History

Our Storied History

Portland’s most storied hotel, Sentinel, is located in two historic downtown Portland buildings – the former Seward Hotel (now Sentinel’s East Wing) and Portland’s former Elks Lodge (now the West Wing).

Built in 1909, the Seward was a boutique hotel designed by William Christmas Knighton, the first Oregon architect known to use Viennese-influenced Early Modern and modified Arts and Crafts styles in his design. With its fully glazed terra cotta exterior and robot-like sentinels adorning the roofline, the building is considered one of the most daring and inventive ever built in Oregon.

Over the years, the Seward underwent numerous changes in ownership, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in the mid-1980′s. It achieved further notoriety when director Gus Van Sant filmed portions of My Own Private Idaho here.

After a massive, multi-year renovation, the building reopened in 1992 as a boutique hotel, with the addition of the adjoining building, formerly the headquarters of Portland Elks Lodge #142. With a rich and mysterious history, the Elks Lodge was home to private dealings and secret ceremonies. Its six-story terra cotta structure, complete with beautifully elegant ballrooms and meeting spaces, is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of Italian Renaissance architecture in the nation.

Jake’s Grill opened in 1994 and has since become a modern Portland landmark, generating its own colorful tales and history.

The hotel was acquired by Provenance Hotels in 2012, and has undergone an extensive renovation. We’ve renamed it Sentinel in homage of our forward-thinking guests and the robotic sentinels that grace the building’s historic roofline. Guest rooms and meeting spaces have been lovingly restored to their original grandeur. We’ve also reinvented the strikingly grand lobby, adding a Starbucks that features evening service and opened a visionary lobby lounge, Jackknife bar and eatery.