Portland's venerable grande dame may now be overshadowed by several other upscale properties in town in terms of luxury, especially given the steep rates, but the Benson has hosted most every president since it opened in 1913. The hand-carved Circassian walnut paneling from Russia and the Italian white-marble staircase are among the noteworthy design touches in the gracious lobby, which is home to the swanky Palm Court lounge. In the guest rooms expect to find small crystal
chandeliers and inlaid mahogany doors. Some even have the original ceilings. Extra touches include fully stocked private bars, and bathrobes and organic bamboo slippers in every room. The old-school restaurant, El Gaucho steak house, is a favorite of local power brokers.