The Willamette Valley is kind of the anti-Napa in some ways, veering more toward hippie chic than white tablecloths, and minimal-intervention wines as opposed to high-tech enology. One needn’t choose between the two, of course, and the new Atticus Hotel in downtown McMinnville, the best base for exploring Oregon’s most dynamic wine-producing region, offers a bridge between the two styles. The paradoxes abound: The hotel is elegant and casual, socially engaging and quiet, meticulously detail-oriented and unpretentious.
The glorious suites are huge and open, with lots of natural light pouring in through the big windows. There’s a sitting room appointed with a plush couch, thoughtfully chosen books including a Pablo Neruda and a Diane Ackerman, and a bowl full of fresh walnuts with a nutcracker for your obsessive pleasure, hearkening back to the sweet nuts’ heyday as a prized local crop.
There’s also a wine fridge, a French press setup with coffee from Flag & Wire and Velvet Monkey teas, both right down the street from the hotel, and a gas fireplace. The adjacent bedroom has a comfy king bed with sound system, blessedly soft lighting and blackout curtains. The 36 rooms are designed by Christina Tello with clever wallpapers and locally made headboards, and each has an “Atticus Chair” she designed specifically for the property.
The dreamy bathroom has a freestanding tub where one might spend an entire afternoon with a glass of Pinot Noir. Hop out and cozy into the Pendleton robe hanging on the wall, then launch your evening downstairs at Red Hills Kitchen or The Barberry, an excellent spot just a block away with a wine list that will rock your Oregon wine adventure.
Breakfast at Red Hills Kitchen is not to be missed. Both sweet and savory paths are solid: Jody Kropf’s homemade doughnuts and house-smoked salmon toast are the perfect combo to share if you can’t make up your mind. And the space is open all day if you just want to hang out and look out onto the tranquil street, perhaps plan your itinerary for the day.
The Atticus loans out Dutch bikes to guests, ideal for the flat terrain in town, especially when you have no business operating a motor vehicle. In addition to the more than 200 wineries within 20 miles of McMinnville, there are some tasting rooms right in town that you’ll want to hit, including pioneer Eyrie and Elizabeth Chambers. My favorite winery in the valley, Antica Terra, has just begun offering a “core tasting” of Maggie Harrison’s exceptional wines at the hotel itself.
The service is outstanding, exceptionally friendly and helpful with an eye toward helping guests decompress and get to know the environment. It’s clear that the folks who work here love where they live, and they want you to enjoy your time to the fullest.