The Society Hotel Bingen, currently under construction and opening in May 2019, offered Mt. Adams Chamber of Commerce members a “construction preview” last Thursday evening.
The Society Hotel Bingen owners Matt Siegel, Jessie Burke, Jonathan Cohen, and Carrington “Ceb” Barrs, as well as some of the The Society Hotel in Portland staff, were on hand to offer groups of individuals tours of the facility.
The owners are introducing their hostel-meets-boutique-hotel model to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. They are renovating the 80-year-old historic Bingen Schoolhouse to provide affordable adventure lodging and spa services.
Cozy private spaces and welcoming gathering areas are a signature of The Society Hotel, and the Bingen location will feature many of these amenities. Like the original Society Hotel in Portland, the Bingen school is being renovated and revitalized to add modern comforts while retaining original architectural and design features. Of note: the wooden floors from the former school have been repurposed, as has some of the school’s wainscot and windows.
The hotel features two 24-bed bunkrooms which include a few fancy plusses like privacy curtains, outlets, storage cubbies and reading lights for each bunk; 10 European-style standard hotel rooms which will be small, private rooms, with queen and king beds, storage and shared restrooms; and 20 modern cabins which will encircle a meadow, firepit, and the bathhouse and spa, which includes a café of its own. The cabins sleep up to 4 people, include small kichenettes and dining areas and private outdoor spaces. Cost for accommodations will vary from a low of $35 to $45 for a bunk up to $200 a night for a cabin.
A bright, airy lobby will feature ample seating and house a curated café/bar with outdoor seating in the summer serving healthy snacks, regional coffees, teas, and pastries, as well as cocktails, beer, and wine.
The hallowed original gym will be restored and serve as a multipurpose room for everything from shooting hoops to corporate meetings. The original floor and bleachers will remain intact.
One of the most unique features of the Society Hotel Bingen is its “Sanctuary.” This unique subterranean building can be reserved for retreats or other groups of travelers for personal use, yoga, team-building retreats, and wellness. It’s flooded with natural light through a cupola and large, south-facing glass doors.
The bathhouse and spa feature skylights and fold-away glass walls help to bring the outdoors indoors every season of the year, massage rooms, saltwater soaking pool, large, covered outdoor hot tub, a sauna, a cold plunge, and a bar with fresh juice drinks, kombucha, beer and cocktails, and healthy snacks. The plan is to offer day-passes to non-guests to use this portion of the facility.
In addition to remodeling of the old building and construction of the new elements, The Society owners are also spending $400,000 of their $9 million construction project funds on landscaping and landscaping elements. Their goal is to make the outside as nice as the inside.
“We want the hotel to be design worthy of a New York Times article,” said owner Barrs. He added that’s what happened to the Portland hotel which is the highest booked hotel in the city.
The original Bingen schoolhouse was built in 1908 and burned down in 1933. The new Bingen School complex was designed by Pacific Northwest architect Donald J. Stewart and built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 for unemployed, unmarried men as part of the New Deal.
The 7,500-square-foot schoolhouse served as the school for Bingen and White Salmon, from 1938 until the 1970s. In 1988, it was converted into a hostel, which offered private rooms and dormitory style accommodations.