Hotel Monaco, Portland, Oregon

Posted on
Apr 16, 2012
Posted in: Hotels

Best. Wallpaper. Ever.

I don’t get interior decorating.

This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to anyone. I can barely dress myself, and I have the benefit of being scorned publicly by my peers – I can learn from positive reinforcement (no one laughed hysterically the moment I walked into the room? Great. Wear that outfit again.)
You can just imagine then, what little hope my home has, being able only to rely on me for its style. It is a dire situation, in case the tiki masks, the antlers, and the disembodied pinata head in my living room haven’t made that obvious enough.

Lest you think I was kidding before.

It’s cool. I can’t decorate. Like skinny jeans, I applaud those who can pull it off, and accept that it’s something that I won’t be able to replicate in my own life.
This might be part of why I love the Hotel Monaco in Portland so much. The decor is delightful, strange, and utterly unattainable. I can’t recreate it because I wouldn’t have the faintest idea of where to begin. I tried dissecting the design to make sense of it, but I couldn’t.
I mean, hummingbird wallpaper plus lacquered orange headboards and plaid cushions? HOW CAN THAT POSSIBLY WORK?

Note: the teddy bear is not ours. They just leave one in every room.

And yet, work it did. The Hotel Monaco is one of the most aesthetically delightful hotels I’ve ever visited.
It looks like it was designed through a collaboration between Willy Wonka and Divine. And I wanted absolutely everything in it.
Like this chair. It was covered in a pattern of barren trees.
It would have been stark and harsh and miserable were it not surrounded by levity and brightness. Like the inside of these drawers, which were lacquered bright green.

I considered recreating this at home, but it would probably end with me sobbing on the floor of my room, covered in green paint and shame.

I know I already mentioned the wallpaper, but can we talk about it again? This is the wallpaper. It is covered in hummingbirds. It might be the greatest thing I have ever seen, and my heart flutters when I think about it, something which is usually true only of my husband or baked goods.

I want it.

Of course, stealing wallpaper is impractical, so I set my sights on this lamp. Which I absolutely would have taken with me were stealing not wrong, and if my husband had not forbidden it (seriously, Rand, YOU NEVER LET ME STEAL ANYTHING).

Screw penicillin and the moon landing. THIS is mankind's greatest achievement.

The staff was supremely delightful, too. Especially when the crazy guest staying the fifth floor (hi!) kept calling to ask if 1) they had any spare lamps lying around (sadly, no, but you can find a similar one here), and 2) they knew who the interior designer was (Gino Castano out of San Francisco).

Oh, and did I mention the hotel has a pianist playing in the lobby during their nightly hosted wine hour, and that it’s conveniently located within walking distance of everything you could possibly want to see in downtown Portland?

If you end up in the Rose City, I highly recommend staying here. And you have the opportunity, see if you can score me a lamp. Or some wallpaper. I’m not picky.


As usual, all endorsements on this site are uncompensated. Rand and I paid regular price for our hotel and received nothing in return. Not even a duck-legged lamp.

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