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A Seafarers’ Home Is Reborn as a Hipster Hotel in Portland, OR

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A Seafarers’ Home Is Reborn as a Hipster Hotel in Portland, OR

January 13, 2016

Built in 1881 by the Portland Seamen’s Friend Society, the Mariners Building was originally a boardinghouse for sailors, then a dance hall for the neighborhood’s Chinese community. By 2013, the building had fallen into disrepair and was virtually abandoned until a group of entrepreneurs (Jessie Burke, Jonathan Cohen, Gabe Genauer, and Matt Siegel) bought the property and undertook a complete renovation. “The upper floors were practically a time capsule, providing a glimpse into what life was like in the final years of WWII,” they say. “Old stoves, furniture, dishes, roller skates, and yellowed newspapers, all were found just as they’d been left.”

The newly opened hotel bridges the gap between hotel and hostel, with 38 private rooms and 24 bunk accommodations; prices start at $40 a night for a bunk and go up to $125 for a large king suite with private bath. For more information, go to The Society Hotel.


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Above: The cast iron facade is painted in the original seafoam green.

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Above: The lobby has a reception area, lounge, cafe, and bar (serving local craft beers and Oregon wines, of course).

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Above: Guests are invited to record their favorite Portland experiences for future travelers.

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Above: The Society Cafe serves locally roasted coffee, and pastries and snacks from local chefs.

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Above: A private room with sink and shared bath.

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Above: The hotel’s suites have queen or king beds and private baths.

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Above: Framed newspapers uncovered during the renovation serve as decor.

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Above: A wall-mounted plywood towel shelf with hooks for hangers.

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Above: A no-nonsense tiled bath in a private suite.

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Above: The ground floor bunk room has accommodations for 24, plus a common seating area.

See more of our favorite Portland, Oregon, haunts in our Portland City Guide.

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