The Columbia Gorge Hotel & Spa has an awe-inspiring site along the dramatic cliffs above the Columbia River, in Hood River, Oregon. Less than an hour from Portland and Portland International Airport, the hotel is located in the popular Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area.
When the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway was built between 1913 and 1922, it opened sweeping vistas of the beautiful gorge to travelers. Timber baron and Portland businessman Simon Benson had a vision to build a grand hotel on the cliffs above the Columbia River on the site of the former Wah Gwin Gwin Hotel, named after the 208-foot Wah Gwin Gwin waterfall that cascades off the cliff on hotel property.
Opening in 1921, the Columbia Gorge Hotel soon became known as the “Waldorf of the West,” attracting Presidents of the United States and stars such as Shirley Temple and Rudolph Valentino, who used it as his hideaway. The hotel’s current Valentino Lounge is named in his honor.
Today the Columbia Gorge Hotel & Spa is listed on the National Registry of Historic Sites and maintains its classic and historic charm. It is surrounded by seven acres of lush landscape, where Phelps Creek tumbles through the gardens and ponds, over rocks, and under scenic stone and wooden bridges. At the cliffside location of the gardens, a bridge crosses over the edge of Wah Gwin Gwin Falls as it drops from its perch down 208 feet into the Columbia River.
Forty charming guest rooms maintain the period décor and charm of the hotel, with touches such as real antique telephones that still work. The hotel continues to maintain and use the 1920s hotel elevator, hand-operated by a bellman in vintage uniform.
Simon’s Cliff House is the hotel’s in-house restaurant which has excellent cuisine, service and views overlooking the Columbia River and the hotel’s gardens. The Valentino Lounge, with its cozy fireplace and grand piano played live on weekends, is a favorite spot for guests to relax.
The Columbia Gorge Hotel is also a favorite destination wedding and anniversary location. Its Point Lawn platform or West Lawn gazebo, both overlooking the Columbia River, are beautiful locations for the exchanging of, or renewing of vows. The grand Benson Ballroom, the Falls Room overlooking the waterfall, and outside garden venues are popular reception locations for any kind of celebration.
The town of Hood River, Oregon, welcomes guests with many shopping and popular dining venues. Many talented artists in the area present their wares for sale; everything from photography and paintings in different media, to jewelry, glass, weaving, textile, wood, ceramics, and more.
The Hood River Valley is also an amazing location for seasonal recreational opportunities such as windsurfing, kiteboarding, golf and fishing in the summer, and snowboarding, skiing, and cross-country in the winter on Mt. Hood. There are many local wineries, craft cider and breweries, and an incredible fruit loop of local fresh fruit and u-pick that will astonish visitors.