Rosario - a realistic review - decent! A review of Rosario Resort and Spa

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.

Cheers!

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Rosario Resort and Spa
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