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“Tempur-pedic bed and street noise don't mix well”
Review of Benson Hotel

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Benson Hotel
Ranked #17 of 146 Hotels in Portland
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 12, 2007

Short version: 1) The street noise makes for an unforgettable no-sleep experience. 2) Room size/decor/amenities do not warrant hotel price rates. 3) Some hotel staff are in top tier of the hospitality industry.

Long version: I've always wanted to stay at the Benson and despite some less than stellar reviews on this site, I took the opportunity August 11. Hoping to avoid a "Priceline" room (mentioned elsewhere here) I reserved through the hotel at $184 +tax (AAA) for a room with Kingsize bed.

Small things can snowball into a negative experience: Upon arrival at 3:15 PM my husband and I were told we had been upgraded to a junior suite but it wouldn't be ready for 15 minutes. We were impressed with the free lemonade, ice tea and cookies made available as we lounged in comfy chairs. After 15 minutes we checked with the desk and were told it would be at least 45 minutes more and "check - in isn't until 4. "

We checked our bags and went to Powell's Bookstore (nice, short walk away). Around 4:45 PM we arrived to our room; the first thing we noticed is that the bed was half made (decorator pillows tossed on floor, sheets, bedcovers pulled back). It appeared housekeeping had started making up the room but left in haste. A phone call promptly brought housekeeping to resolve the problem.

Despite this negative (and the small bathroom with stained porcelain commode and sink, the single paned windows without screens, and the dark, outdated decor) I was impressed with the efficient and friendly porter/luggage/car valet service, housekeeping personnel, including the gentleman who came quickly to assess our room and make the bed right. Chris brought us Van Dyn chocolates: these staff were top-notch.

The best part of the stay was having a drink in the bar/lounge and listening to the great live jazz trio. The carved woodwork, chandeliers, oriental rugs and other furnishings in the lobby/bar are worth a visit to the lobby alone. Wonderful ambiance!

Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come. The tempur-pedic bed was a lovely dream waiting to happen. It didn't though because there was so much noise on the street five floors below, all night long, my husband and I were continually awakened without more than snatches of sleep--we're talking police sirens, ambulance sirens, cars screeching, car horns honking, and loud groups of people yelling at 2,3, and 4 in the morning. The Benson can't control this, of course but the Portland Tourism Bureau needs to know that some of the city's policies (e.g. Broadway as a drag strip, City Hall is now open 24/7 so street folks can use restrooms) may increase noise and will drive tourists like me elsewhere.
This could just be a summer problem--once the rains come, perhaps the all-nightlife noise goes away.

Finally, Coast Hotels is blessed to have such a great staff. But even without the street noise, Coast Hotels needs to sink some money into its rooms and windows! Currently the rooms are overpriced compared to similar rooms in Portland, and the best staff can't create the big thing they're promoting here- a good night's sleep on a tempur-pedic!

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled with family
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4  Thank M H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 3, 2007

I had the pleasure of spending three nights in the Benson as part of a golf tour group that earlier traveled to Bandon and then spent a couple of days at Portland's Pumpkin Ridge.

This hotel is well located in Portland's City Center, within walking distance of many fine restaurants, parks. stores and the river. Built and maintained in the classic style of many old hotels such as the Brown Hotel in Louisville and hte Capitol Hotel in Little Rock, the Benson is immaculately appointed and offers excellent service. I was fortunate enough to stay in a junior suite which occupied a hotel corner; very spacious and extremely reasonable in price. I would highly recommend a stay in the Benson if Portland is your destination. And if you play golf, hit Pumpkin Ridge for sure.

  • Stayed: July 2007
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2  Thank santhony
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2007

A most disturbing event occurred at The Benson Hotel on Saturday July 29th, 2007. Despite my daughter’s (Brooke Henninger’s) confirmed reservation for that evening, we were denied a room in your hotel. We were so astounded by the news that night, we hardly knew how to react, but I assured the manager I would be writing a letter outlining my shock and disgust.

My daughter originally made the reservation at The Benson through Expedia, and she even called The Benson later that week to confirm the reservation. The hotel verbally confirmed the room for the night of July 29th, a stay that was to be my belated mother’s day gift. After our busy day in a city fairly unfamiliar to us, we were relishing our stay at The Benson, the cherry on the weary traveler’s cupcake. Instead, Keith Carpenter explained there was no room for us here, instead we were directed to the University Place Hotel and told her credit card charges at the Benson would be refunded and the Benson would pay the costs at the University Place Hotel. Both of these actions have taken place, but they cannot compensate for the disappointment, unethical practices, and, yes, rudeness. Mr. Carpenter, while glibly polite, executed an inexcusably rude act and seemed embarrassed by what he was forced to do. He explained that the hotel routinely over-booked in expectations of no-show customers. Can this be true? A hotel is not an airline! Rather, it is the respite at the end of people’s airline frustrations, at the end of grueling days. But clearly no such respite may be counted on at The Benson.

Please know I will never book a reservation at any of your hotels, that I will tell all of my traveling friends of the treatment we received at The Benson, and will post this letter on the internet’s traveling blogs. If over-booking is indeed your practice, it is not winning you new clients. It is unconscionable and should be ended.

For your information, the treatment we received at the University Place Hotel (specifically from Stephanie and Stacy, their evening women at the desk) was friendly, efficient, and welcoming - the exact opposite of that at The Benson.

Stayed: July 2007
1  Thank woodyCanandaigua_NY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2007

The concierge and other staff were knowledgeable, friendly, and very eager to provide recommendations and other information. The lobby is old world beautiful. Our room on the fourth floor overlooking Broadway was spacious. Somewhat negative was the smaller bathroom with no space for our toiletries, dim lighting in our room, street noise, and a previous guest's leftover peanuts and other particles under the desk, and spills on the wall that I noticed when leaning under to plug in my phone charger.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank FL_quiltcat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2007

The Benson may not be a budget hotel, but it is worth every penny! It is absolutely in the heart of Portland, with easy access to all major highways and pedestrian areas (though Portland didn't strike me as a particularly pedestrian city). Just one block away is Powell's bookstore, and one more block and you find yourself at Henry's Tavern.*

We had a very spacious room with an adequate bathroom. Bathrobes were provided, and the bed was VERY comfortable, it was hard to get out! We ordered room service for breakfast one morning: it arrived quickly and piping hot. Service in general was outstanding, with the added bonus of turndown service in the evening. Polite and efficient, classy through and through.

There are many, many restaurants and shops in the vicinity, within walking distance, for all budgets and tastes (from upscale dining to Baja Fresh, as well as a Wholefoods store in case you feel like buying your own fresh fruit or a having a picnic meal).

This is a very elegant and enjoyable hotel, and I can hardly imagine staying anywhere else in Portland, and I am not easily impressed.

*Though the service at Henry's Tavern was not outstanding, the local food and wine and brewery selection were absolutely fresh, fabulous, and most importantly, simply delicious; we ended up eating there both nights!

Another quick hint: if you use the self park instead of valet, you can find ways to really save money. We only paid $6 for one of the nights we were there. Granted we left the hotel early for an early flight home the next morning, but for being directly across the street (the very parking garage they use for valet), $6 cannot be beat. Enjoy your stay in Portland!

Stayed: July 2007, traveled as a couple
2  Thank SandraFalcon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2007

We stayed at the Benson for four nights and had booked through Priceline so were a little concerned as some reviewers seemed less than happy with size of room. Our room was great, on 11th floor large with two floor to ceiling windows, armchair with footstool etc and nice furnishings. We were there in a heatwave (for Portland) 90 degree weather and the ac kept the room very cool. The bathroom was standard and I would say not quite up the level of lobby and rooms but perefectly adequate. All of the staff were very professional and friendly from the housekeeping staff up. There was a nightly turndown service with chocolates, plus cold drinks and cookies in the lobby in afternoon. We didn't get to the complimentary wine testing every evening so can't comment on that. There was a USA today delivered to your room and complimentary local paper in the lobby. The location was great (we attended the blues festival at the waterfront park) you can walk to everything. There was some early morning noise from what sounded like a glass recyling facility though couldn't see anything. Great stay!

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled as a couple
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Thank kootenai-girl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2007

Benson hotel is a grand hotel, beautiful lobby and public areas. Rooms a little small, but adequate, and we new that since it is a historic hotel.

Concierge, valet attendants and front desk were very friendly, knowledgable, and accommodating. The room service was very disappointing. We were not given bath mats for 3 days, had to ask for toilet paper and tissues and when the small bar of soap was abot 1/16 of an inch thick, we had to call and ask for soap. At $249 a night (which incl. tax, parking and a $25 food credit per day), this seemed very unusual. When we asked for the soap and toilet paper, they took away our bath towels the next day and we had to request them.

Corridors were cleaned early evening, so when you'd come back to relax, you'd hear vaccuming and the chambermaids in the hallways - very bizarre. We also got a note on our door that they could not clean our room at 7:30am because of the DND sign on our door while we were out eating breakfast. We had to change rooms because we were smelling cigarette smoke in our non smoking room (which was a non smoking floor). They were more than accommodating with our request, as I am asthmatic.

The day before we checked out, I reviewed our bill and they deducted the valet parking fee(charge was inclusive of the rate) but did not take off the food credit and we were told the credit would show on check out. When we checked out the next day, the credit was still not there - we had to ask for them to remove those charges since they were inclusive as well.

Make sure you check your bill on checkout!!

All in all, we did enjoy our stay at the Benson.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank bklynguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Benson Hotel

Address: 309 Southwest Broadway, Portland, OR 97205-3794
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Oregon > Portland > Downtown
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #17 of 146 Hotels in Portland
Price Range: $172 - $299 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Benson Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 287
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Classic Landmark Hotel located in heart of business & financial district. ... more   less 
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