Hotel Monaco

This week’s hotel spotlight features Portland, Oregon’s Hotel Monaco located on S.W. Washington at 5th Avenue. Hotel Monaco was actually one of the first hotels I got the pleasure of staying in, but it has taken me quite some time to write about because I thought it would be hard to describe. For instance, it squarely falls under the boutique hotel category but the term does not begin to illuminate the goings-on inside. From parking garage to doorway, reception to lobby, your room to your bathrobe – Hotel Monaco is a mashup of solid color, texture, patterned fabric and more patterned fabric.

Let us start with the parking garage. As you would expect in any metropolitan area, the parking garage was underground. No surprise there. However, would you have guessed that the floor was made of wood decking instead of the classic concrete corridors of parking garages past? -OR- that the other tenants cars would be hidden from view via, what looked to be, emerald green crushed velvet curtains? The answer is, “No, I did not expect to be transported from the City of Roses to the City of Oz where the wizard behind the green curtain is actually a handsome bus boy waiting to park my car.” But just in case you are, in fact, from The Emerald City and you answered “yes” to the above question(s) do not worry, for that is only the beginning of the unique boutique that is  Hotel Monaco.

Take the air balloon away – *ahem* I mean elevator up from Garage Oz to the lobby and check-in desk or take a side quest to the rich red walled and white plaster-trimmed double height “living room” along the way. From Oz to Moulin Rouge’s Elephant, the living room comes complete with double height picture windows, Asian inspired fireplace, 1 baby grand piano and all manner of lounging surfaces perfectly arranged in small pockets for optimal people watching. If you arrive between 4 and 6 o’clock, do not bother taking your stuff to your room as the hotel offers complimentary wine to all its guests. There is also morning coffee service offered for those coffee addicts, doubling your people watching avenues for those early risers.

Once you do check into the hotel, you will be happy to find that the unique plush chairs of the living room follow you all the way up and into your room like mini still life gallery spaces. Of course being the geek that I am, I sat in almost every chair, couch or sit-upon just before entering the room. I apologize I do not have any photos from this tour, this was before I had a working camera, but if you Flickr search “Hotel Monaco Portland,” you are sure to find images of exactly what I’m talking about.

Finally, the tour ends with the bedroom of bears and wild animals. I’m not kidding when I say this. Each room comes with its own plush teddy bear, giraffe and zebra print night gowns, and more textured print wallpaper, carpet and bed coverings (Again, I apologize I don’t have my own pictures!). My particular room had a fabulous view East and South making the morning sunrise the best breakfast any hotel can serve.

A brief note about some of the other ameneties: Free high speed wireless Internet is provided for each room and is a breeze to check into for the technolgy inclined. The concierge will no doubt tell you that the  Red Star Restaurant is pretty good and while I admittedly did not partake in said cuisine sans 1 breakfast nomlet, I would say that it would be a fine place to dine. However, what you really want to do is walk a couple blocks down to the Portland Food Carts for lunch and then someplace near Old Town for dinner if you can. Then again that is just what I would do but do not take my word for it. Hotel get!

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