Weekend escape to the Kimpton Hotel Vintage Plaza in Portland, OR
Since leaving Seattle I’ve had to ask a few friends to step in and keep up with the latest happenings around the Pacific Northwest. My friend Karen B. is one of those gals who knows the importance of leaving her son at home for the weekend and getting out of town with her girlfriends every now and then. It recharges a mom’s batteries and gives her a full night sleep to make it through the next few months. I sent Karen down to Portland to check out the Kimpton Hotel Vintage Plaza. They are in the middle of a massive remodel of their rooms, and Karen was able to check out the model room and give it a test ride for two nights. Lucky lady! Here’s her story.
Under the splash of a downpour, my friend Stephanie and I made a mad dash across town after work for our Amtrak train departing from Seattle’s King’s Station. It was leaving at 5:30 p.m. and there was no way we were going to miss it. Our girls’ getaway to Portland was in sight and the warm beds at the Hotel Vintage Plaza were calling our names.
Our train car was teeming with couples and girlfriends headed to Portland (lovingly referred to as PDX by residents of the Pacific Northwest) for shopping, food and maybe a show or two. We kicked back and began to unwind after a hectic week of work and kids.
As soon as our train arrived in Portland we grabbed a taxi, checked in at the Kimpton Hotel Vintage Plaza and savored our freedom from family responsibilities. We stashed our bags and got ready to explore the town without kids in tow.
Tip: It is easy to grab a taxi from the train station to the hotel. Downtown is only 5-10 minutes away.
Many cabs even take credit cards!
Hotel Vintage Plaza
The hotel staff instantly made us feel welcome with their smiles and helpful attitudes as we plied them with questions. We were shown to a newly remodeled room (the model room for the entire renovation project happening at the hotel), with a luxurious king size bed, elegant red velvet couch, purple walls, and funky chic wine-inspired art (cork portrait anyone?). The cozy atmosphere was enhanced by the deep saturated colors flowing throughout the room, making us feel like we were being swaddled in a full-bodied glass of red wine. The room pulled us further from our daily routines and into the retreat we’d both hoped for. The room was big enough for two adults and it never felt crowded as we moved about stashing our belongings.
The spacious bathroom with two sinks and plenty of counter space, which is atypical for most hotels, could not have been better suited for two girlfriends traveling together. There was plenty of space for us to get ready for a night out on the town without getting in each others way. Two plush bathrobes awaited us in the closet and we fought over who was going to wear the zebra print and who was going to wear the leopard. Both are signature robe designs at all Kimpton hotels, including the Hotel Vintage Plaza’s sister more family-friendly property in Portland, the Hotel Monaco.
With the hotel as command central for our shopping and dining weekend, we came to appreciate the friendly bellmen who were always helping us in and out of the rain by holding open the door so we didn’t get dripped on any more than necessary. They made sure we knew where we were going and the best way to get there. On our last day one of the bellmen ran down the block in a downpour to grab us a taxi so we were on time for our train. He certainly went above and beyond the call of duty.
Location, location, location
A top draw for the Hotel Vintage Plaza is its location situated within walking distance of many of Portland’s must-see spots. Although the city is no stranger to rain, its covered sidewalks and numerous shops and eateries are ideal spots to while away a rainy day.
We came to the city with a list of restaurants to try, some old favorites and a few new ones, and none of them let us down. We checked every spot (listed below) off our delicious list of restaurants and favorite shops to browse through.
- The Portland City Grill (late night happy hour with views of the city from the 30th floor)
- Blue Star Donuts
- Kenny & Zukes delicatessen
- Boxer Ramen
- Ava Gene’s restaurant
- Shopping along Pearl Street
- Powell’s Books (a trip to Portland is never complete without a stop in this literary wonderland)
Our favorite — and totally unplanned — stop of this trip was Pinkham Millinery. We ducked into this hat shop on a whim and spent time visiting with the owner, Dayna. She fed us the history of the boutique and encouraged us to try hat after hat while she made recommendations on the best shape and style to suit each of us. While we left empty handed, there is talk of handmade hats in time for our 40th birthdays next year.
The Kimpton Vintage Plaza and Portland did not disappoint. Between the rest and relaxation in the hotel (i.e. no babies waking us up every few hours!), the delicious meals across town, and the hospitality and friendliness of all the Portlanders we met, we were sad to leave. Don’t feel too sorry for us though. We are already talking about a return visit in 2015.
NOTE: Room renovations at the Hotel Vintage Plaza are underway and should be completed by March 2015.