Unique Hotels in Portland: 5 Reasons To Stay At McMenamins Crystal Hotel

From the minute we pulled up to the front door, I knew we were in for an experience. With twinkling lights and jazz music floating through the streets in the midst of bustling city life, McMenamins Crystal Hotel is situated in one of the hottest areas of downtown Portland, Oregon. Inspired by the rock ‘n’ roll history of the nearby Crystal Ballroom, the Crystal Hotel has earned its title as one of the coolest and quirkiest hotels in this area of the Pacific Northwest.

McMenamins Crystal Hotel, Unique places to stay in Portland Oregon, Boutique hotelsMcMenamins Crystal Hotel. Photo courtesy of Mary Pat Collins Photography.

This music-themed boutique hotel comes highly rated – and for good reason. Like all McMenamin Hotels, this one is located in a historic building with a colorful past. And with the Crystal Ballroom right across the street, in-house food and entertainment, and more than 50 rooms decorated perfectly on theme, the atmosphere at the Crystal Hotel is as vivacious as it is quaint and inviting.

With its authentic sense of place and rich local culture, its easy to see why the Crystal Hotel is so loved. We weren’t sure what to expect when we arrived, but this quirky and interesting locale quickly won our hearts.

If you find yourself in downtown Portland, a night at the Crystal Hotel is a must! Here are the top 5 reasons why you’ll love your stay as much as we did:

The rooms are unique

The rooms themselves might be reason enough to stay here! The Crystal Hotel boasts 51 rooms that are wonderfully quirky and eclectic. And each one is uniquely named after a song or performance that happened during the Crystal Ballroom’s 100 year history. With gold lyrics scripted across the vividly painted walls, retro tasseled lampshades, and fabulously crafted headboards, each room is equal parts cozy, tasteful, and completely on theme.

McMenamins Crystal Hotel, Unique places to stay in Portland Oregon, Boutique hotels

We stayed in room 301, inspired by the song “Who Do You Love?” by American rock and roll pioneer, Bo Diddley

In-room amenities: In each room you’ll find fantastic city views, complimentary cotton bathrobes, toiletries, and a mason jar to fill at the bar for a discount on your favorite local brew.

Rooms start at $105 per night. Visit McMenamins Crystal Hotel booking page for more details.

The music and comedy are free!

Head down to Al’s Den after check in!

Al’s Den is a cozy and intimate basement bar and music venue. It’s loved by both locals and visitors for its cool, intimately secretive, and classic speak-easy atmosphere. The coolest part? This super chill hangout is named after Alfred Winter – a gambling tycoon, who ran his lucrative empire that spanned the Pacific Northwest in the 1940s, right from this very basement den.

Its here you’ll find live music every night at 7pm, and comedy shows from 10:30pm-11:30pm on Friday and Saturday nights. And its all free!

Tip: Even if you’re not an overnight guest, you can still swing by to enjoy the show! Get there early to get a seat before the show, enjoy some bar food, or play billiards at the attached Ringlers Annex. And don’t forget to grab a drink off the menu full of craft beer and eclectic and crafty cocktails.

You don’t have to leave the hotel to find great (and locally sourced!) food

If you’re like me, finding food without even having to leave the hotel is essential – especially after a long day of travel. And the good news is that you can find everything from breakfast and dinner to a quick drink at the bar at Zeus’s Cafe.

You’ll find this casually upscale restaurant attached to the hotel lobby.  The dining experience is cozy and casual, and the room is tastefully adorned with  unique lights, stained glass windows, and dazzling chandeliers.

The menu features a variety of American dishes, local brews, and handcrafted ciders. And everything is made from only the best ingredients sourced directly from the PNW!

Location, location, location

McMenamins Crystal Hotel is located in one of the hottest neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon. Situated in the heart of West End, you’ll be walking distance to some of the best shopping, eating, drinking, and nightlife the city has to offer.

And, as the name suggests, the Crystal Hotel is located right across the street from the iconic Crystal Ballroom. Transformed from a ballroom in the early 1900s, the Crystal Ballroom served as a center for dance revivals during the Great Depression, and is now a popular music and entertainment hall for a wide range of pop, rock, jazz artists. Find the event schedule here.

Want to catch a show on the night of your stay? The Crystal Hotel offers limited room and ticket packages that are worth checking out!

And not to worry – the staff at the Crystal Hotel understands that you need your sleep! So they’ve provided complimentary ear plugs just in case a late night of fun and music aren’t in your itinerary (but the atmosphere is so contagious here, how could they not be?)

The pool

We checked in to the Crystal hotel after a week spent stranded in the Cascade Mountains. It was more of an adventure that we bargained for, so the Crystal Hotel’s 110 degree (F) saltwater soaking pool was exactly what we needed to unwind.

You’ll find this subterranean pool in a room paneled with bamboo and accessorized with retro pipe fixtures. Its open until 1am, so we stopped down before bed and were pleasantly surprised to find only a handful of other people there.

Talk about the perfect cherry on top of an adventure filled week.


Other things you’ll love about McMenamin’s Crystal Hotel:

  • Pets stay for free! You can even bring them into the restaurant with you.
  • A music themed art gallery
  • Barrel aged and locally roasted coffee for sale
  • Speciality stay packages, including: options for beer tastings, meals, gigs, shows at the Crystal Ballroom, and spending your night with a special someone!

Rock ‘n’ roll fanatics will, of course, LOVE this quirky hotel in Portland, Oregon. But even if you’re not a music fan, the Crystal Hotel provides a unique and memorable experience for everyone – even pets!

Click here to book your stay at McMenamins Crystal Hotel


*This post was created in sponsorship with McMenamins Crystal Hotel, but of course, all opinions are my own and I would never promote anything I don’t absolutely adore.*


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