Better late than never. Clichés only make sense when there’s a hint of truth in them, which was certainly the case with the opening of the new Courtyard Marriott downtown at SW Sixth and Oak. Despite officially opening for business on May 27, the powers that be waited until July 16 for the actual opening shindig. For this auspicious event, the Marriott paired with p:ear, a local nonprofit program that mentors homeless youth and provides them with creative opportunities and a chance to acquire skills that could keep them off the streets.
Within seconds of passing through the doors of the Courtyard, guests were handed a Green Dragon, a disarming cucumber-infused glass of cocktail magic. The lobby was festooned with works by Portland artists, to underscore the idea that this hotel is truly a part of the city.
Upstairs, each room had a different theme that represented a part of Oregon and its culture. There was the Bamboo Grove room that served various types of seafood, while a sustainable fashion show took place accompanied by local band Sneakin’ Out playing bossa nova versions of Deep Purple. The Breath of Fresh Air room gave people literal breaths of fresh air, as an oxygen bar dispensed wild combinations of flavored air (a personal favorite: mocha lavender, no joke). The p:ear Art Gallery included a mushroom bar with chanterelles, morels, shimeji, and shitakes. The dessert suite was called the Garden of Delights. And the Leaf Bar had leaves inscribed with words of wisdom spread out all over the tables for the guests to peruse while sipping their event-appropriate pear-tinis.
By the end of the night, the greatest winner was p:ear. The local nonprofit took in $8,000 to help at-risk kids complete their GEDs and find creative outlets for themselves.