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“A good deal and a good place”
Review of Mark Spencer Hotel

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Mark Spencer Hotel
Ranked #10 of 141 Hotels in Portland
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California, United States
1 review
“A good deal and a good place”
Reviewed March 26, 2013

This hotel rocks! Really great staff who are friendly and helpful. Here are a list of items I enjoyed on my visit.

- great location, easy to find close to transport and walking distance from lots of food and sites
- good price- you get what you are paying for and it is a very good deal
- large rooms, not super fancy but nicely put together and was surprise to find a stove and microwave
- breakfast, tea and snacks and wine everyday. much better spread then most places I have stayed. the hard boilded eggs in the morning are a great idea.
- coffee machine with decent java available to you all day or night
- clean
- interesting older building

If you have never been to Portland, this is an awesome place to stay. If you have been to Portland, you know where you will want to stay.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SBG415
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeri R, General Manager at Mark Spencer Hotel, responded to this review, March 28, 2013
Greetings to you in San Francisco,

Thanks so much for taking time to send in your review to TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor has certainly become a credible source of information, only successful due to people like you who take time from a busy schedule to post comments.

I'm having my morning coffee after my usual riding the faithful exercise bike (after I dust it off), and I can't think of a better way to start the day then to say thank you for saying all the good things about us that I usually say. If we're anything; we're an 'interesting' building with a staff that chooses to take exceptional care of our guests. And our value has been a best kept secret in Portland, but thanks to people like you, it's not such a secret anymore. You said it best: 'not fancy but nicely put together." (As I’m getting a older by the day; I hope people will remember me the same way :-)

Glad you like the hard boiled eggs and the 24/7/365 coffee station, which by the way, was the price of a new car. But it's a definite thumbs up for our guests. It’s our version of 'coffee your way'.

Not sure if you had a car or not, but if so, you likely parked in our secured, underground garage for all of $18 (and a hefty $9 if you're a hybrid). Although once you park the car, you don't need it anywhere downtown because we're already in the middle of it all. One of our best features is our location to the Pearl District that must have hundreds of interesting restaurants and places to spend your tourist dollars. We have a new restaurant neighbor around the corner: Cheryl’s on 12th; next time you're here I hope you have time to check it out. Very convenient, good prices and very good food.

Hope you were able to have a few glasses of our Oregon wine while you were here - if not, then we look forward to toasting your next visit at our wine reception. Let me know if there's anything we can do for you here in Portland.

Thanks again and hope to see you soon.....Jeri
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Washington DC
Level Contributor
38 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2013

My room was on the 2nd floor, with big windows on two sides, overlooking 11th Avenue and the plaza between the building's wings. The room was recently painted, and had a nice (yet durable) carpet, an ample work desk by the window, lamps where you need them, and an excellent bed, neatly made. The sofa could use a slipcover. The hallway wasn't fancy, but how much time do you spend in the hallway?

Vigorous but unobtrusive in-ceiling ventilation kept the atmosphere fresh.

The bathroom did not have its own vent, and got fogged up. Also, the bathroom had very little space, just a long ledge under the mirror, to perch all of one's stuff on. The implements and tile were modern. Plenty of towels.

The streetcar runs on 11th Avenue. I suppose it trundled by every 10 minutes, but I only occasionally noticed its soothing, muted thundering noise. I slept well.

The kitchenette, open to the living room and spotlessly clean, retained its 1960s cabinetry (they used real wood back then!), formica counter, and white enamel sink, and had a modern, nearly silent fridge. Cabinets held silverware, plates, bowls, a little bottle of dish soap, and a home-style drip carafe coffee-maker. I did not use the electric stove. A sign offered a microwave and more esoteric utensils upon request.

Oh! what a joy to get provisions at Whole Foods (cereal, banana, yogurt), dream about them all night, and prepare one's own breakfast in the morning! If only there were in-room single-serving self-filtering coffee!

The desk was wholly suitable to laptop work. A floor lamp was alongside, and an electric socket adjacent. The wifi signal was strong, but not encrypted, and "signing up" every 24 hours was an annoyance - things stopped working and then I had to remember to exercise the hijacked DNS with HTTP to trigger the next sign-up renewal page. The wifi says it is speed limited unless you pay extra. I found it adequate - probably you don't feel it unless you try to stream movies?

In the closet was evidence that the hotel would take dry cleaning, but I went for the coin-op in the basement. It was all-new and positively a joy to use. The front desk told me how much it would cost (including soap) and changed my bills to quarters.

All in all, the Mark Spencer was a comfortable place to stay, solid of construction, well upkept, with an even-keeled and trustworthy staff. The tasteful vestiges of the gritty 1960s, the big windows, the joyous street noise, and occasional streetcar rumble all made my room feel both in the city, and of the city. This is the hotel for visitors to Portland who want to really savor being visitors to Portland.

Room Tip: Renovated room facing 11th Ave had good urban view, occasional streetcar rumbles.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank amturnip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeri R, General Manager at Mark Spencer Hotel, responded to this review, March 25, 2013
Hello friends from Washington DC,

Thanks so much for taking time to post a review about your stay and for the great marks you gave us. Some of your observations are spot on and will be addressed this fall when we stage a major renovation; you'll see new furniture, more bathroom storage, updated kitchenette. Our fabulous location, spotless rooms and exceptional staff still make us a favorite choice for many visitors. And if you're renting a car, you can take comfort in knowing that our secure, underground parking can be yours for only $18, unless you're a hybrid and then it’s only $9.

We have a new restaurant neighbor around the corner: Cheryl’s on 12th. Next time you're here, hope you have a chance to check them out; I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Hope to see you again and we look forward to sharing a glass or two of our fabulous Oregon wine with you. Thanks again for writing in. Jeri
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Vancouver
Level Contributor
43 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2013

Went on a tax free shopping pilgrimage for the first week of Spring Break and stayed at the Mark Spencer. Neither my wife or I had been to Portland (as adults) so we figured lets give'er a go, so with kids in tow we tore down the I5 to the land of tax free spending.

Because I am just straight up cheap and hate spending money ( Hence we didn't go someplace sunny for Spring Break... ) we chose the Mark Spencer. Price wise, it was the most economical for the part of town it is located.

For a 100 year old building with a colourful history, it was really quite nice. It is still in the midst of a major reno so it is not quite all spiffed up like the other heritage hotels in the area but it is getting there.

The positives

+ Location Location Location... Right on the edge old and run down and très chic.
+ 24 hr deluxe coffee machine
+ 30 seconds from Powell's Books
+ Brew Pubs... Need I say more
+ Good restaurants
+ Easy Access to other parts of town
+ Excellent Service
+ Comfortable Beds

Negatives

- Renovation Noise
- You can hear noisy neighbours at 6 am. Particularly if they have a grating, wall piercing, non stop yammering voice.
- No dresser drawers to put your clothes in
- No table to sit at and eat, in the suites
- Nothing really for kids to do. (no pool)
- Hard boiled eggs served at breakfast are cold... I know I am picky.

Room Tip: Make sure you are two floors below the one currently being renovated.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LVToday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeri R, General Manager at Mark Spencer Hotel, responded to this review, March 25, 2013
Hi Keith,

Thanks for taking time to send in a review about your stay. I'm glad you feel we are a good value. That's important to our guests. Along with that, we're proud of our spotless rooms, great location and caring staff. Your comment about not a lot for kids to do is well-noted. We're coming up with a few fun games that we can add to our library for this summer season; so thank you for the reminder. Saying that.....our closest playground is "Portland". We're literally steps away from the Pearl District - way too many restaurants and shops there to list and great pubs that you already noted - Powell's Books is another work upon itself, which you easily found. If you're driving you can park your four wheels in our secure, underground parking for only $18 and if you're a hybrid, it will cost only $9.

Very sorry about the noise - that should not have occurred and be assured, I will take it up with our remodeling crew.

I hope you'll come back again - just let me know and I will be sure your hard boiled eggs will be warm for you in the morning. And in the evening, we'll be sure to offer you a few glasses of our delightful Oregon wine...fresh baked cookies, cheese and crackers; and local, crisp Pizza bites. Thanks again for taking time to write and for spending some time in our beautiful - shopping tax free city.....Jeri
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 19, 2013

This was one of four hotels recommended to me in downtown Portland for a recent business trip where we also needed to use a conference room. From the first conversation I had with the sales manager, Christina Richartz, I knew this was the place.

She provided us with an amazing rate for the conference room and our hotel rooms offering an upgrade due to their current availability. She gave me tips on the area and every communication was professional yet had a personal touch.

We were to meet the day prior to the business meeting but I ran into travel delays. When I arrived very late at night, the front desk staff were so pleasant in welcoming me and assisting me to my room. I had a bottle of wine and chocolates waiting for me. Such a nice surprise after being up for 20 hours and taking an additional flight to get there!

The continental breakfast was nice and they also had daily afternoon tea and cookies as well as nightly wine and cheese tasting. We met Christina in person prior to our first appointment and she was just as delightful in person as she was on the phone. She made sure we had cookies each afternoon since we were pretty tied up and offered suggestions for restaurants. She checked in with us both days we were there, asked us how our day was going, or what we did the evening before. It felt very welcoming and like speaking with friends or family.

It was a great location to experience downtown. Although our time away from the hotel was primarily for meals, those options were plentiful.

Cute, quaint and lots of extra personal touches. I would definitely recommend to others and would stay again.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Johnna M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeri R, General Manager at Mark Spencer Hotel, responded to this review, March 28, 2013
Dear Johnna, I noticed today that the reply I sent to you (or thought I sent) on March 20th was not appearing in this system as transmitted. I had sent it on to all the employees along with your comments about Christina so I was able to track it down today and am therefore, re-submitting it at this time. So if by chance you did receive in on the 20th and this comes across as a duplicate my apology. Here's my reply and my sincere thank you from March 20th:

Greetings, Johnna,
I can hardly find the words to express my excitement (and appreciation) after reading your review. I share all comments with the employees and be assured, they will see your letter.
Most important, your reference to Christina makes all the difference to us. I know we have exceptional people here at the hotel and by your testimony, you agree. Christina is among our most talented here; I see the staff working hard every day to handle the details to make a stay the best possible. I'm sure you've heard the saying...'don't sweat the small stuff...". Well for us, it's all about the small stuff. We have great amenities and we offer exceptional value: good room prices; great breakfast; secure, underground parking (for only $18 unless you're a hybrid and then it’s $9). We can have the best of everything and in the end; it's the employees who make the difference.
I hope you're able to make it back here to see us and if so, please don't hesitate to contact me personally. I'm happy to handle reservations and assist with details, and would love to pour you a few glasses of our fabulous Oregon wine.
Thanks again for taking time to send in your review and for recognizing Christina.......Jeri
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Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 18, 2013

Let me start out by saying that if we go back to Portland, we will most likely stay at the Mark Spencer. The location is wonderful - steps from the amazing Powell's City of Books (which I visited three times in one weekend) and within very easy walking distance of the major sites and the river.

But, my experience was with a hotel of contradictions. I've stayed in accommodations all over the world which range from the cheapest and dirtiest hostels to 5-star hotels, and I am not terribly picky and rarely complain, but this place was just odd. There was above-and-beyond service coupled with an extremely outdated and smelly room.

This hotel is not cheap. It's not the most expensive hotel out there of course, but we paid in excess of $120 a night for a regular room, which in a city the size of Portland usually gets you a modern, updated room. What we got looked like the room of a $40/night highway motel. Our impression upon entering the hotel was very good - the lobby area is nice, even luxurious, and they have a charming café area with exposed brick walls. As soon as we stepped out of the elevator and onto our floor, though, we noticed a strong odor of.... old. I guess that's the only way to describe it. It was clearly not a fleeting smell, but one settled into the floors and walls. This hotel is over 100 years old and for a long time served as low-cost small apartments (hence all the kitchenettes.) And, you can tell, in the hallway, and in the rooms. It's non-smoking now, but between all the smoking people would have done in the past, and the cooking which still occurs, there is no fresh smell on the guest floors of this hotel. And, the hallway, while spruced up with large museum posts, just looks dingy. Our room appeared to have the original furniture and 1960s kitchenette from back when the old hotel was turned into apartments... no exaggeration. It looks absolutely NOTHING like any of the pictures on the hotel website. There were no charming whitewashed brick walls in our room, either. I'm beginning to wonder if we were given the worst room in the hotel, because it also looked more outdated than most of the pictures guests have posted here. The bathroom looks like the bathroom of an old apartment you might rent in an older city right after college... pedestal sink with exposed pipes, old tiles, etc.. The furniture looked like your grandparents' bedroom set.

Why would I want to stay here again? Because I don't spend all my time in my room. While very tired-looking, my room was clean (although it was not cleaned until around 5 pm... I know because we returned to the room twice for just a couple minutes each time throughout the day, and it had not been made up. This is extremely unusual and would be seriously inconvenient most of the time.) The services this hotel provided were outstanding for the price point. They have a decent free morning breakfast, cookies and coffee and tea in the afternoon, and locally-produced wine and appetizers at cocktail hours. The staff were all friendly, courteous, and helpful. With these contradictions, t was like we were staying in two hotels at once! I will add that despite the kitchenette appearing to be at least 50 years old, it was well-equipped with cooking utensils, pans, dishes, and silverware, and it was really convenient. We went to the Whole Foods a short walk away and bought some food to cook... great way to save money and eat healthy while travelling.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Gritty75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeri R, General Manager at Mark Spencer Hotel, responded to this review, March 19, 2013
Hello Gritty from Boston,

Thanks for sending in your detailed comments about your stay and for giving us an exceptional rating, in spite of your disappointment in the guestroom. We believe our rates offer good value to our guests. The extended continental breakfast includes fresh whole fruit and fruit juice; assorted breads and bagels with toasters available; yogurt; hard boiled eggs; granola, cold cereal and a gourmet coffee maker that's available 24-hours a day. In the afternoon we bake fresh cookies and in the evening we bake fresh, local pizza and also arrange cheese and crackers and yes, more cookies - and you can top that off with a few glasses of Oregon wine. If you're driving, you can park in our secured, underground parking for only $18 and if it's a hybrid it's just $9.

Our employees are exceptional and our location is perfect, whether you're headed to Pioneer Square, to the Pearl District to sample some of the best restaurants and shopping in Portland; or, if you're headed for the freeway or bridges taking you across town.

I'm very sorry your room wasn't serviced in a timelier manner and that the room didn't meet your expectations. We have started an expansive renovation beginning with the hallways and lighting, and have planned the majority of the guestrooms remodel to start this upcoming fall. The kitchenettes will become more efficient and I assure you, the furnishings will not look like your grandmother's apartment.

In the meantime, if you're planning to return, do not hesitate to ask for one of our renovated rooms.

Thanks again for staying with us and we hope to see you again! Jeri
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
24 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2013

This hotel is in an ideal location. We took a Bolt Bus to Portland and we easily walked from our stop to the Mark Spencer. The next day, we took a short walk to Voodoo Donuts and to the food carts. Powell's Books is right around the corner and there's a delicious deli across the street. Really, everything in downtown Portland is easily accessible from here and it would be fairly easy to get to the airport with public transportation. The downtown grid is easy to understand and it's also fairly flat, too. If you're in a group, you could even walk over to East Portland. It took us about an hour, but the food choices there are truly worth it. Otherwise, I loved the espresso maker, it was a fabulous luxury and the breakfast with boiled eggs, bananas, yogurt, bagels and cereal was decent. Definitely not a lavish spread but decent. My one complaint would be the thin walls, as we could hear our neighbors and their music through the walls and as the hotel was full, so we were unable to move. Also, if you're on a higher floor it will take a little longer for the water in the shower to heat up. However, if you're looking for a fabulous location and enjoy cappuccinos, this might be the ideal location for you.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank WanderlustPA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeri R, General Manager at Mark Spencer Hotel, responded to this review, March 18, 2013
Good evening Wanderlust from Philadelphia!

Thanks so much for sending in comments about your stay with us. You covered a lot for me: value, comfort, location...... I'm impressed to hear you walked across to East Portland. It would be a marathon for me! However, the vast amount of restaurants make it well worth it. We also have a new restaurant neighbor around the corner: Cheryl’s on 12th. If you’re in hurry for something close by, it’s a good choice. Glad to know you liked the coffee choices - the machine is definitely a hit with our guests.

We are in our first phase of a major renovation which along with bringing the hotel current, new soundproof doors should help with some of the noise from neighbor rooms. We'll also check on the hot water delay that you mentioned to be sure all is in order.

Along with the places you visited, we're just a few steps away from the Pearl District which features way too many restaurants and shops to count. And if you’re renting a car, we offer unheard prices to park in our secured, underground parking for $18 and only $9 if the car is a hybrid.

Thanks again and we look forward to seeing you another time.
Jeri
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Orlando, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 16, 2013

Before going to the hotel I reviewed all the comments and they were right, the hotel was great, the price excellent for the amount of services received. The day we want to see the city it was raining the staff provided umbrellas, the coffe machine available 24 hrs and free was a plus, the afternoon cookies tea and coffe and wine tasting great! Across from the hotel there is a restaurant with excellent food and price, also public transportation runs in front of hotel. In Portland if you like to walk the majority of atractions are close enough to walk, there are the food cars near the hotel to eat cheap and good food.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dadophils
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeri R, General Manager at Mark Spencer Hotel, responded to this review, March 18, 2013
Greetings friends from Orlando,

Wow - Just read your review and you said it all for me. I share all comments with the employees and its rewarding for them to hear first-hand. They hear me bragging about our value, comfort and first-rate staff, but when they read reviews like this it only adds validation to their efforts. It sounds like you had time to try our new restaurant neighbor: Cheryl's on 12th...also offers good value and an excellent menu. Thanks for mentioning our complimentary gourmet coffee (the machine was the price of a new car) and well-worth it.

Come back soon and don't hesitate to ask for me anytime. I'm happy to make reservations (especially for the guests returning).

Thanks again for writing about your stay; it's sincerely appreciated...Jeri
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Additional Information about Mark Spencer Hotel

Property: Mark Spencer Hotel
Address: 409 SW 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97205-2603
Location: United States > Oregon > Portland > Downtown
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#22 Romantic Hotel in Portland
#22 Family Hotel in Portland
#25 Business Hotel in Portland
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Mark Spencer Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 101
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In the world of hospitality, there are a few unexpected places in which timeless European flair, cultured style and Old World courtesy are vibrantly alive. These lasting impressions are also accompanied by a profound respect for another very precious aspect: your comfort. Welcome to The Mark Spencer Hotel, an exceptional value in the hub of the city. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
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Mark Spencer Portland

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