Portland may conjure up notions of trees, rain, hippies, weed, coffee, beer, or even biking over bridges, but one thing is certain, Portland is evolving and is more than the Portlandia sitcom stereotype, “where young people go to retire.” Compared to Los Angeles, exploring Portland always feels manageable and although ‘Keep Portland Weird’ is a city theme, Portland’s landscape is maturing. The restored one-year-old Woodlark Hotel is the best place to call home in downtown Portland. Centrally located, this grown-up sophisticated hotel comes with luxurious rooms, a light-soaked coffee bar lobby lounge, first-floor meat-focused Bullard Restaurant, and a swanky intimate cocktail living room. Voted Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Award in 2019, here are ten reasons the 4-star Woodlark Hotel will meet all of your travelers needs when in Portland. Here are 10 reasons to make your next stay in Portland the Woodlark.
1. Ties to the Past
We love a hotel with a story. Not just some basic boring mass-produced hotel design with the same depressing rug and yellow-lit bathroom, the Woodlark is the result of two historic buildings on the National Historic Register (since 2014) reimagined as one, in the heart of the city. Flooded with light, the 150-room hotel (with 14 suites) known as the House of Welcome in the 1920s was once home to the city’s earliest drugstore and wholesale pharmacy with an in-house soda fountain offering delicious treats and malts. A selection of botanical prints from the 1920s and 1930s don the walls from local female photographer Imogen Cunningham.
2. Good Coffee bar in the living room lobby
The airy and light-filled lobby with floor to ceiling windows and skylights makes a great workspace or breakfast meet-up over one of their specialty coffee drinks from Portland’s own Good Coffee, like a lavender matcha. A marble check-in desk that slopes into a coffee counter greets guests upon arrival. Lush plants abound. Ten-foot long leather sofas, comfy chairs, and communal tables make mingling easy. The lobby feels like the living room of your dreams.
3. Centrally Located
Right in the middle of downtown, an easy walk will take you just about anywhere – the restaurant Tasty and Alder, cocktails at Pepe le Moko, Blue Star Donuts, Voodoo Doughnut, Killer Burger, Pine Street Market, Powell’s City of Books, Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen, breweries, Portland Saturday (now weekend) Market with outdoor arts and crafts, food pods/carts, and the Portland Museum of Modern Art. Portland always feels doable, whether on foot, on a bike, or an easy Uber ride.
4. Spacious rooms
Inside the 150 guest rooms, striking custom-designed wallpaper are patterned with flora found in Portland’s Forrest Park. Rooms are bright and refined with a dramatic edge – plush deep green headboards with comfy Italian sheets, a down comforter, and Simmons Beautyrest Black Napa mattresses. A pillow menu is available to complete your good night’s rest.
Custom pieces give the hotel room a residential feel - from the marble-topped console to the bathroom sconces with rain shower, ceiling fixture and tiles with luxe gold finishes throughout. An exterior built-in luggage rack area is created for easy organizational access. A steamer and quality hair dryer are always the mark of a good hotel while interesting in-room snack and drink options are appreciated like Smith Teamaker Matcha Tea Kits.
You can also expect Bluetooth speakers, LCD flat-panel TVs, and something very uncommon - late checkouts (4 pm). Exceptional coffee and tea can be found each morning in a common area for guests. Several unique room types exist from Premium Kings with 15-foot ceilings to Corner Kings with expansive windows, to Vaulted Studio Suites with step-in showers and soaking tubs. Just be sure to book a room facing away from the ongoing new hotel construction next door replacing the decade-old food pod square.
5. Bullard Restaurant
A big draw to this hotel is having an outstanding restaurant steps away on the first-floor corner of the hotel. The interior’s rich dark masculine vibe with floor to ceiling glass and steel walls has the original penny tile floors from 1908 and memorabilia and collections depicting the life of a sportsman.
Helmed by 2016 James Beard Award Rising Star Nominee Chef Doug Adams and hospitality maven Jennifer Quist, find the best brunch grub around right here – shrimp and grits, donut holes, fried chicken sandwich, loaded hash browns, and warm corn cake with honey butter and pepper jelly. Start with a Good Irish Coffee with butterscotch whiskey, a Bloody Mary, or sample from their extensive beer menu. The Day Drinks Menu offers various spirits with pickle juice varieties, like Mezcal with Charred Corn Smoky Pepper Pickle Juice. Brunch was so divine we wish we spent dinner here too where the restaurant emphasizes wood-fire cooking and smoke with dishes rooted in Texas and refined in Oregon.
6. Abigail Hall cocktail bar
The intimate 40 seat living room style bar with fireplace and large chandelier lies in the original library and Ladies Reception Hall of the former Cornelius Hotel. Named after Oregon's "Mother of Equal Suffrage, Abigail Hall is packed with happy patrons thanks to both early and late Happy Hours. The classy candlelit space serves up expertly crafted cocktails ($8 during Happy Hour) like a Bitter Dark and Stormy, Old Fashioned, Hibiscus Tea Tom Collins, and Orange Blossom Gimlet. Martinis and Manhattans can be served for the table too, for up to six people. Mocktails, beer, wine, and food bites from the Bullard kitchen will satisfy every mood and preference in this vintage space with floral walls with pink accents and handsome armchairs and leather booths.
7. Meeting spaces
Four possible common venues can be used for social gatherings, but Woodlark offers 2,160-square-feet of meeting space in the lower level of the hotel, which boasts a dedicated street- level entrance that can be utilized by groups. All meeting spaces offer state-of-art AV capabilities and catering by Bullard. Concierge services and wedding services can be provided.
8. Stay fit
Guests have complimentary access to the 24-hour, state-of-the-art fitness center. Check out their interactive workout MIRROR with all-in-one responsive LCD display with thousands of classes to choose from, treadmills, recumbent bikes, high performing Peloton spin bicycles, ellipticals, and more. Woodlark is the first in the nation to introduce MIRROR within a hotel space. A Well+Fit kit can be delivered to your room that includes a Manduka yoga mat, a set of barre3bands, weights and signature core ball and an iPad preloaded with fitness videos.
9. Take advantage of the amenities
The available amenities include PUBLIC bike rentals, MIRROR Fitness classes, $25 credit for OMNI PDX gear rentals, spiritual and pillow menus, local and long-distance calling, pet welcome amenities, complimentary morning Good Coffee and tea service, and more. Take advantage of the Very Important Pet Programme and your pooch will be greeted with a bed, bowl, toy, and tasty treats, plus a list of local pet-friendly attractions.
10. Reasonable Rates
Rates are super reasonable at Woodlark. Currently, they start around $95 a night in the low season plus the $24 amenities fee, and special offers are often on their website. To keep the cost down, skip the $45 nightly valet if you don’t need a car, although an EV charging station is available.
Written by Melissa Curtin
Read more posts by Melissa Curtin