For The Society Hotel, co-owner Matt Siegel and his partners brought in Portland, Oregon firm Waechter Architecture to gut a 1930s-era schoolhouse and reimagine it as a deluxe hostel and spa tucked into the steep gash of the Columbia River Gorge in Bingen, Washington. Working alongside Portland design firm Blossom, Siegel mined the historic building, plucking slate chalkboards from classrooms to repurpose them behind the reception desk to display the hotel’s name and as guestroom welcome signs.
“We used a European model for the hotel,” explains Siegel, referencing both the compact private rooms and the two spaces stacked with three-tier bunks, all with shared restrooms. “We put a lot of effort into our communal spaces at this property,” Siegel says, nixing TVs so guests might mingle in the café or lobby lounge, where library books pack the shelves surrounding a fireplace framed in mustard tiles. Deep green sofas line the walls, which Siegel painted a charcoal blue. The same moody hue was applied to the building’s façade and its gymnasium-cum-event space. The effect is a dark mass with a sparkling copper roof, a bold juxtaposition against the burnt-orange of the landscape.
Adjacent to the schoolhouse is an inspired new build of 20 cabins—with ensuite bathrooms—encircling a bar, sauna, and spa with saltwater pools. Communal firepits spark in the night. Built into the mountain, the subterranean Sanctuary peeks out, promising yoga and wellness retreats.
From: Hospitality Design
✅ free Wi-Fi • bunkrooms, individual rooms & cabins (14-28m2) • hotel opened: 2019 • architecture: Waechter Architecture (Portland) • interior design: Blossom (Portland) ✅ free on-site parking • no pets allowed • 24-hour front desk