Grandeur in the Heart of Eugene
Eugene, Oregon, is known as a “college town” with trendy eateries, beer trails, and quirky little neighborhoods, but that is not all Eugene has to offer — grandeur awaits hidden in the heart of the city. Stepping into the lobby of the Inn at the Fifth you are immediately faced with a decision. Would you like to begin your time at the Inn with red or white wine or perhaps one of four refreshing local beers?
While you sip your beverage, an attentive staff member will graciously walk you through the formalities of checking in to one of the Inn’s rooms or suites. As you settle into your accommodations, you will soon discover that this upscale boutique hotel offers visitors a delightful taste of luxury in the midst of a young hip city.
Levels of Opulence | Rooms and suites at the Inn come in ascending levels of excellence. The standard room is anything but typical. The butler privacy cabinet allows guests to receive and remove room service without forgoing their privacy. Each room boasts a refrigerator and a coffee brewer, Aveda bath products, plush bathrobes, custom Italian linens, and a unique pillow menu ensuring that each person gets a comfortable night’s rest. In-room spa services are available for purchase, and safes, free Wi-Fi, and 42-inch flat-screen TVs are customary.
The level of opulence rises when upgrading into the Inn’s suites where they continue to get larger and more luxurious. Junior suites host generous living rooms with fireplaces accentuating both the bedroom and the living room space, and the king spa suites include a whirlpool tub. For those desiring the “penthouse effect,” the crystal suite with its 844 square feet, two fireplaces, and two separate seating areas is sure to please.
Themed rooms and suites add individuality to the Inn and most of them have an angled king layout with a nook displaying the unique décor. I enjoyed the Pendleton suite during my stay. This junior king suite came decorated with traditional patterns from the famous 100-year-old company. Each blanket, cushion, and throw accentuated the room with an exquisite design. The hotel features a special program, the “Pendleton Blanket Menu,” where any guest can select from one of five specific Pendleton blankets to enjoy for the duration of their stay. These 100% virgin wool blankets are warm and cozy, perfect to wrap up in while reading a book, or just right for snuggling up to all night long.
Books enhance the nook room, art from eastern Africa adorns the African room, and items from Willamette Valley wine country decorate the wine room. A red umbrella, crystal raindrops, and a pair of Oregon duck galoshes create authenticity in the rain room.
Shops with Class | The Inn shares the property with 5th Street Public Market, an upscale shopping plaza with boutique shops, restaurants, and Provisions Market Hall. High quality women’s fashion, designer athletic wear, jewelry, leather products, and hand-made items from Africa are available at the Public Market.
Provisions Market Hall is to gourmet and aspiring chefs what a candy store is to children. It is both overwhelming and exciting to contemplate what to purchase. The vast selection of olive oils, vinegars, cheeses, and wines are perfect for any picnic basket, and the deli counter offers goods to go, or the option to eat at one of the indoor or outdoor tables on site. The cookware section has something for both beginners and professional chefs.
Several restaurants pepper the public market satisfying visitors that are craving burgers and pizza to high-end Pacific Northwest cuisine available at Marché & Le Bar. Marché is from the French word meaning market, and chefs here take what is available in the market each day and turn it into something sumptuous to savor using French culinary techniques.
Truffles Galore | I was fortunate to visit the area in the winter months during the annual Truffle Festival founded by Charles Lefevre and his wife Leslie Scott. The chefs at Marché, along with other local chefs, take full advantage of these little gems when they are in season offering dishes highlighting the local white and black Oregon truffles and the European varieties.
I attended a special dinner at Marché celebrating the Oregon truffle. This sumptuous meal began with a delectable charcuterie platter of meats from next door at Provisions Market Hall. The pork and pistachio pâté and chicken rillettes were mouth-watering, but the duck liver mousse with brandy was my ultimate favorite. Mediterranean olives and smoked hazelnuts adorned the platter.
Next, a fish board with smoked, cured, and potted fish arrived at the table. Condiments of red onion, capers, lemon, and toasts added to the feast balancing the flavors. My favorite course was the wild mushroom pizzetta with thinly sliced shallots, fresh thyme, mixed wild mushrooms, béchamel sauce, and shaved black truffles. The creamy sauce, meaty mushrooms, and earthy truffles were a taste I will not soon forget, but will have to wait for another 10 months to relive. The pasta dish with beef sugo, fresh egg noodles, and shaved black truffles received a generous showering of Grana Padano cheese from the server.
Each course paired fabulously with Broadley Vineyards Marché Cuvée Pinot Noir 2016. This fruit-forward, medium body wine flowed freely at Marché where the service was impeccable and staff covertly refilled the glasses throughout the meal. Honeycombs, French macarons, pâté de fruit, petite tarts, and chocolate truffles ended the dining event on a sweet note.
Eugene has something to offer all visitors any time of year, but for those looking for a bit of upscale living and some great service, stay at the Inn at the Fifth, dine at Marché, pack a picnic lunch from Provisions Market Hall, and bring home something exotic or lavish from 5th Street Public Market.