Monday, August 8, 2011

TIGARD, OR: The Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel in Tigard, Oregon – about 15 minutes south of downtown Portland – is a very good hotel; however, there are several factors that keep it from being truly "grand."

Despite its slightly industrial, boxy exterior, the Grand Hotel makes an excellent first impression. The facility is only about two years old, so everything still looks quite new and is in good repair. The two-story lobby is nicely appointed with just a hint of luxury, and the front desk staff is generally pleasant, efficient, and responsive.

"Classic King" Room
Our “Classic King” room was well furnished with a comfortable bed, a leather sofa, desk, and other features today’s travelers expect, including a flat-screen TV and iron and ironing board. The bathroom was generously sized and included high-end finishes.

Our nightly room rate included a hot buffet breakfast each morning; a nice touch that enables guests to get a bite to eat without piling into the car and heading off property. The lobby also offers a pantry area where guest can purchase snacks and beverages including soda, wine, and beer.

The Grand Hotel also has an indoor pool, a very modest fitness center, free WiFi (but no business center), and free parking in both open lots and a parking garage.

Shortcomings include front desk staff members who, while generally pleasant and helpful, have yet to develop the polish one expects to find in a high-end hotel. For example, they tend to say “No problem!” rather than “You’re welcome” or “My pleasure,” which are the preferred responses.

Our guest room did not have a closet. Instead, it had a small armoire that held very little and was too short to hang a formal dress without it crumpling on the floor. For most business and leisure travelers, that may not be a problem but we were in the area for a wedding. Long dresses were the uniform of the weekend.

Lighting in the guest room was positively awful. Every lamp and light fixture in the room was outfitted with what must have been first-generation compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) -- the type that flicker before they come on, then emit light that reminds one of bad office lighting. State-of-the-art CFLs come in a range of color temperatures and emit a much more natural light. The Grand Hotel definitely needs an update in this area.

Bathroom amenities -- soap, shampoo, and other accoutrement -- did not match their upscale surroundings and were not especially impressive.

The in-room alarm clock was impossible to decipher and, though I thought I’d managed to turn off the alarm, I hadn’t... as I learned at 6:25 the next morning. On that topic, I believe hotels should make housekeeping staff responsible for ensuring that alarm clocks are set to “off” whenever a guest checks out.

Service was inconsistent. Upon arrival in our room, I called housekeeping to request extra water glasses, towels, and bathrobes. My mid-afternoon call, using the “Housekeeping” speed dial button on the in-room phone, went to the voice mail of the head of housekeeping, and her outgoing message stated that my message would be responded to shortly. It wasn’t, so about 6 o’clock that evening I went to the front desk to request the additional items. THEY were able to get us the things we needed – except the bathrobes, which the hotel does not offer.

The food quality on the buffet breakfast on all three days of our stay was no better than so-so. However, there are several restaurants nearby – some within easy walking distance - so travelers are not stuck with the hotel’s offerings.

Finally, the Grand Hotel does not participate in any hotel or airline loyalty programs so guests are not able to earn any points or miles for their stay.

All things considered, I would recommend the Grand Hotel, but be aware of its shortcomings and plan accordingly.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Photo by Carl Dombek
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