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The 50th hotel in the Hilton's Curio Collection, it is the first to be built new

The latest hotel to be completed in downtown Portland might be the 50th in the Hilton's Curio Collection, but it is the first to be developed from a new build.

The Porter Hotel, the latest hotel to be added to downtown, officially unveiled its 16th-floor xport bar & lounge headed by Executive Chef AJ Voytko last week.PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JULES ROGERS - The Porter Hotel, 202 S.W. Jefferson St., is the first in Hiltons Curio Collection to be developed from scratch.

Beside xport, The Porter's dining experience also includes Terrane Italian Kitchen + Bar serving lunch and dinner, The Portland Exchange Grocer & Goods, an Italian-style deli, and the Chisco Pizza Window curbside walk-up.

Xport, perched on the 16th floor with river views, features globally inspired small plates and crafted cocktails dining decks with cozy fire pits and sweeping views of the city and the Cascade Range.

The 297-room hotel is part of Hilton's Curio Collection, launched in 2014, and is rated at four stars. The Porter is located on the east half of the block between Jefferson and Columbia Streets at Second Avenue, adjacent to the 1991 Essex House apartments.

Laura van Daal, director of sales and marketing in Portland for Widewaters, has been on board branding the hotel since November, 2016. (She also brought the Nines hotel online in Portland back in 2003.)

"It was time to develop a concept, the branding, the ethos, to build the team," van Daal told the Tribune at the event. "It's a pleasure and privilege to see the surprise (tonight)."PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JULES ROGERS -

The suites were her brainchild and contribution to the design team's ideas: suites expanding to two or three bedrooms offer more space to expected musician guests.

"It's in the heart of a cultural district, and artists need more space," van Daal said.

Up on the 16th floor xport lounge, patios bookend the lounge space that includes three bars — and the outdoor one lights up. Inside, suspended LEDs subtly change the mood lighting above half-height circle booths.

"It's the 50th Curio, but it's the first new build, and that affords us to put its personality in business right away," van Daal said. "It captures the essence of what is The Porter? We want it to be modern, current, through food and beverage and design."

The main tagline is "delivering the best of Portland."

"We wanted to think about the meaning of the product: the city was born out of the water, Portland is a port city, it's old and new," van Daal said. "Here people get to explore the (Keller) fountain. The city is rebranding the area, and the hotel is a catalyst for the area."

The ground floor includes the hotel lobby, a restaurant, bar, market cafe and a take-out window facing Southwest Columbia Street. The basement level will house fitness facilities, a pool, sauna, spa and staff areas. PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JULES ROGERS -

It has eight ballrooms, two of which split up into two or three smaller rooms, for a total square footage of 4,849 indoor and 5,262 outdoor.

Jamaal Daniel is a host at xport who has worked at other high-end food spots around town.

"I'm excited to see the place crazy — it has 200-plus seats and standing room," Daniel told the Tribune at the event. "I want to see the atmosphere when it's busy."

He's been working at the restaurant for two weeks preparing, but that's much shorter than the time the management's already put in.

"We're not going for the nightclub vibe, but it's not necessarily a regular bar like you'll find in Southeast," Daniel said. "When the outdoor bar lights up, the mood lights change."

By Jules Rogers
Reporter, The Business Tribune
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