Oxford's opening

After almost three years and about $12 million, the 59-room downtown hotel is set to open soon

By Tim Doran (@TimDoraninBend) and Dean Guernsey

The lobby of The Oxford Hotel in downtown Bend lacks the chest-high counters found at most hotel front desks.

Instead, guests checking in sit in cushioned chairs at regular-sized desks, almost like the loan or new account desks found in many banks.

Concierge check-in, valet parking and other detailed services will be the elements that management says will set The Oxford Hotel apart from others in Bend.

The Oxford, which is expected to open to the public within days, aspires to become the only four-diamond hotel in Bend and only the second in Central Oregon, after Sunriver Resort. And the attention paid to environmental impacts could help it earn a green-building certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design system.

Located at 10 N.W. Minnesota Ave., The Oxford Hotel becomes the 17th and highest-end hotel for the Bend-based Baney Corp.

Construction on the hotel, which was projected to cost around $12 million, began in April 2007, according to The Bulletin's archives, with the company's construction crane becoming a fixture in the downtown skyline.

It has 59 guest rooms, 2,000 square feet of high-tech conference space, a seventh floor, a glass-walled workout room and a restaurant and bar called 10 Below.

Located below ground level and named after the street address, 10 Below has seating for about 75, said Ben Perle, general manager.

Lighting in the restaurant area comes from fixtures that look like deer antlers — made of a white ceramic or porcelain material.

Even the restrooms outside the restaurant have attracted attention. Both the men's and women's restrooms have one-piece horizontal concrete slab sinks, gray for the men and white for women. Water in the men's room sink flows into a drain made to look like a large crack in the concrete.

Each of the stalls in the women's room has a chandelier, and a mirror on the wall.

The 59 guest rooms, which average 550 square feet, have soaking tubs and separate showers. Instead of prepackaged pouches of coffee, The Oxford will offer containers of fresh ground coffee from Bellatazza, and a French press, along with the coffee maker.

The larger suites, which approach 800 square feet, contain full kitchens with built-in stoves, dishwashers, concrete countertops and refrigerators.

Perle said The Oxford plans to offer a pillow bar, giving guests a choice of pillows, such as feather or one that conforms to the head and neck. Pull-out sofas come with Tempur-Pedic mattresses, he said, and the bedding is 100 percent organic, made in part from recycled plastic or with ingredients like bamboo.

Rates range from $129 to $329 a night, depending on availability and season.

The Oxford Hotel was designed and constructed with energy- and resource-saving features.

Bathrooms have dual-flush toilets, which Perle said are common in Europe and provide two different flushes, depending on the need.

“That will save tens of thousands of gallons of water,” he said.

The hotel uses electrolyzed water — basically saltwater charged with electricity — as a sanitizer, degreaser and cleaner.

“It has replaced 98 percent of our cleaning products,” Perle said.

Because it lacks the chemicals most commercially produced cleaning solutions contain, the electrolyzed water is healthier for employees and guests. It is produced on site, so it saves shipping costs, eliminates pollution that would be produced by trucks delivering commercial cleaners, and means no empty cleaning containers end up in landfills.

With its mixture of metal sculptures and solid wood, The Oxford Hotel brings a cosmopolitan feel found in Europe or large cities like San Francisco, Perle said, along with Western touches throughout to reflect Central Oregon and the High Desert.

A conversation area in the lobby contains a tree-stump table — one cast in a metal with an almost chromelike shine. In the executive board room just off the lobby, rough-hewn juniper logs with some bark still visible line the entire rear wall — log cabin style.

The Oxford Hotel also pays homage to Bend's history with key cards that carry historical images of the city, such as the Pilot Butte Inn, a picture of downtown with dirt roads and the Bend Fire Station — many years before it became Staccato at the Firehall.

About the hotel

• Seven floors.

• 59 guest rooms averaging 550 square feet in size.

• Restaurant and bar called 10 Below.

• 2,000 square feet of banquet and meeting space.

• Smart panels in each room with audio, video and high-definition connections that will display on the 42-inch LCD flat-screen television.

• Water-saving dual-flush toilets.

• Complimentary shuttle service to the airport and around Bend.