Indulge yourself in a luxury hotel with personality to spare. I get giddy about staying in luxury hotels. Is it because clean towels appear out of nowhere? Because my bed is magically made when I return after a day exploring the city? Or is it that at any point in my stay, I can pick up the phone and some kind soul will bring me whatever wildly indulgent snacks I’ve deemed necessary after one too many champagne cocktails?
It’s all those reasons, plus giant televisions.
Last month, the hotel I was giddy about was The Duniway in Portland.
I loved it from the moment I learned that it was named for Abigail Duniway—a real-live revolutionary. Abigail was an activist, an iconoclast and wit; writing and speaking tirelessly in support of women’s suffrage until finally, after six attempts, Oregon finally allowed women to vote in 1912.
It makes sense that the hotel’s namesake is a disruptor, because this isn’t your mother’s luxury hotel. It’s not your aunt’s, either, although to be fair, your aunt is a little more open-minded than your mom. But that’s beside the point.
From the moment you walk into the warm, eclectic, living-room-like lobby, you can tell that this is luxury done Portland-style. The bookshelf along the front wall features a glass-encased Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man and the boots featured on the cover of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. The mid-century modern furniture is delightfully mismatched and perfectly placed for intimate conversations or heated discussions about the pronunciation of “Willamette” and “Couch.”*
And while the lobby is wonderful, it was my room that I never wanted to leave. It was like the well-appointed New York apartment I always wanted but couldn’t afford on my paltry production assistant salary (also, I never handled money well, but let’s not air our dirty laundry here, shall we?). Sitting right next to my chic velvet loveseat was a stack of curated books from Powell’s that I was free to peruse at my leisure (what? Leisure’s my favorite!). I also tested out the desk, reading some highly important Facebook posts regarding my cousin Holly’s new Rottweiler atop the gorgeous leather ink blotter from Will leathers.**
After pretending I was a famous New York writer for a while and then smelling every bath product on offer in the bathroom (delicious – they’re all C.O. Bigelow products), I made my way down to the Jackrabbit restaurant and bar.
Jackrabbit’s chef is Chris Cosentino—famous for using every part of a pig—and the restaurant didn’t disappoint. (Try the “Around the World in 8 Hams” appetizer, because you can never have too much ham. Unless you’re a vegan, in which case very, very little ham is way too much ham.)
From touches like a chandelier made of old bicycles to a wall of leather belts, the space is filled with details that make simply sitting and sipping your cocktail transcendent. And speaking of cocktails, try the “Coin Toss”—a cocktail named after the devil-may-care way Portland got its name. It’s gin or tequila, Yellow Chartreuse, Crème de Pamplemousse, ginger and lime in a real grapefruit shell with shaved ice.
Before returning to my room, I went to the 11th floor to check out the roof deck and indoor heated pool. I don’t really “do” exercise, but the people swimming seemed happy. The roof deck was more my speed, as lounging on the couch and staring at the stars was totally something I could do with a cocktail in my hand.
When I got back to my room, I did that glorious thing one does when one gets to sleep alone where you lie spread eagle, taking up as much of the pillow-top mattress as possible. It was amazing, and I slept like…well, I don’t know what I slept like because I was asleep, but it was good.
If you’re making your way down to Portland any time soon, I highly recommend the Duniway. It’s the perfect way to indulge yourself, Portland-style.
*It’s Will-AM-ette and Cooch. You’re welcome!