The Benson, a Coast Hotel
What We Love
- Every sitting president since William Howard Taft, and at least one king (Elvis), has stayed here
- The glorious, historic, 100-year-old lobby remains the same, but the rooms were “refreshed” in 2011
- The MAX light rail system, among America’s best, travels from the airport to within 1.5 blocks of the hotel
What To Know
- Major suites are not pet friendly; otherwise, pets are permitted for an additional cost of $25, per stay
- “Refresh” remained traditional — no boutique chic here
- Valet parking is available for an additional $33 per night
- Read more about what to see and do in Portland, Oregon in our magazine section
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Modeled after Chicago’s Blackstone Hotel in the French Second Empire style, the Benson remains Portland’s most iconic hotel. The lobby celebrates the city’s past timber riches, with impressive pillars cut from Circassian walnut from imperisal Russia rising from the Italian marble floors surrounded by pods of overstuffed chairs and floor-to-ceiling wood paneling.
Bed and Bath
Bedrooms are appointed in standard luxury, with plush chairs in neutral tones to match the wallpaper, accented by Chippendale-style furniture and the occasional striped drape or upholstery. The bathrooms, featuring Gilchrist & Soames amenities, are more functional than stylized.
The Palm Court, located in the lobby, remains a popular watering hole for Portland’s business class and pre-theater crowd. Individual lounge areas and tables are spread out beneath the two-story ceiling, with two daily happy hours (including from 9 p.m. to closing) and live jazz Wednesday through Saturday. The formal restaurant, El Gaucho, features a cigar room and all the amenities — tableside preparation of Chateaubriand and the like — associated with a traditional steakhouse.
In the Area
Portland’s downtown is easy to negotiate on foot, including the dynamic Pearl District and the emerging West End. The Benson sits just three blocks from the “City of Books,” Powell’s. The craft-brewing scene was launched here. Bailey’s Taproom and the Tugboat Brewing Company, one of more than 50 urban breweries, sit one block away on SW Ankeny Street. Some of the tastiest of the city’s 600+ food carts can be found around the corner, at SW 9th and Washington, or two blocks farther at SW 10th and Alder, where the nation’s food cart craze began. Don’t miss Nong’s Khao Man Gai’s chicken and rice, but be sure to go early because she sells out daily.
How to Get There
The only reason I don't consider it five * is because it lacks a spa, sauna or pool. After travelling, I appreciate time relaxing in water and/or steam. All the folks were very nice. It was quiet. My view was of the windowless wall of the building next door, but not all views are created equal.
I have stayed at The Benson several times. Its very old but quaint, my parents stayed here when they were younger so I had to try. They have a great happy hour and a beautiful bar or you can sit by the grand fireplace. The rooms are very nice, cozy very comfortable beds. Staff have always been amazing. Great room service as well.
We were only in town one night which was a real shame as this hotel was stunning! We had a corner room on the 11th floor we a great view of the city. The room was huge and the bed was really comfy.
We didnt get chance to use the bar or restaurant as we headed out to watch the basketball but there was live jazz music playing on our return which was lovely.
The reception staff were welcoming and informative and the valet was also super efficient!
The hotel is beautiful and very well located next to dining, parks, and Powell’s. The rooms are like small apartments with a cozy feel. However, the service in the restaurant is painfully slow and the “amenity fee” is ridiculous. They offer complimentary water - and then charge a fee that includes said water. That’s not complimentary! Parking fees are also well above market rate.
This is my third visit in Portland and my first time in the Benson. The location is perfect of this classical hotel that keeps all the charm with the incorporation of all modern facilities. I love it!!