Approved master plan for the resort’s development with new residential properties paves the way for a rare opportunity to create a luxury lifestyle resort community on the island known as the “Gem of the San Juans.”
Redmond, Washington (March 1, 2023) – The owner of the historic Pacific Northwest resort property, the Rosario Resort, is seeking new ownership to implement the vision of the property’s approved master plan. The plan, which was approved by the community, paves the way for the development of a high-end luxury resort living community on Orcas Island in the San Juan Archipelago, approximately 70 miles from Seattle.
The iconic Rosario Resort & Spa, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built between 1906-1909 by Seattle Shipbuilder and Mayor Robert Moran. The property’s incredible and breathtaking location in the San Juans captivates guests with vistas of shimmering blue water of Cascade Bay and East Sound complemented by the snow-capped Olympic Mountains. A favorite of locals, Rosario Resort amenities include spa, dining, concierge services, a museum of the property and access to the island’s magnificent natural beauty.
“We are working to find a new ‘caretaker’ of Rosario to steward the property into the next era by elevating the resort to a world-class destination with luxury residences,” said Christopher Peacock, general manager of Rosario Resort & Spa. “Having been with the resort for more than 40 years, it is exciting to embark on a new phase of development that preserves the rich history of Rosario and its exquisite natural surroundings while enhancing the property through upgrades, and the addition of event/meeting space and new luxury residential first- and second-home properties. Our vision for the property is to provide a luxury residence lifestyle for outdoor enthusiasts and families with the amenities of our iconic resort, nestled together in one of the most magnificent places in the world.”
The resort is located on Orcas Island, the largest island in the San Juan Archipelago in northwestern Washington. The San Juan Archipelago consists of 172 islands located above the northernmost reach of the Puget Sound, between Canada’s Vancouver Island and the Washington mainland. The Washington State Ferry serves four islands year-round, including Orcas Island.
Rosario Resort is being represented by Land Advisors Organization’s Washington office Co-Founding Principals Scott Cameron and Wes Falkenborg.
The property currently features 69 condo-style guest rooms and the 25,000-square-foot Moran Mansion. The resort also includes a restaurant and bar where Oprah Winfrey once popped in for a bite. Orcas Island is a favorite destination for vacationers attracted by its scenic beauty and mild weather. With its mountainous scenery, dramatic bays, and accessible lakes, streams, and waterfalls, Orcas is referred to as “the Gem of the San Juans.”
The Rosario master plan paves the way for the new owner and steward of the historic property to create a luxury lifestyle community on the Orcas and is broken into two phases.
Phase I is the resort core including the Moran Mansion renovation and expansion for dining, spa, and guest rooms. It also includes a new marina village restaurant, pool, marina showers, and event/meeting space; 55 new resort lodging units; 40 new privately owned residences; two new single-family residences; marina improvements (completed); and new employee housing (Hilltop area).
Phase II is the expansion of Hillside (16 new private residences), Upper Basin (21 new private residences), and Harborside (12 new private residences).
The plan’s concept is to create a nucleus of activity easily accessible to all guests and will facilitate efficient services, protect important view corridors, preserve valuable open space, and protect historic resources. It was laid out to create a compact village of cottages and flats along with guest suites near the mansion and additional guest suites and cottages on the surrounding hillside. The new owner will determine the optimal size of the resort.
The trend of a luxury resort lifestyle is alluring. The resort’s plan is designed to be appealing to buyers looking for a second home, but with the benefits of the resort. Although the Seattle single-family home market declined in 2022, luxury residential buyers spent millions on homes with amenities that the master plan at Rosario will offer. The sale of luxury real estate in King County was robust in 2022. Rosario is a 45- to 60-minute flight from Seattle via seaplane to the Orcas Island Airport and a 2.5-hour trip via WA State Ferries. It is also accessible by private boat.
“The overall strategy for the master plan design will be to provide and array of luxury homes and hospitality suites while maintaining the majesty of this iconic resort property,” Cameron said.
The magnitude of long-term growth for the resort was determined by several factors, including operational efficiencies, historical and natural integrity, the scenic capacity of the site, the volume of available treated water, anticipated market demand, and ratio of projected revenues to redevelopment costs.
The site analysis process included an Environmentally Sensitive Areas review and an opportunities and constraints assessment of available development areas within the resort area. Important natural features such as character-defining trees and rock outcrops were identified and geo-located using GPS technology. Connectivity will be a common theme as well with pathways and recreational and commuter trails.
“Rosario Resort is situated to capture the imaginations of seafarers and land lovers seeking their next adventure and to experience the tranquility of island living,” Cameron said. “It will be intimate luxury destination with a limited number of opportunities to own a private residence.”