Like the Ace , the Crystal epitomizes a certain Portland aesthetic that is basic, down-to-earth. In fact, the rooms with shared bathrooms at the Crystal are the best deals in town. The hotel was created by the McMenamins, the Portland entrepreneur brothers who invented a whole new kind of hotel concept, saving and reinventing historic buildings and turning them into funky, all-in-one environments where you can sleep, eat, drink, and listen to live music. The Crystal Hotel occupies a wedge-shaped building built in 1911. It pays homage to the famous century-old Crystal Ballroom across the street, another McMenamins rescue, where just about every famous performer and band coming through Portland has played. Each of the rooms in the hotel draws some decorative inspiration from a song or performance at the Crystal—it might be lyrics printed on the walls, or posters, or hand-painted murals. The rooms themselves are uniformly dark gray with dark accessories—it’s not as gloomy as it sounds, and even the shared-bath rooms have wonderful little touches, like a table for two beside the window. On the ground floor, Zeus Café serves down-to-earth Northwest food and beer. In the basement there’s a speakeasy, Al’s Den, where you can hear local bands every night of the week. There’s also a heated saltwater soaking pool down there. Here’s what you have to know about the Crystal: It is right on busy Burnside Street, and you will get more of a trafficky, urban buzz here than at any other hotel in Portland. The hotel wisely provides earplugs in every room, but if a quiet spot is what you’re after, you won’t find it here. One big plus is that guests can buy tickets for performances at the Crystal Ballroom, even if a show is officially sold out. The hotel’s location may be noisy, but it is central to Portland’s downtown urban scene.