The Hotelier at the Heart of Trump’s Impeachment Inquiry
(Bloomberg) -- According to White House foreign policy adviser Fiona Hill, the United States ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, was so inexperienced, he posed a “national security risk.” Indeed, Sondland’s expertise and much of his $60 million net worth, comes from operating hotels in the Pacific Northwest and Midwestern states, as founder of Provenance Hotels—a Portland, Ore.-based company that has typically shown little to no interest in overseas dealings. (Sondland left his executive role with the company in July 2018, ahead of becoming ambassador.)
Provenance, which currently includes 14 mid-priced hotels in its portfolio, frequently flies under the radar. By naming each hotel individually, it helps take attention off of a brand name and fosters an “independent” vibe.
That may be more useful than ever now, as U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, has been calling for consumers to ban stays at its hotels—a boycott that the company has said is “misguided, misinformed and ultimately an unnecessary threat,” to Provenance employees. Also useful is the hotels’ marketing messaging, which has always leaned towards a liberal and rebellious personality, with “co-conspirators” instead of local partners and “spiritual menus” that include all sorts of religious texts instead of New Testament Bibles in the bedside drawers.
With its foothold in American cities where boutique hotels are still a refreshing departure from generic, big-box offerings, many Provenance properties are standard-bearers in their destinations. (There’s not much competition in Stillwater, Minn. or Tacoma, Wa.) It’s possible you’ve stayed at one and never knew it. Here’s a peek at the properties you’re most likely to encounter on your travels—whether you’re hoping to steer clear or get a nosebleed seat at the circus.
The Revolution Hotel, Boston
Don’t mind the cheeky name—or its zealous messaging. (“Those who thrive here are instinctively rebellious torchbearers of innovation,” claims its website.) The Revolution is one of just a dozen or so design-centric options in a city that’s notoriously short on hotel beds. This 177-room has a giant mural inspired by local history and sports running along the upper perimeter of the lobby (mostly in red, white, and blue tones), high above a brick-lined fireplace and open library shelves. There’s also a garden-level coworking space and Peloton bike in the gym. From $145 per night
The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery, New Orleans
When it opened in the Warehouse Arts District near the city’s convention center, The Old No. 77 was a New Orleans trailblazer—among the first boutique hotels in a city familiar overflowing with Hyatts and Sheratons. Even in the company of newcomers like the Nopsi and Maison de la Luz, Old No. 77 remains popular for its 165 loft-like rooms, 19th century architectural bones, and Nina Compton-helmed restaurant, Compère Lapin. From $190 per night
Hotel Max, Seattle
This 163-room, low-key spot near Amazon’s HQ has a daily craft beer hour (where bartenders pour free pints of whatever makes them happy), carafes of Caffe D’arte coffee in the lobby, and electric vehicle charging stations for those anyone that doesn’t want to brave walking (or biking) in the Seattle rain. In other words: the millennial business traveler check list. From $143 per night
Woodlark, Portland, Ore.
Its Abigail Hall, a large bar done up in cheery floral wallpaper and leather upholstery, is a prime spot for after-work drinks, while its outpost of Good Coffee is one of the best places to caffeinate downtown. Out of its 150 rooms, the loft suites on the top floors have impressive 20-foot ceilings and spiral staircases. From $170 per night
Hotel Preston, Nashville
The Preston is closer to the airport than the honky tonks in town—but it’s 200 rooms are fresh off a top-to-bottom renovation, with masculine leather headboards and gigantic windows that allow tons of natural light. Maybe it’s best feature is the back yard Pool House, which has a fresh-out-of-Palm-Spring vibe; think throwback film screenings and cool canned margaritas. From $135
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