beautifully this was done with the most striking floor to ceiling tree. Thanks to the lovely Christine for doing such an amazing job (see photos).
Of course the main element Riverplace is renowned for is its friendly service. The service is casual and relaxed but at the same time efficient and respectful. From the moment you walk in the door you feel like one of the family that they haven’t seen for years. The family feel is added too by being a pet friendly hotel and we soon became friends with pets and their owners. They even look after the dogs behind the front desk if the owners go out!
The catering for our Christmas day extravaganza was organized between myself and the gorgeous Yumiko many months earlier. The table was beautifully set (silver service) in the AM. The 3 course meal was very good and prepared in the 3 Degrees restaurant and served by the fabulous Manuel on time at 12:30pm. We had been wine and cheese tasting (a must in Portland) so supplied our own. The cocktail food was also of a high standard and served by David who couldn’t do more for you.
The business centre was very helpful and the street parking was excellent for my sister and father to come and go during our stay.
I know this reads like an paid commercial but it truly was the best hotel experience we have ever had and all at a 4 star cost (a Suite of that size for that price was a bargain) but truly a 5 star level of service in its own casual relaxed way. Having stayed in the likes of The Ritz, The Berkley and the Grand Bretagne we’ve had our share of the best but sometimes its about where you are most comfortable, most welcomed and leave looking forward to your next visit.
Thanks to everyone at Riverplace for making a very rare family get together a perfect memory for us all.