Thursday, October 11, 2007

Luxury Hotel in Dundee?

The question being debated right now is weather a 50-room luxury hotel, spa and restaurant should be allowed at the top of NE Breyman Orchards Road. It would be just up the hill from Domain Drouhin, and across the street from Wine Country Farm. The site is currently not farmed, but with all the vineyards surrounding the area, it has to be some great vine-growing ground. Just to the north of the site, on the next hill, is Knudsen Vineyards (grower for Argyle) and Erath's winery. In my opinion, a hotel is needed, but not in this location. Farmland should continue to be farmland.

The site should be turned into vineyards, and potentially a new winery. The peak of the hill is at about 1100 ft, which is one of the highest spots in the Dundee Hills. The location provides amazing and spectacular views of the entire Willamette Valley. I can see how a hotel would be desirable in this location, with the views, and vineyards surrounding it, but again, its farmland, and should be used as such. By creating a winery, you can embrace the incredible views and showcase them with the winery and tasting room. Visitors would come, and be very impressed, and probably come back with friends. With good wine added to the package, the winery that sits on the top of the hill could be very successful.

Currently, there is no real hotel in Dundee. There are some hotel facilities in Newberg to the north, and McMinnville to the south, but nothing that is right in the middle of wine country. I agree with the need for a luxury hotel in the area, and I think it is a smart business move for the local economy. The stretch of 99W between Newberg and McMinnville needs to embrace the wine business as a whole, specifically the tourism side of things. I think that a few smaller hotels should open up in that stretch. I'm not talking Motel 6 type of places, and no Mariotts or anything of that size. I think there would be sufficient demand for 3-4 10-20 room hotels sprinkled in the area. Some places with character, and maybe some history to them, that would tell a story of the history of the area. The key to these hotels, is they would need to be on or very near (a block or two) 99W. People would be coming to the area to visit wineries and vineyards, and locating the hotel should be really easy, as well as the ingress and egress to/from the exploration of the area.

Downtown Dundee is a perfect example of these needs. As the center of wine country, and the tourism that comes with it, Dundee does not have a hotel. If a 20-30 room hotel was located right next to the Dundee Bistro/Dapper Frog location, and across the street from Argyle, it would be a great central location, with easy walking to food and even a tasting room or three. From this one location, a tourist would be within a 20 minute drive of hundreds of tasting rooms. This would help the economy of the entire area, both wine related and non-wine related. I don't want to see the Willamette Valley become Napa-esque and too commercialized, but adding the infrastructure to help the locally owned businesses is a definite need. And don't get me started on the Dundee Crawl.

Collection of news stories about the Proposed Hotel

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