If you’re headed to Portland with kids, location is key: you want to be near the Willamette River and within easy walking distance of downtown and the MAX. The Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel puts families in the heart of the city, affords kids fun views of the goings-on along the river, and provides parents with a few perks of their own.
RiverPlace is a Kimpton hotel, with Kimpton amenities.
If you’re familiar with the Kimpton brand, you know what this means: hosted wine hours, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate for the kids, a welcome mat rolled out for your family dog, and a staff that goes above and beyond.
Unlike the other Kimptons I’ve enjoyed in Portland (Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco and Hotel Vintage Plaza), the entirety of Riverplace doesn’t sport the trademarked Kimpton style and originality to its decor…yet. It’s only been a Kimpton property for about a year at the time of this review, and they are currently updating their guest rooms to reflect a more Kimpton-esque look. In the meantime, the decor is very clean, not-quite minimalist, and warm, with stone, wood, and soft touches.
Location is key.
RiverPlace is located right off Naito Parkway south of popular Tom McCall Park (the greenway that runs along the river). Families can sit on the RiverPlace rocking chairs on the porch overlooking the Willamette, walk directly from the hotel along the greenway to the Portland Spirit river cruise, the Portland Saturday Market, or the downtown Pioneer Square area.
We love that we can let the kids burn off energy before dinner along the river walk, or explore the many boats along the small wharf jutting out from the RiverPlace Esplanade. Kids are happily distracted watching the crew teams rowing along the water. Along the esplanade are several good dining options for families, especially coffee shops and bakeries.
We recommend booking a one-bedroom suite, which easily sleeps a family of five (ours had a king bed for the parents in the bedroom, a pull-out sofa double, plus a rollaway). Along with all this room, you also get a full kitchen and dining area, complete with all the pots, pans, and utensils you’ll need to prepare meals in.
The suites have a separate entrance, which means you can return to your room directly from the river walk, but are right next door to the rest of the RiverPlace, making it easy to settle in the lobby for the complimentary wine hour and coffee or hot chocolate in the mornings. The absolute best thing about the RiverPlace suites, however, are the views. Our river-front room boasted huge windows in the living room area (with fireplace) and dining area overlooking the Willamette, plus a balcony with seating. The RiverPlace thoughtfully includes a pair of binoculars to use during your stay, which kids can put to use spotting eagles, boats, and more.
Other room options include standard king or two queen rooms in the hotel proper. Some of these rooms have been recently remodeled with gorgeous Kimpton touches, such as elegant headboards, new patterns for the duvets, and lovely artwork.
There’s only one downside to the RiverPlace from my family’s point-of-view: while the hotel has a partnership with full guest privileges at the adjacent RiverPlace fitness center, it does not have a pool in the hotel. Why this matters to my kids: it can be a hassle to exit the hotel and walk half a block to and from the pool (parents have to bring changes of clothes, kids get cold), and the pool area can get crowded with regular swim times and swim classes for club members.
Before staying at any Kimpton hotel, by all means, join the Kimpton Loyalty Program. This program is free and easy to sign up for, and gives members perks such a a $10 ‘raid the mini-bar’ credit and free wifi in rooms. I used both on my last visit and was very glad to grab a free Luna bar and Nantucket Nectars orange juice before heading out for the day…without paying mini bar prices.
Date last visited: March 2013
Distance from the interstate: 1 minute from 405/I-5.
Room rates: RiverPlace rooms start at $199 for standard rooms. One-bedroom suites like the one we experienced start around $250.
Directions: RiverPlace is located at 1510 SW Harbor Way in Portland, and is easy to find. Valet parking makes arriving even easier.
As I disclose whenever applicable, I stayed at RiverPlace with a media rate, for the purpose of review.