The boutique hotel is a tough thing to get right. Success depends on combining the right amounts of luxury, convenience and idiosyncratic quirk. Too much of one or a failure to execute on another, and the hotel’s identity is destined to call page 32 of TripAdvisor home. The Jupiter Hotel in Portland, Oregon understands this better than most.
Born from a converted ’60s motor lodge, the Jupiter maintains its original, emblematic cookie-cutter exterior, complete with requisite road sign. It creates an unassuming vibe that’s retro, recognizable and, much like their staff, entirely inviting. Of course, everything within the compound has been updated since its motor lodge days. A bohemian-chic, Mid-Century modern design aesthetic creates a very cool, but never cold, theme. Nothing is over the top. The look and feel is lived in, but subtle luxuries abound. Glass walls line the Lobby’s adjoining meeting and work spaces. There is exposed plumbing and ductwork running along ceilings and up walls, but potted bamboo adds life and warmth, which softens the rooms. Lobby windows look out onto the 2,800-square-foot covered patio — known as the Dream Tent — which is dotted by crystal chandeliers that hang over all-white, Herman Miller-inspired, plastic furniture. It’s all very Portland, and it permeates the hotel’s entire city-block expanse.
A bohemian-chic, Mid-Century modern design aesthetic creates a very cool, but never cold, theme. Nothing is over the top.
The 81 available rooms lie on the other side of the Dream Tent, with some overlooking from a second-floor perch. There are singles, doubles, kitchenettes and a two-bedroom Dream Suite available. Sizes and some amenities differ, but inside, the rooms are minimalist and you get everything you need. Open the chalkboard door — decorated with your own personalized greeting no less — and a pillow-topped bed, complete with down comforter and Pendleton blanket, greets you. Artfully designed Tomita desks, a flat-screen TV and an ice bucket full of locally brewed Rogue beer also sit at the ready. A cheap, plastic souvenir keychain bottle opener with integrated LED light helps with those, as well as finding your way back to bed after exploring the surroundings.
And you don’t need to go far to find entertainment. Attached to the Jupiter is the Doug Fir Lounge and Restaurant. Regarded as one of Oregon’s best small concert halls, the Doug Fir has a steady stream of local talent gracing its stage and not a single cocktail will cost double digits on their menu; I recommend the El Camino. If you’re looking to go off-compound, the Jupiter is centrally located with heel-toe access to multiple local craft breweries, the Portland Saturday Market and Portland’s Pearl District too. Local transit is also immediately available.
For a couple of riders preparing to set out and explore Eastern Oregon’s expansive backcountry, the Jupiter was an ideal place to start our journey. It pampered without spoiling and exposed us to a city and culture more deserving of our time. The Jupiter prides itself on exuding much of what makes Portland so unique. Instead of sanitizing away any of the city’s renowned character, they embrace and celebrate it. The whole experience makes The Jupiter Hotel much more than the “place to crash” it started out as 50 years ago: it’s a boutique hotel done right.