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“Winemaker's Dinner Bliss” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center

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Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   6 West Rose Street, Walla Walla, WA 99362   |  
Hotel website
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 13 hotels in Walla Walla
GreenLeadersGold level
Seattle, Washington
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Winemaker's Dinner Bliss”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2006

My wife and I flew to Walla Walla expressly to attend the Winemaker's Dinner held at the Marcus Whitman Hotel that featured the Abeja Winery.

The seven course meal crafted by chef Bear Ullman was perfectly paired with the wines of Abeja. It was a culinary tour de force I was unprepared for in what I had previously thought was an out of the way, sleepy town in eastern Washington.

The dining room and table were tastefully decorated with white linens, mirrors and candles all under a canopy of corkscrew willow branches and Alstroemeria blossoms. Each place setting had the silverware and stemware to support a seven course meal.

The winemaker John Abbott introduced each course and the wine pairing:

Lobster and Prawn Ceviche with tropical fruits served with '05 Viognier

Ravioli of Smoked Pheasant Confit with Manchego Cheese and Morel Mushrooms on a seared Heirloom Tomato served with a pre-release '04 Merlot (the mushrooms were picked and dried by John)

Kobe Beef Tenderloin Tartare in three different preparations served with '03 Cabernet Sauvignon

Smoked Duck Breast wrapped in Proscuitto and Spinach with Roasted Baby Fennel and Cherry Chutney served with '03 Estate Syrah

An Intermezzo of Grilled Apricot and Honey Sorbet

Rack of Lamb cast in a Hazelnut and Date Persolé served with '02 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

A Medley of Chocolate Delights by Pastry Chef Sarah German served with Walla Walla Roasters Coffee

I have eaten at chef's tables at fine restaurants in much haughtier venues, spending 3 times the money and coming nowhere close to the excellence experienced at this event. The price per person for just the dinner and wine was $125 per person.

However, the Marcus Whitman also offers a weekend package for $599 for a COUPLE that includes the dinner on Saturday night, a room for two on Friday and Saturday nights, a reception with wine and heavy hors d'oeuvres hosted by the winemaker on Friday night, breakfast Saturday (and not the wimpy continental variety either); a private tour and tasting at the winery with the winemaker Saturday afternoon, and breakfast Sunday morning. A real bargain for this kind of high-end treat.

This is not something you can just drop by and catch, there are only a handful scheduled each year. It is definitely worth working your calendar around to attend one. The hotels' website has links with menus for past winemaker's dinners and a calendar of future dinners.

I have included a few pictures, apologizing in advance for starting to eat on a few before remembering to snap a picture (can you blame me?).

Stayed June 2006
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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750 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (193)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Washington State
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2006

If you want to stay in Washington State but experience something completely different, I highly recommend the Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla. It is the perfect refuge after a busy day of exploring the country's hottest new wine region. There are dozens of wineries over there now and the vineyards are nestled amidst the rolling hills and sea of wheat fields surrounding town. None are more than 15 minutes away.

The main hotel tower has been restored to its original grandeur by owner and manager Kyle Mussman. The lobby is turn-of-the-century elegant and the perfect location for the wine tasting events we've attended. Last trip, we sat in the fireplace room and polished off a bottle of Cabernet. The hotel provided the glasses and a complimentary cork screw.

There is a four story newer wing attached to the tower. We've stayed there and in a tower suite. Both were comfortable and well appointed. The room in the new wing was $109 a night.

Dining at the hotel is really coming into its own. We had a multi-course culinary extravaganza at The Mark that rivals anything we've experienced west of the Cascades, including Rovers. A young up-and-comer, Chef Jake, prepared the meal. This guy is a star in the making. He cut his teeth at Brasa in Seattle. Jake was ably assisted by Sous Chef Curtis. Every course was paired with a different Dunham Cellar wine. I can honestly say it was one of the finest, if not the finest, meal I've ever had. To "wake up our taste buds," we started with the hollowed-out , squared-off end of a peeled cucumber filled with a cold green tomato soup. We drank it like a shot of whiskey. From there we went through courses of crab salad, ham wrapped monkfish, smoked cheese souffle, quail, duck, lamb and a balsamic infused strawberry with shortcake on foie gras. Oh my.

Service throughout the hotel was big city efficient but small town friendly. I don't believe I ever heard the word "no."

If you're worried about not having enough to do, let me tell you we've been to the Marcus Whitman three times in the last year and haven't visited the same winery, restaurant, or shop twice. The hotel is a block from downtown and there are 11 wine tasting rooms within walking distance. I'm embarrassed (or proud) to say we visited all 11 in one day last fall. There aren't many night life choices so we have been to a small lounge that features music a couple of times. But the point is, you won't get bored.

If you been all over the Puget Sound area and want to try something different without sacrificing an ounce of comfort or quality, give the Marcus Whitman a try.

  • Liked — Turn-of-the-century elegance
  • Disliked — No pool
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2006

While the lobby has been beautifully restored this is certainly not a luxury hotel as advertised and as the price of a room would lead you to expect. No triple sheeting, average bed, extremely small bathrooms in the new section, mold in the showers of the historic suites, average toiletries sporadic housekeeping hours. The breakfast is good, but dining room is understaffed. The downtown location is nice. We've stayed in other Walla Walla hotels for much less $$ and the same quality of room and service. If you're looking for ambience and excellent service your best bet in Walla Walla is a B & B.

  • Stayed June 2006
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Murren, Switzerland
Top Contributor
129 reviews 129 reviews
118 hotel reviews
Reviews in 95 cities Reviews in 95 cities
94 helpful votes 94 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2006

We had not planned to stay in this town but were recommended this hotel. Expected a standard American small town mid range hotel with some nice rooms. Not at all. This is a great place with style and character. Lovely story about how it got built and the rooms are terrific in both the main hotel and the annexe. Nice bar, very good staff, extremely helpful. Go and stay and enjoy the great wines of the area and one of the best restaurants at the other end of the hotels parking area.

  • Stayed June 2006
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2006

Most of my interaction with the hotel was with Edie Paden and her assistant Barbara. Edie was consistently efficient and knowledgeable and was a tremendous resource as we planned our daughter’s wedding reception. We live in Canada and planning a wedding at a distance was challenging, but Edie’s expertise and organization made the experience so much easier. She was warm and accommodating and I always felt that she was focused on making our event as enjoyable as possible. Her communications with me were clear and prompt.

I know that the hotel was very busy that week-end, but all of the staff treated us as if we were the only ones in the hotel. Christine was attentive and competent during the reception and handled our last minute requests and questions with courtesy and promptness. The food was excellent and the presentation superb. Many of our guests commented on the quality of the meal and the beauty of the setting in the Renaissance Room.

We are grateful for your conscientious service and attention to detail, and we know that our experience at the Marcus Whitman Hotel was an important component of what was already a joyous and memorable occasion.

Thank you again and congratulations to all of your staff for their friendly, professional service.

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Moses Lake WA
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2006

We had high expectations as we had heard that the hotel had been newly remodeled. The lobby is beautiful and nicely decorated. We've had the pleasure of staying the the Davenport Hotel in Spokane and Cave B Lodge in Quincy and for less money had incredible experiences. The front desk person was cold, unfriendly and acted as though it was a bother to help us. We stayed in the new section. The room and bathroom were small. The ammenities fell short of our expectations. There wasn't even a pen in the room and the toiletries were so-so. Our television quit working and was not fixed during our stay. The beds were substandard and the sheets were so scratchy that my son had to sleep on top of the bedspread. I expected double sheeting on the blankets and top quality mattresses for the price. When asked about our stay, my husband was honest with the front desk person. He offered no apologies and chose not to speak to my husband. The cook making the omelettes was very friendly and helpful.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wenatchee WA
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2006

We were really exited about staying at eh Marcus Whitman Hotel in Wall WAlla Washington,(a restored historic hotel)
last week and were terribly disappointed. Of course, the only view we had of the actual historic portion was the lobby, since we were given a room in the new section. This room was ok, but not any better than a Best Western or Comfort Suites. It was certainly not what we had anticipated and surely not worth the price.

We have stayed at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane several times. I guess our experiences there have made our expectations of a historic hotel unreasonably high. However last time we stayed there, the room rate was no higher than the Marcus Whitman and the service was immeasurably better.

Our first disappointment was that there was no door attendant to greet us, no bellman to help with the luggage and no valet parking.

When I went to check in, I had to wait until the one person at the desk finished with three phone calls. Another example of their lack of staff was during breakfast the next morning. The person who was to make the omelets and waffles was also occupied in the kitchen, so it was either wait until she was free or do without.

When I tried to get a bottle of water out a vending machine, it was sold out and did not return my money. I was able to get the $1.00 at the desk. However, I was told, “this happens all the time.” If so, it might be a good idea to put a sign on the machine that it is out of order. When I asked where I could get a bottle of water, I was sent across the street to the Chevron station. It does seem they would have water available for guests.

Another disappointment was the lack of restaurant and room service. We checked in at about 3:00 in the afternoon. After a long drive, we were in need of some refreshment, but would have had to wait for 2 hours for your lounge and restaurant to open. So we walked downtown, but being Monday, nothing was open there either. It was 4:30 before we were able to sit down for some refreshment.

Our experiences that first day made us decide not to stay the second night as we had planned. We would like to visit Walla Walla again , but we will surely not stay at the Marcus Whitman Hotel and we will not come on a Monday.

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center

Address: 6 West Rose Street, Walla Walla, WA 99362
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Washington > Walla Walla
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Walla Walla
#1 Romantic Hotel in Walla Walla
#1 Green Hotel in Walla Walla
#1 Business Hotel in Walla Walla
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Built in 1928 through a community labor of love, The Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center is a downtown Walla Walla landmark where history and luxury intertwine. The property was fully renovated in 2001 and restored to its original grandeur, while adding modern updates to provide a truly luxurious experience for today's traveler. The full grounds include a 127-room hotel with luxury suites, a state-of-the art conference center featuring grand renaissance ballrooms, six on-site wine tasting rooms, and the award-winning The Marc Restaurant - recently named "Restaurant of the Year" by the Washington State Wine Commission - and The Vineyard Lounge. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Marcus Whitman Hotel And Conference Center
Marcus Whitman Hotel Walla Walla
Marcus Whitman Walla

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