Portland – Keep it a secret

November 17th, 2008 9:42 pm

This summer, my family and I traveled across the country to experience the difference between the east and west coasts. Since part of my family lives in up-state New York, I am quite familiar with that area. As far as the west coast goes, I have been to California (Los Angeles) and Washington (Seattle) before but never to the state of Oregon. You may say:”Why would you want to go to Oregon? There is nothing there..”. Nothing except for the fabulous, artsy, independent and inspiring City of Portland. “Keep it (the city) a secret” the residents of Portland say. “Keep it a secret as long as possible”.

The point of traveling is to experience the unusual, see the unseen, and enjoy yourself. After diligent research, I made reservations at one of the recently renovated boutique style hotels, Hotel Modera. Conveniently located in the heart of downtown, Hotel Modera is a four story, brilliantly executed space designed by Portland-based Holst Architecture (architecture) and Corso Staicoff (interior design). It is a true state of the art hotel.

Welcomed by courteous valet staff, you are treated as royalty from the get go. They take care of your luggage while you enter through the floor to ceiling crystal-clear double doors to the wide open mid-century designed lobby of Hotel Modera. Exotic wood horizontal wall panels as well as marble-tiled floors make the area feel spacious; over-sized furniture and artwork balance off a wall of windows and another set of glass doors leading onto the private courtyard; leather swivel chairs, animal hide area rugs as well as unusual lighting fixtures all add up to an amazing, elegant but simple, upscale but comfortable space. Its layout encourages group meetings, conversation and entertaining – for wine lovers, Hotel Modera hosts wine tastings right in their lobby. For a change of pace, step outside into the beautiful private courtyard – there you will find custom concrete fire pits surrounded by contemporary furniture, a wooden trellis built in the middle of the space to provide shade and extra architectural interest, and a cleverly designed 63’x13′ “living wall” which incorporates squares of various types of native vegetation amongst concrete blocks – It requires lots of trimming and maintenance but it looks stunning!

From here you go up to your Private Suite. The elevators are small but since there are two of them, it is not an issue. You exit on one of four floors right onto a heavily padded, bright-striped carpeting which leads you to your suite. You notice right away that (first the elevator) the corridors and the rooms themselves are also smaller size than normal, which fits the idea of boutique, European style hotels where it is not about the abundance of square footage but quality of design (in a small space). Like the lobby, the rooms are just as stunning and carefully designed to fit all the needs of yours, the valuable customer. From the modern technology standpoint, you can expect to see a flat screen TV in your bedroom, an iPod docking station on the night stand, free wireless internet, two cordless phones, an updated service system (no more door tags – press a “service” button or the cleaning staff to make your bad, or press a “privacy” button if you don’t care to be bothered); as far as comfort and convenience go, each room is non-smoking and offers soft linens with fabulously cozy and fury throws draped over the bed, operable large windows, complementary passes to the fitness center, mini refrigerator and more. The design of each room is kept very simple and neutral with a splash of color in artwork and throw pillows.

The hotel is located in the heart of the business district, walking distance to the Portland Mall, Portland Art Museum, Keller Auditorium, and the new Green streetcar line scheduled to open this fall. Portland Public Transportation is planned out conveniently to provide easy access to each part of the city.

Needless to say, I loved my experience at Hotel Modera. I boldly emailed one of the designers on this project, Denise Corso w/Corso Staicoff to congratulate her talent and great design skills, share my positive thoughts and wish that I, some day, reach her level of design. I received a quick reply filled with a warm thank you, and inspiration to do more and better.

Hotel Modera inspired me as a designer, traveler and a visitor of Portland. I am therefore recommending to you all not only the hotel, but also the city itself. I strongly suggest you get outside your comfort zone, travel out west to experience everything that city has to offer. Just remember – it is a secret….shhhhhhh…

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