A Timeless Boutique Hotel in Portland’s Central Eastside

Portland Oregon is home to a number of wonderful hotels, but if you’re looking for a place to stay in Portland’s Central Eastside, you will love the boutique Hotel Grand Stark. We stayed just one night, but we loved it so much, I wish we had planned our visit to Portland for a longer stay. (We spent 10 days exploring the coast and beyond).

Portland Boutique Hotel

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Why the Grand Stark Hotel when Traveling to Portland

First of all, I love boutique hotels. There’s always so much personality. Never a cookie cutter experience, you can usually expect local art, fresh designs and little accents to grab your attention. We were not disappointed in the Grand Stark Hotel.

With 57 rooms, each one with its own decor, the developers reached out to the local art community in Portland and the Pacific Northwest for fun items in the public areas and in the guest rooms. We had a spotted dog sitting on the TV in our room. Who doesn’t love that?

At the corner of Grand and Stark streets, the Grand Stark sits just across the Willamette River from downtown Portland. Born in 1908 as the Hotel Chamberlain, the four story building then became a furniture store for 80 years. I loved walking through the hallways and imagining guests from 100 years ago walking this same hallways. The pine flooring is original in most places, a little scuffed and worn and uneven here and there. That gives it so much character. I was delighted to kick my shoes off and let my toes feel the character in the floors.

Grand Stark Deli, Portland Oregon

Bruce grabbed a shot of this Grand Stark Deli just as it was opening, with no people in it. Otherwise, the street side cafe was jam-packed with hotel guests and locals. We smelled the fresh baked goods in our room in the early morning hours, the best wake-up call possible. Bruce had a Cast-Iron Pancake with blackberries and I was boring and healthy with scrambled egg whites, avocado and toast. I wish we had stayed for lunch to experience the Katz Pastrami, an NYC deli favorite in PDX.

We liked the Hotel Grand Stark because of the easy self-park just behind the hotel. From there, we could walk to a dozen or more restaurants and shops, or catch the Portland street car right out front. That will take you to downtown Portland, the waterfront and the Pearl District.

The Central Eastside Neighborhood in Portland

colorful building, PDX
This was not the only building we saw in Portland’s Central Eastside with a rather captivating paint job.

Many locals still call the Central Eastside neighborhood Produce row. This is the part of Portland where fresh produce, flowers and other goodies arrive by river or delivered from local farmers. It was rather quiet when we walked through in search of the Produce Row Cafe, recommended for great burgers, craft beer and live music. This was a place where Mike McMenamin, a renowned hospitality guru in the Northwest, got his start in the business.

And of course, the Central Eastside is home to the Vacuum Cleaner Museum. It all made me very happy on our too brief visit to Portland.