(originally the New Heathman Hotel)
Architect: DeYoung & Roald/renovation: Carter Case,
Though the doormen's uniforms are modeled on the Beefeaters', the Heathman presides over "the Great White Way," not the Tower of London.2 And it was on the Great White Way that the Heathman Hotel was built in the roaring twenties. One of the last classic hotels built in Portland, the Heathman serves as a sober counterpoint to the florid Renaissance stylings of the Schnitz next door. This hotel is decidedly serious, with just a little decoration in the way of quoining on the corners and windows and patterned brickwork.
* From the Heathman Hotel you can gain access to the Schnitz through the secret passage via the Cigar Room on the mezzanine level, a passageway uncovered during the 1980s remodeling. (You still need a ticket, though.)
The Heathman was Portland's first KOIN Tower; in the 1930s, KOIN Radio moved into the hotel, resulting in some remodeling of the mezzanine level. By 1940, the hotel sported perhaps the finest radio studio in the country. KOIN stayed here until its television station started broadcasting in 1953.
* Humorist David Sedaris claims the Heathman is the only place in the U.S. (outside of New York City) where he would live. Be sure to take a walk through the hotel's library, where there are over three thousand autographed books, many signed by big-name authors who spent the night. (This book's author is not currently among them. Please file a protest at the front desk.)
KOIN's departure prefaced a period of decline for the hotel and the rest of downtown. But the renewed interest in the Schnitz next door led to a 1980s renovation of the Heathman as well (Andrew Delfino). This $16 million facelift helped the "new" hotel energize the Great White Way again. The 21st century saw another renovation (ERS Hospitality, San Francisco) that affected every room in the hotel. Both the Tea Court and lobby were given Art Deco remodels, with the lobby getting Japanese accents as well, to push that whole Pacific Rim thing.
* Commode with a View: Take a short walk down to the Hilton Hotel (1963, 921 SW 6th Avenue; Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill). It's not a great building by any means, but get on the elevator and head up to its twenty-third floor. Avail yourself of the restrooms to the right of the restaurant. Ceiling-to-floor windows give these lavatories two of the best public views in the city. (I've heard that the women's side is better, though.)Less Text