The next day in Portland, I switched my stay to The Nines Hotel which is a Luxury Collection property and located in a historic building just across from Pioneer Courthouse Square within downtown Portland, Oregon. It is the perfect location for walking around and there are even nice views of downtown from the hotel since the elevator lobby has windows facing the Courthouse Square. Not to mention, the Luxury Collection hotels are one of my favourite within SPG, and this would also be my second stay in The Nines.
The ground floor has a small bell desk where bellboys will help you with your luggage if necessary. Guests are then whisked towards the elevator to head up to the main lobby. Check-in by the reception desk was fast that afternoon with no one queueing. On enquiring I was able to get an upgrade to a Junior Suite and a double queen suite at that. Most suites I know of only have one king bed, but this one with 2 queen beds is one of the first I have seen in an SPG hotel. Since the daily rate for the hotel on the Starwood website was around $280, I redeemed 12,000 Starpoints for the stay which was quite worth it in my opinion.
Another nice feature of this property is the artwork spread across the hotel public areas and the main lobby. In addition to the furnishings, these are some of the details that makes me return to this property. The only downside are the slightly high rates for a Portland hotel, with rates usually hovering between $280-350 for one night.
Room No: 951 Category: Double Queen Junior Suite
My allocated room was located at the 9th floor at the corner facing the intersection of Morrison and 5th Avenue. On entering the room, there is a small foyer that leads into a comfortable sized living room. There is a nice flat-screen TV in the room with a bench sofa and 2 armchairs.
The living room leads to another corridor where the bathroom is located at. The minibar and fridge is also located along this corridor.
As with these historic buildings, my only disappointment are always with the bathroom. Like my last stay at the suite in The U.S. Grant, the bathroom here while spacious was not very nice in terms of design. An L-shaped vanity counter is located by the entrance of the bathroom. This area is brightly lit but the toilet and the bathtub located by the back are very dimly lit and it is not the nicest bathroom for a nice shower!
Then there is the wall mounted BeeKind bath amenities, which somewhat cheapens the whole luxury hotel feeling. I know about the environment-friendly initiative and all but I still do not think a dorm-style bathroom amenity is appropriate for a luxury hotel.
The main bedroom is another spacious room in the suite with 2 queen beds spread out nicely and there is also a work desk and another TV along the wall. There is also a daybed located beside the door to the bedroom, for more lounging space in the afternoon.
In the evening, there is turndown service like all luxury hotels and this included the housekeeping laying out slippers by the bed side, chocolates on the nightstand and of course closing of the curtains around the suite, of which there are many!
The reason that makes The Nines a good value for SPG Platinum guests though is that there is a Club Lounge within the property on the 12th floor. The lounge is a very comfortable space and has a foyer that faces the atrium in the lobby level. Newspapers are also provided inside the lounge.
However the dining space in the lounge is quite small with a few tables and lounge seating. And during my stay, the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team was also in town for a match and they were using the lounge as well. Service within the lounge was very good though as they always seem interested in offering the guests beverages and assistance.
In the evening the club lounge serves hors d’oeuvres and then desserts later at night. For a club lounge the offering was very good and amongst the best I have seen in North America. There were 4 choices of hors d’oeuvres and desserts for the different service, and the hors d’oeuvres were served from 4-6pm while desserts were served from 8-10pm.
Breakfast was also served from 7-10am in the club lounge though the selections were in line with most club lounge in that it was a continental service with pastries, muffins and croissants being the norm. Once again the service was good as the attendant in the lounge offered to heat up the bagels and even brought out cream cheese for us.
During my stay, I also used the fitness centre located on the 7th floor. It is a spacious area with a studio space for yoga, a modern array of fitness equipments, weights and lots of treadmills. For a city centre hotel, it was adequate. Though there isn’t a swimming pool in the hotel.
On my last stay, I did have dinner at the Departure restaurant located at the top-most floor of the hotel, though I did not revisit it this time around. The food is Asian-fusion, while the lobby level has a more contemporary American cuisine restaurant called Urban Farmer. Though being in downtown, there is no lack of food options around the area.
As upper-tier SPG members, I was able to get a late check-out until 4pm at this property with no problem and the check-out was also a breeze. Comparing this hotel to the Westin, I think The Nines offers much better value even if the bathrooms might not be as nice. Especially now that it costs 16,000 Starpoints for a regular room in the Westin, I would always pick The Nines for a stay anytime when in downtown Portland.