Weekend in Portland -- Embassy Suites Downtown

We decided to take a quick weekend trip to Portland to check out the renovation of the historic Multnomah Hotel by Embassy Suites and watch some minor league baseball.


Weekend in Portland -- Embassy Suites Downtown

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by thecopes on July 24, 2002

The historic Skidmore district is a fascinating collection of old buildings and the Embassy Suites is fantastic. The weekend public market is lively and quite interesting. The waterfront park along the Willamette is an excellent spot for walking, jogging, biking, rollerblading, etc. In the evening, the park attracts the homeless and local "characters", so be forewarned.

Chinatown and downtown shopping are all within easy walking distance from the hotel or take the free Tri-Met.

We went to recently renovated PGE Park to see the Portland Beavers play some AAA baseball and also to the Oregon Zoo and enjoyed both very much (reports are in work).${QuickSuggestions} Be hungry! There are tons of great restaurants in the downtown area and ethnic food stands in the market area. Excellent restaurants within walking distance of the Embassy Suites are Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, McCormick and Schmicks, Thai Pepper, Portland Steak and Chop House (in the hotel!), and Huber's (Portland's oldest restaurant).

Although, it's still the Pacific Northwest, Portland is inland and is frequently hotter than Seattle. One of our days there, it was in the mid-nineties while Seattle was in the low 80's.

${BestWay} Ditch your car in the parking garage and take the Tri-Met! I gave the keys to the valet on Friday when we checked in and didn't see the car again until Sunday noon when we checked out. There is a large "fare-less" zone in downtown that covers just about anywhere you would want to go -- Pioneer Square, the Rose Garden arena, the convention center, and Lloyd Center Shopping Mall are just some of the popular destinations in the free zone.


Embassy Suites

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by thecopes on July 24, 2002

We're big fans of Embassy Suites and this hotel is a great reason why. They've done a fantastic job restoring and renovating the historic 1912 Multnomah Hotel. The exterior retains the historic look and the lobby has been restored in all its turn of the century splendor.

Our room was very spacious with a king bed in the bedroom, queen sleeper in the living area, wet bar with mini-fridge and microwave, average size bathroom with single sink and tub/shower. Everything was in like new condition. TVs were in both the living area and bedroom had HBO, LodgeNet movies ($9 to $11), Internet access for $9.95/day (actually until noon of the following day after whenever you start), or a free mini-version of the internet called InnNet.

Our only complaint about the room was that the soundproofing between rooms isn't very good. We were awakened at 4:30 AM by an unattended alarm clock in a neighboring room (which the staff IMMEDIATELY took care of when we called the front desk).

The staff at the hotel is extremely courteous, fast and professional. Check-in and checkout were fast and smooth, the valet had the car ready in the time it took us to ride the elevator down from our room, and everyone in the breakfast/bar area was friendly and efficient. We've been to a lot of Embassy Suites hotels and this is the finest service we've ever seen.

The heated pool is on the lowest floor and has an old world charm with the modern advantages of two spas, a sauna, and exercise room. And plenty of clean pool towels!

The breakfast and manager's reception area is quite nice with a game room and 2 large TV's in the bar area and a bubbling fountain in an adjoining room. The bartenders can make just about any drink (we decided on White Russians) and the snacks were pretzels and nacho chips with chili, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and olives available. In addition, the bar menu (salads, burgers, pizza, wings, etc.) was available at a reasonable cost. We selected Caesar salads topped with either chicken or salmon for $5 each. My salad was topped with a whole freshly grilled chicken breast and the amount of SMOKED salmon on my wife's salad was enormous. After a couple of White Russians, nachos with all the trimmings and the salads, we were stuffed! Not bad for 10 bucks!

While the breakfast is served buffet style rather than "cooked to order", everything was fresh and delicious. Scrambled eggs, pancakes, oatmeal, bread pudding (don't see that too often), biscuits and gravy, sausages, and bacon were all available as well as cereal, fruit, bagels, toast, juice, and coffee. Breakfast is served 6 - 9:30 weekdays, and 7 - 10:30 on weekends. We went around 10 am and it wasn't crowded and fresh food was still being brought out. We were told that 9 - 9:30 is the busiest time on the weekend.

Embassy Suites Portland - Downtown
319 SW PINE ST
Portland, Oregon, 97204
(503) 279-9000

Portland Beavers & the Famous Chicken at PGE Park

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by thecopes on July 25, 2002

Jim Bouton wrote in Ball Four that compared to the majors, the minors are all very minor. This may be true for players but for fans, minor league baseball is great entertainment and a welcome alternative to the high cost of attending a major league game.

The Portland Beavers are the AAA affiliate of the San Diego Padres and play in recently renovated PGE Park. Ticket prices range from $2.99 on the Family Deck out in left field to $8.75 for box seats (which is what we chose). We were along the first base line behind the visitors dugout. The slope of the seats is much steeper than Safeco Field in Seattle and offers excellent viewing of the game instead of the back of the head of the person in front of you. There is also seating in a picnic area beyond first base and suites stacked up behind home plate. The seats are also wider than the ones at Safeco Field.

The park is easily reached via Tri-Met by a 10 minute ride from downtown and although it is outside the "fare-less" zone, if you buy your game ticket ahead of time, it doubles as your free Tri-Met ticket!

On the night we went, we not only enjoyed seeing the Beavers destroy the Oklahoma Redhawks 11-1, but we were also entertained by the legendary Famous Chicken. I've seen his shtick numerous times, but he never ceases to amuse. He's probably more effective in a minor league park because he can get away with more. He actually spent a whole inning in the first base coaches box - try THAT at a major league park! We especially enjoyed watching him get soaked by a barrage of water balloons hurled by the Redhawks from their dugout. The Chicken also signed autographs after the game and stayed until every child in line got one. I'd heard stories that he was arrogant, but he was pleasant to every child, and willingly (and hilariously) posed for photographs with every person who asked.

Food at the park is the standard fare - hot dogs, pizza, nachos, etc. at prices that are only slightly lower than the major league parks. The pizza and polish hot dogs were excellent. They also have those annoying ersatz ice cream particles -- they're called Dippin' Dots at Safeco -- here they are a little bigger and more jagged and called Frosty Bites. $4 for a small cup seems outrageous. Fortunately out on the Family Deck there is a stand that sells real ice cream for $2 for cone or cup. They also make real milk shakes and malts.

There's plenty to enjoy here, even for the non-baseball fan. Don't miss it!

PGE Park
1844 SW Morrison
Portland, Oregon, 97205
(503) 553-5400

Oregon Zoo

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by thecopes on August 4, 2002

The Oregon Zoo reminded me of Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo about 10 or 15 years ago. It's in transition from an old fashioned zoo with cages and "Monkey Houses" to a modern zoo with open area natural habitat viewing.

Our favorite exhibits were Stellar Cove with it's excellent underwater viewing of the sea lions swimming, the Africa Rainforest which features a thunderstorm with rain and lightning, and the Amazon Flooded Forest with it's exotic animals -- poison dart frogs are always a kid favorite!

While the elephants weren't being too cooperative at first (see picture), there is also indoor viewing that let us see their faces. The adjacent Elephant Museum has some excellent pachyderm artifacts.

One disappiontment was the penguin exhibit. It seemed run-down and being indoors it was obvious that these guys' diet consists of fish! Phew!

It was 92 degrees the day we were there, so a lot of the animals were in hiding so we only were able to get distant glimpses of some the larger mammals such as the grizzly bear and tiger. To beat the heat we bought a souvenir soda for $3.50 which allowed you to refill it for free at any of the concessions stands. If you're a Coke or Pepsi lover, be advised that the cola choice here is RC! We didn't care - it was cold and wet! The food is standard zoo fare - slightly overpriced burgers, hot dogs, pizza, etc., but decent quality. The animal shaped french fries were a big hit.

Our 12 year old decided he was too old to ride the train but we saw a lot of little kids and parents enjoying it. The cost is $2 for kids, $2.75 for adults.

This summer the zoo is featuring the Butterflies! Winged Wonders exhibit which was in Seattle last year. It's pleasant but to charge an additional $2 to enter seems a bit of a gouge. We've always felt that the butterfly exhibit at the Seattle Pacific Science Center is far superior and is included in the admission price.

The Zoo is easy to get to either via Tri-Met or by car off Route 26 (excellent signs). Parking can be a challenge as the lot is shared with the Forestry Center. We had to circle the lot a few times to find someone leaving.

All in all, the Oregon Zoo is nice destination for a half day family outing.

Oregon Zoo
4001 SW Canyon Rd
Portland, Oregon, 97221
(503) 220-2786

http://www.igougo.com/journal-j11788-Portland-Weekend_in_Portland_--_Embassy_Suites_Downtown.html

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