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
This was a fantastic hotel in a central location close to the Pearl District and Downtown. It was tastefully decorated, had USB charge point by the bed (yeah) and a walk in shower with a glass shower screen (yeah). The bar at Happy Hour was also a good place to while away some time.
There were a couple of things that brought the overall rating down. Firstly, I acknowledge that the weather in Portland had been unusually hot, however we found the rooms hot and had difficulty sleeping. Secondly rooms are not ‘made up’ until 4 or 5 pm which makes it very disappointing to come back to the room exhausted after 4 or 5 hours exploring the city only to find the room not cleaned and made up.
The Benson is a beautiful hotel with a great location. The room was spacious and nicely appointed. My week long stay was very nice and met all my expectations. There was one time I requested some assistance for the room, and the response time was unreal. Not only did they respond quickly, but they immediately took care of my issue allowing me to get out and sight see. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the Benson.
We’d never been to Portland so we chose the Benson because it was in the heart of downtown. Portland is a great walking city and this hotel is located close to many downtown attractions (like the quirky Pearl District and that yummy Powell’s City of Books). It’s a beautiful old-world hotel with an unfailingly friendly staff. (In fact, everyone in Portland seemed pretty friendly – even the TSA agents at the airport!) If you want a good base with reasonably luxurious accommodations at a reasonable price, this is your place. I only wish we’d had more than a few days to spend there.
We had this recommended by a friend, hotel was old character but top notch. A bit sketchy in downtown portland, so just be aware of your surroundings. This hotel was wonderful to us and our visit. All things walkable and you can find whatever you want!
We arrived early to meet up with family already there. They got my phone number and called me when room was ready which was well before normal check in. Restaurant staff was amazing. Very engaging and really made the meal enjoyable.