The saturated colors, brilliant eye crossing patterns and quiet tinkling of wine glasses rubbing against each other tackled my senses and pinned them to the ground. Where were we a gallery opening? Nah. It had to be a store for the urban hipster, right?
No, we had stepped into the Hotel Monaco in Portland, Oregon.
While researching accommodations for our trip I came across this funky, mid-sized hotel. They had suites at the right price decked out in plush fabrics of deep blue, orange and purple.
I was sold.
Mike and I were ready for a little more space after sharing a room with the kids in Cannon Beach. There was only so much hiding out in the bathroom or on the cold patio Mike and I could take on this much-needed vacation.
I booked us the Park It in Portland rate, which included a Monaco King Suite, continental breakfast and on-site valet parking. This hotel was definitely a splurge for us, but when I added up what was included in the package and the location of the hotel it was by far one of the best deals the city had to offer for our 3-day stay.
From the moment I booked our room I was greeted by staff members bending over backwards to help us out. The Concierge team emailed me within hours of clicking submit on my reservation to see if I needed anything for our room.
Upon our arrival there was a little fuzzy stuffed friend for Dek to play with, whom we later realized would cost us $35 to take home. Thankfully Dek didn’t even notice when his bear friend didn’t make it into the car.
The bellhops were a wealth of information when it came to the local food carts. They knew where the best ones were and which were open. They ate at the carts a few days a week themselves; who better to ask?
Our 550 square foot suite located on the 8th floor came with a deep midnight blue queen sleeper sofa for Dek in the sitting room. Birds flew across the wallpaper, while I tried to strategize a game we could play on the geometric orange and black carpet. Sliding French doors gave Mike and I a little privacy so we could kick back and relax with the 32-inch flat panel TV on while Dek went to bed. Of course Ty was still in our room in a travel crib, so it wasn’t THAT private.
The cloud-like king bed came with just the right amount of plush pillows. I love good pillows. I refuse to travel with one, so having a variety to choose from is always an added bonus during any stay.
The bathroom wallpaper took on a life of it’s own and made you want to stay in there for hours. Drawings of Portland sights, and what I would soon learn was a pretty iconic bridge for the area, filled the walls in alternating patterns. A wide sink had enough room to hold the many tiny jars from our toiletries bag (OK, so most of it was mine) and the tub was an added bonus for Dek after a long day walking the streets.
Kimpton Karma Rewards
I’ll be honest, I don’t normally sign up for hotel loyalty programs. I know die-hard loyalty club preachers are about to thump their hands on their travel pulpit in frustration, but until recently we hadn’t stayed in that many hotels to warrant the 2 minutes of extra time when booking.
Kimpton made me an offer no one in the digital age could refuse- complementary high-speed wireless Internet. They threw in a $10 voucher for the minibar too. Both are worth the extra few minutes to sign up.
Little extras available to guests exploded from this hotel. Not only was there in-room recycling, which I love and don’t understand why more hotels don’t do it, but you could also borrow a bike to wander around the city.
There was a 24-hour fitness center on sight. If you didn’t want to work out in public, you could request a yoga mat, straps and blocks be sent up to your room. There was even a yoga channel to help you with your moves (can you tell I don’t do much yoga?).
And did I mention the animal print robes? Sorry, no picture of me in one of those, but they sure were fun to wear. I later found out that we could have gotten a child-size robe for Dek. A little zebra running around, how cute would that have been?
Three times a day the hotel hosted some sort of complimentary snack and/or beverage for their guests to enjoy in the main lobby, which was a vision of red and white. Lounge chairs, sofas and a piano took over the space, but still left plenty of room for mingling.
- Mike partook in the morning coffee bar complete with flavored syrups and real creamer.
- I was disappointed that we missed the summer ice cream social each afternoon, but the city kept us out exploring.
- Evenings brought a wine hour from 5pm to 6pm each night. This was not just an adult event; Kids could join in the fun with juice, snacks, coloring books and games.
Dosha Salon Spa
While I was pregnant with Ty I started checking out the spas associated with the hotels we stayed in. Some were good and some were not.
The Dosha Salon Spa was running a 1-hour massage special for hotel guests that only cost US$55. Coming from Seattle that was a steal. I walked in without an appointment while Mike put the kids down for a nap. There wasn’t anyone available for another half hour, but the receptionist said I could hang out in their steam room to relax if I liked. Don’t mind if I do, I said.
I like a very deep tissue massage and my massage therapist took me at my word. Usually therapists keep it very light because they think they will break me. Not this guy; he might have gone a little too deep. My side was sore for two days, but my shoulders felt like Jell-O. If you have ever carted around a newborn and a toddler you know this is quite a treat.
The main reason we stayed at the Hotel Monaco was the location. The service and suite were amazing, but I wanted to be sure we could walk as much as possible to see the sights on our list.
- Food carts
- Lan Su Chinese garden
- Saturday Market
- Powell’s Books
Not once did we move the car after we parked it. We had already been to the Japanese garden, Oregon Zoo and rose garden; everything else we wanted to see was downtown.
The river was just a few blocks away. There were a plethora of restaurants and food carts to choose from. I could even wear uncomfortable, but cute shoes to dinner if I wanted to; we were that close to some great eateries.
Color certainly took over this hotel and made a lasting impression in our minds. I won’t soon forget the busy little birds that sailed across the walls of our suite, or the pink and brown chaise lounge in the lobby that I popped Ty on right before we headed home.
The beauty of this hotel was not just found in the colors and patterns it utilized, but the service it continually strived to show off. At every turn we were greeted with a smile. Dek was even treated to a lick on the face by the resident dog stationed at the concierge desk.
Upon checking out the receptionist and I got chatting about our kids and swapping toddler stories. Not every hotel would have a staff so friendly and willing to chat with their guests. Then again, not every hotel would have curtains in their underground parking area.
Hotel Monaco certainly knows how to make an impression. My fingers are crossed that they continue to do so for our return visit one day soon.
Know Before You Go
- Hotel Monaco Portland, 506 SW Washington, Portland, OR 97204
- Check in: 3:00 pm, check out: 12:00 pm
- Pet’s are welcome at not additional fee
- Valet parking is available under the hotel (check hotel specials. Some include parking.)
- All rooms are smoke-free
- There is a fee for Internet access unless you are an InTouch Loyalty member, which is free to join. So join.
- Child safety kits and travel cribs are available for use during your stay.