When I travel I usually subscribe to the Rick Steves philosophy of travel. That is try to become a temporary local. Interact with people, live like locals live, and try to get the best experience you can for your limited travel dollar. This is why I tend to shy away from hotels when I can. It is also why when I am asked by folks where to stay I usually recommend staying at a B&B or a vacation rental. I recently had an opportunity to take a tour of Portland’s newest B&B the Portland Mayor’s Mansion and I walked away impressed and thinking it offers tremendous value.
The Portland Mayor’s Mansion is located along Laurelhurst Park, which is a fantastic park in NE Portland. The neighborhood itself is centrally located and has a variety of restaurants, cafes, and pubs.
The Portland Mayor’s Mansion was built in 1912 by then Portland Mayor H. Russell Albee. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is owned by Richard Kroll who bought the house in 1989 and spent many years bringing what was a vacant house back to its original condition. The interior of the house is just as beautiful as the outside and is filled with many different types of art.
Without question, my favorite room is the Laurelhurst Room, which has its own private balcony that overlooks the backyard and Laurelhurst Park.
Although the Laurelhurst room does not have it’s own private bathroom it is well worth the trade off in my opinion. The room is also a good example of why I think B&B’s generally offer more value than your typical downtown hotel. The peak rate for the Laurelhurst room is only $125 per night. Considering that a moderately priced hotel in downtown will cost at least that plus the cost of parking, this seems like a steal.
Guests also have free reign of the entire house. Mr. Kroll, the owner, occupies the basement and wants his guests to feel at home so if you ever wanted to feel like you live in a mansion, this is your chance. Mr. Kroll is a wealth of knowledge about Portland and a real friendly guy. You could spend a whole evening talking with him over a glass of wine about Portland, its history, and the history of his home.
Which brings me full circle to the live like a temporary local philosophy. I guarantee you that staying in a place like the Portland Mayor’s Mansion will give you a fuller and richer experience than staying at a downtown hotel. You will also stay in a great neighborhood, be within easy walking distance of some great restaurants and pubs, and save money while you are at it.by