Rosario Resort and Spa
Historical Traveler Reviews Hotel Windjammer Papenburg
Rosario Island Resort
Beatiful location, but the resort leaves A LOT to be desired. Rooms were okay. Restaurant food was poor to bad the entire trip. We stayed a week. The grounds need upkeeping. Cracks in the sidewalks, yellow lawns. Help is overworked, and they are understaffed. Service subsequently was extremely poor...We loved the surroundings, but will never go back to the Rosario. Far too much money for what you get. We spent $5k...it was work about $1k...
Not what we thought!
We just came back from Rosario. It is a very nice hotel, but is beginning to look worn down. We did not have a car and they put us on the Hillside in the 21 building. It was quite a walk! You can't depend on the shuttle because the poor kid is driving to pick up people from Eastsound or the ferry so the shuttle is not always available. In fact, one night it broke down and the waitress had to go get him! The kids who work there are great. The food in the bar is good and reasonably priced. The pool and bar is beautiful but closes at 5:30 during the summer. Everyone was complaining - should stay open longer, considering most people get there by ferry and arrive at 5 to the hotel! We took the seaplane to Seattle and you catch it right there which was nice.
The room on the hill was fine. We needed a corkscrew to open a bottle of wine and the store was out. The front desk only had two and wanted the bellman to drive it up to open our wine. This was the night the shuttle broke down, so we had to walk down to get it. I agree with one of the reviews - the place is falling apart. It is beautiful but I would stay at the Cascade Harbor Inn - right at the hotel. We didn't know about it.
A long time visitor's opinion
Ok, let me give you some what of an objective and realistic view of the Resort as it stands today. As the resort was sold from a private, locally owned, family opperation with the input and talents of the locals into the daily opperations to what is today a corporate run money making machine, you have to excuse the problems the resort is seeing. They just closed the resort for 6 months for renovation. As this is the case, the majority of the staff either left or was let go because of the closure. Cooks, knowledgable staff, ... most of the people who lived on the island and worked at the resort for 10-15 years had to pick up and leave. With the re-opening this spring, they began looking for staff. Too bad it's hard to pull quality staff when you know you are anticipating another closure in 6 months for a second renovation project. This is the reason most of the staff right now looks under 20 because most of them just graduated Orcas High.Granted I may be slightly biased, knowing the prior owner(s) personally, but I have been visting the resort for the past 20+ years and have seen it go up and down. For those people who have visited for as long as I have, you have seen the Dining and Food services go down as well as the spa and landscaping. The rooms have been re-done, but now there is no individualism in the rooms. The hillside rooms used to have individualism in them as well as a little bit more romantic feel. The bathrooms have improved over the years which is a plus but I have to agree that for the most part, the resort has gone down hills since the sale in 1999 and is now finally being turned around all but slowly. If you love the area, the view and the people, i would say go. If you're looking for a romantic getaway or even a family getaway, stay at one of the local B&Bs ... you'll have a better experiance.
My wife and I learned about the Rosario Resort from a friend and spent July 21-23, 2003 on the island, staying at the resort. Coming from Arizona via Iowa, we were not at all familiar with the island type of vacation. To us, seeing the ocean, and many islands as we arrived by ferry, we found ourselves awestruck at the beauty of the country. Upon arriving on the island, it was as if we were in a far away country.
Orcas Island is beautiful, quaint, and abundant with a variety of landscapes. We loved it!. It is not a small island, we learned. Upon arriving at the resort, we were very impressed at the historical yet luxurious atmosphere of the mansion. Arriving later in the afternoon, we were promptly given our room. It was a "smoking" room to our disappointment. We called the desk and asked for a change to a non-smoking room. The staff was very eager to be of help and were quickly given a very nice room on the side of the mountain. It was not luxurious, but it was spacious, clean, comfortable and suited our tastes just fine. No, it had no air conditioning, but that was not a problem for us (coming from Az., anything below 100 is cool anyway).
The view was fantastic. I kept imagining a pirate's ship anchored in the bay. However, it would be out of place with the many beautiful, luxurious boats and sailing craft. Wow, what a way to live! We quickly freshened up and got to the mansion for a pipe organ and piano recital that complemented a slide show of the mansion's history. The organist and host was fantastic and very talented. We seldom purchase CD's, but did so after that performance. The architecture of the mansion is breathtaking and a pleasure just to walk through. After the concert, we had dinner in the resort dining room. The meal was very good.
Absolutely no complaints regarding the qualify of the food or the service. Both were great. I thought the servers were exceptionally pleasant and helpful. The food was a little longer in arriving than we thought it would be, but it allowed us the time to take in the awesome view of the bay. The price was maybe 20% higher than it might have been, but then we were so impressed with the surroundings, the price was not a factor. The next day we took the whale watching boat ride on the Orca Express. It was one of the most enjoyable experiences we have had. The captain and his two crewladies were very knowledgeable and pleasant. The cruise was a nature cruise as well. We witnessed the orca whales for over an hour and were back at Orcas Island after about four hours. It was so enjoyable and relaxing, I told the captain that if we had not seen a whale, it was still worth it! Back at the resort, we found the spa rather dated, but still relaxing. Breakfast was very welcomed and good after a quiet, good night's rest. In brief, my wife and I found the place a very enjoyable stay and would very much recommend it to our friends, and intend to return again. On the negative side, I would recommend to management that the food service be quicker, that the food and rooms be a little lower in price, and that the grounds vegetation be better kept. All in all, a very good time was had by the both of us and next time we intend to stay longer and enjoy more of the island.
Great restful retreat if you have the right expectations...
My husband and I just stayed at Rosario, end of June/beginning of July, 03'. Having read the mixed reviews, we were prepared for anything. I'm glad to say we had a wonderful time, and it seems as if somehow we stayed in a completely different place from all of those who had such a bad experience.
We stayed in a hill top room, with an incredible ocean view. It was breath taking to wake up each morning and enjoy it. If you want a great view, I'd recommend the hill top rooms. While they are further away, if you don't mind getting in your car and driving down to the mansion, it is just a few minutes drive. The rooms aren't super luxurious, but they are perfectly attractive, nice and comfortable, with pretty bathrooms, comfortable beds, and very clean.
We found the staff to be very kind and as helpful as they could manage.
They are young, and most haven't been working there long. But they did their best, which was more than good enough for any of our needs. We found them very pleasant to deal with, and had no problems on check out.
The spa was the low point, in my subjective opinion. I've gotten massages in many different spas, and know a good deal about body work.
The body worker I had was below average, wouldn't stop talking, and was in general very intrusive into the peace of a spa treatment. Save the money and skip the massage. However, the indoor pool and hot tub are very pretty and very nice to hang out in, with fluffy robes and towels provided.
The grounds were gorgeous, and having been there the same week as the previous reviewer, I didn't see any trash or other signs of unkempt grounds. The marina at the resort is filled with beautiful boats, and made a romantic place to watch the sunset.
The hotel dining room is best avoided just due to the fact that it's very expensive, and for the same money (much less in fact) you could be eating at the many creative and gourmet restaurants that the island is loaded with. One of our best meals was at the Inn at Ship Bay. We also enjoyed Bilbos, and the Sunflower Cafe. The hotel dining room was fine, and our meal was tasty, but in comparison with the other restaurants, it just didn't hold up on value. But if you're tired after a day of traveling, as we were, it makes a fine and convenient (and expensive) meal.
All in all, we were totally satisfied with Rosario, and would defiitely return again. Go with realistic expectations and I don't think you'll be disappointed.
I have never had such disappointing service in my life. The food in the dining room was cold or unavailable for breakfast, lunch and dinner, if you could actually get someone to help you. The entire staff were not helpful or accomodating and seemed less than enthusiastic to be there.
Perhaps that's because not only were they understaffed, but all but a few of the staff were under the age of 20. One of the porters that was over 20 was driving us up to our room at the top of the hill and another guest tried to waive him down to get a ride as it was pouring down rain. He drove right past explaining to us that he had to get to lunch before the "lucusts", better known as the cleaning staff, ate all the lunch. The grounds were not kept up and garbage was lying around on the ground. The concierge never returned our calls. The spa was adequate. Upon checking out, we were going to share our unpleasant experience with the management, but were unable to get to that point as they insisted on charging us another $350.00 for a night that we had already paid for 2 months in advance. Upon returning home, I contacted the manager with the confirmation that I received indicating that everything was paid in full. Even after giving her the confirmation number over the phone and reading the letter from Rosario to her, it is necessary for me to write another letter and send her copies of the confirmation. Literally everyone that we talked to that was staying at the resort felt the same way that we did about the service. One of the couples that rode the sea plane home with us indicated that they were charged for an extra night with the same explanation that we were. We will NEVER stay at Rosario Resort or recommend it anyone.
Rosario's is a fantastic family resort!
I have to say, that I am quite shocked after reading the other reviews of Rosario Resort. I have been vacationing there for years, as a teenager with my parents and now with my husband and three children of my own, and I have always enjoyed the stay immensely! I will admit that until Rosario was bought by Rock Resorts a few years back it was a bit dull. However, we have been coming up every year with our children the past five years in a row because it offers us so much to do as a family.There are many options of lodging at Rosario's. We have stayed in the waterfront rooms next to the Moran Mansion (and closest to the pools), up in a suite in the hillside rooms, we have camped in the adjacent Moran State Park (some nice lakes) and also came up once by boat and tied up for a few nights in their marina (you can purchase passes to use the pools and spa areas for the day if you are camping or staying in the marina.) I would have to say that the Mansion-side rooms are the best as far as location because they are in the middle of everything with hardly any walking required. I would like to point out that while the rooms are nothing spectacular the views and grounds make up for the loss. The bottom line on lodging is that if you want to be surrounded by luxury and pampered in your room this is not the place. The rooms are comfortable and nice, a little outdated maybe but affordable. Prices range from $149.00 to $300.00 per night.Our favorite place is the waterfront and surrounding grounds that encompass a feeling of serenity and grandure at the same time. The foliage is green and large and maintained beautifully. Every day that we were there last week (June 5th- 8th 2003) our children were able to feed and pet the local wild deer that wander around on the grounds and especially near the outside children's pool. As far as pool areas go, there are also many options. The spa pool and hottub inside is the best because it is private and very warm and the kids have a blast. There is also an outdoor pool for chreat little deck facing the ocean where they serve hot items off the grill all day. The third pool, overlooking the ocean, is also outside but is usually reserved for adults only and they serve great drinks and food poolside. Thick plush towels and bright blue umbrellas are endless, as is the impeccable service from the staff.The best time to come to Rosario's is in the summer and make sure you include a Friday night there because the dining room in the Mansion offers the best seafood buffet I have ever experienced ( and our kids ate for free too!). There is an itimate lounge for drinks and dancing with a romantic guitarist that plays everything from "Brown Eyed Girl" to "Unforgettable". Upstairs, the Mansion is filled with historical furnishings and trappings with much flair so be sure to take a peek.If you can't find enough to do around the resort, drive ten minutes into Eastsound, which is filled with quaint bookstores, cafes, toy shops and more. One of the best restaurants my husband and I have ever been to is Sean Paul's at the North end of Orcas near Eastsound. During the summer months there is a wonderful Farmer's Market on Saturdays.
Fortunately we just stopped for what we thought would be an elegent lunch. The food was not decently prepared. Not cooked (I mean virtually raw), sent back to kitchen, came back cooked black and without the other items on the othe items on the menu. Wait staffs excuse "The cook on duty is in training." Question what about the supervising cook? "He is out at the moment." This is the first time and second time I have sent food back to the kitchen in my life. They did not charge me for the food.
Rosario - a realistic review - decent!
Ok, I researched the Rosario Resort on Orcas Island before arriving with my wife. I also contacted the manager before expressing my concerns due to very poor reviews and sought clarification. Our visit was on Oct 1st & 2nd, during the week so no crowds.
We were obviously better prepared for what to expect than the other guests who gave very poor reviews of the resort. Here's my review and clarifications. Also, we used our "entertainment card" and received 50% off, so a better value for us.
Rosario is located in a charming cove on Orcas Island. A very winding road takes you along the island and eventually DOWN to the cove. I describe the actual "Rosario Resort" as being made up of three areas: 1) The Historic Mansion itself which is where the restaurants, lounge, Spa, fitness room and gift shop are located. 2) The resort grounds which include trimmed grounds, walkways, outside deck, two outdoor pools, outdoor shuffle board, a small marina and a long, "figure 8" reflection pond. 3) Finally, the resort accomodations. The accomodations are condo buildings separate from the historic mansion. There are about 9 separate buildings. About 3 buildings along side of the Mansion, the 6 more steadily moving up the hillside and away from the actual Mansion. Views from the rooms will vary depending on which building you are in. Of the 6 "Hillside buildings" I'd say, the higher up the hill, the less obscurred the view. The Mansionside buildings are probably very nice. We stayed in building 1900, at the top and had a terrific view, totally unobstructed.
The room: Grade = B-. due to the "cons" listed. As I understand, these condos were built in the 1970's. Seems right. They are condo style with exterior entrances. Each building has upper and lower rooms. Our room was spacious and cozy. The bathroom was huge with a large jet tub and large separate shower. A large, two-sink vanity and mirror. Very nice. The decor is dated but not offensive. Housekeeping did forget to stock us with bath towels which I notice right away, called, and was provided with promptly. Room cons: No air conditioning or built in fan as common with hotels. It was hot in there at first. They provide an table top oscillating fan in the closet and you have windows and that's it. A definite negative in warm weather. Also, no refrigerator or courtesy bar. Definite negative.
The grounds: Grade = A. Around the mansion are very nice and well kept. Around the condos, they are fine, kept in a natural setting, no surprises, no frills.
The Mansion: Grade = A+. Historic and very, very cool. Lots of large, old, original photos. All areas I saw were clean and tasteful. I really liked the lounge, very charming. The main dining room was large with nice views but we did not eat there. The "Compass" room is the formal dining room for adults with a great view. The food was fine and met expectations for average $25/plate menu selections. I'd elect to eat in town next time and keep to the lounge at the mansion with an appetizer.
Staff: Grade = A. The staff at each of our encounters was very pleasant and appropriate. No complaints.
The Spa: Grade = C. The spa was OK. Nothing special really. We've sampled several different spa's and services so we're able to compare. We both had full hour massages. Mine was great, hers good. Rooms weren't as comfy as others. Waiting area is in the open as opposed to private. No lockers/robes offered, no water/tea/wine offered, no magazines to read. Staff was pleasant and appropriate.
The Island: East Sound is really THE town there. It has many cute shops, cafes and restaraunts and makes a pleasant afternoon of shopping. Moran State park looks awesome as we drove through but we did not stop. We're not hikers or bikers but I'm sure they love it there.
Orcas Island Golf Country Club: Grade = D. It is a 9 hole course. Each hole has two separate Tee locations to offer an 18 hole round. Basically, it's "pasture golf". A hilly course with some water, no real sand. Front nine = 3006 yds, "back" nine = 2797 yds. Greens are fair, tees are fair, fairway is fair/poor. Also, I believe I was intentionally overcharged since I was a "tourist" and they wanted to make a buck. Charged me $22 for 9 holes during the week!! Prior to coming I was told by the concierge it was $22 for 18 holes. I was told "$22" and I specifically asked "for 9 holes?" and was told "yes". Nice lady, but I think she was ripping me off. Anyway, it really is a pasture setting, but it's the only golf there.
There you have it. Again, after first reading the other, poor reviews, I emailed the manager for clarification on the resort so my expectations going in were reasonable. Without knowing the layout of the resort and especially the rooms/buildings, I too might have been disappointed being put into a 1970's condo, thinking I was staying in some grand old mansion. For us, it was a very nice stay. We'd consider returning.
I was told by the staff that starting in Nov, 2002, they are closing for some 5 mos. for renovations. No specifics but I think one staffer told me including the rooms. That might be worth a re-visit.
What a disappointment
We have only ever heard good things about the Rosario resort so were much looking forward to lapping up the luxury and beauty of the place.
On arrival we both quickly realised that the hotel was very different than it was shown in the brochure. Our room was shabby with cracked sink, dirty carpets, an extremely noisy fridge and moss growing on our balcony floor; two of the pools were closed even though we were being charged high season rates; our first night's meal was served cold and then microwaved hot within an inch of its life; we had to wait nearly an hour to talk to the concierge etc etc. The Moran museum which is billed as some great historical interest is nothing more than a few old photos and faded furniture. Well, not to dwell on it but we found the hotel extremely disappointing given its status as a top ranking place to stay. Anyone planning to visit the hotel may be interested to know that it will be closed for several months this winter for a massive refurb -not before time I would say!!! Personally I think we would have had better accommodation and service staying in a local B&B!!! That being said, the hotel was fully booked all weekend so it must have some redeeming features - probably the wonderful views of Eastsound and the outlying islands which are quite outstanding.
Mr Moran would be rolling in his grave if he could see what had become of his beautiful home today.....
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