The Jupiter – a Portland hotel for a diverse community of travellers

All are welcome. Many have come. With 148 rooms combined, Jupiter Hotel and Jupiter NEXT offer a vibrant glimpse into Portland’s unique arts and music culture. A locally-owned boutique since 2004, the Jupiter Hotel recently expanded with the Jupiter NEXT. Mr Hudson speaks to Nick Pearson, General Manager, about his vision for the brand, the guest experience, and their close connection to the LGBT+ community.

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Tell us about yourself 

I’m Nick, General Manager at Jupiter Hotel. I started my hospitality career working at Timberline Lodge (yes, where they filmed Stephen King’s The Shining!) and got experience in every facet of hospitality from housekeeping to front desk to resort program management. Then, I made my way to Portland and landed at Jupiter Hotel, where I served as Assistant GM for three years before transitioning to General Manager after the opening of Jupiter NEXT in 2018.

Jupiter Hotel Marilyn Metro

Jupiter Hotel

What does the Jupiter Hotel brand stand for? 

The Jupiter Hotel was born out of a desire for a place where you could go as a stranger and end up being part of a community, where the underground became the obvious, where you were rewarded for looking a little deeper. With two restaurant partners and a music venue on the property, the Jupiter Hotels’ lush city vibes are a nod to Portland’s rich history of makers and creators all the while looking forward toward a dynamic future.

What makes Jupiter Hotel special? 

Jupiter Hotel is not a hotel in Portland, we’re a Portland hotel. People come here to create. To explore. To innovate. They want real connection in real-time. Building hotels is easy, but creating spaces that – by design – encourage people to break down their own barriers takes intention and a level of real connection you can’t get unless you’re local.

Jupiter NEXT

“From continually upgrading our booking and reservation platforms to being willing to guinea pig new products, we have been as adventurous as our community of travellers is”

What makes a great hotel? 

A hotel who knows its identity, and doesn’t try to be everything for everybody. By having a strong sense of who your customer is (and isn’t) and what they want out of their experience with you, you can have a much greater impact on the guest’s stay.

How has hospitality evolved over the last decade or so? 

Over the past decade, the level of interaction that a guest can have with any hospitality provider before they arrive has increased dramatically. Guest’s want to interact with service providers on their terms and fast. Good thing we like change. From continually upgrading our booking and reservation platforms to being willing to guinea pig new products, we have been as adventurous as our community of travellers is. In one such evolution, we’ve embraced the digital age by incorporating Roxy digital concierges into all of our rooms at Jupiter NEXT allowing our guests to find what they’re looking for without the hassle of waiting in a concierge line. Plus it doubles as the room phone, the first such device of its kind in US hotels.

Jupiter Next Hotel

Jupiter NEXT

How do you keep up with changing customer expectations?

We listen to our guests. We offer several spaces and places for our guests to give us feedback, plus we keep an eye on the industry via social media response, industry publications, staying at other hotels ourselves, and keeping open communication with guests and colleagues alike. We’re also big into testing. We love trying out new products with guests, seeing what works, watching buying patterns for merchandise and mini-bars, and seeing what folks respond to.

“Everyone’s lives are already so busy and cluttered, so we try to keep that in mind by providing a minimalist, modern backdrop to their experiences”

How important is design these days as part of the hotel experience?

Design is a central component of the guest experience. There are 1000s of hotel room options in every city, so in addition to connecting travellers to our neighbourhood, city and state, how our physical spaces impact them is critically important. Everyone’s lives are already so busy and cluttered, so we try to keep that in mind by providing a minimalist, modern backdrop to their experiences. Our gold, black, and white colour pallet extends throughout our spaces; plus, we’ve incorporated design elements into every corner of the hotel from the Banksy images at the end of each hallway to the bottle cap and music posters incorporated into the signage behind the check-in desk. We have a giant birdcage chair and a u-shaped wooden seating unit that you don’t see every day. Everywhere you look, you’ve got a great backdrop to your trip, whether that means sharing it with the world on Instagram or simply soaking in something different from their daily grind, our guests love taking advantage of that.

Jupiter NEXT & Jupiter Hotel

“Our interior at the NEXT was designed by Megan Millie and incorporates the industrial vibes from our neighbourhood, Central Eastside”

Another interesting fact about Jupiter NEXT? It was designed top to bottom by women – from our lead architect, Carrie Strickland of Works Progress Architecture, to metalworker Laura Sol of Sol Creations who designed our statement staircase at the NEXT and railings throughout our original hotel. Our interior at the NEXT was designed by Megan Millie and incorporates the industrial vibes from our neighbourhood, Central Eastside, mixed with modern minimalist touches. Our hotel is also designed around “community.” We provide mugs in every guest room for folks to bring to the lobby for complimentary coffee. Plus we provide free, open wifi and long communal tables and working areas throughout the hotels in hopes that locals and guests will meet and mingle, working alongside each other throughout their stays.

Jupiter NEXT

“We’ve also welcomed many subsets of the gay community and provided a space for gay-centric events”

What makes Jupiter Hotel so popular with the gay community? 

Jupiter Hotel has always embraced fringe groups from the LGBT+ communities to the 420-friendly crowd, tattooers and the tattooed, music groups of all kinds, and more. We are providing a place where everyone is welcome, whether you’re jumping off a skateboard or stepping out of a limousine. And while the distinction might be subtle, we have always treated these groups as simply part of our community, not a separate segment. And it has been so well received because this level of inclusion is not born out of a marketing program but our organizational culture. We’ve also welcomed many subsets of the gay community and provided a space for gay-centric events and stays for the bear crowd like Beartown, the Oregon Bears Banquet, Sex-Positive Party, Lumberjack Rugby Club (Portland’s only gay-inclusive rugby club), Drag Brunch, Blowpony, RuPaul’s Drag Race participants and more. We’ve also partnered on Portland Pride events since our inception, and we’re looking forward to many more years of partnership to come!

Jupiter Hotel

What makes Portland such a great destination? 

You can get it all here. We’re 90 minutes or less from the Pacific Coast, skiing and winter sports at Mt Hood, loads of options for hiking, swimming, biking, and so much more. Plus, for those urban adventurers, we’re a foodie city! Our neighbourhood, in particular, includes a Michelin-star restaurant, James Beard-award winners, incredible cocktail bars, breweries, distilleries, and more. We have an underground music venue, Doug Fir Lounge, on property, so you don’t even have to leave the block to have an absolutely epic weekend.

“Unlike some larger cities where exclusivity is what makes a scene hip and sought after, Portland is so excited to share”

What are some of your favourite places in Portland that people need to know about? 

One of the things that I think makes Portland so unique is that we have an interesting, accessible scene for everyone. And unlike some larger cities where exclusivity is what makes a scene hip and sought after, Portland is so excited to share. Whether you want local stand-up comedy, coffee bars catering to the motorcycle community, hip hop open mics at a pizza shop, local community theatre festivals or a makers market dedicated to the dark arts, everyone will be ready to invite you in and share their favourite part of Portland with you.

Portland Travel Guide

Photo: Zack Spear

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