the Nines, Portland, OR

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by Exiled in Express, Feb 27, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Exiled in Express
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    Exiled in Express Gold Member

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    the link: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/luxury/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1757

    the address: 525 SW Morrison, Portland OR 97204

    the review:

    the Nines is Portland's only 5 star property which makes it easy to identify on Hotwire and other opaque bidding sites which is how I ended up staying here rather than the Holiday Inns I usually frequent. This was my first stay in a 5 star and the luxuries were abundant and mostly lost on me. The property is located in downtown Portland, an easy light rail ride from the airport or Amtrak station. It is on the top floors of an elegant department store, attractive views for the rooms that face outward.

    Service is very attentive from the doormen to front desk. No mention or differentiation was observed from my Hotwire reservation, I received a very nice standard double room on the inside of the building. The layout of the hotel favors form over function. I only noticed on bank of elevators for all rooms, the U shaped hall required a walk of a block and a half to circle to my room all while pulling my rollerbag on a thick carpeted hallway. The overlooked the interior indoor courtyard and restaurant. Noise could be a problem with this, I was 6 floors above the courtyard and could still hear silverware hit the floor.

    The bed, bedding, and pillows were delightfully soft and sleep came easily. The room also has many lighting options so there is no need to read in bed or groom by the glow of the television. The room was done in a turquoise and grey scheme this seems to be standard throughout the property. A large bathroom with vanity and glassed in marble shower were set off from the room by a small entry hall, the shower settings made it hard to get out. Also in the hall was a minibar fridge and tray of sundries to complete most nights out.

    I would stay again for the right occasion, a romantic weekend getaway. This doesn't strike me as the ideal business hotel or suitable for the transient traveller.
     
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  2. TRAVELSIG
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    Good review. I find the service of this hotel to be very disappointing.
     
  3. MSPeconomist
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    This was my experience. The check in/out desks and concierge station were a zoo during my entire stay. Even in the upstairs lounge, the service was hit or miss. Still, I liked this property and considered the evening lounge offerings to be generous. It's rare for a LC hotel to have lounge floors.
     
  4. Lalala
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    Lalala Silver Member

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    I think the layout with the club elevator and the guest elevators is cruddy. I am not a fan of the nightclub in general as on the higher floors the walls throb from the beats, I KID YOU NOT. I love the concierge service, the movies, the Urban Farmer and the awesome rooms we get on each stay.

    I also love the color scheme.
     
  5. Lalala
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    Lalala Silver Member

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    The lounge is fine, too many people in there mooching food for my taste and too bad as there are awesome restaurants all around PDX to try. I do love their commitment to Mighty Leaf tea, great stuff.
     
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  6. LarryU
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    LarryU Silver Member

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    During a stay at this property in early December, my request for a late checkout was summarily turned down by the club lounge staff. I escalated this all the way to the GM, who also turned me down. [​IMG]

    It is difficult to believe that this late in the game, this non-resort property still refuses to comply with the guaranteed 4:00 PM late checkout for platinum guests. [​IMG]
     
  7. Flews
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    Flews Silver Member

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    If it's not on the "exempt" list, you really should report this to Corporate Services. I understand properties are taken to task for this kind of attittude & behavior. Maybe even dinged financially...

    Cheers,
     
  8. MSPeconomist
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    You should raise an enormous fuss. This is unacceptable and the GM should surely know this.
     
  9. TRAVELSIG
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    Bad news indeed- do please report to corporate.
     
  10. LarryU
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    LarryU Silver Member

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    Indeed, this sort of thing is something I usually don't take lying down (except for sleeping [​IMG]). However, I was about to leave on two successive international trips, the first of which was to begin within a couple of days so I was not able to find the time to follow through.

    That all being said, my proximate solution to the issue was that I just refused to leave the room, so I wound up getting the late checkout anyway. [​IMG] Had they attempted to charge me for doing this, I do not think that it would have ended well for them.

    As an aside, as some others have posted, my overall experience at the property was fairly mediocre. The lounge staff, at one time top notch and the best feature of this property, seemed disinterested and inexperienced. Although the lounge space is very pleasant, the service was very slow and food at happy hour and at breakfast was sparse. At breakfast in particular there were very slim pickings and when items ran out, they were not replaced.
     
  11. MSPeconomist
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    This is shocking. I wonder if they have a new manager or just feel pressured to cut costs. When I stayed here, the food in the lounge certainly was not scarce, although I sensed that one of the lounge concierges was mostly interested in chatting with guests he seemed to know.

    As I mentioned above, the front desk and concierge station downstairs was a chaotic mess every time I walked past and my own check in experience was strange in that the person didn't seem to know what SPG Platinum was.
     
  12. LarryU
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    LarryU Silver Member

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    Perhaps they are being pressured to cut costs, although these days, both their rates and occupancy levels are fairly high.

    Since the time "the Nines" first opened, I found the training and friendliness of some of the non-lounge staff to be somewhat clueless and sometimes not especially friendly. I remember one particular incident from about a year ago where a sullen and unsmiling staffer pounded on my door at about 12:30 PM to ask me when I planned to check out. After responding, I pointed out that the do-not-disturb sign hanging from my door appeared to be malfunctioning. [​IMG]

    As a resident of Portland for nearly 20 years, I think it requires special training to teach staff members in this city to not be friendly so I am not sure how "the Nines" managed to pull this off.

    By the way, room upgrades at this property are typically difficult to come by. The excellent, amiable and well trained lounge staff were the hotel's best feature.
     
  13. MSPeconomist
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    Do you consider a room with lounge access to be an upgrade? I was upgraded to an outside room on the lounge floor with a nice view and the famous turquoise fainting couch or whatever, but it was indeed a very small room and no serious hope of even a junior suite.
     
  14. LarryU
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    LarryU Silver Member

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    Yes, I do consider a room with lounge access to be an upgrade but I have yet to be upgraded to the "best available room" at this property, such as a suite or even a corner room. Of course, its always possible that no such rooms existed on any of the occasions on which I stayed there.

    In contrast, the Sheraton PDX (although not without its own issues), has never failed to provide suite upgrades, including to room types they are not obliged to offer (such as specialty suites).

    I don't recall whether posters on other forums have reported receiving such upgrades at "the Nines" but it certainly seems like it is a fairly rare occasion at this particular property. But just to put all of this in context, none of this is a deal breaker for me, its just a casual observation.
     
  15. boxedlunch
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    If it adds anything to the discussion: as an SPG Gold last December, I did not receive a late checkout offer past 2PM on a Sunday (best recollection) nor was I offered an upgraded view (unless an office building and a partial parking garage view are considered improvements). The hotel was quirky and pleasant, though the zoo-like atmosphere at check-in and downstairs at the bell desk were a turnoff. Concierge was hit or miss. They recommended a great Japanese restaurant, but didn't have many ideas on furniture shopping (visiting from WA...avoiding sales tax). Bathroom was larger than expected, though the smallish room contrasted in comparison. Had a delicious breakfast at the Urban Farmer. Dinner at the fusion restaurant upstairs was unremarkable. All things considered, not a bad stay on an approx. $120 AAA weekend rate.
     
  16. Misplaced Texan
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    Strange.

    I had the opposite experience of many here. I stayed in early January, mid-week for two nights and it must have been a low occupancy moment. There was no line for check-in and I never felt that the hotel was a "zoo" at any point.

    The room was very nice with a huge bathroom and nice amenities. Urban Farmer is fantastic with a good wine list and wide variety of local meat and produce including some great grass-fed beef.

    It may not be the best hotel I've ever stayed at but compared to the generally sub-par offerings I've had in PDX in the past, this is definitely my go-to for the future.
     
  17. buschoi
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    buschoi Gold Member

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    Just stayed there one night on a cash and point stay. Booked the deluxe room with city view, and got the deluxe room with city view on 7th floor, a floor below the lobby. No mention of "best available" room, lowly Gold recognition, amenity selection... Nothing. Basic wifi was free but was unreliable - could not even load FT or MP. Used my phone to send a tweet to the SPG team and got a call in my room in about 15 minutes offering to someone out to look into it. I declined since I was too tired at that point and just wanted to sleep. While I checked out on the following day and brought up the problem, I was offered 500 SPG points. Good try...

    Last guest's breakfast was still in the room when we checked in. Apparently housekeeping overlooked it.

    Valet parking was $39... thought it was a little pricey.

    To the hotel's credit, the room was nice. The bed was very comfortable, and the sofa next to the windows facing the commercial building next to us was also nice. Full mini-bar offering although I did not need anything. Roomy bathroom with separate shower and bath. Bathroom amenities are Gilchrist and Soames.

    I am disappointed at the hotel. I may just head back to the Westin next time. IMHO, it does not deserve five-star.
     
  18. jswong
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    jswong Gold Member

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    My experiences are not too different from the above

    Check in was fine. Only a smidgeon of an upgrade (which I have now come to accept in NA) but fairly impresive lounge offerings. The concierge was very helpful and ending up going to http://www.pokpokpdx.com/ for dinner. Was charged for the "faster" internet which I believe is contrary to SPG corporate policy but I didn't fight this. The room itself was very dark, small, and internally facing but otherwise nice enough

    Probably would try elsewhere on my next visit as there do seem to be plenty of choice

    Jeff
     
  19. mbluecpa

    mbluecpa Active Member

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    The rooms here vary pretty widely, even within the same category (interior facing = superior, exterior facing = deluxe). I really don't know if the property designates "enhanced" rooms, but based on my experience as a gold at the Nines and the seeming randomness of room size and view that I'm assigned, I am guessing not. I did get an unexpected upgrade once as a gold to a corner room when the hotel was well below capacity.

    The lounge is quite nice and will keep me staying here after I make platinum.

    I learned today that the hotel is moving away from the small packets of shower gel, shampoo, etc. in favor of wall-mounted dispensers. Hopefully it will continue to be of good quality.
     
  20. riceoven

    riceoven Silver Member

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    i'm glad they are getting rid of those disposable paper packets of shampoo. they left my hair feeling grimy and if you attempt to re-use them once after they get wet in the shower, the black ink on the paper just comes off on your hands - it's pretty nasty.

    the nines has been my home and my platinum requalifier hotel for the past year. I generally find the service wonderful, probably since all the attendants and valet know me by name. Out of the 80+ nights I've stayed here, I've only been upgraded to a suite twice. But personally, I prefer the giant corner rooms rather than the claustrophobic 2 room suites. Because this is the only 5-star hotel in Portland it is almost always booked full hence good upgrades are scarce. Almost each room is different in layout and size because the hotel was built upon the original frank & meyer building. I dread inside atrium-facing rooms and 14th floor rooms because of the noise from the lobby and departure club on 15th. I do find the lounge especially nice. They have (good) beer and wine on display but can also make pretty much as basic cocktail or liquor for free :)
     
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  21. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    I'm actually looking forward to a stay here (for the first time) next weekend, which properly attenuated expectations. It's booked on an Amex FHR rate which seemed to be the best overall deal, I can't imagine I'd often book through spg.com here.
     
  22. EyeOnTheSkies

    EyeOnTheSkies Silver Member

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    I love the paper shampoo. I have 10 of them sitting in my room right now as my permanent shampoo at home. That being said, when they do get wet, it's pretty hilarious you can melt off all of the paper and wax to reveal just a sack of shiny aluminum looking plastic. The shampoo is of such great quality, it's a shame to see it in the same dispensers as a FP or aLoft.
     
  23. stm69

    stm69 Active Member

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    Hate this place. Tried it once this year for a change of pace- never again. Westin is far better.
     

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