In 1909 the 15 story headquarters in Portland for Meier & Frank was erected, which was once the largest retailer west of the Mississippi. Long story short, the historic building is now a Starwood hotel, as part of their luxury collection. I was looking forward to trying the hotel during a wine-tasting weekend with my husband and some friends. A 20 minute drive from the airport brought us right to the hotel, which happens to be right across the street from the popular four-block-long Pioneer Place Mall.

I checked in to the hotel in the lobby on the 8th floor, hoping for a suite as a Starwood Platinum. There were no suites available, but after speaking with the front desk I understood why. Out of the 331 guest rooms, only 13 are suites and 3 of those are specialty suites that they don’t upgrade into.  The weekend we were there the hotel was hosting an event, so there were no corner king rooms either. I was upgraded from a standard to a deluxe room and the front desk agent said I would enjoy the view from the 10th floor.

Entering the room, I immediately noticed that the room was silent with no noise transfer between rooms, which was a relief after my recent stay at the Park Hyatt Chicago. The turquoise and gold tones combined with the quality material of the furnishings seemed quite luxurious indeed. I sank down on the bed, reached up and felt…a synthetic rubbery pillow. I rolled to the side, and there was another. I sat up and looked around. Oddly enough, there were only two pillows. I went to the closet where a spare pillow is often found. No extras.

I called down to front desk, and politely asked for a couple of down filled pillow. My profile specifies down filled pillows only, but perhaps it had been overlooked. The cheery rep said not to worry, when we returned to the hotel later after dinner they would be waiting for us in the room.


The walls were richly patterned, and the mint accents in the suite kept it from feeling too dark.



Ambient corner lighting and flat screen TV.


Miiight have been a nice view if just a few stories higher. Maybe the check-in agent had been joking about the great view, but the detailing in the building across the way was nice.



Here’s the room layout, which had an Atrium in the middle that overlooked the Urban Farmer restaurant and the lobby.


A well-stocked minibar is a pleasant sight, just in case one gets a craving for Red Bull at 3am.



The bathroom wasn’t huge but it was well-appointed and clean. Fancy lighting and a vanity set up gave it an elegant look.


I noticed that there were spaces for water bottles, but none were there. I called down and asked if I could have a couple bottles put in the room during turndown service.



The walk in shower was marble, and had a thoughtful foot rest built in on one corner.


the Nines is conscious about recycling, and their amenities are from the Gilchrist & Soames BeeKind Collection. The company supports honey bee and sustainable pollination research by donating a portion of the proceeds to a UC Davis research program which I applaud. I think they need to rethink their toiletry packaging though, since the cardboard-like containers didn’t hold up after even a few uses.


We headed out to have dinner with friends, but it took a long time for valet to get the car. Even after calling down for the car to be brought out front while still in the room, it took another 20 minutes waiting out front until it finally came. After a fun evening, we returned to the room tired and a bit thirsty after the wine. There had been turndown service, but just one lonely Madeleine and one water bottle had been left next to the bed on the left side. A nice gesture, but since I scarfed down the delicious Madeleine it would have been so much nicer if there had been one for each of us.


Ready for a good night’s sleep, we laid down on the luxurious bed. But instead of soft cushy pillows, there were still the same two rubbery ones from before. No new pillows in the room. I called down to follow up, and guest services said that they had simply run out.

No pillows in the whole hotel???  They said it was a terrible situation, but they were completely at capacity and there wasn’t one extra down pillow to be found. It was so surprising it was almost funny. Almost.


After about 30 minutes, there was a knock on the door. An apologetic member of housekeeping was there with two more bottles of water, and two down pillows. Appreciative, I took the water & pillows but couldn’t help wondering what unsuspecting guest had returned to their room to find that their down pillows had disappeared!

The next morning, I got to see the atrium of the hotel on the way up to the club lounge on the 12th floor.


And though I didn’t get any pictures of the breakfast, the spread was quite good. There was a wide selection of homemade yogurts and jellies, cheeses, fresh breads, pastries, parfaits, meats, etc. We even enjoyed mimosas with fresh squeezed orange juice. 


Overall I think the “luxury collection” label that SPG gives this hotel is fair. Even though there was a small issue with the bedding and water, guest services came through. Luxurious fabrics in the room, boutique feel to the hotel even with 300+ rooms, and breakfast was outstanding. I would definitely consider returning to try out the other three offerings that the Club Lounge has – mid-day snacks, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts!

the Nines, Portland

SPG Category 5. 12,000 to 16,000 Starpoints for a free night.

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