We had such a positive response to our Portland Staycation piece that we've decided to seek out more quick, easy and affordable ways to get a quick escape without having to plan or spend for a big vacation.
We didn't quite know what to expect from Portland Tub and Tan, located in the Montavilla neighborhood of SE Portland. The business is only a stones throw away from less than fantastic neighborhoods beyond 82nd Avenue. But Montavilla is going through quite a revival and we've been pleasantly surprised with our time at bars, restaurants and movie theaters in the neighborhood. So we decided to take the plunge and give Portland Tub and Tan a try.
Portland Tub and Tan features 16 private hot tub rooms in a wide variety of themes and configurations. The tubs are split into three classes: Standard Indoor Tub ($35 per hour) is fairly basic with tub, music and mood lighting; VIP Indoor Room ($45 per hour) has surround sound, flatscreen TV, and themes; and Open Air Hottub Room ($55 per hour) with built-in fireplace, plasma TV, surround sound, waterfall and rock structures. All rooms include towel service and are priced for 2 people.
We found the staff at Portland Tub and Tan to be very friendly. They were willing to give tours of the available rooms and walked us through each room's features in good detail.
Some of the Tub and Tan rooms feature specific themes or special features, including an in-room sauna, Asian themed/ buddha room and the Disco Room. We decided to give the Disco Room (Room 16) a try. The Disco Room is Portland Tub and Tan's uber room and features a complete disco lighting system with lasers, disco ball and about 10 different lighting effects which can be turned on and off. The room also has a waterfall, a misting system, dual headed shower, a jet above the hottub which lets cool water cascade down, fresh air system, flat screen TV, and a 'relaxation' bench.
The star of Portland Tub and Tan's rooms are, of course, the hot tubs. You can have the tub adjusted to your temperature preference, but once it's set if it's too hot or too cold you have to call the front desk to have them re-adjust it. The tub was impeccably clean and well maintained with enough room that it could probably comfortably accommodate five people. Everything on the tub was in working order and it had ample jets. The chlorine level wasn't overly strong so it was possible to sit in the tub for quite a while.
The Disco Room has so many different lighting combinations that it's hard not to constantly jump up and mess with them. With all the lighting combinations the room can transform from full-on party mode to romantically lit, almost like moonlight. One of the things we really loved about the room was the misting system, which sprayed a fine, cool mist down from the ceiling. This cool mist really helped balance the temperature so we weren't constantly having to hop in and out of the spa to cool down.
The room comes equipped with a DMX music system with a ton of different music choices. The remote is mounted to the wall so you have to hop out of the tub to adjust the station and the volume. The music system does support iPods and is probably the best way to go for music. The flat screen TV seemed superflous and there wasn't any guide to the stations in the room. The rooms are exceptionally well insulated and private; we never heard any outside noise, talking or music spill-over from any of the adjoining rooms.
The rooms are billed by the hour and we found an hour is enough time to have a relaxing soak in the tub. They flash the lights in the room to let you know when you have ten minutes left so you can shower off and get dressed. A dual headed shower was a nice touch for showering off after being in the tub.
Portland Tub and Tan sends out special offers via their email newsletter (which you can sign up for on their site). The August coupon was fantastic, giving you an extra 30 minutes of tub time on top of whatever you book.
We were pleasantly surprised with Portland Tub and Tan, pleased at how clean and well maintained the facilities are, and how helpful and friendly the staff is. It's a fantastic urban oasis to steal away from the city for an hour and really escape.
Portland Tub and Tan (8028 SE Stark St., Portland. Ph: 503.261.1180) is open Sunday – Thursday starting at 9am with the last session beginning at 11pm, and Friday – Saturday starting at 9am with the last session beginning at 1am.
Photos courtesy of Portland Tub and Tan