Shh… this next cozy place is our little secret, because in some sense, I feel like I’m sneaking in whenever I go!
My escapades on the lounge floor of the Heathman Hotel in downtown Portland all started three years ago when my cousin and I were trying to find somewhere to sip our decadent trio of drinking chocolates from Cacao.
Their “jewel-box” shop location next to the Heathman offers minimal seating (ie. four chairs at a bar overlooking the street), so if there’s a gaggle of people craving some drinking chocolate, it can be a little uncertain where you’re going relax while enjoying your drink.
With our trays full of dark, cinnamon and spicy drinking chocolates, we poked our heads into the entrance of the Heathman, past the doormen in their beef eater costumes (always a lovely sight to behold) and nudged our way through the hallway to a large flight of elegant stairs.
If we were going to enjoy something so decadent, which requires long, thought provoking and intellectual conversations -of course- then why not while away the time in an equally luxurious setting?
Up the stairs we went and this is what we found.
My cousin and I looked at each other with wide eyes. Did we really just find this floor – complete with beautifully upholstered chairs, bookcases showcasing the books of famous Oregon novelists and framed artwork, to boot?
Yes, we had. And we had the whole floor to ourselves!
Now, maybe I shouldn’t advocate the practice of going into hotels in which you’re not staying so as to make use of their lovely facility … but I am.
Hotels, at least the good ones, are designed to make you feel relaxed and at home. Their aim is to make you feel so cozy, you’ll find instant rest during your travels and hopefully, be so amazed by the experience, that you’ll come back to stay there again.
Even though I’ve never technically stayed at the Heathman, you can bet it’s the hotel that tops my list of suggestions when people come into town and don’t mind spending some extra money for the location and overall experience. Because it’s truly one of the places where I feel downright cozy and comfortable!
I’ve ventured up those stairs numerous times over the past three years.
Most times it’s been with my cousin, to indulge in some chocolate (that seems to be a common activity for us), other times to sip coffee with a friend and talk about our dreams of having a communal-dining restaurant someday.
Maybe it’s that stunning skylight, pouring out vivid orange and blues, that gets my daydreaming kicked into high gear. Maybe.
The Heathman is a Portland icon. Right next to the big “Portland” sign on the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, you can’t help but feel filled with Portland pride when you stroll through their doors and into the hotel lobby.
The last memory I’ll leave you with is from a big snow storm we had in the Northwest about five years ago.
We were driving through downtown and there were no other cars on the streets surrounding Pioneer Courthouse Square – a very rare sight in what we call Portland’s living room.
We parked the car and danced in middle of the street, with no threat of traffic to deter us from our merriment, and made our way inside the Heathman to sit by their large fireplace and order some dessert (again, I can’t seem to stop eating sweets in this place!).
We talked and laughed for two hours between spoonfuls of apple crisp, chocolate cake and a plate of French cheeses. It felt like we had all the time in the world – the snow falling outside and us, all cozy and warm by the fireplace inside what we dubbed our “den” for the evening.
The Heathman holds a sense of communion for me and I would suggest it to anyone looking for a place to get cozy and enjoy conversation with friends, or maybe the peace and quiet of some much needed personal time.