REVIEW: Jupiter Hotel, Portland
By Helen Wright
- Location Southeast Portland
- Bed comfiness 7/10
- Pool No
- WIFI Free for guests (and strong)
- Parking Valet parking only at $32 per night
- Best thing? Incredible staff
- Worst thing? Air conditioner
- The all-important plug by the bed? Yes
Jupiter Hotel Portland Review
Usually, when reviewing a hotel, I would open with the overall impression, the location or the history of the property. With The Jupiter I want to start with the staff. Sometimes, it’s the people not the place that make you return to a hotel and in the case of The Jupiter Hotel, Portland, it was both. There is also a difference between dutiful, well-trained front-of-house personnel and those who live the brand and carry with them a buzz about their city and surroundings. That is how the staff at the Jupiter felt to me.
The Jupiter is a cool, motel-style hotel with a nightlife and gig venue attached to it. It definitely has that young, cool person, vibe that Portland does so well, but somehow manages to execute it in a way that doesn’t make an old fuddy duddy or two jetlagged parents and a toddler feel unwelcome. Staff wear monochrome hoodies and urban sneakers and all look like they’ve just finished DJing a set at Coachella, but couldn’t have given us a warmer welcome. Even better, when it comes to Portland, these guys knew their stuff. From plate-perfect restaurant recommendations, to cool bars, public transport and excursions outside the city, absolutely no query we had couldn’t be answered. Even when I mentioned a delicious coffee I’d had at a café, the guy knew exactly where I could buy some to take home. It was called Water Avenue, btw, and coincidently the hotel actually used to serve the very same one. Without a pause he was off to kitchen to see if they had any packets left that he could give me. The warm welcome here really made me feel like I was staying with old friends and before we’d even checked in, I knew I was going to like it.
Simple and stylish rooms
The Jupiter is a converted motor lodge but the revamp has been done to a top standard and the modern, funky rooms are well proportioned and stylishly decked out. The motel-style rooms have an iconic 50s vibe with modern furnishings that cater to the hip, millennial guest, while managing not to alienate a more conservative traveller. The bright, spacious bedrooms were ideal for us, staying with our two-year old, as there was a large bed, space for our luggage, a crib and a sofa area to relax and stretch out. After a long journey from London, we were extremely grateful to have a bit of space without feeling like we were all piled on top of each other.
The rooms are decked out with chic, 50s style furnishings in keeping with the architecture of the hotel. I loved the use of subtle colours, which decorated the room without being garish and the use of mid-century materials, like cork, were a nice touch. The comfy bed had plugs, USB ports and light switches all within reach of your pillow. Design magazines and books were left in the room for guests to enjoy. There was also a small desk and chair, a fridge and a minimalist rail to hang clothes, keeping furniture clutter at a minimum. This meant there was lots of floor space (not that common in US hotel rooms) and ideal for a toddler to play). Large windows also made the room feel wide and airy. Dark built-in blinds are in place to black out the room for sleep and keep the heat out.
The only, small, downside of the room was the older-fashioned and rattling air conditioner. With the sun hotting up outside, we were grateful to have aircon but compared to climate control in some hotels, this was on the noisy side. However, we soon got used to it and it didn’t keep anyone awake!
Simple and clean Bathrooms
There isn’t much to say about the bathrooms, which were simple and designed with the same minimalist idea. There wasn’t much shelf or counter space to store your personal wash bags and products (especially with three people in the room) but the bathrooms were clean and pleasant. Having a bath is always a bonus when you have a child in tow.
Complimentary products were from Green Natüra, an eco-friendly range that use soy-based products and recycled packaging. This sits perfectly with Portland’s environmentally conscious attitude, as we found the city, and in fact the whole state, to be earth friendly with lots of promotion for the ‘Keep Oregon Green’ campaign. Just another way in which The Jupiter felt completely in line with the city that surrounds it. There is a hairdryer in the room but, it wasn’t much cop to be honest.
Other cute room quirks
Whatever your tastes, this is a place to stay in Portland that is geared up for fun and we really enjoyed our stay here. The bedroom doors are made from blackboard, and coloured chalks are provided so you can draw pictures or leave messages on the door, which is always fun.
There were some other quirky touches for the, ahem, adult guests too. Cheeky ‘do not disturb’ signs, ear plugs and branded condoms made us giggle.
Laid-back motel style living
When we arrived, they asked if a room on the upper floor was okay with us because there is no lift and we had Finn’s pram. Apparently, this is what they call the ‘chill’ side of the hotel. They explained that knowing we were checking in with a toddler, they wanted to make sure we were not disturbed by the bar or other guests and the upper rooms were considered the quietest. It really felt like they had taken time to look into the type of guest checking in and made an effort to ensure guests received the experience they hoped for during their stay. There were live acts on at the venue during our visit but it remained remarkably quiet and serene throughout, so they are obviously doing something right.
The hotel keeps with the 50s motor-lodge style but has added lots of contemporary design elements, including local art and sculpture. The lobby is a cool space, with free coffee in the mornings. Outside is a courtyard and seating area and sometimes doubles up as outdoor gig venue.
Location Location Location
As well as a base for out-of-towners, the Jupiter Hotel is a popular hangout for locals too. There is a Mad Men-esk bar and restaurant (the Doug Fir Lounge) with an outside terrace and an underground gig venue with live entertainment almost every night. The basement music venue is strictly over-21s but the restaurant and bar garden welcome minors and we ate there with Finn. They even had a kids menu that came with crayons and a drawing of Led Zeppelin to colour in – very cool. The food is traditional pub grub (chicken wings / burgers) but with a typical Portland twist of southern spice and tasty extras. Craft beers are on tap and a great menu of local wines too.
The Jupiter hotel is in southeast Portland, across the river from downtown, and it quickly became apparent that this area was going to be our favourite part of the city. Surrounded by excellent restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques, tap rooms and bars, we felt safe wandering around this, largely residential, area.
As far as mainstream Portland sightseeing goes, you can take a short cab ride into downtown Portland for around $10 (five minutes), walk (25 mins), bus (20 mins) and cycle (10 mins). With cycling very popular in Portland, the hotel has bikes that guests can use free of charge, subject to availability. The Jupiter is the perfect base for a trip to Portland; close enough to the city to explore all the main attractions but in a cool area that represents Portland’s relaxed side. As well as the fab staff, chic decor and cool lodgings, the price point of The Jupiter is excellent too. With rooms starting from £90 per night, it’s both desirable and affordable – which makes it a winner in my book. This hotel sums up Portland to me. Cool, understated, friendly and fun.
Read our post on what to do in Portland here
We stayed at The Jupiter Hotel as guests of traveloregon.com
Our two-week road trip around Oregon started in Portland, find out everywhere else went on our epic adventure
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