Melissa Wilmot

Correspondent

  • Portland, Oregon, USA

Melissa Wilmot is a Forbes Travel Guide Correspondent who lives in Portland, Ore. and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. Wilmot writes about luxury travel, lifestyle, wellness and dining. After time spent heading up communications at the Portland Japanese Garden and at a major public relations company, she founded her own communications firm. Born in South Africa, Wilmot has travelled to every continent except Antarctica. A few years ago, she and her husband took a luxury safari trip with their infant son and now Wilmot can’t wait to take both of her young sons to explore the world further.

  • On July 2, 2014
  • On October 17, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What is the dress code at The Heathman Restaurant and Bar?

    The Heathman Hotel is one of Portland’s favorite luxury boutique hotels, and the sense of elegance and sophistication carries directly into The Heathman Restaurant and Bar. Guests at the restaurant dress in a range of styles from business casual to formal, depending on the occasion or events they may be attending following their meals. During the lunch hour, suits and other professional business attire is a common sight, while in the evenings, guests tend to dress more formally — even gowns and tuxes are a familiar spectacle. While it is true that Portland’s dining scene is relatively casual, guests wearing T-shirts and sandals would not be comfortable in the chic, stylish surroundings at The Heathman Restaurant and Bar.
  • On October 17, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    When is The Heathman Restaurant and Bar open?

    The Heathman Restaurant and Bar is open daily, serving hotel guests as well as Portland residents for breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch on the weekends. Breakfast is served from 6:30 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 7 to 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays. Guests and locals are fans of The Heathman Restaurant and Bar’s daily happy hour, from 2 p.m. to close. Dinner is served from 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 5 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. The renowned Heathman brunch is served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday.
  • On October 17, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    Where is The Heathman Restaurant and Bar located?

    The historic Heathman Restaurant and Bar is centrally located in downtown Portland, on the first floor of The Heathman Hotel, adjoining the Portland Center for Performing Arts and Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and steps away from the Portland Art Museum, Oregon Historical Society, Northwest Film Center and other cultural landmarks in town. At the intersection of Portland’s financial and cultural districts, the restaurant sits a mere two blocks away from Portland’s efficient light rail transit lines, walking distance from “Portland’s Living Room” — Pioneer Courthouse Square, and a block away from the 12 city blocks that make up the serene South Park Blocks. The street level restaurant features indoor seating as well as alfresco dining when the sun’s shining.
  • On September 9, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What is the design style of The Benson Hotel?

    A true Portland landmark, The Benson Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Designed in 1912 and completed in 1913, The Benson’s exterior was in the French Second Empire design style complete with glazed terra cotta and brick, and a mansard roof with dormers. Inside, no expense was spared with only the finest materials and design elements lending themselves to a luxurious experience. From the arched lobby windows and an immense mirror brought to the luxury hotel from Hawaii in 1958, to the Circassian walnut imported from the imperial forests of Russia, stunning Austrian crystal chandeliers and premium Italian marble, the classic European-style interior transports you to another era.
  • On September 9, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What restaurants does The Benson Hotel have?

    Guests of The Benson Hotel are lucky enough to have two of Portland’s finest dining options available to them at the property. This isn’t a little-known secret — the city’s own residents often make up a significant portion of the diners at any given time. This should say something about these restaurants, and it does.

    The Benson’s Palm Court Restaurant and Lounge is located in the lobby of the Portland hotel and is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a twice-nightly happy hour and live entertainment Wednesday through Saturday nights. Its impressive collection of wine is drawn from The Benson’s private cellar boasting more than 1,500 bottles. In addition to delectable appetizers and entrées, the ambiance of The Palm Court is a definite draw.

    El Gaucho is one of Portland’s best steakhouses, and just so happens to be part of the luxury hotel. The restaurant offers a nice ambiance with an intimate lounge, live Latin music and candle-lit tables. Enjoy elegant, old-school tableside service and don’t miss out on the 28-day dry-aged certified Angus steak in the swanky dining room.
  • On September 9, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the rooms like at The Benson Hotel?

    Opened in 1913 as the finest hotel west of the Mississippi River, The Benson Hotel has gone through some renovations over the decades, and you’ll see it in the rooms. It now features 287 tastefully appointed guest rooms, including 48 junior suites, seven penthouse suites, one Grand suite and one Presidential suite. During 2010 and 2011, guest rooms were refurbished with new bedding, custom cabinetry pieces, flat-screen HD televisions, bathroom upgrades and updated lighting.

    The deluxe rooms feature Tempur-Pedic memory foam beds with pillow-top mattresses and comfortable seating, while the junior suites provide a luxurious living area in addition to the well-appointed bedroom. The Penthouse suites, many with outstanding views of downtown, consist of a king bedroom connected to a parlor, some with double French glass doors. The Portland hotel’s luxurious Grand and Presidential suites offer outstanding city views, gas fireplaces and ample space for entertaining. The living and dining room areas open up into a stunning master bedroom with a beautiful four-poster king bed and private bath that includes a double-headed, walk-in shower and adjacent Jacuzzi bathtub.

    Ensuring every guest’s needs are met is something for which The Benson prides itself. Breathable organic, plush bamboo bathrobes hang in every room closet, an umbrella is provided for those drizzly Portland winter days and Gilchrist & Soames bath amenities promise to pamper. Given the luxurious and comfortable guest rooms, it’s easy to understand why every U.S. president since William H. Taft has stayed at this luxury hotel.
  • On July 28, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What is Portland’s dining scene like?

    In a word, Portland's dining scene is eclectic. There's a little something for everyone. From the fine dining experience offered at Portland's amazing steak restaurant El Gaucho, to the food cart pods throughout the city, diners have many choices. Two of the hottest food neighborhoods right now are in North Portland and in downtown's West End.

    N. Williams Avenue boasts hot dining spots such as Kenny & Zuke's Deli Bar, Tasty n Sons, Las Primas Peruvian Kitchen and Lincoln. Many of these restaurants offer outdoor dining, so pick a nice summer day to sit outside and people watch while you sip and dine. With menu items ranging from the delightful empanada platter at Las Primas to the ruby trout with minutina, porcini mushrooms and lemon vinegar at Lincoln, you won't be disappointed. Also, you can currently catch Lincoln's chef and co-owner, Jenn Louis, on Bravo TV's Top Chef Masters. That's reason enough to taste what she's cooking!

    Downtown's West End district is home to many of the city's newest restaurants. Within walking distance of downtown hotels, this area is a wonderful dining spot for visitors. As in other areas of the city, you'll find Portlanders out soaking up the dining experiences for themselves at places such as Grüner, Clyde Common, Grassa and Lardo. And, for a not so "brick-and-mortar" experience, check out the fantastic food cart pod on SW 10th and Alder Streets.

    Bottom line: eating is a passion for those living in this great city, and it's clear why. With such an array of dining options, it's no wonder that diners looking for suit-and-tie romantic candlelight dinners or a casual bite to eat while strolling around the city will have no trouble finding something to delight their taste buds.
  • On July 27, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What should I pack for a trip to Portland?

    Your carry-on and checked baggage could have wildly different contents depending on the time of year you visit Portland, so we have highlighted some of the top "musts" for each season:

    Spring: Bring an umbrella, light sweaters, and closed toe shoes. March, April and May showers bring summer flowers, so be prepared for light drizzles off-and-on your trip. Since the temps are warming up, you likely won't need a pea coat, but a light trench coat will do the trick!

    Summer: Strappy sandals, comfy boat shoes, and wedges are the perfect choice for your feet. Bring lots of sunscreen and your shades because summer temps get up to the 90s and the sun is out (shhh... don't let the secret out!). If you're a golfer, pack your clubs... the Portland area has some fabulous courses. Sundresses, t-shirts and shorts are also a must. Bring along a couple nicer outfits for dinners at the best restaurants in town. Although locals have been known to wear jeans to just about every restaurant in the city, it's fun to dress up for a summer evening on the town.

    Fall: The sun's still out, but the air has that beautiful crispness to it. Now's the time to pack your chunky sweaters, leggings, even your boots. Don't forget your shades, you'll need them! Bring along some comfy hiking shoes and outdoor clothes because this is one of our favorite times of the year to get outside and hike the wonderful trails in and around the city.

    Winter: Planning to hit the slopes? Bring along your snowboard and skis, or plan to rent some up at Mt. Hood, only an hour outside the city. Prefer to do some snowshoe explorations? You can rent those, too! Pack your snow bunny outfits, of course, and bring along a warm coat, sweaters, jeans and some stylish scarves.

    With these tips, you can't go wrong. Now all you have to do is enjoy your time in the City of Roses!
  • On July 24, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What is the best time to visit Portland?

    Autumn in Portland is pretty hard to beat. Fall foliage colors range from bright pinks to deep goldens; it typically has not started raining; and there’s the perfect fall crispness in the air. Because it’s not quite umbrella or rain jacket weather yet, people are very much outdoors as much as possible. Dining al fresco is still an option, long walks on shaded trails are a must, and of course strolling along NW 23rd or SE Hawthorne is a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

    For foodies, Portland in the fall means new menus packed with fresh, local ingredients and perfect autumn themed dining options. Be sure to check out Lincoln Restaurant, Le Pigeon and Aviary (just to name a few) - all known for their creative, fresh and timely menus.

    Autumn is also a great time to visit wine country, just a 30 minute drive outside Portland. From fancy tasting rooms and unmatched views of colorful hills, to some of the best wine in the world, you won’t want to leave. And, that’s alright. Stay the night at the luxurious The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg and pamper yourself at the spa voted one of the best in the nation. You’ll be disappointed when all the leaves fall and the temperatures begin to drop, but there’s always next year!
  • On July 23, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best clothing boutiques in Portland?

    The Portland, Oregon metropolitan area boasts several past winners of Project Runway, proving that we're a fashionable bunch! And we're lucky to have some of the best clothing boutiques around to indulge our tastes. The following are just a handful of the many apparel boutiques Portland has to offer, but you can't start shopping in better places than these...

    Mercantile Portland is one of Portland's premier women's designer apparel retailers offering young American and European designer collections along with great handbags and accessories. The service is unparalleled and with such a great selection of clothes, you won't leave without purchasing something.

    Anne Bocci Boutique & Gallery is nestled in the cute Southwest Portland neighborhood of Multnomah Village. It may be a small space, but Anne Bocci carries some of the best clothes in Portland, including designs from Seth Aaron Henderson and Michelle Lesniak Franklin, two former Project Runway winners.

    Frances May features the best of the best from innovative independent designers. With a great mix of trendy and timeless clothing, the grandmother/granddaughter owner combo successfully curates an incredible collection of men's and women's apparel.

    With locations on both NW 23rd and SE Hawthorne, Sloan Boutique is a locally owned boutique carrying a wide selection of women's apparel, shoes and accessories. In addition to nationally recognized brands, Sloan Boutique also carries several smaller, but equally fashionable lines.

    Mink is another charming boutique found on SE Hawthorne. Make sure owner and veteran buyer and retail manager, Carla Mink, is there when you plan to shop. Her advice and insight is invaluable. A great selection of tops, dresses, jewelry and accessories from designers like Nic + Zoe, Akiko, Splendid and Yumi will ensure that your shopping trip is a success!
  • On July 18, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best activities in Portland?

    Forest Park Conservancy Portland is a phenomenal place to explore… rain or shine! Here are just a few activities you should make sure to check out:

    BrewCycle: Grab some friends and be prepared to experience Portland’s best breweries in a whole new way. Combining Portland’s love of handcrafted beer and biking, the BrewCycle will take you, as fast as you can pedal, to your next pint.

    The Portland Timbers are the hometown MLS team with one of the best fan bases in America. With a season that runs into October, you'll have ample opportunity to watch some spectacular soccer, try Timbers signature concession items, and witness the palpable excitement of the crowd.

    Shopping: No sales tax in Portland. Need we say more? Oh yes, also really good to mention the plethora of fantastic designers featured at fashion retailers like Frances May, Mercantile and of course our Northwest favorite, Nordstrom. If it’s art you’re in the mood for, prominent galleries like the Elizabeth Leach Gallery feature talented and established artists, including some of the Northwest’s best.

    Running, Walking or Hiking Trails: You’ll find a trail perfect for whatever you have in mind, all within Portland city limits. You can’t beat a leisurely stroll to the top of Mt. Tabor to enjoy beautiful vistas of the city, or running the shady trails of Forest Park.

    Upscale Bowling: Now, don’t laugh, it’s true, Grand Central Bowling could possibly be considered “luxurious.” The lounge features sleek couches overlooking modern lanes with all the latest technology. Want even more? Try the VIP bowling experience to enjoy private luxury seating and two exclusive bowling lanes. And we haven’t even mentioned the food and drink options. Let’s just say sushi is on the menu — and it’s really good!

    Sign up for a Portland Walking Tour and you can't go wrong. Select the "Chocolate Decadence" tour and you'll be in chocolate heaven! Walkers will visit several chocolatiers and savor more than 15 tastings to really gain an appreciation of all things chocolate. This is perhaps one of the best ways to see and experience the city!
  • On July 16, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best souvenirs to buy in Portland?

    A visit to Portland wouldn't be complete without some mementos to remind you of the fantastic trip. Here are a few of our favorite souvenirs from the City of Roses…

    Portland's been dubbed "Soccer City USA," so make sure to catch a Timbers game while you're in town. This MLS team has one of the best followings in the country and games are always an experience. While you're there, pick up a green, white and yellow Timbers scarf (or several) to show you're a fan.

    Oregon's famed Willamette Valley wine country is less than an hour away from Portland, so drive down to do some tastings, soak in the beautiful scenery and stock up on your favorite wines. Whether it's Pinot Noirs or Rieslings, you'll find something perfect to accompany a special meal once you're back home.

    Portland's Saturday Market is actually open Saturdays and Sundays from March to December is downtown's Old Town neighborhood. A terrific mix of food and art vendors fill up Ankeny Plaza right next to the Willamette River and provide lots of opportunities to shop for souvenirs of your trip to Portland. From jewelry to clothing to blown glass art, there's a little something for everyone.

    Since you'll surely be stopping in at Portland's renowned Powell's Bookstore, pick up a copy of "Above Portland," a picturesque aerial photographic compilation of Portland. It has shots of some of the most memorable spots around the city and would certainly be a great addition to your coffee table at home to serve as a visual reminder of the fun you had in Portland.
  • On July 13, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best restaurants in Portland?

    Portland absolutely has something for everyone. A divine, scrumptious dining experience can be had for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert and the summary below simply scratches the surface. But, if you must start somewhere, this is the place!

    Ox: What do you get when you add the wood-fired grilling tradition of Argentina, the culinary heritage of Spain, France and Italy, and a nod toward the palate of the Pacific Northwest? One of Portland’s hottest restaurants. Ox is known for its prime local meats and fish as well as seasonal produce, all prepared in a thoughtful manner. The wait for a table is worth it, and once in, make sure to sample the bruschetta of Dungeness crab, avocado, radish, cucumber and shiso, the maple-glazed heirloom carrots, briar rose chèvre, tarragon and truffle-salted pistachios, and the grass-fed Uruguayan beef ribeye.

    Lincoln: Opened five years ago on Portland's hip North Williams Avenue, this restaurant has proven its staying power by constantly offering mouth-watering happy hour, dinner and dessert menus. The food is exquisite and the charm of the wood ceilinged restaurant just adds to the experience. If you're not already convinced, note that co-owner/chef Jenn Louis was named a Food & Wine "Best New Chef" for 2012 and will be on the upcoming season of "Top Chef Masters" on Bravo.

    Las Primas: True confession: I lived in Lima, Peru for 2 years. What that means is that I know great Peruvian cuisine, and this is it. The signature sandwich, the butifarra, will make your taste buds thank you forever. Pair it with the yuquitas, yucca dough fritters topped with a creamy pepper sauce, and make sure to order the super-flavorful empanadas. Peruvian dining isn’t complete without an accompanying pisco sour drink and Las Primas goes one step further in their creative and unique pisco cocktails – you’ll need multiple visits to try them all.

    The Painted Lady: Looking to explore some of the fine dining a mere 40 minutes outside of Portland in the heart of the Willamette Valley? Look no further than The Painted Lady restaurant. The best of seasonal and local ingredients are showcased in the delectable five course tasting menu featuring options like potato gnocchi and wild mushroom ragout, pistachio crusted filet mignon with potato puree and spring vegetables, and orange scented souffle with Grand Marnier creme anglaise. Since you're in Oregon's famed wine country, make sure to sip on some of the many local wines The Painted Lady offers to complement your meal.

    Le Pigeon: This is a must for Portland dining. The elbow-to-elbow experience is part of the charm, but the tasting menus are what set this restaurant apart and allow diners to “have it all.” The yogurt-grilled prawns, goat cheese gnocchi and crusted pork cutlet are some favorites, but don’t limit yourself. Top off the experience with the espresso pot de crème, and you’ll already be dreaming about your return.

    Grüner: Located in Portland’s hot and burgeoning West End, the Alpine-European cuisine at Grüner isn’t what you would expect. No heavy, greasy food here. Instead, you’ll find an amazing attention to detail with flavor combinations you haven’t sampled before. Start with the tarte flambée, an Alsatian “pizza” topped with sweet onions, smoky bacon, fromage blanc and chives. Follow that with the choucroute garnie entrée. Bratwurst, saucisson, cider-braised pork belly, cured pork tenderloin, sauerkraut and yukon gold potatoes are taken to the next level with sweet (and spicy in the right way) mustard. Pair your meal with one or two recommended German beers from the extensive drink menu.
  • On July 13, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best restaurants in Portland?

    Portland absolutely has something for everyone. A divine, scrumptious dining experience can be had for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert and the summary below simply scratches the surface. But, if you must start somewhere, this is the place!

    Ox: What do you get when you add the wood-fired grilling tradition of Argentina, the culinary heritage of Spain, France and Italy, and a nod toward the palate of the Pacific Northwest? One of Portland’s hottest restaurants. Ox is known for its prime local meats and fish as well as seasonal produce, all prepared in a thoughtful manner. The wait for a table is worth it, and once in, make sure to sample the bruschetta of Dungeness crab, avocado, radish, cucumber and shiso, the maple-glazed heirloom carrots, briar rose chèvre, tarragon and truffle-salted pistachios, and the grass-fed Uruguayan beef ribeye.

    Lincoln: Opened five years ago on Portland's hip North Williams Avenue, this restaurant has proven its staying power by constantly offering mouth-watering happy hour, dinner and dessert menus. The food is exquisite and the charm of the wood ceilinged restaurant just adds to the experience. If you're not already convinced, note that co-owner/chef Jenn Louis was named a Food & Wine "Best New Chef" for 2012 and will be on the upcoming season of "Top Chef Masters" on Bravo.

    Las Primas: True confession: I lived in Lima, Peru for 2 years. What that means is that I know great Peruvian cuisine, and this is it. The signature sandwich, the butifarra, will make your taste buds thank you forever. Pair it with the yuquitas, yucca dough fritters topped with a creamy pepper sauce, and make sure to order the super-flavorful empanadas. Peruvian dining isn’t complete without an accompanying pisco sour drink and Las Primas goes one step further in their creative and unique pisco cocktails – you’ll need multiple visits to try them all.

    The Painted Lady: Looking to explore some of the fine dining a mere 40 minutes outside of Portland in the heart of the Willamette Valley? Look no further than The Painted Lady restaurant. The best of seasonal and local ingredients are showcased in the delectable five course tasting menu featuring options like potato gnocchi and wild mushroom ragout, pistachio crusted filet mignon with potato puree and spring vegetables, and orange scented souffle with Grand Marnier creme anglaise. Since you're in Oregon's famed wine country, make sure to sip on some of the many local wines The Painted Lady offers to complement your meal.

    Le Pigeon: This is a must for Portland dining. The elbow-to-elbow experience is part of the charm, but the tasting menus are what set this restaurant apart and allow diners to “have it all.” The yogurt-grilled prawns, goat cheese gnocchi and crusted pork cutlet are some favorites, but don’t limit yourself. Top off the experience with the espresso pot de crème, and you’ll already be dreaming about your return.

    Grüner: Located in Portland’s hot and burgeoning West End, the Alpine-European cuisine at Grüner isn’t what you would expect. No heavy, greasy food here. Instead, you’ll find an amazing attention to detail with flavor combinations you haven’t sampled before. Start with the tarte flambée, an Alsatian “pizza” topped with sweet onions, smoky bacon, fromage blanc and chives. Follow that with the choucroute garnie entrée. Bratwurst, saucisson, cider-braised pork belly, cured pork tenderloin, sauerkraut and yukon gold potatoes are taken to the next level with sweet (and spicy in the right way) mustard. Pair your meal with one or two recommended German beers from the extensive drink menu.