Hilton’s Canopy Portland Pearl District Hotel Keeps It Local

by Nancy Zaffaro
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Canopy Portland Pearl District

If you’re going to start a lifestyle hotel brand that, above all, aims to make guests feel part of the neighborhood, you’ve got to put great care into understanding what makes both the city and the neighborhood click. The new Canopy Portland Pearl District is the latest hotel to open in Hilton Hotel’s newest international boutique brand.  Portland prides itself on a rich local culture, making the city a perfect fit for Canopy by Hilton’s mission—and the brand got it right on all counts.

Hilton has great plans for this neighborhood-centered boutique brand. The Canopy Hotel in Reykjavik, Iceland was the first open. Portland’s is the fourth. Three more are scheduled to open this year; including one in Chengdu, China. More than thirty additional Canopy Hotels are already in various stages. After my visit to the 11-story, 153-room Pearl District property, I’m curious to see how the other properties let guests feel just a little more #thoughtfullylocal when they travel. Take a look.

One of the hotel’s 153 rooms (Photo courtesy Canopy by Hilton)

About the Canopy by Hilton Brand

Canopy is committed to positioning each hotel in a great neighborhood and blending into the city neighborhood, while creating its own stand-out comfort and functionality.  The hotels include local touches galore to immerse guests into the neighborhood and local culture. Enjoy a little local welcome gift. Breakfasts are geared to local cuisine. (Portland’s includes patisserie-baked goods and bagels and charcuterie from Olympia Provisions.) There are also evening tastings of local wine, beer and spirits. Wi-fi is complimentary.

You’ll find signature orange color accents in all Canopy Hotels, but no two Canopy Hotels will look alike. Design and décor at Canopy Hotels take on touches of the local city and neighborhood.

Take the time to relax (Photo Nancy Zaffaro)

A Grand Opening That Keeps It #ThoughtfullyLocal

(Photos Nancy Zaffaro)

More than 300 guests attended the Canopy Hilton Portland Pearl District’s Opening Celebration and what a great event it was. There to gather and get to know the property were hotel guests, local industry and partners, media and local community members and a great way to get to know the property.

Canopy Hotel did its Portland research well and brought in owners and reps from many of Portland’s local favorite food and drink suppliers, artisans and purveyors. Drinks and cocktails were from Hot Lips Soda, local beers and wines, and Nossa Familia Coffee. Cocktails were mixed with Aria, Bull Run, and New Deal Distillery spirits. Organic vegetables and fruits were sourced from Sauvie Island. Pizza and roasted vegetables from the hotel’s pizza oven were fabulous, as was the rest of the food served. On the rooftop, we were treated to Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwiches.


Just how “Portland” did they get? The roasted cauliflower carving station? We may have giggled appreciatively, but no one blinked an eye as we waited in line for a serving.

Roasted cauliflower at the cauliflower carving station (Photo Nancy Zaffaro)

Salmon? Of course. The hotel restaurant has partnered with a native Yakima family with Columbia River fishing rights for their salmon.

Portland loves our drag queens, and entertainers Queen Lulu Luscious, Bolivia Carmichael and Honey Bee Hart brought their glam and helped raise funds for the Portland Art Museum’s new addition. The Unipiper, Portland’s own bagpiping unicyclist, street performer and internet celebrity provided entertainment. And yes, we noticed the birds throughout the hotel.

Canopy hosted an Opening Celebration that showed appreciation for Portland. (Photo Nancy Zaffaro)

Canopy Portland Pearl District Hotel

Gary Steffen, the global head of Canopy by Hilton, led our hotel tour himself. Steffen has been in the hospitality industry for 25 years and with Hilton since 2009. He also helped launch Hilton’s Curio brand. His enthusiasm for the brand is equaled by his appreciation of each of the cities where he’ll help open new hotels.

Steffen was joined by some of the hotel’s top “Enthusiasts,” Canopy’s name for staff members, including Chief Enthusiast Terry Goldman. Matthew Scaramastra, Canopy Portland’s Lead Sales Enthusiast said, “We’re really encouraged to bring our personalities to work.” It was a convivial group, the relaxed vibe suits the hotel well.

The Canopy is LEED Gold certified. There are environmentally-friendly building materials, and a design-bar that is set high. You’ll find salvaged materials throughout; I especially liked the reclaimed barn wood cabinetry in the meeting rooms and the way-cool foosball table, also made from re-purposed materials. The hotel is plastic bottle-and plastic straw free. Each room includes a refillable glass water bottle there are filtered water bottle filling stations in the halls.

Efforts were made to source building materials and the décor locally as well, with attention to give some of their business to minority and women vendors turning out quality goods. Throw pillows were made by a local seamstress. A local printing company was hired to produce printed materials.

Portland is bike-friendly (some might say “bike-obsessed) and Canopy makes some great bikes available to guests; flower-filled baskets included.

There are bike lanes throughout the city; borrow one of the hotel’s bikes (Photo Nancy Zaffaro)

Take the Tour

The hotel offers cozy yet upscale and multi-purpose public meeting spaces. “Canopy Central” is open and welcoming; a high energy space where you can enjoy coffee or cocktail and a meal or snacks. Off the main open areas, is a smaller, more intimate retreat with a calm ambiance and sound-proofed glass walls; perfect for reading a book or a one-on-one meeting.

Canopy Central was in full swing for the event (Photo Nancy Zaffaro)

The Lounge (Photo courtesy Canopy by Hilton)

The urban hotel is also suitable for meetings and events. Meeting rooms are all stylish and feature exquisite artwork and cabinetry. The event space, called the Winter Garden room, features soaring ceilings and an open, second story loft.

The Winter Garden event space. (Photo courtesy Canopy by Hilton)

Artwork is by local artists throughout the hotel, including in the hotel’s art gallery.

The Art Gallery is another multi-purpose room available for guests. (Photo Nancy Zaffaro)

The rooftop view deck looks out on one of the Pearl’s best features; the iconic Union Station clock tower and the rest of the Pearl. The rooftop deck features a green roof and will soon install honey-producing bee colonies, honey from which the hotel hopes to eventually use in its food and drinks. While the Pearl is in an extremely walk-able part of town, it’s true we get just a little bit of rain. The rooftop Fitness Center brings the outdoors in with floor to ceiling windows.

High Level of Room Comfort

Room configurations meet the needs of solo travelers, couples, families and those traveling with their pets. (Many hotels are pet-friendly these days, but Canopy Hotels go the extra mile with treat bags and more.) The art work is all created by local artists. Bathrooms are large, with ample walk-in showers and both counter and shelf space.

(Photo courtesy Canopy by Hilton)

(Photo courtesy Canopy by Hilton)

I loved the high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, sliding privacy doors from living space and bath, closet and counter space, clean lines, multi-functional built-ins, and comfort level of the rooms. I appreciated the natural pine and Douglas fir cabinetry and finishes, and lighting. The hotel uses coffee from local roaster Café Umbria.

Each of the Canopy hotel headboards is upholstered in local fabric; Portland Pearl District’s are upholstered in Oregon’s Pendleton fabric. It doesn’t get more local than that.

Headboards in Portland are upholstered with Oregon-brand Pendleton blanket fabric.

The Pearl District: Welcome to the Neighborhood

In a city of neighborhoods, where you stay during your Portland visit is important. The Pearl District is one of my favorite “PDX” neighborhoods and is a great choice for both  leisure and business travelers. Having lived here a long time, I’ve watched the neighborhood morph from its industrial roots, then artsy beginnings, and to its current hub of classic Portland architecture and restored warehouses with new mix-use high-rise condos. The Pearl District neighborhood is just adjacent to downtown and boasts some of the city’s best restaurants, pubs and wine bars, art galleries, high-end boutique shops, and urban events spaces.

Canopy Portland Pearl District   Canopy Portland Pearl District

While here, visit some of the city’s top sites, and have easy access to others outside the neighborhood. In the Pearl District, visit Powell’s City of Books. It’s a must-stop to any Portland visit, but there’s also the Lan Su Chinese Garden, art galleries, and Portland Center Stage. If you time it right, visit First Thursday in the Pearl and Portland Saturday Market.

Canopy Portland Pearl District is just across our vibrant downtown, Chinatown, and Northwest side neighborhoods. A visit to nearby Forest Park and Washington Park gets you out into nature without leaving town.

It’s no wonder Hilton’s Canopy Hotels chose Portland as one of it’s first locations. Visit Portland, visit the Pearl District, and re-charge and enjoy a stay at the Hilton’s Canopy Hotel in Portland Pearl District.

Canopy Portland Pearl District

Canopy Portland Pearl District (Photo courtesy Canopy by Hilton)

For More:

-All photos by Nancy Zaffaro, and courtesy of Canopy by Hilton, as credited.

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