Urban Adventure Bathing: the Portland Hilton

Did you know that Portland's downtown Hilton Hotel has a spa and fitness facility and that it's open to the public? Yes, there's a fitness room, but all Tinygogo cares about is the indoor pool, hot tub, sauna and steam room. Somehow I managed to work downtown for almost seven years before learning about it.

For $20 a visitor can drop in for full access to the facilities.This is conservative corporate America, so bring a swim suit. It's required. (I managed to not get kicked out after prancing around in my speedo.) The important thing is that this is a relatively unknown location where you can sneak a sensual escape from the troubled world.

Lockable wood lockers (at least in the men's area)

Here are numerous private showers. Be careful you don't give yourself a seizure from the black and white checkered tile. The Dream Police, they're coming for you.

This is the entrance to the sauna. It's perfectly serviceable, hot, good benches and large. Nothing fancy but no complaints either. It didn't have a bucket for steam but I improvised by filling up a few paper cups of drinking water.

And this is the entrance to the steam room. I thought it was well-designed and maintained. Too often steam rooms are a token addition, where tile might be missing, or it's luke warm and clammy (and even moldy). There were two levels of tile benches and the ceiling was an upside-down pyramid design, so condensation on the ceiling was channeled to a central spot in the room. It didn't drip on me and it was fun to watch.

The negative with both the sauna and the steam room was that there were no nearby showers for cold rinsing. It felt a little awkward to walk through a carpeted hallway and through the changing room to get to the showers. 

The swimming pool was certainly not Olympic length but you can still do some laps to get the blood moving. It works as a cooling plunge pool too!

Ah, the light! The roof above the swimming pool is a nice treat. I floated on my back and stared at the sky.Good bye, stress.

Hot tub! It's a stainless steel tub, which is a nice step up from nasty acrylic. (The black and white checker board theme returns to haunt me.)

Honestly I didn't fully relax on my first visit. As a non-hotel guest and as a ruthless blogger I felt like a bit of an interloper. Also the environment is a little sterile. But, in the spirit of Urban Adventure Bathing, I resolve to overcome these obstacles and make this place my own. I am keeping this place in my secret emergency reserve if I ever have to escape for an inappropriately-long lunch hour from a tough day at work. 

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