#3 Story: The Allison Inn & Spa/Inn at Red Hills

The Allison Inn & Spa

By Yvette Saarinen • First Published in the September 2009 Edition

The Allison, Oregon wine country’s first luxury hotel, looks right at home in its bucolic setting. Its creators chose substance over glitter and imbued it with texture, inside and out, that tempts the hand to touch it. It opened Sept. 24.

With hills and mountains filling every horizon, it’s easy to forget that the bustling state Highway 99W is a mere mile away. The road to the Inn features Newberg’s first roundabout, which accommodates traffic flow rather than punctuating it.

The Inn is the largest luxury development in the Willamette Valley’s wine region. It offers 85 deluxe guest rooms and suites on four levels, all located in the east wing of the four-story, 154,841-square-foot hotel.

The Allison is named for a local lake, now long-gone, which was created when ice dams gave way and unleashed the Missoula Floods more than 10,000 years ago. The late Ira Allison, an Oregon State University geologist, documented its place in geologic history.

This sense of history inspired the Inn’s timeless design, even though the idea of it is more than 20 years in the making.

That’s when Ken and Joan Austin, founders of Newberg’s international dental equipment manufacturer, A-dec, also opened an alcohol and drug treatment center called Springbrook Northwest.

Joan (pronounced Jo-Ann) noted Newberg’s woeful lack of accommodations for visiting friends and families of Springbrook clients.

“I thought I could build a little 25-bed country inn,” Joan said with a wistful smile.

All of the appropriate permits were gathered and approvals secured, she said. Then the Shiloh Inn was built in mid-town Newberg and the Austins put their plans on the back burner.

However, they continued to quietly collect land in the historic Springbrook area, where A-dec is headquartered, and eventually amassed 450 contiguous acres. The first plans were to build a community, with residential, retail and public places and to pay for the hotel by selling pods of land.

Meanwhile, the real estate bubble burst and the plans for the community were set aside. Instead, Joan, head of the Austin family enterprise, Springbrook Properties, decided to focus on developing the inn and its approximate 50-acre site, which occupies a gently rising, south-sloping hill offering views of the Coast Range.

She was emboldened by the 30-something valley wine industry that continues to draw accolades—and visitors—from around the world and the approximate 200 wineries that have been established in the vicinity.

Sonja Haugen was appointed project manager and Joe Kavale was named assistant project manager. Together, they chose GGLO, a Seattle-based architectural and design firm, to design the project and contractor Lease Crutcher Lewis of Portland to build it.

Vines already are in the ground on The Allison’s own five-acre Pinot Noir vineyard, which is being managed by David Adelsheim of Newberg’s Adelsheim Vineyards.

The exterior also features elaborate landscaping in variations of manicured lawns to rural walking trails. Most of the biggest and oldest trees on the former farmstead remain, along with a blueberry patch that also serves the kitchen in the growing season.

The interior is a study in light and dark contrasting fabrics, woods and fixtures.

Visitors are greeted in a warm entryway, which opens on to a dramatic glass enclosed spiral staircase. The exquisite view is magnified in ascendance of the stone treads that are circled by a bronze handrail. Nearby is the inn’s “living room” where guests can take in more spectacular views while seated in comfortable chairs near a massive stone fireplace.

Jory, the Inn’s restaurant, is led by Executive Chef Nathan Lockwood from Northern California. He was most recently the executive chef of Fork in Marin County. Previously, he was the chef de cuisine at San Francisco’s Acquerello, and has been blogged about as “one of the Bay Area’s most underrated chefs.”

He skillfully prepares garden-to-table cuisine, sourcing from five different local purveyors as well as The Allison’s own one-acre garden. They buy organically as much as possible and work with Viridian Farms, Dayton Meat Packers. They also do all their butchering in house.

The dining room is composed of 84 seats and occupies 6,000 square feet. The décor strives to be both casual and elegant, while it also “pays tribute to Oregon’s agricultural bounty, acclaimed wines, microbrews and handcrafted distilled spirits.”

The wine program includes over 700 labels and a whopping 8,000-bottle cellar, 50 percent of which is comprised of Oregon wines. Over 50 wines are served by the glass, using the state-of-the-art Enomatic system. They also have an extensive cocktail menu of handcrafted distilled spirits, which utilize local herbs.

The 8,500-square-foot ballroom features jovial, round, pleated fabric light fixtures in earthy shades of brown and red that were made in Israel. Its textured wall treatment is reminiscent of windblown wheat fields. Like many of the public areas, it has retractable walls that can be deployed to make the space more intimate. The ballroom, board room and meeting rooms occupy a total of 12,500 square feet and open onto outdoor terraces.

The Inn’s general manager, noted hotelier Pierre Zreik, said all of the Inn’s amenities, with the exception of the pools and gym, are open to the public.

Zreik came to The Allison after serving as general manager of Cavalla Point in Sausalito, Calif. He trained at Lycée Technique in Grenoble, Switzerland. His career spans more than a quarter-century and includes work with the Four Seasons and Hyatt as well as independently owned hotels. Zreik said he loves Oregon and considers working at the The Allison a dream position.

Zreik said all of the Inn’s guest rooms, which have floor plans ranging from 485 to 1,575 square feet, have either a terrace or balcony with a fireplace, original artwork and custom-crafted furnishings.

He showed off a double-queen guest room with a hidden asset. Behind a discrete retractable wall is an oversize bathtub from which guests may take in another spectacular view while bathing.

Room rates range from $295 to $1,100 per night.

As if the landscape and views are not enough, the Allison Spa offers yet another serene oasis. It features 12 treatment rooms and offers a head-to-toe salon, barber shop, spa terrace and gardens, indoor swimming and spa pools, fitness studio, saunas and steam rooms, organic products and lounges for women, men and couples. A private spa suite can be arranged for small gatherings.

Zreik pointed out that while the Inn is luxurious, it was built with “green” eyes.

The project is seeking gold-level LEED certification, which means that everything that can be recycled is, and very little is discarded. The building’s solar panels produce 7 percent of the electricity needed to power it and the eco-friendly roof is planted in sedum. All water features use recycled water, and water from the city’s wastewater treatment plant is used to irrigate the grounds.

Joan said it gives her pleasure to offer a venue for local artists. A book showcasing all of their works is in the planning stages.

Joan conceded that it’s been a tremendous undertaking, but emphasized that she’s had wonderful help. “My heart is full. The inn is so beautiful. It’s good for the community and the state,” she said.

The Allison is located at 2525 Allison Lane. To contact the Inn, call 503-554-2525 or 877-294-2525. For more information, go to ◊

Inn at Red Hills

By Wine Press Staff • First Published in the May 2009 Edition

In June, Dundee welcomed its first boutique hotel to the town’s roster of vine-related ventures. The Inn at Red Hills features 20 luxury rooms with views of the Dundee Hills and local orchards.

When you enter the Inn, you will find yourself halfway into Farm to Fork, the Inn’s restaurant; in front of you is a coffee shop; and beyond that is Press, the Inn’s wine bar. The shelves are stocked with local wines and gourmet items, and a deli case is filled with house-made charcuterie and imported cheese.

Initially, all of these elements together are a bit confusing, but once a kind host or hostess approaches you and guides you to your table or over to the wine bar, you’ll feel at home immediately.

Proprietors Dustin Wyant and Kendall Bergström envisioned the inn as a welcoming gourmet hot spot.

Wyant emphasized, “the concept for the restaurant is to create a gathering-place-type of atmosphere where locals, winemakers and visitors can come in to have a coffee, buy gourmet items, have dinner, drink wine or any combination of items that can be done in local coffee shop, gourmet deli, restaurant and wine bar.”  

Wyant, originally from Bend, and Bergström, from Beaverton, met through a mutual wine friend in mid-2006 and realized they shared the dream of creating a boutique hotel in the heart of wine country.

Wyant worked in the Oregon wine and beer business before becoming a partner in a Montana resort that boasted five restaurants on the property. Here they made their own ice cream and operated their own smokehouse. They also purchased unique wild game with which to make their own sausage and burgers from bison, elk, deer, pheasant, duck and rabbit. For 12 years, Wyant was in the hotel/restaurant business in Montana and Idaho before returning to Oregon to create wine country’s first boutique, full-service luxury inn.

Bergström, along with her husband, Paul, created de Lancellotti Family Vineyards in the Chehalem Mountain AVA in 1998. Also family owners of Bergström Wines, the couple envisioned a place where they could raise their three children; and in 2004, when they moved to Yamhill County, their dream came true. As a resident, Bergström could see that her community lacked an exquisite boutique hotel, and when she and Wyant met, it became evident that their common vision could grow into a landmark wine country hotel.

To create this concept successfully, Wyant and Bergström knew they had to find a stellar chef. Executive Chef Paul Bachand, formerly of Hunters Ridge in Sherwood, maintains great relationships with local foragers, fisherman, farmers and ranchers and has been sourcing from them for many years.

The menu at Farm to Fork is based upon local, seasonal ingredients, all grown or raised within a 250-mile radius of Dundee so guests can have the finest products available in the Willamette Valley; it changes weekly to adjust to this flow of fresh and ripe produce and meats.

The deli not only has a wonderful collection of Oregon and imported cheese but also a great selection of house-made charcuterie, terrines and paté. Bachand makes fresh pasta, ice cream and sorbets daily; and Wyant grows 12 varieties of heirloom tomatoes that are used in the restaurant. He and Bergström have a farm where they grow blueberries, raspberries, black caps, marionberries, vegetables and lavender, all used in the restaurant and hotel.

Wine Director Mark Bosko has put together a compelling list of local wines, selected because of their superior quality, the farming philosophies of the grower and the practices of the winemaker.  

The Inn supports local sustainable, organic and biodynamic farmers, and part-owner Paul de Lancellotti is the in-house director of education and sustainability, working to ensure that all corporate practices adhere to these philosophies.

Rooms in the full-service hotel run $150 to $350 a night.

The Inn is located at 1410 N. Hwy. 99W in Dundee. For more information about the Inn at Red Hills, call 877-544-1314 or visit ◊

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