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Oregon: Portland – The Society Hotel is a perfect place to stay in downtown Portland (Review)

As Brits we have yet to truly get on board with the Thanksgiving holiday, despite living in the US for 15 years.  It is not helped that most of our immediate family live thousands of miles away! Now that our children have grown up and left home we didn’t really have much of a plan for the holidays, so we decided to head out of town for a few days.

Part of this mini road trip included spending a couple of nights in Portland, Oregon (which is about 150 miles from our home town of Bend, Oregon). As travellers we like to be economical with our money, so we can do even more trips, therefore we were looking for something cheap and downtown.

I had read about the Society Hotel located in the heart of Portland’s China Town. The building was built in 1881 by the Seaman’s Friends Society as a safe haven for sailors.  Several years after The Seaman’s Friends Society opened as a hotel, the business began to dwindle, and the building was eventually rented to the Portland Hospital for one year.  In 2013 a group of entrepreneurs purchased the building with the intention of revitalizing it into something lasting and that would have a positive impact on the area.

The hotel is located in Chinatown and is only a 10-minute walk from the fashionable Pearl District and 20 minutes from the main downtown areas. The area around the hotel is colourful! Across the street from the Society is a well-known club famed for its drag queen shows. There are also a lot of homeless people in the area (as with most big cities nowadays this is a sad problem that we have to get to grips with). All that said it is not a dangerous area and we felt very safe walking around at all times of the day and night.

The entrance to the Society is simple but stylish. There is an unassuming reception desk manned by the most friendly and helpful of people. The rest of the lobby area is set aside for a small cafe which is used by the hotel guests but is also popular with folks living in the area. It was very light (and we were there during some very grey days! The room rate does not include breakfast, but there is the cafe and plenty of other places around to eat. The other thing to note is that the hotel does not offer parking, which is not an issue as there are many safe, inexpensive parking options close by. One of the nice features of the hotel is a rooftop deck which gives great views of the city – except as when we were in town there are low clouds and fog!

The hotel is more like a hostel with a range of accommodation to suit most budgets; from the bunk rooms to private rooms with ensuite bathrooms. We decided to go for a private room with a king bed and a bathroom. Our room was basic but very comfortable. It had high ceilings and was modestly furnished with a sofa and a wonderful king-sized bed … and that was about it. They have tried to be sympathetic to historical elements of the building but have also allowed some shabby-chic features to creep in, such as exposed brickwork.The bathroom was smallish with a shower, which we loved. All in all the room was great, the location was perfect and we were made to feel most welcome. So, if you are looking for a cheap place to stay in downtown Portland we can recommend you try out the Society Hotel.

Location:203 NW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97209
Telephone:+1 (503) 4450444
Type:Small hotel with private and shared rooms
Prices:Starting at $120 for private rooms – $55 for bunk rooms

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