“Portland as possible,” is a term I often use to encompass all of the stereotypes, truths and cultural norms of Portland. When it came to creating the atmosphere within the Hi-Lo Hotel located in downtown Portland, the Autograph Collection Hotel went “Portland as possible” in a refreshingly subtle way to create a truly Oregonian experience within the walls of its newly renovated building.
What you won’t find: in-your-face references to Portland, Voodoo Doughnuts or other “Portlandia” icons. What you will find: compelling experiences and products that expose guests to the history, foods and makers in the community.
Guests can experience Portland’s best producers without venturing to the street. There’s soap by Maak Lab, the Alto Bajo Rojo beer made by Royale Brewing especially for the hotel’s restaurant Alto Bajo, the Hi-Lo Cuvée created by Willamette Valley’s Chehalem Winery. Hi-Lo even supports Portland’s music station XRAY.fm — and the list goes on.
At check-in guests are offered a drink from the “Crafted Cocktail Cart,” a chance to experience the city’s drinks scene before even setting down a suitcase. Both high-end and “raw” materials and aesthetics meld in the guest rooms and the details that went into finishing the rooms are discernible. Rooms have Pendleton Woolen Mills accent pillows crafted in Portland, heated flooring, locally milled reclaimed barn wood that brings the Pacific Northwest indoors. The concrete beams, pillars and other raw surfaces are pleasantly incorporated into the finished space.
All of this means that instead of just dropping off a suitcase, guests might actually want to stick around. Through the large windows, visitors get a view of the SW 3rd and Stark Street area of downtown, however raucous it can be, it’s a real glimpse of Portland, Oregon.
Once back down in the hotel’s lobby, there’s the Merchant, the hotel gift shop. Instead of cheesy postcards and keychains, guests can shop for locally sourced honey, wine, candles, soap, and more. The lobby bar called Lo Bar mixes up the hotel’s signature cocktail, Project Cinderella, which has a base spirit of Oregon-made Crater Lake Spirits gin, Portland’s Clear Creek Distillery apple brandy, Bee Local honey water (also Portland), along with house grenadine and lemon. The name of the cocktail? A reference to the building’s history, which was the city’s iconic first concrete building. The historic Oregon Pioneer Building was known as the Project Cinderella when it was revived in 1962.
Flavors head South of Portland with classic Oaxacan and regional Mexican cuisine in the hotel’s restaurant, Alto Bajo. Michelin starred Moto alum Chef Chip Barnes in collaboration with Oaxacan Chef Iliana de la Vega create dishes such as Pescado en Hoja de Platano: Washington sturgeon roasted in banana leaf, cilantro-chile butter, salsa rojo, heirloom tomato and mashed plantain.
The not-to-miss beverage program has one of the largest collections of tequila and mezcal in the city, and expertly pairs these traditional spirits with menu items.
After experiencing all of the hotel’s amenities, the time is right to head outside and experience one of those “Portland as possible” experiences, which could be anything from a Blue Man spotting to the city’s overly cautious drivers.