Composed of two buildings from the early 20th century, The Sentinel hotel is a historic landmark in downtown Portland. The east wing of Sentinel used to be Seward Hotel, a boutique hotel built in 1909. It was one of the first Early Modern style buildings in Portland that quickly became the place for all important business and social gatherings. The name Sentinel is derived from the robot-like sentinels adorning the roofline of the former Seward Hotel.
After a glorious period of being at the forefront of Portland’s progress, the hotel converted to residentential life after World War 2. The building was even left vacant at one point which allowed Gus Van Sant to film portions of My Own Private Idaho in the late 1980s.
What works for families
I was touched by the friendliness and enthusiasm of the reception staff made when we checked in. The staff engaged our two year old son in conversation and made our family feel welcome.
With book shelves at the front desk and a typewriter in the lobby, the décor in the hotel fascinated our little one. The deluxe rooms are spacious and can easily accommodate young kids sharing a room with parents. Cribs are provided upon request.
What doesn’t work for families
The policy regarding checkout time is rigid. When we asked to hold our room for an extra hour our request was denied. Instead they offered to store our luggage while we continued with sightseeing.
The terracotta exterior of the building which was ahead of its time in the 1920s still helps The Sentinel standout in its central downtown location. The hotel reopened in the early nineties after a multi million dollar renovation and the acquisition of Portland Elks Lodge which became the west wing of Sentinel.
The hotel underwent another major renovation after being acquired by the Provence Hotels and reopened in Spring 2013 as a luxury hotel under the new name of Sentinel that pays homage to its illustrious past.
The elegant design with rich, earth tones captivated me from the moment I stepped into the lobby with green leather chairs. The décor centered on books give the lobby area a distinguished feel of a library. The front desk and foyer contain shelves with actual books that you can browse while stacks of decorative books are used as center pieces. I would have loved to have time to peruse the collection that included some books on local history.
Wall art was eclectic; a mix between old black and white drawings and colorful modern paintings. The furniture and design at the hotel have been inspired from the local culture of being environmentally conscious, world savvy and non traditional.
We stayed in a deluxe room with two queen beds. The room was spacious and our son had enough floor space to play with toy cars. I loved working at the round table by the window, which had a USB plugin to easily charge our electronics.
Since the hotel is in the middle of downtown either side of it will give you a street view. From our room on the fifth floor just one below the top floor of the hotel, the view was mostly of buildings downtown. We had no disturbances at night despite being on a main road.
The room had a well stocked mini fridge and a bottle of mineral water was included in the room. The average price of a deluxe room start at $209.
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Out of my three must haves for free inclusions at a hotel, wifi, parking and breakfast, only wifi was available.
Being in a prime location downtown I expected parking to be costly. Valet parking at $36 per day is the only option available unless you want to spend time looking for street parking.
The hotel is at superb location downtown and within walking distance to the water front, shopping and historic Pearl district. The hotel is along Portland’s public transportation lines that you can easily do without a car for sightseeing in the city.
The hotel truly focuses on satisfying your every need as they have created a luxury list of amenities that can be provided upon request. Do you have a craving for ice cream? Need a special pillow? Or an Ipod for loan pre loaded with your favorite music? Just call the front desk. Check out the full list and cost on the hotel website.
I also noticed how welcoming the hotel was to its four legged guests. There is even a room service menu for your furry friends.
There are three options for dining at the Sentinel. Jake’s Grill, a steakhouse is a Portland staple known for the great seafood and steak. Jackknife the hotel lobby bar, a beautiful space built with reclaimed wood is the perfect place for a cocktail. The Starbucks on site is one of the few outlets that serve wine, beer and appetizers in the evening.
Since we were so close to so many restaurants we didn’t take advantage of the dining onsite. We loved being able to walk to the Alder pod food trucks and taste dishes from around the world. Grassa, a pasta restaurant a few blocks from the hotel was another one of our favorite meals in Portland.
We loved experiencing The Sentinel, a place so steeped in history that captures the essence of Portland.