I first saw Hotel Monaco’s lobby when it was redesigned years ago, and thought that someone had made some kind of mistake.  Nothing matched. Colors were loud and jarring.  I have gotten used to this quirky downtown Portland hotel and have stayed in the hotel and have spent time in the lobby talking with people,mainly hotel guests.  While I am not crazy about the loud colors and furniture that doesn’t seem to match anything and everything, the lobby does have my appreciation and do the think tanks that made it all happen.

Everything is carefully orchestrated from the welcoming doorman and the smiles on the faces of the front desk to the people who clean the guests’ room.  Yes, it is all about customer service and making sure the hotel guests, both human and animals, feel special.  Undoubtedly the ideas and decisions include some spicy mixture of intuition, a sprinkling of statistics and first hand experience.  Yes  of course an awareness and knowledge of the competition is a must.  Ideas aren’t pulled out of the air and whimsically tried.  Trying things to see if they “work”is expensive. At least one and probably more people were involved in the decision-making process.  This hotel has a decision-making committee  and a corporate office,that has to give its stamp of approval.


This hotel goes out of its way to make the guests feel at home, to even feel a little spoiled, a little special.  For example, when the hotel decided to become pet friendly and welcome their guests to bring their furry and feathery companions, it wasn’t simply an invitation on the hotel’s website, a flyer hung in  elevator walls or on the front desk counter.  It was much more involved than that. Dog baskets with treats were placed in hotel rooms to greet the canine guests.  If you want a break from your pets, the hotel offers a pet sitting service and has been known to walk dogs around the downtown area.  Maybe if you are especially lucky, you might see a dog behind the front desk lying down.


All hotel guests, human and nonhuman, are invited into the lobby every evening for a wine hour that includes water, a selection of soda, local beers, wines, sometimes Sangria or some other inviting colorfully mixed drink that is sitting in a glass pitcher and some unhealthy snack to munch on while sipping on the beverage and listening to the piano player or waiting to have your astrology session or joining others in the lobby who take advantage of the crayons and paper and create.



In the morning coffee, cocoa and tea await the guests and so does a copy of The New York Times.  I have also seen a bowl of apples for hotel guests.

The hotel acknowledges hot summer afternoons by offering free ice cream from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. everyday during the month of July ( I believe).  A cooler is available in the lobby and all one has to do is open the lid and reach  in and help oneself to an ice cream sandwich or some other frozen ice cream treat that is available.

Want something refreshing and healthy?  Cucumber or pineapple water is available.

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