Approaching the main entrance of McMenamins Grand Lodge, six soaring Corinthian columns support an impressive brick building. Dormers on the third floor are visible, making guests curious about the newly opened rooms in the “attic.” Upon entering McMenamins Grand Lodge you know this is a delightfully different hotel.
A former Masonic and Eastern Star property is now one of the most interesting hotels in Oregon. Originally built in the early 1920s, the Masonic Lodge opened on January 1, 1922 and the Children’s Cottage in November 1926. Though the Children’s Cottage closed in 1928, the lodge still functioned as a home for masons until the new Jennings-McCall ll building was opened in 1999.
Art and history on each floor
The McMenamin brothers purchased the lodge and reopened it as the Grand Lodge in March of 2000. The brothers are avid art collectors and have decorated the Grand Lodge with dozens of their paintings. The hallways are alight with a variety of brightly colored fixtures that delight young and old alike.
Each of the 90 guest rooms is unique and bear the name of a person, place, or even a Native American tribe. Room choices include bunk bed, full, king, queen, and double rooms. Choose a room with a private bath for comfort or a common bath to save money. All rooms are decorated in the McMenamin style of fun and quirky, bright and bold. Some tell a story like the Atfalati themed room #225. This indigenous tribe roamed the immediate area long before the white man showed up in the 1800s. Room #104 is named after William Knighton, the architect of the Grand Lodge.
Other rooms are named after residents who occupied the lodge. The newly opened third floor rooms are named after books or literary passages. Each of these third floor rooms have private bathrooms and hand painted headboards. An elevator is available to get to the third floor but be sure and explore the hallways and stairwells to take in art and history.
The doctor will see you at happy hour
For food and drink, McMenamins Grand Lodge is bursting with amenities. On-site find the Grand Lodge Theater, Ruby’s Spa, Pat’s Corner, Billy Scott Bar, Bob’s Bar, Doctor’s Office Bar, and the Ironwork Grill. First-run movies play at the Grand Lodge Theater and are free to guests. Happy hour at the Doctor’s Office Bar is just what tired travelers need after a long day.
If the weather is cooperating, head outside to Pat’s corner, named for the McMenamin brothers’ mom. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available and guests enjoy free live music with their food and drink in the summer. Pat’s Bar’s menu is based on Northwest style pub fare. Tillamook ice cream and cheese is a local product not to be missed.
For other dining options, the downtown area of Forest Grove is just over a mile (under 2 km) away. Try Pac Thai for excellent Thai food in a casual setting. The drunken noodles will fire up your appetite. For Peruvian cuisine, try the Yellow Llama. Both seafood and land-based fare await hungry diners. They have creative cocktails, craft beer, and local wines to pair with your meal.
Special events and meetings
Business meetings, weddings, and special events are welcomed at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge. With nine indoor event spaces to choose from, they can accommodate anywhere from 20 to 150 people. For a small space, the Magic Flute Room is a cozy space for 20 or fewer. The indoor fireplace and outdoor views makes this room perfect for a private event. The Children’s Cottage is the biggest rental space, holding up to 150. Each space is equipped with audio-visual, display boards, Wi-Fi, and other meeting equipment you might need for your event. Several outdoor event spaces are available and can hold up to 600 attendees if needed in lush-green surroundings.
Quirky and fun
McMenamins Grand Lodge is a good fit for families, couples, and business travelers. Their prices are reasonable and the facilities quirky and fun. Chances are you will find this is a hotel worth returning to.