Mark Spencer Hotel

2.5 out of 5 stars2.5 Stars

409 South-West 11th Ave., Portland, Oregon, 97205, United States

2 Reviews

The Mark Spencer
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Satisfaction Excellent
Very Good

Value Score Poor Value

Costs 173% more than similarly rated 2.5 star hotels

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Good For Solo
  • Families82
  • Couples88
  • Solo89
  • Business81
  • jaskak's Profile Photo

    Location is everything


    I spent a week in Portland on business and this hotel was my home base. All things considered, the experience couldn't have been more favorable!

    Location: Within a 5 minute walk I had access to some great food, chill pubs, hot clubs, Powell's bookstore (my favorite bookstore ever), loads of shopping (chain stores, local treats, vintage/second hand clothing shops- everything) and wonderful sights and entertainment. There was a garage underneath the hotel for guests only (for an extra fee), so I parked there and didn't need the car for the rest of my personal time there. When I did need to get to meetings throughout Portland and its environs freeway access was simple, and I didn't encounter much traffic. A few of the city's notable gay establishments are nearby as well.

    The Hotel: Friendly staff, better than average continental breakfast included with a nice French cafe-style dining area, well maintained building and rooms.

    Price: Right on target. For everything that you get, you couldn't ask for more (except maybe to roll the cost of wireless into the room rate instead of charging extra).

    Unique Quality: My room came with a full kitchen (and Whole Foods nearby) that would've been great if I were cooking my own meals, but since I was on the company's tab I opted for shark at the restaurant down the street over my then-insufferable cooking (it's improved since). As it was the full size refrigerator was more than adequate for keeping my adult beverages chilled (and there were two shops nearby with good selection of local microbrews and another shop that sold local wines).

    Directions: Pearl District(ish)

  • Downtown Near Powell's


    The place was clean and the customer service was good. The room was very outdated and a little shabby.

    The hotel room conveniently had a sparsely stocked efficiency kitchen (looked circa 70's) and fridge. The bathroom was small but it had a large walk in closet with iron.

    Free newspaper in the a.m.!

    Unique Quality: They have coffee conveniently near the front doors! Definate plus.

    They have a great complimentary breakfast. Toast, juice, pastries, juice, coffee, cereal...get a tray of goodies and bring it up to your room!!

    Walking distance to Powells's Books

    Stock the money. I shopped at the Whole Foods (health food grocery) that was walking distance away, stocked the fridge with snacks, prepared foods, and drinks.

More about Mark Spencer Hotel

One of the best hotel experiences!!

by TripAdvisor Member IfPenguinsCouldFly

Pets are welcome!! Secure parking on premises with direct elevator access to hotel lobby. Located in the best part of Portland., with lots of green public parks nearby to walk your dog. (No dogs allowed on Portland State Univ. greens). Walk to the Pearl District. Walk everywhere to shop, eat, go to the theatre. Walk to Portland Art Museum (fabulous American Indian Art) and Portland State University. Hotel is a block away from Powell's Bookstore where you can spend entire days browsing. If you're there on Saturday, walk to the organic foods and arts and crafts Portland Saturday Market at Portland State Univ. Rooms are furnished like little studio apartments with dining table and furnished kitchenettes (microwave, stove, toaster, dishes, cooking pots) and walk-in closet with ironing board plus iron. Nothing glitzy or fancy. Cozy, comfortable, quiet and very clean. We were on a road trip. We liked this hotel so much on our way north, we booked it again on the return leg of our journey. The staff is very knowledgeable, very polite, and helpful in giving directions and answering "touristy" questions. The SF Chronicle Travel Section featured this hotel as a favorite place to stay in Portland. The prices were very reasonable when we stayed there this fall. I hope they don't get too expensive, after all that good publicity. Yes...we would definitely stay there anytime we are in Portland OREGON. Google the Mark Spencer Hotel Portland, for more info and to make reservations.

2.5 Stars = Rated appropriately

by A TripAdvisor Member

The Mark Spencer is similar to an old, but regal apartment building - it is past its prime, but still quite nice and trying to hold onto its once grand status. The room I stayed in (a "Junior Suite") was large but the appliances were ancient and the window air conditioners were quite noisy. This was not the problem though...the problem is that this hotel is in a seedy neighborhood (pretty hard to find in downtown Portland I might add) that I would consider unsafe for travellers who are not street savvy. If you're travelling with friends this hotel is a great deal (though there is no workout facilities on site) and provides lots of really great places to visit very close by, but if you're here on business looking for a 'safe haven' you might want to look elsewhere...

Great atmosphere, great location

by TripAdvisor Member MrSnickerdoodle

If you're looking for a hotel that carries the spirit of old Portland, the Mark Spencer is worth your time. It's location is also second to none, nestled in the city's Pearl Disrict.

When you arrive, park your car - you won't be needing it. Many bars and restaurants are within walking distance. The famous Powell's bookstore and other shops are also nearby. With a little advance planning, you can take the local public transit to areas outside of walking distance.

The hotel is very charming and rustic, with a fun & quirky layout, going back to the early 20th Century. Apparently many of the old jazz giants such as Louis Armstrong stayed here when they were performing. Balconies on the upper floors afford scenic views of the city and surrounding geography of Portland.

This hotel is an excellent choice for those that appreciate a little history, a central location in Portland, and the prices are reasonable.

It is what it is, and it's great!

by A TripAdvisor Member

After reading some of the bad reviews of this hotel we felt a bit adventurous in making a booking there, but there were enough good reviews to persuade us to take a chance. Are we ever glad we did.

The Mark Spencer is a well-run, clean, and above all, friendly hotel in a perfect location for exploring the Pearl and all of downtown Portland. It doesn't claim to be ultra-posh, and it shows it's age in spots, but it is comfortable with all the facilities an unpampered traveller needs. Be sure to check out the rooftop garden; take the elevator to the sixth floor and then up the stairs to the roof.

Great rates too, especially for we Canadians.

For what it is, five stars.

Want to be near downtown?

by A TripAdvisor Member

I stayed at the Mark Spencer for four nights in July 2005. My room was clean and had a full kitchen, which was more than I needed, but great if you're traveling with family. This hotel is old, but that is part of its charm. The breakfast also had some nice touches. Although I could have used some orientation on how to use the air conditioning in my room, my concerns were immediately handled when I asked. It's close to some wonderful restaurants, the famous Powell's Bookstore, and some exciting nightlife is right outside your door. Visit the "First Thursday" outdoor art walk the 1st week of each month during the summer and into the fall, unique and eclectic artist's display their works outside. The Mark Spencer is truly a DownTown location with all the fun that brings.

Like the converted men's resident hotel feel?

by TripAdvisor Member emjava

The Mark Spencer does not rise above the neighborhood that it is in. That is, it fits right in with the resident hotels, bath houses, and various loud street people. While it was close to the Pearl and the Northwest Districts, and First Thursday was very convenient, the hotel and room itself was sad and depressing. The corridor smelled of years of old smoke. It was loud in the room: the A/C units were loud. The windows didn't seal because of the units and you could hear everything on the street. And the walls were paper thin--we could hear the people on the other side of the wall having sex. Loved Portland though. We're staying at the Benson next time.

bring your own ear plugs

by TripAdvisor Member Al_T_Publican

Good location for a quick walk to Powell's Block of Books, but often noisey. At midnight our neighbors ran the shower that sounded like a Pratt & Whitney being tested. At 0030 I complained to the front desk. Without doing the drinking glass on against the wall trick I could hear two people laughing it up in the shower. Security arrived but was too timid to action. At 0050 I pounded a coffee cup agains the wall and the shreeking jet engine noise from the shower stopped. I also complained that our room smelled of cigarette smoke; the entire building was smoke free, they assured. The hallways often smelled like cig smoke. Not a bad place as long as it's under $100. a night. I was expecting a quasi-bohemian boutique hotel and it fell a bit short. A refreshing change from the chain flophouses, but nothing special. C plus on my flophouse scale.

Not worth it

by TripAdvisor Member sabine26

Let me say up front that the only good point in my stay there was the staff. Other than one somewhat surly female who checked me in, the staff was lovely both on the phone and in person. They were always helpful, greeted me, and provided the services I needed.

I needed a hotel to stay at for two nights while I was in Portland on business. I wanted a place in the downtown area because I love shopping there. When I called on the phone, they did not have any of the smallest units available, so I acquiesced and agreed to a suite. I checked in and went to my room, after having been told that the hotel was non-smoking. That was good news by me, being a non-smoker as I am.

When I opened the door to my room, my horror began. The smell was ghastly. It smelled like 5 old people had sat in the room chain smoking cigarettes their entire lives long. Ugh. And the room was freezing cold, to boot which, since I am not from Portland, was unacceptable—I was already icy! I went to the ancient thermostat, experimented with it for some time, eventually having to turn it to the highest possible setting (90 degrees) just to keep my room at a bearable temperature, and even that took at least 5 hours to achieve.

My next step was to go to the refrigerator to put my leftovers from lunch inside it. Lo and behold the refrigerator did not work. It was hot and moist inside, and smelled horrible. I turned it on at the dial, to see if it worked, then decided it smelled too awful to put food inside of and tossed my food out. The stove also smelled funny, which I found out when I decided to turn it on and open it to try to heat up my room a bit.

I went into the bedroom and noticed that the comforter seemed, well, not clean, to say the least. When I flipped the edge back, I noticed the stains on it, as well as the rather large quantity of hair stuck to the underside. It was quite apparent to me that if it had been washed before my visit, it had certainly not been washed well. In disgust, I wadded it up and stuck it in the closet. The sheets and pillowcases, although stained, seemed clean, at least.

Finally, I went to the bathroom to put away my toiletries. The bathroom seemed like it had been spot cleaned. The towels, like the pillowcases, had stains on them and to my utter horror, there were at least three of someone else’s pubic hairs stuck to various surfaces in the tub.

I decided to make the best of a bad situation since I had little time to myself in Portland. When I went to sleep that night, as if to only enhance my enjoyment of your hotel, I was woken at 2:32AM by the sound of a woman, on the street, screaming as if she were being brutally murdered.

The following day, I just assumed everything was dirty and did not work and it was easier that way. That night, however, my next-door neighbor had his TV turned on so loud, just on the other side of my bedroom wall, that it woke me up over and over until finally, also at 2:30AM, in disgust, I called the front desk and lodged a complaint.

My overall experience at this establishment was terrible. The cleanliness was awful. The kitchen in the room was at least 60 years old and desperately needed to be replaced/remodeled. The heat and the refrigerator were off when I entered my room, and they should have been turned on in order to appear welcoming. I travel a lot for business, to a number of different states, and I have stayed in many hotels, including some distinctly low class places of the Motel 6 and Best Western variety. This was the most disappointing I have encountered yet. I paid the bill graciously although I believe I would have had a more enjoyable experience sleeping in the mini-van I had rented.


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 Mark Spencer Hotel

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Mark Spencer Portland
The Mark Spencer Hotel Portland

Address: 409 South-West 11th Ave., Portland, Oregon, 97205, United States