Orcas Island's Rosario Resort sale to close Feb. 29 - Salish Current
February 13, 2024
Orcas Island’s Rosario Resort sale to close Feb. 29
Editorial Staff

Built in 1906 by Robert Moran seeking better health on Orcas Island, the Moran Mansion housing the Rosario Resort and Spa has been sold. The marina and grounds will remain open while the mansion facilities undergo an upgrade. (Jmabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

February 13, 2024
Orcas Island’s Rosario Resort sale to close Feb. 29
Editorial Staff


About 47 employees of Rosario Resort and Spa on Orcas Island have been notified that the sale of the resort will close on Feb. 29, and that all current employees will be laid off after closing.

The buyer, who reportedly is local, plans a “substantial upgrade,” per the resort website, beginning with the Moran Mansion, which will close the Mansion Restaurant, Moran Lounge, spa, museum and other facilities within the mansion itself on Feb. 20.

Overnight lodging will close from Feb. 20 through March 31, and existing reservations during this time have been canceled. New reservations for April 1 and beyond will be handled by the new owner.

The marina and grounds will remain open.

Employees have been assured that all payroll, personal time off and sick leave obligations will be met, as well as severance packages offered to assist with transitions. Employees living in resort housing will be allowed to remain rent free until March 31 as part of their severance arrangement.

The resort was purchased at auction for $5.45 million and operated for the last 15 years by Jerrel “Jerry” Barto.

The 54-room Rosario mansion was built in 1906 by shipbuilder Robert Moran who retired to Orcas Island for health reasons. The property had changed hands twice as a residence until 1960 when it was purchased by Gilbert H. Geiser for $225,000 and repurposed as a resort. Since then it has changed hands multiple times, including ownership by national names in hospitality.

In 1978, Rosario was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The listing of the 82-acre property is held by Land Advisors Organization of Redmond, asking $15 million, with an additional $2.5 million for the water rights.

“Moran worked hard to establish a State Park so the people of Washington could share the life-giving benefits of the place he believed had saved him from an early death,” San Juan County District 2 county commissioner Cindy Wolf said.  “I look forward to learning what vision then new owners have for the resort and working together for the benefit of the community.”

— Reporter Toby Cooper contributed to this story


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