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As the Willamette River came into view, I grew aware of the enormous grin on my face. Being back in Oregon, my home state, was reason enough for joy, but taking it all in from the plush leather seat of a sleek, all-black Cadillac SUV, put me over the top. Before long, Portland’s bridges and skyscrapers emerged beyond the water, welcoming me back to the city like an old friend.
My chauffeur plunged into the one-way streets of downtown, and after a few turns, I found myself craning my neck to take in The Duniway Portland, a Hilton Hotel. Located just six blocks from the waterfront promenade, the property is also adjacent to the bustling Pioneer Courthouse Square, a hub for food trucks with easy access to TriMet public transportation.
From the street, I stepped into a lobby buzzing with energy. Green-hued glass panels flanked by potted snake plants greeted me, recalling the lush surroundings of neighboring parks. Lounge chairs and board games evoked a comfortable yet elegant living room, where both suits and flannels are welcome attire. Quirky decor ranging from a cosmonaut’s helmet to fowl taxidermy ornamented the space, perfectly embodying Portland’s whimsical and independent style
The first thing I learned staying at The Duniway is that it’s not your typical Hilton property, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. Throughout, it’s an homage to the four-star boutique hotel’s namesake, Abigail Scott Duniway, the trailblazing advocate who brought women’s voting rights to Oregon (and owned the state’s first free press).
Only in its first year of operation, the hotel has created its own spin on luxury, with well-appointed amenities offered in a more casual, free-spirited package.
“Our zeitgeist is celebrating badass women,” said Stephen Cassell, marketing manager of The Duniway. “So, a lot of the things we do are intentionally geared toward creators and people doing cool, notable things.”
Quirky decor and a laid-back yet luxurious feel give the lobby a definitively Portland vibe.Credit: 2018 The Duniway Portland
The Duniway utilizes ample conference space to host events, ranging from book releases to lecture series.Credit: 2018 The Duniway Portland
Each room comes with a full-sized couch and desk, maximizing comfort and functionality.Credit: 2018 The Duniway Portland
On the 11th floor, guests can enjoy the newly remodeled pool.Credit: 2018 The Duniway Portland
Guests can now enjoy Abigail’s Hideaway, an outdoor leisure space that offers jumbo-sized Jenga and weekend yoga classes.Credit: 2018 The Duniway Portland
The lobby’s adjoining restaurant, Jackrabbit, is led by celebrity chef Chris Cosentino and specializes in New American Fare with locally sourced ingredients.Credit: 2018 The Duniway Portland
The Duniway’s fitness room features multiple treadmill and elliptical machines, as well as weight sets and medicine balls.Credit: 2018 The Duniway Portland
Tasteful photographs of tattooed women adorn the halls, and employees are encouraged to roll up their sleeves to show off their own body art. During the opening party, The Duniway even provided free ink to willing attendees.
Upon entering my 20th-story room, I was struck by Pacific Northwest touchpoints such as a bucket of local Bridgeport Brewing IPA beers on ice and an artsy picture of Crater Lake. The atmosphere was simple, but chic. Classical music played over an old-fashioned (but Bluetooth-enabled) Tivoli radio. I felt the bustle of the city melt away and relaxation set in as I plopped onto my cushy queen-sized bed.
The 65-inch flat screen television sets a high bar for in-room entertainment, but there’s no excuse for not getting work done thanks to 25 power outlets available in each room. Stretching out on the full-length couch, I cracked open “Portland Noir” by Kevin Sampsell, sourced from nearby Powell’s Books, the world’s largest independent bookstore, and gazed out the window at the skyline.
My stomach grumbling, I perused information about the hotel’s culinary offerings. Heading the gastronomy experience at The Duniway is Chris Cosentino, a celebrity chef and the author of “Offal Good,” a cookbook specializing in sustainable recipes.
At Jackrabbit, the restaurant adjoining the lobby, distinct dishes such as “gabacho-style” pig’s head and deep-fried rabbit pair wonderfully with spirits from the double-sided bar (which also features an espresso machine). If you’re feeling adventurous, opt for the delicious Coin Toss cocktail — heads for gin, tails for tequila — served in an iced grapefruit.
The Duniway contains ample meeting space and is well-equipped to host events, from book launches to silent discoes. On the 11th floor, string lights, outdoor lounges and extra-large Jenga sets accentuate Abigail’s Hideaway, the newly opened rooftop venue where guests will soon be able to have food delivered from Jackrabbit, the restaurant adjoining the lobby, after they place orders via text message. The fitness center and pool are on the same level, and free yoga classes are offered to customers on the weekends.
When rooming at The Duniway, the concierge team and a selection of prearranged itineraries encourage visitors to explore all Portland and the surrounding area have to offer. Through a partnership with Stoller Family Estate and its director of winemaking Melissa Burr, the Wine Beyond the Vine package includes an immersive wine excursion. Participants will tour the vineyard, learning about the land and the process of turning grapes into the next great vintage.
As I turned in my keycard, I noticed the edgy, rattlesnake skin design.
“A native species in Oregon, the rattlesnake represents a beautiful exterior, with a hard bite,” Cassell said.
On brand and quintessentially Portland, The Duniway and its staff know that it’s okay to be different.
The DetailsThe Duniway Portland, a Hilton Hotelwww3.hilton.com