The Duniway Hotel: Why Portland is Bold and Unafraid of Change

By Ryan Kunzer General Manager, The Duniway, a Hilton Hotel | February 03, 2019

Located right in the heart of downtown Portland's business and entertainment district, the Duniway is a refreshingly lively boutique hotel that embraces the artistic, creative and independent nature of Portland. Indeed, the hotel is named after Abigail Scott Duniway, an author and pioneer suffragist in the Pacific Northwest who devoted more than forty years in the 19th and early 20th centuries to seeking the vote for women and tirelessly promoting women's rights. Her independent spirit lives on today in the Duniway, our employees and the experiences we treat visitors to.

Guests of the Duniway can visit music and theater venues, enjoy tax-free shopping, sip a coffee in "Portland's Living Room," Pioneer Courthouse Square, cheer on our Major League Soccer team, the Timbers, or sample various beers from craft breweries – all within walking distance of our front door. With Portland known as a hub of inventive and exciting chefs and restaurants, guests don't have to travel far to enjoy delicious dining.

Celebrity chef, Chris Cosentino's Jackrabbit PDX restaurant right inside the Duniway marries creative and tasty dishes with an American Institute of Architects-recognized dining room, providing one of the most memorable dining experiences in Portland. And upstairs, the Duniway's guest rooms epitomize redefined luxury with spacious and comfortable layouts where nothing has been overlooked. Each boutique room boasts a 65-inch HDTV with StayCast technology, 500 thread-count Waldorf Astoria bedding, plush bathrobes and even curated book selections. It's thoughtful touches like these that make it a guest favorite when visiting our city.

Portland, known as the City of Roses and more recently for the "Keep Portland Weird" bumper stickers, is growing and changing right before our eyes. This city nestled in between the mountains and the ocean has always been recognized as a 2nd or 3rd tier city. But we are on the cusp of developing into a tier one city, one competing with the San Francisco's, New York's, Vancouver, BC's and Chicago's of the world for travelers' attention and business. All you have to do is peek out the window and count the number of cranes dotting the skyline to appreciate this reality.

While the city is physically growing, Portland is also growing up, maturing if you will. We are still weird and there are no plans to shed that moniker anytime soon, but the city is evolving. This doesn't mean you won't still see a unicyclist downtown blowing fire out of a set of bagpipes while wearing a Darth Vader mask, but you will now also see new small technology startups growing and booming, large skyscrapers being developed where food cart pods and parking lots once stood, and an influx of new residents from all over the globe. 

To respond to these changes, we in the hospitality sector need to elevate our product and services to provide accommodations and experiences that tier one city travelers expect. (The "we are not in Kansas anymore" approach.) At the Duniway, we are striving to provide bold and edgy luxury to achieve this. It's what fits our market and the demand. Take the tattoo experience at our opening party, for example. Guests savored delicious bites to eat and drinks and had the opportunity to actually get some new ink at the event.

The Duniway also boasts books and games on the edgier side in our lobby lounge, a curated vinyl collection with portable record players for guests, and live music on Thursdays and a resident DJ on Friday nights. We also just wrapped up a new lifestyle photoshoot that will turn a few heads. All of this is thoughtfully planned and very purposeful. The Duniway is today's luxury, you won't find white gloves at our hotel.

However, at the same time, we are not losing sight of why travelers love to visit Portland, and we work to integrate these experiences into every guest's stay at the Duniway. Case in point: Portland is known for being at the forefront of the craft and maker movement. We are lucky to have such beautiful and tasty things being handmade right outside of our front door, so we are working to curate and bring those beautiful and tasty things inside of our front door and encourage our guests to experience them throughout their visit.

The Duniway also offers a local wine takeover month, features Saturday Market vendors, partners with local businesses and organizations like the Portland Winter Light Festival, highlights local musicians performing in our lobby, serves craft beer and local distilled spirit tastings, brings in curated books from world-renowned (and Portland native) Powell's Books and provides local touchpoints including chocolates and tasty snacks throughout the guest experience to strengthen that connection to the city we love and work in.