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“I Draw the Line at DIRTY” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Historic Union Hotel

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The Historic Union Hotel
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Union
Oregon
Level Contributor
106 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“I Draw the Line at DIRTY”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 19, 2013

The foyer of this old building is still beautiful, but that seems to be just because it has held up well on its own; we didn't see much evidence of real renovation or restoration, just some tacky decorating. As a place to stay, we'll never be back. Here's a short list of reasons:

1. It's DIRTY. When we pulled back the bedcovers, the sheets were old and pilled and there were long hairs caught in them. The sink wasn't cleaned and had hairs in it. The baseboards were dirty and cobwebbed; the carpet was ancient and gross.

2. It's weird. Our room reminded me of some of the cheap, run-down apartments I lived in when I was a college student. We realized that long ago the original hotel rooms had been reconfigured into efficiency apartments, and the place had been a men's residential hotel. The owners are just renting those boarding-house units as hotel rooms now. The shower was creepy -- this big, dark box of a room retro-fitted with cheap tile (mildewed in the corners), with a feeble shower head on one wall.

3. They seemed pretty apathetic about their business. When we arrived, no one was at the desk, so we pushed the Page button, and eventually we heard someone in the bar saying, "Go on out, you may as well start learning." A young woman emerged and nervously fumbled her way through registering us. We poked our heads into the bar, and there was the manager (owner?) sitting and playing solitaire. He was friendly enough but never welcomed us, didn't even get up! We got a better greeting from Rosie the sheepdog (though we didn't pet her; her hair was matted and dirty and she smelled).

4. The walls are paper-thin, so you won't get much sleep.

5. The view from all the windows is of the parking lot out back, which they have turned into an RV park.

The only pluses are that they allowed us to bring our dog and the mattress was passable.

My photos make it look nicer than it is. Our room was fairly bright, but the desk clerk told us we had the "best" room because it was the brightest. I couldn't imagine how dark the other rooms were -- and why. The cheery-looking bedspread is, on closer inspection, threadbare, rough, and seems to date back to the 1950s.

There aren't many good lodging options in the La Grande area, so we tried this hotel ten miles down the road in Union. Next time, we'll just drive on to Pendleton.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank LeftCoastGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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46 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    12
    21
    5
    3
    5
See reviews for
8
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4
Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Forest Grove, Oregon, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 25, 2013

The proprieters are very friendly - makes you feel quite comfortable and "at home". We were able to bring our black lab with us and it was quite fine for her to explore a bit off leash and play with their sheep dog Rosie. The room was clean, roomy and comfortable. No TV or phones in rooms which i quite preferred. There is a TV room and Library which was cozy as well. We did not try the restaurant as we were in town visiting family and dined with them mostly - however I have heard it is quite good. Because the hotel is undergoing some renovations there are things lying about here and there and it appears that the owners office is in the parlor. I would definitely stay here again. Am considering talking my family into doing a reunion in Union at the Union.. :)

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Becca C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spokane, Washington, United States
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 27, 2013

Relive the West's glorious past here. Creative and comfortable decor. Great food and friendly help in the restaurant/bar, and awesome ambiance. A nice grand place to hang out. Charlie and the two Bills are charming. The Wifi was passable. No TVs in rooms but there is a sitting area with boob tube.The place is not for the finicky though. Lukewarm water in the spacious claw foot tub was a big disappointment. Owner was not apologetic, but insisted it hadn't happened before. If a couple of dead flies bother you, you might not be happy. Pack light. It's a walk up, and I believe that's why hotels had bell hops in the old days. The professionalism could be taken up a notch, but the owner really bought the place for personal enjoyment and was convinced by the locals to re-open, so what you get is pretty much what you get. There are a lot cheaper lodgings down the road in La Grande, and they are cleaner and you get hot water. Still, I would go back because of the atmosphere. I think it's worth the short detour on the back road off of I-84 between Boise and Portland, simply because places like this are such a relic, the rooms are creatively decorated, and the bed was comfy.

Room Tip: The rooms are themed. Look at the website to choose the one you want.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank SouthLakeHostess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boise, Idaho
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 20, 2012

Under new ownership and management this is a great place to stay. Ruth & Charlie make you really feel welcome, and Rosie is their unforgettable, very friendly sheepdog. What a sweetie. Our two shih tzus were welcomed and played with by all. Making our stay even more enjoyable.
We enjoyed the quaint, quiet and relaxing atmosphere. Had a marvelous, romantic dinner in the newly opened restuarant (by reservation only now - so many people want to eat there and they hate having to turn people away). Well worth a phone call.
For lunch we walked to the Stop Light Cafe...felt like we had stepped into Mayberry! The sherrif and depudy came in and greated everyone (just like Andy & Barney) and chatted for a while then left with their donuts and coffee. How wonderful to see and experience such a great place as Union.
Went up the road a bit and toured the Hot Lake Museum but was glad to return to Union for the evening and listen to one of the patrans play the beautiful piano and hear others chime in and sing along.
Thank you Ruth & Charlie & Rosie for such a relaxing, memorible weekend.

Room Tip: There are 2 rooms available where pets are welcome. Ruth helped select the best to accomidate us.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Kreta-Chris P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 6, 2012

If you enjoy anachronisms just a little off the beaten path, this is the place for you. Union about 20 minutes from highway 84, so the town has already been forgotten by time a little. The Union hotel was perfectly charming in all it's imperfection. We were greeted warmly but not over-enthusiastically by Rosie, the Old-English-Sheepdog/Receptionist. Rosie's assistant then checked us in and shared a little of the history of the place with us before we went to our room. Named The Clark Gable Room on the off chance that he may have stayed there while fishing local streams, it was decorated with a combination of old sportsman gear and Clark Gable movie posters. My partner and I also noticed the room smelled like our grandparents' homes and was as quaint and comfortable and our memories of visiting them as children. We enjoyed exploring all the eccentricities of the space. The deep pile carpet and obviously older mattress activated my bed-bug paranoia just a tad, so we took a few extra precautions.

DO NOT book at this hotel if you prioritize modern convenience and luxury.

DO book at this hotel if you have nostalgia for small towns, warm welcomes, and the comforts of Grandma's spare bedroom.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Amy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 21, 2011

For my wife's birthday, we booked two nights at The Union Hotel. Built in 1921 (the hotel, not my wife), it's a bit of a gem in the rough, as owners Robert and David work to restore it to its former lustre after purchasing it six years ago. That said, our room was clean, decorated in period detail, and very comfortable. We loved having our two dogs with us, soaking in the claw-foot tub, sipping a cocktail on the veranda and watching small-town Oregon amble by. Common areas are a bit dowdy, but as authentic as authentic could be -- stocked with board games, antiques and books. A communal TV room let us indulge our Food Network jones. The Hotel is just 10 miles from the Catherine Creek trailhead, and 7 miles from the Catherine Creek State Park. The creek rushes by a lovely park next door. The hotel is walking distance from several dining options (pretty basic, but full of down-home charm). Just across the street, Gravy Dave's dishes up monster plates of carbo-fuel for your day's activities. Definitely worth a repeat visit -- or your first, for that matter.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank CathyButterfield
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Bay, CA
Level Contributor
147 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 22, 2011

Before reserving this hotel, I read all the trip advisor reviews and despite their mixed nature decided to give it a go because the hotel sounded interesting. It is interesting (I'm writing this review from room 207, carefully sitting on one half of the bed because the ceiling is falling down over the other half). But, it's just not for us. I want to be very descriptive as opposed to evaluative about this hotel because clearly it has charm to some people. If you are that type of person, you may very well like the hotel.
Let me start by saying that the hotel seems to be in the midst of either refurbishment or falling apart. I'm not sure which. We rented two rooms (206 and 207 which together are connected by a bathroom and are called the garden suite). I was unable to see any other rooms so I can't comment on them.
Let me start by saying if you want character, you've come to the right place. My 70 year old father says it reminds him of a residential hotel his dying aunt stayed in back in the 50's.
It's also relatively clean, no major stains or filth anywhere that we ventured (the basement and third floor excepted).
In my room (207) there is a lovely mural of a tree and bird houses and the walls are trimmed with fake (cobwebby) ivy. The air conditioner is affixed with duct tape to my window but at least there is an air conditioner. We were afraid to get into the bathtub--the shower curtain was disgusting and we couldn't quite tell if the bathtub floor was clean, so we avoided that. Each room has a sink (there is no sink in the bathroom). And the toilet front is about 10 inches from the bathtub edge, so it's a tight fit in there.
The other room, 206, is in better shape but it too has cobwebs around the fake vines.
Each room includes a little wicker table (a bit dirty but wicker is hard to keep clean), an alarm clock and a plant as well as in room controlled heat and a radiator that is controlled by the proprietor.
The garden suite is described as bright and sunny. This is true, but it also never gets dark at night and in room 207 you will hear continual traffic noise so bring ear plugs and an eye mask.
Other reviewers mentioned adventure. If you do venture above the 2nd floor or below the first, you will find broken windows, garbage thrown around, windows packed with towels, etc. Clearly, this is a work in progress (or decline). Hard to see any evidence of work going on, but maybe they are waiting for the economy to pick up.
In the common areas, there is a large room with tables, chairs and games. These rooms seem clean and spacious. But the entire hotel reeks of old cigarette smoke (maybe new cigarette smoke too--hard to distinguish).
There is a tv room on the second floor but it's very dark and dank and we didn't have the courage to sit in it.
The proprietor we met is also a character. But he was accommodating when we rang the bell. He didn't bother to tell us much about the hotel (there is hot tea and coffee available in the morning, but he didn't mention it--maybe it's not always there). We didn't have much contact with him and never saw him standing at the desk. But I think we were the only guests so he probably didn't have much to do.
Out back, they rent RV spaces, and several of those were rented. The hotel sits at the edge of the city park and the river is just across the park and you'll see the mountains surrounding the town, so it is pretty here.
You can walk to several restaurants and the general store which is pretty comprehensive for such a small town.
I actually don't want to make the hotel sound terrible because I think it may appeal to some people. It just wasn't what we want in a hotel. The price is right and you get what you pay for.
My best advice, for what it's worth, is to not make a reservation, to show up and ask to see some rooms and if you like them, make a reservation. If not, head back to La Grande (20 miles or so) and stay at a chain.

Room Tip: see the rooms before you reserve
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank luluEastBay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Historic Union Hotel

Property: The Historic Union Hotel
Address: 326 N Main St, P.O. Box 522, Union, OR 97883-8901
Location: United States > Oregon > Union
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Kitchenette Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Union
Number of rooms: 15
Also Known As:
The Historic Union Hotel Oregon

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