At the Gordon Hotel, art is everywhere. It shines from the recovered Mason jars in the chandeliers, marches gallery-style down the halls, and blooms in a mural on the side of the building. It’s in the creative headboards, the color-soaked rugs, and the small details. But it’s the lobby decoration that leaves no doubt about the hotel’s art-centric focus. Just behind the reception desk, 21 screens stretch across 667 square feet, presenting an ever-changing display of video imagery designed to dazzle and engage guests.
Located in the cultural heart of downtown Eugene, Oregon, the 82-room Gordon Hotel encourages guests to connect with local artists and makers. It’s part of the 5th Street Public Market Expansion, across the street from the original Market and the Inn at the 5th. Like the Inn (its luxurious sister property), the Gordon Hotel offers impeccable service, a host of amenities, and a location that places guests within walking distance of shopping, dining, galleries, and performances at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts.
The perks begin as soon as you arrive, with a shuttle from Eugene’s Mahlon Sweet Airport or valet parking (Eugene is 100 miles south of Portland). Walking into the lobby, the first thing you notice is the airy, casual, and creative atmosphere that somehow feels like an art cooperative rather than a hotel. Maybe it’s the fascinating collection of 2,562 Mason jars glimmering with light above the lobby, or the simplicity of the pewter-gray concrete columns and floors that give it an unpretentious, organic feel.
At the reception desk — a minimal affair in natural wood, the same caramel-brown shade as the zigzag couch in the lobby’s center — staff greet guests with a smile and a complimentary glass of wine or beer. Wood details are everywhere: the floor behind reception, the stairs to the second floor, and the open shelves that create a cozy nook for reading or games by the fireplace.
I especially liked the lobby’s snack pantry, stocked with complimentary bottles of water and other beverages, chips, cookies, and granola bars. Guests can raid it anytime. They can also purchase a glass of local wine or beer — and sip it while watching the mesmerizing show on the screens of the Great Wall. The two-floor tall video display is a partnership with Harmonic Laboratory and often showcases art by University of Oregon students.
One corner of the lobby is devoted to the Art Bar, where you can create your own work of art. Watercolor and acrylic paint, colored pencils, paper, and other art supplies invite guests to free their inner artist.
The Gordon showcases art throughout the hotel. More than 160 paintings and ceramic pieces from 84 local and regional artists (plus 75 pieces of art created by Obie Hospitality employees) fill the hotel. The second-floor open space and every hallway in the seven-story hotel is a de facto gallery. Even the bathrooms boast original paintings (my favorites: the custom wallpaper and inspirational neon signs in the second-floor restrooms). There’s so much art to discover that the hotel created a catalog of all the pieces on the property.
The inspiration for the art-centric hotel is its namesake Gordon Obie, the late father of Brian Obie, president and principal owner of Obie Hospitality, which owns the hotel. Gordon Obie was a passionate artist who loved to paint Oregon scenes. Many of his paintings line the second-floor walls. You’ll also find his paint-splattered overalls in an alcove off the lobby, as well as photos from his days in the circus.
The hotel often hosts artists or music events, bringing them into the hotel lobby or rolling up the garage-style doors and spilling into the courtyard. In warmer months, Friday evenings will often find musicians entertaining guests and shoppers at the Market Alley.
Naturally, the focus on art extends to the rooms and suites. Natural light floods the rooms through ample windows, illuminating neutral-toned walls and wood floors. Slab headboards of reclaimed wood and bright white, hypoallergenic comforters on the king- or queen-sized beds continue the restful palette. It’s the perfect backdrop for the colorful paintings adorning the walls. Pops of color also come from the color-rich rugs and chairs and settees in muted shades of purple, gold, and orange.
Every room features original art and such luxurious details as Italian linens, plush robes, and 55-inch flat-screen televisions. They also include a solid-wood workstation, personal safe, mini-fridge, and Oregon-crafted tea and coffee. Some rooms offer a gas fireplace and terrace as well, and some rooms are ADA-accessible. Pets are welcome and get their own beds and bowls.
I especially appreciated the small, thoughtful details, such as USB ports for charging electronics built into the floor lamp beside the chair, with an attached shelf for your phone and a drink. The hotel also supplies glass water bottles (filling stations are on every floor) and dispensers for shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in the shower that eliminate the plastic waste of single-use bottles.
Pro Tip: Need a microwave? Directions? Dinner recommendations? Just ask.
Natural wood and rustic touches add a Northwest feel to the modern decor of the Gordon Tavern. Located just off the lobby, the restaurant dishes up elevated American comfort food with a touch of Northwest cuisine for dinner. Founded by Portland restaurateur Mark Byrum, the Gordon Tavern serves a chef-driven menu that includes artisan pizza, burgers, salmon, salads, and other Northwest favorites. A wide variety of craft cocktails, beer, and wine are also available. When the weather warms, garage-style doors roll up so diners can eat al fresco. Be sure to try the Tavern fries.
Two more dining venues are planned for the hotel, including a rooftop bar and a speakeasy-style bar. This spring, Carlita’s Rooftop will bring margaritas, tacos, and small Mexican plates to the Gordon Hotel. It will also offer an extensive selection of tequila and whiskey. Still in the works is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar with a hidden entrance. It’s expected to open later this year.
For coffee or breakfast, head across the courtyard to the Magpie Coffeeshop. That’s where you’ll find breakfast served all day, plus espresso, tea, meat hand pies, dessert pies, muffins, cinnamon rolls, and an assortment of cold drinks.
The Magpie Coffeeshop is part of Makers Row, located in the 5th Street Public Market Alley. The 200-foot long covered alley is filled with boutique shops featuring local, handmade goods such as chocolate truffles, jewelry, and baby clothes, as well as an art gallery, winery tasting rooms, a distillery, an ice cream shop, a Nike store, and other shops. The main section of the 5th Street Public Market, located across Pearl Street, and the surrounding Market District are also brimming with restaurants and unique shops. There’s even a craft brewery.
The Gordon Hotel offers guests a secure fitness center, but you may opt to take your workout outside. Riverside parks with paths for walking or bicycling (borrow a cruiser from the hotel) are just a few blocks away.
Pro Tip: Discover local artists and galleries with the First Friday Art Walk held each month in downtown Eugene, just a few blocks from the Gordon Hotel.