Home away from home for rock stars and West Wing dignitaries.
Portland was built by outrageous and generous timber barons, and Simon Benson was one of the best. He was the guy responsible for installing all the beautiful bronze drinking fountains that are still standing on downtown streets; the idea was to save thirsty loggers from having to enter the immoral environment of the local saloons. Another one of his venerable contributions is the classic Benson Hotel, which opened in 1913. Since then, every American president has hung his hat here, as have NBA, film and rock stars. This is considered Portland's classiest hotel, and it's valued as a local treasure. Whatever your needs, this hotel sets out to meet them. While some guests can't live without a baby grand piano and fireplace in their suite, others are satisfied with basics such as bathrobes and Nintendo. The suites are particularly well appointed, but all rooms are spacious and elegantly accented with touches of velvet and brass. When it comes to attention to detail, standouts include fresh fruit at check-in, an afternoon cookie break and wine tastings in the cellar. The Benson property has received a number of renovations over the years such as the lobby, which features a new restaurant and bar with leaded and beveled, hand-made windows, redone marble floors, new furnishings and art.