The Ritz-Carlton, Portland blends luxury design with the wilds of the Pacific Northwest

With architecture by GBD Architects and interiors by ROAM, the new Ritz-Carlton outpost brings the Oregon wilderness to downtown Portland

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland
(Image credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)

America’s Pacific Northwest has a very specific ecology, atmosphere and attitude, where adventure and wilderness blend with cosmopolitan urban centres. Portland, in particular, has steadily transformed from indie in-joke to progressive powerhouse, while also boasting access to Oregon’s natural beauty within the city limits, plus several state and national forest parks just a few miles beyond. And now, the ‘Rose City’ can count The Ritz-Carlton amongst its five-star accommodation options, bringing the brand’s signature luxury hospitality to the increasingly desirable destination.

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)

The 35-storey, 251-room hotel is situated in the heart of downtown Portland, within a 460-foot-tall crystalline tower designed by GBD Architects. The building has a white base modelled on the columnar basalt formations in the region and incorporates a cascading series of stormwater planters at street level. ‘At night, the top of the building glows like a glittering jewel, making it a unique and elegant addition to the Portland skyline,’ adds the hotel team.

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)

Inside, ROAM Interior Design has created a grand lobby known as the Forest Hall that mimics the lush landscape of the Pacific Northwest, from rustic logs bound with copper – a nod to the historic 1845 coin toss that led to the naming of the city – to maps depicting explorers Lewis and Clark’s journey across the region. An impressive staircase, comprising chunky horizontal timber planes with bevelled edges, doglegs over an intimate lounge space while its fritted-glass balustrades dapple and distort the room’s soft lighting.

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)

From the tall ceiling of the lobby bar, Meadowrue hangs cascading greenery and copper rods that incorporate dew-drop-shaped glass pendants. Tiles resembling tree bark wrap the front of the bar and appear to spill onto the floor as a moss-like mosaic. ‘A mix of earthy design elements, such as Indigenous woods, mossy green plants and a twinkling light installation floating overhead, bring the beauty of the great outdoors inside,’ describe the designers.

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)

A cosy library lounge, where guests can gather around a dramatic marble fireplace, is surrounded by panels of verre églomisé, or gilded glass. Throughout the hotel, light fixtures echo the shapes of tree branches, flower petals and mushrooms. Live-edge tables, hues of brown and green, and local wood species are all used to further connect the interiors with their context.

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)

Meanwhile, the guest rooms reflect the serene colours of Oregon’s forests and misty rivers. Some are darker in tone, featuring ebonised wood panelling and leather accents, while others have lighter upholstered walls and textured wallpaper. All include soft carpets and bars designed as modern interpretations of historic travel trunks. Those on the upper floors enjoy views across the city and all the way to snow-capped Mount Hood when facing east.

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)

Elevators bedecked with waterfall motifs lead to the amenities on the 19th floor. These include a fitness centre, a full-service spa whose design is inspired by the unfolding petals of a Portland rose, the city’s official flower, and an infinity-edge pool stretching towards a panoramic vista of the Cascade Mountains.

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)

One level above, executive chef Pedro Almeida’s signature restaurant features a menu that utilises ingredients indigenous to the Willamette Valley and Pacific Northwest. Named Bellpine, the space is surrounded by blue velvet banquettes wrapped in copper mesh. Vertical timber fins continue from the walls onto the ceiling, reminiscent of both tree branches and mushroom gills – just one more natural visual reference that makes journeying through The Ritz-Carlton Portland feel akin to hiking through the Oregon landscape.

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Portland)

The Ritz-Carlton, Portland is located at 900 SW Washington St, ritzcarlton.com

Dan Howarth is a British design and lifestyle writer, editor, and consultant based in New York City. He works as an editorial, branding, and communications advisor for creative companies, with past and current clients including Kelly Wearstler, Condé Nast, and BMW Group, and he regularly writes for titles including Architectural Digest, Interior Design, Sight Unseen, and Dezeen, where he previously oversaw the online magazine’s U.S. operations. Dan has contributed to design books The House of Glam (Gestalten, 2019), Carpenters Workshop Gallery (Rizzoli, 2018), and Magdalena Keck: Pied-À-Terre (Glitterati, 2017). His writing has also featured in publications such as Departures, Farfetch, FastCompany, The Independent, and Cultured, and he curated a digital exhibition for Google Cultural Institute in 2017.