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Our manicured gardens provide an amazing backdrop to an already stunning view. The gardens are filled with color and native Oregon plants which give The Columbia Gorge Hotel a distinct identity. Take time to stroll the grounds and let the world pass by. Listen to the sounds of Wah-Gwin-Gwin Falls as it tumbles 208 to the Columbia River below. Do not miss the grounds in the winter as we set the stage for a magnificent display of over 500000 dazzling white lights.
In 1921 Oregon lumber magnate and philanthropist Simon Benson observed in part of the region fledgling tourism industry We have built good roads and invited the world to come view our beauty spots but we have done nothing toward taking care of them after they arrive. In response to that need Benson built the Columbia Gorge Hotel. Our property was first described in the Lewis and Clark Journals and originally the site of Phelps Mill in the mid-1800s after which our creek is named. The mill made staves for the whiskey barrels carried by mules from Hood River to the east. In 1904 Hood River pioneer Robert Rand capitalized on the area spectacular beauty by constructing the Wah Gwin Gwin Hotel named for the 208 waterfall on the property. The hotel operated successfully as a summer resort for 17 years until it was demolished by Simon Benson to make way for his new hotel. The layout of the grounds and trails that were developed by Rand remained the setting for the new Columbia Gorge Hotel. The hotel was designed by Portland architect Morris H. Whitehouse as the Hotel Benson and constructed in less than a year. The Italian stonemasons brought over to work on the new Columbia River Highway built the stone walls and bridges for Bensons new Waldorf of the West. The wooden beams visible in the public areas are actually made of plaster and required five artisans working in concert to construct. On June 21 1921 the Columbia Gorge Hotel opened with a grand reception and quickly developed an international reputation. Notable visitors in the early years included Presidents Roosevelt and Coolidge plus actresses Clara Bow Myrna Loy Jane Powell and Shirley Temple. The hotel is rumored to have been a favorite hideaway for Rudolph Valentino after whom our Valentino Lounge is named. During the depression the hotel fell on hard times and was purchased by the Neighbors of Woodcraft as a retirement home. It remained for a quarter of a century until the ongoing restoration began in 1977. Priv
Pets are allowed for a fee of USD20 a night. Please contact hotel for more information.