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Portland’s Heathman Hotel Has a New Look

THIS PAST SEPTEMBER, DOWNTOWN PORTLAND’S HISTORIC HEATHMAN HOTEL UNVEILED A $13 MILLION RENOVATION. The update, helmed by Chicago-based architecture firm Perkins + Will, included an overhaul of the hotel’s 151 guest rooms and created a more prominent, expanded home for its immense collection of more than 3,000 books, each signed by their authors.


The result is a brighter, more contemporary aesthetic for the formerly dark and traditional Heathman, which first opened in 1927. “The central salon has been a place for high teas and social gatherings since Heathman’s inception,” says Jacqueline McGee, who was the design lead at Perkins + Will. “Taking a cue from its past, a new social salon was created that would become the perfect home for the Heathman Library. This renowned collection is housed in volumetric bookcases that soar through the double-height space and juxtapose with the distinctive original paneling.”  


That original paneling was then mimicked in each of the guest rooms, but in white. The room’s all-white surrounds are contrasted with patterned Surya rugs, modern furnishings in shades of blue and camel, and new gray-stained wood floors.


Portland-inspired art abounds throughout the hotel’s public spaces. In the lobby, two large columns were clad in acrylic and adorned with original Portland pennies, which McGee notes takes inspiration from Portland’s origin story, in which its two founders (one hailing from Portland, Maine, and one from Boston) flipped a coin to determine if their new frontier would be called—you guessed it—Portland or Boston. Behind the front desk, is a three-dimensional map of the city, crafted in brass and dark bronze glass. Other local artists featured include illustrator and photographer Katie Jeanne Reim; painter and ceramicist Barry D. Kaine; artist Tony Thomas; painter Hilary Winfield; and map artist and painter Rachel Ann Austin. 


With this extensive renovation, McGee says she hopes guests feel “a sense of intrigue” over the art installations and “amazement and awe” at how the social salon and library have been transformed.


Heathman Hotel, 1001 SW Broadway, Portland; heathmanhotel.com


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