With the Willamette Valley American Viticultural Area (or AVA) continuing to garner awards and accolades, the world is taking notice with an influx of world-wide visits.
The charming center of the Oregon wine world, McMinnville has long needed a destination for an upscale experience that evokes both the farm-to-table culture as well as the crafted luxury that pairs so well with the wine experience.
The 3rd Street Flats are already the go-to spot in the heart of McMinnville, and owners Erin Stephenson and Brian Shea are creating a true wine-lover’s paradise with the Atticus Hotel.
Set to open in spring 2018, we had a chance to catch up with Erin and hear just what expect out of this opulent wine country escape.
RS: How did the vision of the Atticus come to be, and how has it evolved since the first conception?
ES: My partner Brian and I have always believed that we provide our guests at 3rd Street Flats with a really unforgettable experience, giving them a chance to stay in their own luxury apartment in the heart of Historic Downtown McMinnville. Our guests enjoy not only our beautiful historic flats, but being able to take advantage of all that downtown McMinnville has to offer, which includes 18 wineries and tasting rooms, 35 restaurants (and a variety of bars), all in easy walking distance. In essence however what we offer at 3rd Street Flats is a self-serve experience (we do not have lobbies or a front desk in either location), even though it’s laced with a lot of hospitality, like the wine and chocolates we greet each guest with on arrival.
For a long time, we’ve being working to grow our company to be able to provide a product that could offer all the benefits of staying in luxury accommodations in downtown McMinnville, but in a full-service package.
The Atticus Hotel does exactly that. We will offer our guests a full-service hotel—complete with concierge, valet, restaurant & bar, conference space and an exercise facility—in the same amazing downtown location. We have also taken a lot of elements from 3rd Street Flats and incorporated them into the Atticus Hotel. For seven years we’ve listened to our guests and heard what they love about our spaces and the experiences we help them create, and now we can incorporate those aspects at the Atticus Hotel.
RS: If you had to pinpoint a style or culture the Atticus will evoke, what would it be?
ES: From a style standpoint I would describe the Atticus Hotel as a sexy spin on a distinctly Oregon aesthetic, expressed through the lens of McMinnville and Oregon wine country.
Our culture at the Atticus Hotel is very much reflective of the culture in McMinnville: warm and welcoming with an emphasis on locally made products and experiences, and always walking the line between being deeply collaborative by nature, but also fiercely independent. We don’t really accept the mantra of, “We should do it that way because it’s just the way it’s always been done.” We’re always about turning ideas on their head, asking why, and figuring out how to deliver the best possible experience for our guests, whether or not it’s actually ever been done that way before.
RS: With McMinnville being the center of Oregon Wine Country, how will the Atticus cater to visiting wine lovers looking to explore the area?
ES: The Atticus Hotel is tailor-made for wine lovers and foodies alike. Not only are we in the heart of Downtown McMinnville—where wonderful restaurants and wineries abound—but we also have renowned chef John Gorham opening his next restaurant, Third n Tasty, at the hotel, which is a wonderful boon to our guests. Our in-room dining will also make it possible for guests to have a bottle of wine, a cocktail or a beautiful meal sent up from Third n Tasty. Third n Tasty will feature global brunch favorites, stellar happy hour offerings, and a dinner menu focused on cuisine from the world’s top wine regions.
Our concierge will also work hard to provide our guests with great local insights into the wine and culinary scene in the valley, and will assist guests planning experiences that meet their specific needs and address their interests.
Our rooms at the Atticus Hotel have also been designed specifically with wine lovers in mind, and all feature dual climate controlled wine fridges, as well as stemware, to make it easy for guests to enjoy purchases in their rooms.
RS: McMinnville is known for it small-town charm and classic architecture, how will the Atticus fit into this ambiance?
ES: Portland based architect Nathan Cooprider is actually a home-town boy, and he’s worked hard to design the Atticus Hotel to look as if it’s always been in Historic Downtown McMinnville. Our goal has always been for the architecture to fit in seamlessly in one of America’s most beloved downtowns, and I think Nathan has hit all the right notes.
RS: With your unwavering support of the McMinnville community, and the betterment of the area, how will the Atticus reflect your passion?
ES: The Atticus Hotel really is our love song to McMinnville. We are bringing the voices and talents of the community into this project on many levels, from celebrating talented local craftspeople and artists to highlighting some iconic aspects of McMinnville in our designs. We always take a local-first stance on things, in an effort to both support our local economy and to create a true sense of place for our guests, and we think about that philosophy in a concentric manner.
We always start any questions with “Can we source this from McMinnville in a way that meets our design objectives?” and if we can’t then we look a little farther afield to the county, and then the Portland metro area, and then the state. But the truth is that McMinnville is home to some amazingly talented people, a huge variety of innovative businesses, and a lot of makers. We have a terrific talent pool from which we can draw.
We also believe deeply that the Atticus Hotel will bring guests to McMinnville who are after a full service experience who may not otherwise come to town, or may just come for the day, and we’re excited about the economic impact for our community. There’s a tendency for people to come to McMinnville and fall in love and immediately want to move here. McMinnville can be a dangerous cocktail for anyone who cherishes a convergence between small town charm, architectural heritage and a community of people who enjoy slow food and beautiful wine.
Set to open in spring of 2018, the Atticus hotel will bring a much-needed high-end element to the rustic charm of Oregon Wine Country. Pack your bag, plan your wine tour, and treat yourself to a beautiful blend of small town enchantment and top tier indulgences.