Story and photos by Aefa Mulholland
1. Transformed from the dowdy old Portland Inn City Center to an irresistibly hip haven, courtesy of a multi-million dollar renovation and a transfusion of mid-century retro-modern style, Portland’s Modera opened in June 2008 at the quieter end of downtown near Portland State University. From the minute I sashayed into the lobby I was impressed by the décor – by the generous chaise longues, laden with russet, and striking black and white cushions, backdropped by glowing pebble lamps, and the bold modern art and sculptures that grace the long, low space.
2. It’s incredibly easy to reach by public transit. Hop on the light rail at the airport and the Modera is a just a few blocks from Pioneer Square. From Fall 2009, however, it will be right on the new light rail Green Line from Amtrak’s Union
Station to PSU.
3. The courtyard’s fire pits (although somewhat subdued by an enthusiastic dose of Oregon’s famed “liquid sunshine” during my visit), array of tables, chairs, high stools, and benches, and unique wall of local plants, make this my top choice for hotel outdoor space in Portland. It’s perfect for coffee on a sunny day and a sexy spot to spend an evening.
4. The Modera (a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World and sister hotel to Seattle’s chic Hotel Andra) has free wireless, fitness passes for an adjacent gym, a complimentary European breakfast, late checkout options, and a friendly, down to earth staff.
5. Restaurant Nel Centro was just about to open when I was in the Rose City. It
promises Nicoise and Genoese cuisine (and breakfast, lunch, and dinner),
courtesy of local chef David Machado of the excellent Vindalho and Lauro Kitchen.
6. The 174 rooms boast bold faux fur throws and dashing orange and red pillows on the bed, and unusual mirrors with convex centers for that funky funhouse
effect. The Modera wins extra points for clever design and use of space by
having a orange closet door that slides to become the bathroom door (with a
full length mirror).
7. Rooms start at just $80.