My wife and I have had the opportunity to travel a lot for both work and pleasure. Between the two of us, we've been in 5-star hotels in Hong Kong to sketchy roadside joints in Greenville, SC and everything in between. So it is with a heavy heart that I can not give a full glowing recommendation to the Avalon Hotel in our hometown of Portland, Oregon. We wanted to treat ourselves to a nice resort close to home-- this didn't quite cut it.
With luxury hotels, the true mark of exclusivity is the small things and little touches-- any old place can set you up with a bed, shower and TV-- it's these minor elements then which set an upscale property apart. So I couldn't help but notice on our first trip to the room that the receded light fixtures in the hallway walls were all missing their frosted glass, exposing bare bulbs. A minor thing, sure-- but that set the tone for the trip. First, the positives: The staff was efficient and courteous and the lobby was a relaxing and impressive space. Our room was an end cap suite at the end of the hall with a back porch that looked onto the Willamette River. It was a peaceful setting to be sure. We booked a couple's massage in the Avalon's fantastic spa, and it was worth every penny-- I just may go back there to get treated again for my sports injury. And the Aquariva Restaurant on the property is a criminally underrated jewel in a city known for being a foodie hotspot.
As for the negatives... again, the small errors crept in: a rather noticeable wine stain (at least I hope that was wine!) in our room's carpet, easily cleanable with the right equipment-- why leave a stained carpet in a luxury suite?! The room itself was surprisingly bland and the decor was a bit of a mishmash. My sink's faucet nozzle was cross threaded and shot water out at a 45-degree angle. The 2 TVs were older and pretty worn out, so the picture quality was dark. The gas fireplace was insanely noisy. My bedside lamps were both missing their on/off switches. There was graffiti/tagging in the wood paneled elevator. This may be nitpicking to some, but when you pay for a room at a place considered one of the more upscale hotels in the city, you expect a top-flight experience. Had we stayed in a lesser property, I'd let these sorts of things slide; as it was, I can only recommend the Avalon for some of its points: a great spa, a comfortable enough bed, and an excellent restaurant. If they only paid more attention to those little elements that separate the great hotels from the average ones, they'd have a winner on their hands-- but for now the Avalon is just an average hotel with upscale pricing that aspires to be something more than it is.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- River’s Edge Hotel & Spa is an environmentally-friendly, 99-room luxury boutique hotel located at the edge of Portland’s South Waterfront District, an emerging mixed-use neighborhood integrating alternative transportation, parks and trails, green building practices, retail, restaurants and healthy living with art and design. Perched on the banks of the Willamette River just minutes from downtown Portland, River’s Edge offers travelers the sophistication and warm hospitality of the Pacific Northwest. Guests and visitors enjoy classic service, modern amenities and comforts expected from Portland boutique hotels, making River’s Edge Hotel & Spa a favorite among all Portland waterfront hotels. Among the hotel’s valued amenities are its luxurious two-level, 13,000-square-foot full-service spa, salon and fitness center as well as Aquariva restaurant and bar. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Avalon Hotel And Spa
- Avalon Hotel Portland