In 1984 the Heathman Hotel opened its doors as Portland, Oregon’s first luxury boutique hotel dedicated to supporting the arts. Centrally located in the heart of the city’s cultural district, the hotel has found unique ways to showcase local artists and give back to its community. The Heathman also knows that the connection to the arts makes it standout to Portland tourists who come to enjoy the city’s rich cultural life.
The Heathman Hotel brings a wall-to-wall commitment to the arts. From the rotating selection of fine artwork curated by local gallery owner Elizabeth Leach to an Andy Warhol-themed suite, the hotel shows its appreciation for the city’s cultural icons. In 2012, Chris Erickson, the hotel’s general manager and chief arts enthusiast, joined forces with Stephen Galvan, sales and marketing director, to find a new way to do just that through the Arts Signature Suites.
Each of the Heathman Hotel’s four Arts Signature Suites was curated to embody and support four Portland arts organizations: the Oregon Symphony, Fine Arts and Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland Center Stage, and Literary Arts of Oregon. Drawing on musical, literary, theatrical and fine art inspirations, Erickson and Galvan called upon design contractor Kat James of Portland’s Bluevine Studio to execute their plans. Each room was injected with the vibrancy of a genre of Portland’s artistic scene.
After supporting Portland’s musical arts for many years, the Heathman Hotel chose to honor the oldest symphony in the western US. In the “Oregon Symphony” suite, visitors are immediately taken aback by the beauty of the room’s centerpiece: a cello, sculpted and adorned with gingko leaves and branches. Designed by Bluevine Studio, crafted by three local artisans, the cello stands as a perfectly tuned symbol of the Oregon Symphony and the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. A portion of the room revenue from the “Oregon Symphony” suite is donated directly to the symphony’s Kids and Education Missions.
The “Fine Arts” suite is bathed in light and color by an incredible light installation created by Portland’s Hap Tivey. Filmmaker Gus Van Sant’s paintings bring light-hearted fun into the room, while a relief painting by local artist Joe Thurston calls upon the suite’s visitors to question creative inspiration and execution. A portion of the “Fine Arts” suite’s revenue is donated to the Pacific Northwest College of Art, which offers fine art and design degrees, as well as a vibrant public program of exhibitions, lectures and internationally recognized visual artists, designers, and creative thinkers.
The Heathman Hotel’s “Portland Center Stage” suite brings a playful charm to its visitors. While the spotlight shines brightly on the hotel’s commitment to the theatrical arts and to Portland Center Stage (PCS), guests are the suite’s stars. Visitors are encouraged to take a peek at Costume Designer Jeffrey Cone’s beautiful handmade costumes or try on a hat from PCS’s hat rack in the room. Ticket stubs that line the inside of the murphy bed doors and edited scripts from PCS Artistic Director Chris Coleman show how much fun Portland’s largest producing theatre truly is. A portion of the room revenue from the “Portland Center Stage” suite is donated directly to PCS’s education and community outreach programs.
The “Literary Arts” suite celebrates the Heathman Hotel’s long-standing partnership with Literary Arts of Oregon. Hotel staff members type messages to guests on the room’s old typewriter and encourages guests to leave their own messages in reply. The deeply lofted leather couch invites visitors to curl up with one of the room’s signed Portland Arts & Lecture books to drift away into another world. The inside of the suite’s murphy bed doors are lined with 2000 hand-cut 2”x2” squares of dictionary pages, so that even guests’ dreams will be inspired by the beauty of the written word. A portion of the “Literary Arts” suite revenue supports a wide variety of literary non-profits across the city of Portland.
Combined with financial support for Portland’s vibrant arts community, the care and enthusiasm for supporting local artists is at the core of the Heathman Hotel’s values. From the historical artifacts borrowed from the Oregon Historical Society to the locally-sourced, locally-inspired decor, each of the Heathman Hotel’s Arts Signature Suites brings to its guests a sincere love for the arts. With that kind of enthusiasm, it’s impossible for visitors to not share the hotel’s passion.