Friday, August 15, 2014

Signs of the Times: The Palms Motor Hotel

Arguably one of America's most recognizable neon masterpieces, the magnificence of The Palms Motor Hotel sign is impossible to overstate.  Twin palms, permanently wind-swayed since 1954, stretch to great heights above a commanding arrow that has directed decades of passing motorists towards a choice, roadside-ogling op.  And ogle they must!

Some neon benders/sign makers would be satisfied with a one-color, one-font, one-sided sign.  The Palms sign was obviously not a product of "some" sign makers;  no less than four colors of neon and no less than five fonts create a tropical paradise in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.

A photo of the lit sign during our stay in 2012.
Sure, the sign needs a little bit of maintenance (neon repair and
the arrow's twinkling lights), but the breathtaking impact is still so great that
even in the dead of winter we could've sworn we felt the warm tradewinds.

A vintage view of The Palms Motor Hotel sign.
Even from the earliest days, The Palms was offering irresistible amenities;
 "Heated Pool" and "Cocktails," what more could newlywed couple ask for?!!
(except for maybe a coin-operated, vibrating bed in the "Bridal Suite")

The amenities are all well and good, but we know that the real star of this
multicolor, neon spectacular is that bright blue monkey...and the "Free TV."

Should you find yourself in the Portland area, our recommendation is to immediately visit The Palms Motor Hotel, day or night, to get an incredible view of that amazing sign.  After you have photographed every angle and mopped up the puddle of your neon-sign-loving drool, we suggest you then hit the road for more welcoming accommodations.

"Monkey See, Monkey Do" - The Archies

The Palms Motor Hotel
3801 N Interstate Ave
Portland, OR


Mr. Tiny


  1. So much neon!!! Blindingly so, but in the most charming way possible. They seriously don't make signs that detailed and beautifully gaudy anymore! That monkey!!!

    1. They sure don't! Portland is lucky to have a bunch of great, vintage signs!

  2. I would stay there purely for the neon. Wow!

    1. We did...but if you ever find yourself up that way, I recommend just stopping for the photo op!

  3. Sometimes, I feel like the missing letters up on old neon signs only add up to their charm. In my opinion, they look more vintage that way. That's just me, of course. Hahaha! Anyway, neon signs have always been a sight to see in America. I long for the day that every sign I see will once again be up in neon lights. Thanks for sharing! :)

    Roseline Ruark @ Crown Neon Signs

    1. I agree; I like signs that show their history and look a little "lived-in." Is it wrong that when I see the H missing on this particular sign, I want to affect a terrible cockney accent and say, "Blimey, I'd love to stay at the Palms Motah 'otel?"