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Hotel Check: Hotel Zags in Portland, Oregon

OVERVIEW:  A downtown location with regional amenities at a decent price. What you might not recognize in the name comes back to you in the plentiful perks.

HOW MANY ROOMS? 174 rooms and suites

WHERE IS IT: In the main downtown corridor, this edgy hotel (recently renovated and rebranded from the Hotel Modera to Hotel Zags Portland) is within walking distance of plenty of great dining and entertainment options. While the name may not be entirely familiar, the hotel is located in the business core so that it attracts both tourists and corporate clientele.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? The hotel has trendy interior design with notable nods to local culture and design throughout the space. One of the highlights of its $24 nightly amenity fee is the Gear Shed, which devotes extra attention to the physically active. This hotel is as “Portland” as it gets when it comes to serving dietary preferences and activity ideals. The Gear Shed offers two-hour rentals of skateboards, bikes with helmets, and even guitars or ukuleles for those that want to express their musical creativity.

Also, part of the amenity fee is a $15 nightly food and beverage credit, which is a notable perk, and bottled water. There’s a game room with a billiards table, shuffleboard, and video games. Guests can participate in a rotating roster of Portland-inspired experiences like acoustic music sessions and outdoor yoga sessions. There are even do-it-yourself terrarium classes held near the Instagram-worthy living wall outside.

ROOM FACILITIES: Rooms show off bright décor from a recent renovation. Electronic do not disturb signs indicate a subtle approach, but this hotel goes full throttle when it comes to Pacific Northwest pizzazz. For starters, the free in-room coffee is from Starbucks, and the bathroom toiletries are from eco-friendly, wall-mounted BeeKind dispensers. If you’re into some of the art you see around the hotel, you can even buy work from local artists from a vending machine downstairs. Large beds have pillowtop mattresses with a quartet of especially soft pillows and nightstands with power outlets. Similarly, the spacious desks have their own power outlets although some in the corner of the building face away from the windows. All rooms have two free bottles of water. Premier rooms overlook either the city or gardens. Zags Suites come with larger living areas with second TVs.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS: There is no shortage of great dining options around Portland, but three meals a day at Nel Centro seem to draw plenty of guest and local interest. The menu features northern Italian and southern French fare ranging from great steak and seafood dishes to hearty pizzas and salads. The restaurant also supplies the room service menu.

LEISURE FACILITIES: Sometimes smaller is better. There is no onsite fitness center, but as part of the amenity fee here, guests enjoy free access to a nearby health club with a full fitness center, sauna and steam facilities, and lap pool. The property’s own Gear Shed keeps everyone very active should they wish. The fact that helmets are available for the bikes and skateboards is a huge welcome to many travelers where that is not always an option.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES: Small groups can use the meeting space that can be set up as a board room or small conference space. Social functions are also popular in the function space or the gardens.

VERDICT: What you’ll find here is plenty of authentic and home-grown hospitality without any overdone fuss. Modern travelers get plenty of regional flavor with a stay here and a solid location within walking distance of area attractions.

PRICE: Internet rates for a traditional room on the random dates we checked start at $119.


CONTACT: Hotel Zags, 515 SW Clay Street, Portland, OR 97201. Phone +503-484-1084. ​