by Stephen Jermanok
The former home of Robert Moran, the Seattle mayor and shipbuilder, Rosario has been a favorite family retreat on Orcas Island for over a century. Choose between Harborside rooms, located on the shores of Cascade Bay, or the Hillside Rooms, perched on a bluff overlooking the water. The newer Residences at Rosario are two-bedroom suites, ideally suited for families. The resort features an outdoor heated pool and whale-watching excursions with a naturalist from Rosario’s marina.
Our Editor Loves
- Outdoor heated pool
- Two-bedroom suites ideal for families
- Whale-watching excursions
- Horse Back Riding
- Family Room 5+
My wife and I (along with my wife's brother and his wife) spent two nights at the Rosario Resort over the Labor Day weekend as part of a bicycling trip to the San Juan Islands. After reading a number of negative reviews on TripAdvisor, I was braced for a less-than-wonderful experience. As it turns out, I was very pleasantly surprised by both the elegant old hotel and our room, which was in Building 2100, roughly half a mile or so from the main hotel building. My wife and I were on the second floor, and my in-laws were on the third floor.
The views from our room looking out over Cascade Bay (and looking back toward the main hotel building) were stunning. The room itself, which was definitely somewhat dated, was nevertheless clean and comfortable, and had a nice, but relatively small balcony. The bathroom, while in need of an update, was clean and large and had twin sinks and a good-sized shower. We had two queen beds in our room (I would have preferred a king bed, but we weren't able to get a room with a king bed due to the large crowds staying at the resort over Labor Day weekend, which apparently included at least a couple of weddings at the resort), which were comfortable.
The four of us all ate dinner one night at the Mansion Restaurant. Again, despite quite a number of negative reviews of the restaurant on TripAdvisor, our dinner was very good. Our server was prompt, knowledgeable, pleasant and engaging. Several of us ordered the soup, which was an asparagus soup with crab, and was absolutely delicious. I ordered the halibut entrée, which was on a bed of saffron risotto with spears of asparagus, and my wife ordered the ribeye steak. Both of our meals were quite good.
Overall, the four of us greatly enjoyed our stay at the Rosario Resort.
by Cathy P
This resort has extremely limited food service. You will starve if you do not like seafood which is all they serve in the Mansion restaurant plus a greasy ribeye steak. The Lounge has very limited food service and few tables. People wait for hours to get in for a limited menu because there is no where else to go except a taxi into town to find food. If you swam and hiked all day and you arrive hungry to eat, you are out of luck. Mostly tables for two so if you are a couple you may get lucky. Nice resort with poor service.