An Urban Resort

Portland’s Avalon Hotel offers respite on the river

By: Marty Wentzel

PORTLAND, Ore. Stroll out the front door of the Avalon Hotel and Spa and, within a few steps, you’re standing on a picturesque three-mile pedestrian footpath that hugs the banks of the Willamette River.

No wonder Avalon sales and marketing director Nancy Helms describes her hotel as “an urban resort destination.”

Thanks to its strategic location and first-rate facilities, including a full-service spa and high-profile restaurant, the boutique property is attracting a well-heeled clientele. Open since June 2001, it stands apart as the only Oregon member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

“Our guests are looking for more than a hotel room when they are on the road,” Helms explained. “They enjoy the intimacy of a 99-room property, the sophisticated yet informal atmosphere and cuisine of our restaurant, and the offerings of our spa and fitness facility. We give our clients that personalized touch that keeps them coming back.”

Portland’s only hotel on the Willamette, the Avalon overlooks an undeveloped stretch of the river.

“However, we are just 1½ miles to the center of downtown Portland,” said Helms. “Our complimentary town car service takes guests downtown and picks them up when they’re ready to come back.”

While the hotel’s well-balanced blend of the rural and urban has proven successful with solo corporate travelers, it is also drawing groups of up to 40 people for meetings. “Smaller executive retreats are very popular here,” Helms said. “The hotel provides the perfect environment to hold a think tank, with opportunities for energizing a company’s staff.”

The Avalon’s 13,000-square-foot spa and fitness center adds to its selling power.

With 11 treatment rooms, the spa presents a long list of body and salon services, and it boasts a spacious workout area surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows.

Rivers, the hotel’s free-standing restaurant, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a colorful, stylish dining room, and its outdoor tables are a stone’s throw from the water. The eatery has attracted attention among culinary circles since the addition last year of executive chef Rolland Wesen, son-in-law of French master chef Jacques Pepin.

Avalon Hotel and Spa’s rack rates range from $205 to $245 per night for guestrooms and $285 to $650 for suites.

For couples, the hotel’s Romance on the River package includes roses, truffles, champagne and breakfast. Rates range from $295 to $575 per night. Add two spa treatments and you get the Romance and Rejuvenation package ($445-$725).

Clients who visit the Avalon through July 16 can book one of three add-on spa packages at reduced rates. The Beach Body package includes a personal training session and body wrap ($195). The Extreme Makeover provides a facial, makeup and hair cut ($178), and the Head-to-Toe combines a facial with pedicure ($165). The three spa packages include a day pass to the Avalon Fitness Club.


www.avalonhotelandspa. com