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Portland, Part Two: The Ace Hotel

August 29, 2014

The Portland Ace! If you are an avid a follower of All The Blogs like I am, the Ace will be old hat to you by now. Of course, the Palm Springs Ace is (possibly) the most famous, but Portland was the first, and the minute I found out we were headed to Portland, I begged for a brief stay.

Ace Hotel Portland

Staying at a good hotel has been a priority of mine for a while. No funky smells and no creepy desk employees– very important. Located in a good part of town, with cool amenities (we loved the Saguaro in Palm Springs and The Moonrise in St Louis for the aforementioned reasons) really make the experience worth the extra cost due to saved time and overall enjoyment factor.

Although, I’m a sucker for a free continental breakfast. Something not offered at fancy-schmancy places. Sad face.

We left the wedding reception a bit late, drove an hour, then checked in at The Ace after dark. Even so, I enforced my crazy blogger “put your luggage down and don’t touch anything” rule so I could snap the room before settling in. The photos are a bit grainy since they were taken at night.

Ace Hotel Portland

Holy sliding wood panel, Batman. The barn-door style panel closed over the window, and was a nice touch. Blocked out the light and a lot of the sound. Enhanced the cool factor. Slid smoothly. I also soaked in the antique-style moldings and appreciated the wallpaper made from dictionary pages. Staying in creative places is so inspiring–I found a lot of ideas I’d like to emulate in our own home!

Ace Hotel Portland

Ace Hotel Portland

Small details were appreciated, like the sweets provided at check in (above right) and the extensive snack and drink options. Against our better judgement (I know it would have been cheaper elsewhere) we very thoroughly enjoyed the spring water, corn chips, and salsa.

Here’s the irrational part (we humans tend to be irrational beings). We paid the associated price for having a “cool” hotel, but didn’t even have our own bathroom in the room. Say what?

Ace Hotel Portland

We had a little sink area, perfect for washing up, brushing teeth, putting on and taking off makeup, etc, but the real bathroom part was two doors down and shared by the rooms near us. It was strange, but surprisingly easy to get used to. The shower was super luxurious and I never had to, well, wait in line or anything to use the facilities. What a revolutionary concept! Or, should I say, a throwback concept–the building was really old and this is probably how most hotels used to be, and possibly still are in many parts of the world. Definitely a first for me (barring Hostels) but did not diminish my stay!

The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that the old loft in Kansas we used to live in was at one point a hotel in this style. In that apartment, each room had a doorway accessing the hallway, and each room was about the same size (if not larger) than the room we stayed in. Epiphanies all over the place!

Of course, we were in one of the cheapest rooms at the Ace. Spend more, get your own bathroom. Such is life.

Ace Hotel Portland

Monday morning we finally got to snag a spot (and a photo) in the iconic (and normally packed) lobby. Adjacent Stumptown Roasters does not have any tables or anything to sit at and enjoy their coffee, so patrons usually relax here. Of course we took some photos in the old-style photobooth as well, which I assume is an Ace staple since the locations in Palm Springs and Downtown Los Angeles have the same thing.

I was about ready to move in permanently! Cool location, cool decor, comfortable bed… and cable? Yeah, I so could have moved in permanently. Highly recommended.

Need a recommendation for where to stay? Check out my Your Turn section.

Portland: Part One, Things to Do

August 27, 2014

Time has been flying! Can’t believe I haven’t done a writeup on our quick Portland trip yet. In June we went up to the Portland area to attend the wedding of a good friend (Doug was an attendant). Friday and Saturday were spent in Washington about an hour away, doing wedding stuff. We picked up a rental car which was nice to have freedom, and useful as I actually got to perform tons of wedding prep duties.

We arrived at our friend’s house right across the state line in Washington. The picturesque town was enjoyable, and the weather was beautiful. Rainy, of course, which was expected, but it sure made for some nice light.

Washington

Friday night I had the privilege of attending my first bachelor party! Don’t worry, the guys were cool with it. When your close friend is a minister things stay pretty tame and generally involve lots of junk food, and just hanging out and joking around. We went to Portland where we had dinner, and ice cream (Ruby Jewel, I had honey lavender, yum) and stood in line for the famous Voodoo donuts. Pro tip: The line is not that long in the middle of the night! We brought a dozen back for everybody to have the next morning.

Voodoo Doughnuts

Washington Wedding

Saturday morning, the area was valiantly set up for the wedding, and then it poured. Serious rain for an hour or two. After it cleared up, and the seats were all toweled off, the show went off as planned. It was my handsome hubby’s first time as a groomsman!

Washington Wedding

And now for the scoop on Portland. The Thursday our plane touched down, we had some extra time to spend in Portland before heading to Washington. We checked in with a high school friend of mine and walked around “Trendy-Third,” 23rd St. We partook in the obligatory Salt and Straw ice cream (so good!) and had lunch at one of the McMenamin’s locations. What a neat concept–the restaurant owner owns dozens of locations and each is customized to the history and style of its building. Love this idea!

Trendy Third was lined with both small local shops and larger ones (like Williams-Sonoma). We walked up and down the length of the main area a few times, mostly talking and catching up, and not doing much shopping. Then, we overstayed our welcome by about 15 minutes and got a parking ticket! Thanks a lot, Portland! That evening we headed to Washington and you just read the recap of that above.

For our first day actually in Portland, we had brunch in the Ace’s restaurant, Clyde Common. The food was delicious but the portions were smaller than anticipated. Actually, this happened to me several times in Portland. Could it be that San Diego’s dynamite restaurant scene has made me piggy? (Spoiler alert: Yes, it has).

Other highlights of day one include spending a lot of time shopping/exploring at Powell’s City of Books and meeting with some other friends for a walk by the river and sushi for dinner.

Stumptown Coffee

The second morning was spent walking around the neighborhood and getting Stumptown Coffee and Blue Star donuts for breakfast. I had read online that Blue Star was better than the more famous Voodoo, and I have to agree– I preferred Blue Star. The glaze was tastier (I had lemon poppyseed and Doug had maple bacon) and the body of the donut was lighter and fluffier.

Blue Star Donuts

Jacksons in PNW

If it seems like most of this write up was about food, then you are correct! We spent lots of time windowshopping but not spending a lot of money (aside from a small pile of books at Powell’s) and we walked, walked, walked, watched a bit of the World Cup, and just enjoyed being off work in an exciting new city.

Ace Hotel Portland

Come on back Friday for my writeup of the Ace Hotel! I got to check it off of my bucket list!

For more travel, be sure to check out my On The Road posts.

2-Second Tip: Hardware Swap

August 25, 2014

When we got married we used most of our Target gift cards to get two pretty nice bedside tables. Gotta have a place to put your charging phone, a lamp, and a glass of water while you snooze, right? Lately I have been giving them the side-eye because their traditional look did not fit in with the mid-century boho look I have been leaning toward lately.

A couple quick impulse buys at Anthropologie fixed that quickly.

Anthro Hardware

Bedside Table Hardware Update

I don’t always gravitate to the mix-and-match look, but for these simple black tables I like it. The upper and lower are the same on each bedside table which makes sure they still look like a set.

I don’t know why it took me so long to do this, but the side tables look so much more eclectic and chic now! We swapped out the kitchen cabinet pulls at our Kansas house before selling it too, and it quickly brought the cabinets from 1930 to 2012 in, seriously, an hour’s work.

Even if you aren’t near an Anthro, there are great knobs at World Market, and even some nice traditional ones at Target or Home Depot if you just need a quick-something-new.

Make sure to check out some more 2-second tips for beautifying your space.

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