The pandemic might have stalled the hospitality sector in most major U.S. cities, but Portland, on the other hand, is in the midst of a hotel boom. In the past year alone, big brand properties such as Moxy Portland Downtown opened their doors, while others like the highly anticipated The Ritz-Carlton, Portland, are well underway. Though they all offer comfortable stays downtown, the reality is most things out-of-towners (myself included) and locals want to do are situated east of the Willamette River.
Enter Jupiter Original and Next at the Jupiter, side-by-side sister properties that share a brand but have distinctly different personalities. Opened in 2004 in a 1960s motor lodge, Jupiter Original brought a much-needed jolt of energy to the once-gritty East Burnside – which today hums with city staples including Canard, Nong’s Khao Man Gai, and Sandy Hut. “The Eastside has traditionally been much more affordable than downtown and used to be rich with artists’ studios,” says Jupiter co-owner Kelsey Bunker. “Today, it is an area that continues to promote music, food, fashion, and art, so you’ll find amazing restaurants, intriguing boutiques, curious galleries, and plenty of interesting places to hang out.”
Though Jupiter Original remained a Portland fixture throughout the years – thanks to its edgy, throwback vibe and Doug Fir, its legendary music venue and lounge with a striking log cabin, Jetsons-esque design by renowned architect Jeff Kovel – the pandemic forced Bunker to quickly shift gears. In order to stay afloat, she leased Jupiter Original to Multnomah County to house the homeless. “What started as a two-month lease turned into two years. After the County moved out, it was the perfect opportunity to do a full renovation of the rooms,” explains Bunker.
The 81 rooms now sport one of 11 colorful ceiling-to-floor murals depicting musical icons from Aretha Franklin to Frank Sinatra to celebrate “the importance of music to our ethos and our property,” says Bunker. Another upgrade is how the “Entourage Double” rooms come with two pillow-top queen beds instead of the usual doubles. (Meaning: a single room here can comfortably sleep up to four guests.) You’ll also discover custom pillows and headboards made by local artisans and creatives, in addition to fresh pops of color and quirky mid-century furnishings. What hasn’t changed, though, are the fun chalkboard doors, complimentary branded condoms, and ear plugs for the late-night crowds spilling over from Doug Fir.
Things have also remained the same just across the street at Jupiter NEXT, what Bunker calls “a slightly more grown-up version Jupiter Original.” In this 2018 new-build, the accommodations are a bit spiffier than its sister with more amenities and design elements, including quirky Portland collages by Beth Kerschen, Seek & Swoon geometric-print throws, and Beekman 1802 Dispensary toiletries. (For unbeatable views of the city, book one of the Next Level X rooms on the hotel’s top floor.) But no matter what, don’t miss Hey Love. Adjacent to the check-in desk, it’s one of Portland’s best hangouts with a beyond friendly staff, tropical libations and globe-trotting snacks, and cheerful, plant-filled decor that’ll immediately lift your spirits no matter your mood.