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Lauren Loudermilk | October 7, 2019 | Lifestyle
Look to The Duniway hotel's sigil which combines an arrow, a quill, a rose and a rattlesnake to understand the artsy boutique hotel with a feminist legacy and vibrant scene.
The view from the lobby of The Duniway hotel in Portland, Ore.
Stepping off the oyster-shell streets of downtown Portland, Ore., and into The Duniway hotel is a study in fluidity. From the front desk it’s a few steps to the coffee bar, which then seamlessly wraps into the restaurant bar and beyond. Nevermind the general velveteen atmosphere, which conjures Hemingway in the leather chesterfield and gin bottles, and the female spirit stalking its halls in the service and refinement. The Duniway is named for Abigail Scott Duniway, a writer and women’s rights activist who used her platform to become one of the strongest voices for Oregon women’s suffrage, and the ghost in this hospitality machine. Four elements make up the hotel’s stone cutter logo, seen on the lapels of staff, which illustrate the story of The Duniway. The arrow pointing west evokes the tale of travelers on the Oregon Trail; the feathered quill represents Abigail’s life as a writer; countered by the rose for The Rose City; all anchored by the rattlesnake, representing rebirth and the creative life force. The masculine and the feminine don’t just meet but instead dissolve into one energy, evoking the best of comfort and boldness.
A peek inside the hotel's luxury accomodations
Upstairs, the sleek fitness center is adjacent to the indoor pool, a must in the Pacific Northwest where rain is a constant companion. On the roof, Abigail’s Hideaway is the perfect, private nest to grab a drink and relax in the fresh air. The hotel also hosts live music and events at the Hideaway from time to time. Once back from a day of exploring the City of Roses, relax on a Waldorf Astoria Serenity bed while listening to the in-room radio or cast your own Netflix to the 65” HDTV. The sheets are 500 thread-count and the toiletries are by Badgley Mischka, plus the bathroom mirror emits the best selfie lighting. For that extra touch, there’s the in-house vinyl program which culls playlists from influential Portlanders and provides the records and turntable for melophiles to enjoy in their rooms. If you’re looking for something even more grand, book the vinyl suite (from $959 a night), boasting a wall-full of records and guests like Ariana Grande, John Legend, and Meg Ryan and John Mellencamp.
The interior of Jackrabbit, the hotel's restaurant, was carefully designed with local charm in mind.
If Duniway, the suffragette, lends her name and elan to the hotel, then it’s Chef who brings the joie de vivre. Chris Cosentino, author and Top Chef Masters winner, is present in details big and small. From the chandeliers made of bicycle parts—a nod to Cosentino’s love of cycling—to the stripper pole of meat—in homage to Portland’s strip club scene—to the floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with knick knacks handpicked by Consentino, who will rearrange them every time he’s in town. Jackrabbit restaurant, opened in 2017, focuses on the Portland palette and has a carnivore’s verve. The dinner menu boasts hors d’oeuvres like “Around the World in 8 Hams,” “3 Little Pigs” and pig’s ears, in addition to mains like buttermilk fried rabbit, duck leg confit and, of course, the Jackrabbit burger. You’ll want to get the half-dozen oyster selection which comes with inventive garnishes and mignonettes and pair it with a local wine from one of Oregon’s vineyards. They also have Negroni and rosé on tap, and with a gin-focused cocktail program (the largest selection of gin in Portland!), a Jackrabbit G&T or a martini with local Gompers gin are must-sips. The restaurant also offers breakfast, brunch (cast iron cinnamon roll with rum caramel and orange frosting? Yes please!) and lunch service; and, you can order off the room service menu to eat in-room anytime day or night.
Jackrabbit's menu was crafted for the gin-swigging carnivore.
With local photography on the walls and mementos on the shelves, The Duniway feels like being invited to stay at an art enthusiast’s mansion instead of a hotel. Jackrabbit has the warm glow of a friend’s living room where you could sit and chat for hours over a pinot noir. The bar also spits out cappuccinos and lattes under the neon glow of a World’s Best Coffee sign, and while that’s a tongue-in-cheek Elf reference, it’s not entirely untrue. The lobby is designed like your favorite coffee shop: cozy, buzzy and dappled with light through the lush trees. The Duniway draws you in, nourishes you and invites you to sit down, have a cup of coffee, stay awhile. Rooms from $209 a night, @theduniway
A lovely vignette from one of the rooms
The Duniway, a Hilton hotel | food photo by Mark Mediana