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the small bathroom with stained porcelain commode and sink, the single paned windows without screens, and the dark, outdated decor) I was impressed with the efficient and friendly porter/luggage/car valet service, housekeeping personnel, including the gentleman who came quickly to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!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Classic Landmark Hotel located in heart of business & financial district. ... more less
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