Provenance Hotels’ Heathman Hotel, a cultural fixture since it opened in 1927 in Portland, OR, has just completed a $13-million renovation of all 151 guestrooms and public spaces. Light, bright and contemporary, the new design is rooted in the building’s unique history and pays homage to the hotel’s role as muse to generations of guests. The renovation has brought the hotel’s iconic collection of autographed books to the fore and inspired literary themed offerings.
This renovation has placed one of Heathman’s most notable features—a collection of more than 3,000 volumes signed by their authors—in a place of pride and prominence. The Heathman Library now resides within the soaring two-story space in the heart of the hotel that was formerly the Tea Court Lounge. A grand bookcase, fully accessible to guests, now spans the full height of the room and prominently showcases the library’s autographed tomes. These signed editions from Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winners, U.S. Poet Laureates and a former U.S. president, as well as a cross section of genres and styles, represent more than 30 years of guests who have contributed to the collection.
In addition to serving as an inviting space to relax and read, the library now functions as a gathering place of inspiration, knowledge and celebration. Designed in a warm palette with a sophisticated residential feel inspired by the city itself and the way residents live today, it features a dramatic fireplace clad in white handcrafted artisan tile and a new herringbone wood floor with ample seating in leather and cozy fabrics. Heathman will utilize this space for literary readings with authors, where it is also home to Chef Vitaly Paley’s Russian Tea Experience on weekends.
In keeping with the hotel’s artistic heritage, visual art has been woven through the renovated spaces. The lobby now features an intricate three-dimensional map installed behind the front desk. Crafted in Portland and aptly named “200 X 200,” it highlights Portland’s unique 200-ft.-long city blocks, a human-scale urban design feature that makes it one of America’s most walkable destinations. The work alludes to both the intimacy and passion for craftsmanship that define the city. Architectural columns in the lobby have also become sculptural focal points, clad in acrylic panels featuring hundreds of floating coins that symbolize the “Portland Penny.” The flip of this coin—which now resides two blocks away from the Heathman in the Oregon Historical Society—by city founders Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy was the deciding factor in naming this idyllic spot on the Willamette River Portland (rather than Boston).
Upstairs, guestrooms embrace the beauty of the Portland landscape with natural materials, reclaimed elements and local art. A soft, neutral palette runs throughout the rooms from the whitewashed wood paneled walls to the warm wood flooring, blue area rug, caramel lounge chair, grey wood bedside tables and hand-blown glass credenza. Eclectic works from artists based in Portland include Katie Jeanne Reim’s “Rose City,” which pairs the patterns and designs of topographical maps with inspirational natural images; Barry D. Kaine’s evocative “St. John’s Bridge;” Tony Thomas’ bright and vibrant “Sellwood;” and the abstract effervescence of “Dimension 9” by Hilary Winfield and Rachel Ann Austin’s “Poppies.”