A beloved Washington State Hotel and historic landmark has laid off its entire workforce and will close. However, the new owners plan on re-opening the resort.

The mansion (Photo: J Mabel)
The  Rosario Mansion on Orcas Island
(Photo: J Mabel)

The Historic Resort in Washington Made a Shocking Statement

In a statementRosario Resort on Orcas Island announced the news.

The establishment said, “We are pleased to announce that Rosario Resort & Spa is changing ownership to a new steward. The new owner plans a substantial upgrade, beginning with the historic Moran Mansion. The Mansion, including the Mansion Restaurant, Moran Lounge, Spa, Museum, and other facilities within the Mansion itself, will be closed as of February 20, 2024, for a period to accommodate the extensive renovations. The marina and grounds will remain open; however, overnight lodging will briefly close from February 20, 2024, through March 31, 2024, for the transition, reopening on April 1. 

attachment-Rosario poster
Photo: The Rosario Resort Museum

Our apologies, but existing reservations during this time will be canceled. If you want to cancel a reservation on or after April 1, 2024, you can do so through Rosario Resort & Spa until February 22, 2024, and your deposit will be refunded. After February 22, the new resort operator will handle your reservation and deposit. We will provide contact information for the new resort operator shortly. New Reservations for April 1 and beyond are also paused for the brief transition period and will reopen shortly.

The Barto family thanks you and the residents of Orcas Island for your patronage and support of the Rosario Resort & Spa through the years.”

The mansion was built by the former Seattle Mayor, Robert Moran
The mansion was built by the former Seattle Mayor, Robert Moran (Photo:



The Announcement Suprised the Community on Orcas Island

The announcement surprised and disappointed locals and employees alike on Orcas Island.

Alenna Garcia is a former Rosario employee. She worked with the resort for six years in several capacities across housekeeping and food and beverage. Regarding the news, she said, “It was shocking the new owners would lay off every single employee, knowing the resort is a huge income source for many locals and islanders. It is also a source of housing.

Jack Coe is an Orcas Island resident who has enjoyed visiting Rosario several times with his family. 

“Hearing the news of yet another sale of Rosario Resort on Orcas Island came with a sense of considerable consternation and yet cautious hope about what this means for Rosario's future,” said Coe. 

“Too many have bought and sold Rosario out of sheer speculation or with plans to squeeze a quick buck out of further subdividing and selling off its various assets, or even if they had good intentions, without the wherewithal to properly act as stewards of this national treasure. I can only hope that whoever is next will have both the vision and resources to restore Rosario to its former glory and return this jewel to its rightful place in the San Juan Islands crown, he continued.”  

History of Rosario Resort and the Historic Mansion in Washington State

Rosario, once the estate of Seattle mayor and shipbuilder Robert Moran, was built between 1906 and 1909 on Orcas Island due to Moran's declining health.

The massive building was constructed using materials from the island, such as local wood and stone. In addition to the Mansion, the resort’s campus includes houses and other buildings. Today, the Mansion and its grounds are privately owned and operated as Rosario Resort and Spa. The Mansion also features a museum dedicated to Robert Moran, showcasing original furnishings. 

The music room Photo: The Rosario Resort Museum
The music room
Photo: The Rosario Resort Museum

 The Mansion also features a music room, which houses a 1913 Aeolian pipe organ and a 1900 Steinway grand piano, both played for guests' enjoyment. In 1978, Rosario was included in the National Register of Historic Places.

This is the most beautiful hotel to stay in Washington state. 🏨

Beauty is subjective, of course, but staying at this hotel in the Presidential Suite will be one of the most beautiful hotels you'll stay in Washington state.

Gallery Credit: Reesha Cosby

More From 610 KONA