Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The big trip part two

The Christmas tree at the Benson.

For some odd reason we took no pictures on the 26th. Big Daddy got this snap of the tree and thank goodness he did because when we came back from breakfast on the 28th there was a crew tearing down the tree and all the decorations as if it was a challenge on the Amazing Race. They were dragging vacuum cleaners down the street.

Our first foray was down to Chinatown which I did not know was synonymous with the "home" for the homeless. They were a lot better than the Philly homeless, they nicely asked you to buy them things but left quite easily when you refused. There was nothing to see in Chinatown.

Next we went to The Pearl and had lunch and wandered about. Lunch at Deschutes Brewery was fabulous. Very busy on Boxing Day but we only waited about 30 minutes. Food and service were great. We went to the Crystal Hotel to check out the rooms, $85.00 for a room with the bath down the hall on the second floor was the only one we could see. It was scrupulously clean and the bath was nice. The room had a sink in the room. If I was younger and a music nut I would stay there.

We had dinner at the Heathman and that is where we learned that service in Portland trends more to the lackadaisical than the rigid. It is either great or it isn't. Punkin Head said some wonder if it is because the minimum wage in Oregon is the 2nd highest in the nation and the waitstaff must be paid the whole amount, not a portion due to tipping. So maybe people don't tip as much because they make more money or they don't do a good job. Not sure, but we as 20% tippers started tipping per the experience. And yes, I do think the prices reflected that added wage. Never less than 10% but I would never tip that little as a rule.

This is when we began noticing that the staff at the Benson was very unhappy. We knew this because they constantly discussed this in front of us, they were not happy campers. The housekeepers did not speak English and did not show up on a regular basis. How can a place pay the second highest minimum wage and not be able to get or keep good help? I am amazed. We interviewed other hotels and next time we will stay at the Hotel Monaco or the Marriott downtown.


  1. Pursuing the American Dream in a laid back town. You can't please everyone.

  2. My policy: Always stay at the Marriott. I might be a cliche but at least I'm happy.