While touring the Walla Walla wine country, we've always been happy at the Marcus Whitman. But there's a new luxury resort 10 minutes north of town that's causing quite a stir. Eritage Resort is a luxury hotel from Fire and Vine, a Seattle-based group known for its gracious hospitality. It's unlike anyplace else in Washington state wine country.
Ten plush suites enjoy sweeping views, some of the property's water feature and vineyards just beyond it, and others of the Blue Mountains in the distance. The stylish restaurant features prime steak -- legendary El Gaucho is part of Fire and Vine -- and inventive seafood preparations from executive chef Brian Price. We really enjoyed a halibut dish that was served with a roasted beef bone, the marrow scraped into the bowl, table side, making it one of the most unusual takes on surf-and-turf we've ever encountered.
The handsome, high-ceiling dining room was buzzing that night, with several superstar winemakers in the house: Gary Figgins, founder of Leonetti Cellar, Myles Anderson, founder of Walla Walla Vintners, Justin Wylie from Va Piano, who's also involved in developing a winery using Eritage vineyard grapes, and Sleight of Hand's Trey Busch. Very cool.
During our stay, we also did some standup paddling, sat by and jumped into the saltwater pool, enjoyed a spectacular sunset while sipping wine on our porch and savored the last of summer's sweet berries on Greek yogurt during breakfast. And bonus: The parking lot was plenty large enough to accommodate our new RV.
Rates vary according to the season, starting around $350 a night.