Walla Walla is a case study for a typical US town with a tussle between downtown shopping and outlying shopping malls. From Walla Walla's hey day at the turn of the century to mid 1900's, downtown Walla Walla was the place to shop if you lived in the area. In the 1970's, it started on a downward slide, and became sorely neglected. To make matters worse for downtown Walla Walla, in 1989, a large enclosed mall, Blue Mountain Mall, opened a few miles away, which drew most of the remaining shoppers away from downtown. Department stores in downtown lost money and were sold. The Marcus Whitman hotel went condo for lack of visitors. The downtown became seedy and deserted.
Beginning in 1990, the city of Walla Walla began work on a multi year revitalization of downtown. As the downtown improved and added shops, it drew shoppers away from the enclosed mall. Moreover, like cities elsewhere in the US, the large enclosed mall fell out of vogue, and was abandoned by shoppers. Tenant stores vacated and the food court became empty. Today, downtown Walla Walla is a small but charming collection of boutique shops, cafes and wine tasting rooms. The condo complex became the Marcus Whitman Hotel again after a $35 million renovation. The city's revitalization project was so successful that downtown Walla Walla has won coveted awards.
The Blue Mountain Mall, on the other hand is practically an empty shell now. Word has it that a buyer may step in, buy the entire mall, demolish it, and rebuild it as an open air shopping center, just like what is happening in other cities. Then shoppers will flock there. What will happen to downtown? I am betting it will survive - Walla Walla is on the upswing with its fledgling wine and tourism industries. It should only get better.
Outstanding Value & Great Food
I stayed at the Marcus Whitman Hotel for a full week and enjoyed every day. The staff is very friendly. The breakfast buffee is outstanding. My dinners were both unique and delicious. The hotel is perfectly located for tourists being close to downtown and all the wine bars, coffee shops, etc. I highly recommend the Marcus Whitman hotel.
The Marc is awesome!
I have traveled to Walla Walla several times on business, and was lucky enough to stay at the Marcus Whitman each time, in different rooms. The luxury suites in the tower are comparable to the very finest hotels I have experienced, from Chicago to San Francisco. Five star does not begin to describe the luxury of the room nor the quality of the service. This was also true of the more standard rooms I stayed in at the Marc, closer to the conference center. The food has always been excellent, and the level of the service from each and every staff member has been on par with top hotels in large cities. You can't go wrong.
The Wonderful Marcus Whitman
Back in March I spent the weekend at the Marcus Whitman in Walla Walla, WA. What an incredible hotel. This property has been perfectly restored to its past glory, and is well worth the trip. I stayed in a luxury King Suite, and when Sunday came around I did not want to leave. Staying at the Whitman real is like going back in time. It is located in the heart of downtown with most everything within walking distance. When you go, be sure to check out the restaurant (The Marc) and the adjacent wine bar. I had the Clam Chowder on Friday night and it was out of this world. The wine bar features all the local wineries (to many to mention) of which all were worth tasting. If you are looking for a romantic get away in a beautiful out of the way location with all the ammenities the Marcus Whitman in Walla Walla is the place. I can't wait for my next visit to Walla Walla.
Starve at the Marcus Whitman
The 2 room suite we stayed in was quite nice, but anything to do with food in this place will be unsatisfying (and done with no care).
In their "nice" restaurant; my medium rare tenderloin was well done, the mashed potatoes were stiffer, and dryer than a bad diner. My wifes roasted potatoes were harder than week old french fries.
The waitress agreed the steak was way over done, and sent it back.
A new one came that was still over done(not as badly), but of low quality. They put on almost no reduction sauce, so it was pretty lame. Impossibly the potatoes were even worse this time.
At least I had my wine while waiting,.......No. I ordered it with the first steak, and it didn't come until I had the last bite of the second one that came.
The Continental breakfast was allright if you got there early. Later some of the things weren't edible or gone. When I asked if they had more cream cheese the lady touched the empty container, and said "all gone". The thought of going into the back and getting some more never entered her mind.
On check in the clerk said "the weekend breakfast goes until 10:00". It was Memorial Day Weekend, and on Monday when we went for breakfast at 9:15am it was shut down. Other guest were walking in saying "Todays part of Memorial Weekend where's breakfast?.
The front desk lamely responded, "yea, others have complained too. You know it's Monday, but somebody should of thought of this as a weekend.
When I related the dining experience to her, and overall food service disappointment the response indicated there would probably be no changes any time soon. "Sorry, do you want someone to call you?"
Nice room, good house keeping, but pack a cooler if you want to eat at the hotel.
What a pleasant surprise this hotel was. Our room was very spacious, clean and quiet and very reasonable rate wise. The hotel has a small work out room, which was nice to help work off the wonderful complimentary breakfast they serve. We did not have dinner at the hotel, however there are some fantastic restaurants within walking distance. We enjoyed the City of Walla Walla and its fabulous wineries and hope to return again and will definitely stay at The Marcus Whitman.
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