by Stephen Jermanok
As parents, we’ve all been there before. Talking with an uptight person at the front desk who treats your child like an alien creature, worried that Junior is going to be doing Cirque du Soleil moves from the chandelier. You cringe, knowing that you made the wrong hotel choice for your family. Perhaps you have to be subjected to such an awful experience to truly appreciate the joy of walking into Portland’s Hotel Monaco.
Immediately upon entrance, the kids are handed small backpacks filled with a deck of cards, a yo-yo, finger puppets and bubbles. The front desk walks the kids over to the large lobby to show them how to play the Nintendo Wii and where the paints are in the corner. They will also tell you about the nightly – and complimentary — happy hour, where children can opt for the apple cider, soft drinks and the occasional doughnut from Portland’s legendary Voodoo Doughnuts, while mom and dad sample the Oregon pinot noir and pinot grigio.
Then your family is escorted to the room, with the option of an additional roommate, if you’d prefer — a goldfish in a bowl! If you want to bring your own pet from home, no problem. Stuffed animals are waiting on the kids’ beds, including one that looks surprisingly like Timmy. Kids’ bathrobes can be found in the closet. Hotel Monaco Portland knows how to treat children with respect. It also helps that the location of the property couldn’t be better for exploring Portland. Many of the top family-friendly restaurants and stores are within easy walking distance from the hotel’s downtown locale. You’ll realize this once the concierge hands you four pages of information detailing the top kid-friendly restaurants, shops and sites in the city. It’s all part of the Kimpton Kids program and few Kimpton properties do it better than Portland’s Hotel Monaco.
For more information, read about Kimpton Hotels.
Our Editor Loves
- Backpacks and robes for kids
- Family-friendly happy hour
- Concierge's recommendations of family-friendly sites and restaurants
- Children Programs
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
The 221-room property features both guestrooms and suites but the suites are best suited for families.
In the Monaco Queen-Queen Suite, you'll find a spacious sitting area with a stylish blue couch, desk and two chairs, and the first of two 32-inch flat screen televisions. Across from the entrance is the tiled bathroom with a shower, tub and coffeemaker, featuring Starbucks coffee. Next door is a large closet with a safe, iron, ironing board, and bathrobes. The bedroom is through the sitting area. Two very comfortable queen beds, one topped with stuffed animals, are located next to large floor-to-ceiling windows. A second flat-screen television and iPod docking station are also found in the room. DVD players, cribs and Pack n' Plays are available upon request.
The only other option for families is the Monaco King Suite, ideal for a family of three. The same size as a Monaco Queen Queen at 550 square feet, the sofa in the sitting area is a sleeper. An oversized king bed is found in the bedroom instead of the two queen beds. Everything else is the same.
My experience with the Hotel Monaco has been a wonderful, from the moment I walked through the front door for the first time. The feeling of the hotel is such a change from other hotels I have stayed in. Sadly, so many buildings and businesses today are only using black and brown as primary colors. Very few people today reorganize and realize that the use of color in any building is a huge factor in how people for . The colors used in the Hotel Monaco are wonderfully toned, spaced, and they provide wall space for really extraordinary art.
The joy of the living room lobby space -- games, art, business, and the daily social hour -- all adds to the experience of your visit to Portland. The place to come to. People of all ages find this hotel peaceful and joyous.
The staff here are really wonderful -- They are helpful, knowledgeable, and a great mix of men, women, nationalities, and abilities. Sasha, the Concierge was splendid, Zach, Keiko, and Lo at the Front Desk. Henry at the door, Kyle and Jeremiah as well were all great!!!
Had the opportunity to stay at the Kimpton Monaco in downtown Portland recently. Staff was friendly and attentive. Our room was very spacious and the bed was very comfortable. Location was very convenient to find great food and shopping within walking distance. Hotel fees ($20/night) were very reasonable given the fact you get complimentary wifi, access to free beverages and entertainment during happy hour, free coffee/hot cocoa bar in the morning, and a free night cap in the evening. Would definitely recommend staying here if your travels take you to Portland!
While the hotel does not feature a pool or any onsite children's activities, there are numerous family-friendly things to do in the city.
Powell's City of Books, on 10th and West Burnside, is a perennial favorite for families. The largest independent bookstore in the country, the children's section is immense. Ask about upcoming author readings.
Also within walking distance is the Portland Saturday Market, a great place to find souvenirs. Artisans from around Oregon bring their wares to this large, open-air market, nestled right along the Willamette River. You'll find jewelry, cosmetics, clothing, photographs, sculpture and more.
Only two blocks from Hotel Monaco is the MAX Light Rail, an aboveground subway that you can take to Washington Park. Here you'll find the Oregon Zoo, the Children's Museum and a peaceful Japanese Garden. The kids will be exhausted if you try to do all three sites in one day. On your first day, hit the zoo and see the elephants, giraffes and rhinos in the African section, and the Northwestern coast sea lions and otters at Stellar Cove. Return the second day to create pottery in the clay studio of the Children's Museum, along with pretend grocery store shopping and playing dress-up in the theater. Then wander over to the Japanese Garden to unwind while viewing the koi in the ponds and the turtles sunbathing on rocks. It's a relaxing way to end the day.
Drive 5 to 10 minutes (the valet will give you detailed directions) to reach the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry or OMSI. Five exhibit halls and eight science labs, in addition to a planetarium and Omnimax theater, offer hours of brain-powered fun through interactive exhibits and hands-on demonstrations.
In summer, Portland families drive 10 miles northwest of the city to Sauvie Island. Here, you'll find bald eagles flying atop the tall Douglas furs on the 2-mile Wapato Access Greenway State Park Trail. There's also live music at Kruger's Farm Market and the opportunity to get lost in a large corn maze at the Pumpkin Patch.
Red Star Tavern
Hotel Monaco's restaurant, the Red Star Tavern, is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Start your day with muffins, scones, granola with fresh fruit, pancakes, brioche French toast, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, numerous omelets and egg dishes, and apple wood smoked bacon. The Kids Menu at lunch and dinner features grilled cheese sandwiches, mac and cheese, cheeseburgers with fries, chicken strips and quesadillas. Interesting choices for parents include the Oregon cod ceviche, fish and chips, smoked wagyu brisket, wood-fried steaks and the pork al pastor sandwich.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Hotel Monaco receives an A+ for this category. Start with the hosted wine reception from 5 to 6 p.m. every night. Children will usually have the chance to sample local chocolate and other goodies at the event. In the morning, coffee and hot cider are available. A goldfish will be placed in your room upon request. An entire floor is devoted to hypoallergenic guestrooms. The concierge has printouts of family-friendly restaurants and sites. The valet has printed directions to the airport and all major Portland attractions.
Wi-Fi is complimentary and you can also request a newspaper to be delivered each morning at your door.
The fitness center on the ninth floor is open 24 hours. Complimentary bicycles via a third party bike share are also available to tour the city.
The hotel is pet friendly and there is no additional charges or limitations on your pets.
The Art of Smart Timing
Come in June when the roses in the City of Roses are in full bloom. The rest of the summer is also sublime, with long sunny days and restaurants reaping the harvest from farms and fishing. You'll pay top dollar, but it's worth it. Winter months are gray and rainy. However, you're only an hour away from the ski resort at Mount Hood if you want to use Portland as your base.
The Portland International Airport is located less than 20 minutes away from this hotel.
Portland is a walkable city but a vehicle may be necessary during your visit as well.
For Mom and Dad
Make an appointment for the onsite Dosha Spa and Salon. The Spa Sampler sounds just right: a Swedish massage, recovery facial and aromatherapy pedicure. It's just what you need to rejuvenate your travel-weary body.