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+
This was a terrible disappointment. The dining room opened for lunch at 12:00 and was open until 3:00. We arrived at 12:30 and spent nearly 15 minutes for someone to acknowledge we were standing there waiting to be seated. A young man then came out and told us the kitchen was busy and it would be 5 to 15 minutes until they could seat us. Nearly 15 minutes later a woman came out and told us there would be another wait of at least 15 minutes. When I told her we had already been waiting quite a while she said she'd talk to the kitchen and see if they could accommodate us being seated. She reappeared and then seated us at a table. The restaurant was not even 1/2 full, but it still took a while to get our simple order of a salad, a bowl of clam chowder and two bottled beers. The chowder was tasty, but a bit thin. The salad had anchovy on it and evidently in the dressing too as it tasted "fishy". I accept that it was probably a specialty of the restaurant and some people like it that way. The bill with tip was over $50...too high for a simple light lunch.
Our room was nice, the bed super comfortable and we had a partial view of the bay. The refrigerator was not plugged in and there was one duplex outlet to power the
coffee pot, TV, table lamp, refrigerator and any phone chargers, etc. I had to get on the floor, reach under the table and swap plugs between the refrigerator, lamp and coffee pot as needed. The water pressure in the tub/shower was pathetic and the water temperature barely warm. I was also disappointed to see mildew around the tub. Maintenance is obviously not high on their priority list. Ground maintenance very minimal. There were rotted areas and peeling paint on the main building (Mansion/Restaurant). A large area in the front that probably should have been planted with flowers or shrubs was covered in grass clippings like a mulch pile. This speaks loudly as a failing establishment and it wouldn't be the first time. Next trip to Orcas we'll have to try a different hotel or B&B.
I visited for a wedding after not having been here in years. We stayed for 3 nights.
First, I found the employees to be very helpful. We had good service in the bar the two times we went. The front desk employees were very helpful and even put a gift in the room of one of our party as it was her birthday.
The wedding facilities were nice and the wedding went off without a discernible hitch. The passed hors d’oeuvres were very good and the bartenders were excellent. Sadly, the salmon we were served reminded me of the turkey in the Christmas vacation movie. Quite dry and not boned well. The duck, however, was excellent. Skin was perfectly crispy.
Now as far as the rest of the facilities. I had a massage in the spa that might have been one of the best ever. Heather was a very skilled masseuse. Spa area is quite nice and there is a nice gift shop. The indoor salt water pool is nice and is mostly for adults, with about 4 hours of the day being dedicated to family swim times.
The rooms were dated, but they all have lovely views. The grounds were not kept as well as I would have thought and the road to the rooms was more like a cartoon road, more bumps and potholes than not. It should have never been left in this kind of disrepair. We were told by the locals that the resort is up for sale and it appears the upkeep is being affected.
After dark there are deer everywhere and they are a joy to behold.
I loved the location and the staff but not so much the upkeep.