Jutting 600 feet into the Columbia River, the Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa has what no other property in Astoria has—a front-row seat to a neverending show of river life.
“Cannery Pier is irreplaceable because of its rich history. The hotel was originally the site of the Union Fishermen’s Cooperative Packing Company during the salmon fishing heydays and has evolved into a beloved luxury boutique hotel that is the jewel of Astoria,” explains Linh DePledge, Director of Brand and Communications for the hotel.
When Astoria native Jake Jacob acquired what used to be a thriving cannery, he envisioned transforming it into a luxurious establishment—a vision many believed was too ambitious for the small Oregon town. That vision took Jacob 14 years to bring to fruition.
The hotel, built on 100-year-old pier pilings, was once the location of the same company Jacob’s father worked for in the 1970s. Jacob’s dream was to recreate the look and feel of the cannery by incorporating smokestacks, wooden trusses, exposed steel beams, and a similar roofline, among other details.
“When you walk into the hotel lobby, you know where you are,” says DePledge. “The hotel is so original, it can’t be duplicated or manufactured.”
With Jacob’s dream a reality, Cannery Pier is now a thriving part of the town’s heartbeat.
The Cannery’s Beginnings
Astoria emerged as the oldest American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains two centuries ago, flourishing primarily due to the fur trade. Named after the prominent New York financier John Jacob Astor, Astoria has ties to the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Yet, as the 20th century began, the town’s focus shifted towards fishing, fish processing, and the lumber industry.
By 1945, the Columbia River was home to around 30 canneries, but as the Pacific salmon resource diminished, canneries began closing. Today, most locations have long since deteriorated.
Keeping History Alive
The hotel remains committed to connecting Astoria to its past through its unmistakable architecture and maintaining relationships with the Clatsop County Historical Society, the Columbia River Maritime Museum, and other local organizations.
Astoria’s deep-rooted history, highlighted by its key position where the Columbia River flows into the Pacific Ocean, is commemorated in the hotel’s art collection in the “Hall of History.”
The Historical Society oversees the artwork on the brightly lit second floor of the hotel. There, you’ll find historical photos documenting the town’s evolution and milestones, including the Scandinavian immigrants’ pivotal role in shaping the community. The Society recently added three new pieces of art to the Hall of Fame documenting the 100th anniversary of the Astoria fire.
Cannery Pier actively champions the initiatives of the Maritime Museum, regarded as one of the nation’s finest. The hotel informs guests of the museum’s latest exhibits and notable events throughout the year. The museum, located less than two miles away, is a highlight for many people visiting Astoria.
“People coming to Astoria want to stay in a luxury hotel while also exploring the town’s history. In many ways, the Cannery Pier Hotel belongs to the town itself, with our connection to its history,” says DePledge.
Adding Luxury to an Already Prime Location
In early 2022, the hotel’s 46 rooms were transformed, incorporating thoughtful amenities, rich textiles, luxurious comforts and touches, and even binoculars. Every room boasts large windows and a private balcony, allowing guests to observe the ship traffic passing directly before them on the Columbia River.
For guests looking to unwind after a day in Astoria, the hotel offers a spa with various treatments designed to relax and rejuvenate. From deep tissue massages to facial treatments, the spa provides a quiet retreat for those seeking a moment of calm amidst their travels.
Staying true to its theme of embracing local flavors, guests can treat themselves to Astoria Gray Tea from Pat’s Pantry and coffee from Columbia River Coffee Company as they settle into their rooms.
Riverside Relaxation at Bar 600
Another addition to the hotel is the gathering place just beyond the lobby. The Bar 600, named after the hotel’s position in the Columbia River, is a soothing relaxation lounge featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and a panoramic view of the surroundings.
Guests often mingle in the open area or come to watch the ever-changing scenery on the river. From the menu, they enjoy hor’s devours and appetizers such as oyster shooters and charcuterie boards, along with local Pacific Northwest wines and beers from the bar’s menu.
Piotr Kulis has been a bartender at Bar 600 since early this year. Kulis shared how much he enjoyed the view from the bar, expressing, “Sunsets are my favorite part of working here. You never know what you’ll get, but it’s going to be beautiful no matter what.”
Stylish Drives and Scenic Bike Rides
In the late afternoon and evenings, the hotel offers an added perk for guests wanting a full-service dining experience. William “Ken” Johns chauffeurs guests to any Astoria dining spot, ensuring a stylish arrival in the Cannery Pier Hotel’s classic Rolls-Royce.
“I’ve enjoyed getting to know people from all over the world,” says Johns. The highlight of my week is meeting new people and sharing a little of our town while driving them to and from dinner.”
The hotel also offers cruiser bicycles for guests who’d rather peddle their way to explore via the nearly seven-mile-long Astoria Riverwalk, located next to the hotel.
Nature Beckons From Every Room at Cannery Pier
From private rooms at the Cannery Pier Hotel, “the river is your canvas.” DePlege says. With the ever-changing tides, the abundant animals and wildlife, whatever guests want to see, they will.
Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.