Marcus Whitman and His Hotel

Marcus and Narcissa Whitman

The Marcus Whitman Hotel will host the 2018 Women Writing the West Conference. The grand hotel is in the heart of wine country in Walla Walla, Washington. It was named “Hotel of the Year” in 2015 by the Washington State Wine Commission.

Original corner of the wall that separates old from renovated. Shanna Hatfield will be our 2018 conference chair and I will be the 2018 WWW President. I think we will make a great team!

Originally opened in 2918, Marcus Whitman Hotel was renovated and restored in 2001 with 133 guest rooms and the addition of over 13,000 square feet of conference and event space. Conference rooms highlight the area history: Explorer Ballroom, Lewis, Cark, Sacajawea, Renaissance, Empire, Cayuse, Nez Perce and Umatilla.

The Marcus Whitman Hotel

Named “2014 Restaurant of the Year,” The Marc Restaurant’s chefs create modern American dining with a Pacific Northwest influence: Crispy Firecracker Salmon Roll, Pacific Alderwood Smoked Salmon, Pit Master BBQ, Forbidden Basmati Rice, Vegetable Pappardelle Ribbons, fresh fruit in season, Chocolate Tart and Peach and Berry Strudel to name a few.

The Rooftop Garden grows the hotel’s heirloom tomatoes, bean, basil, rosemary and more. Chefs partner with local farmers, rancher, and vintners to provide fresh bounty to its visitors. The hotel also has its own canning room where local goods are preserved for year-round use.


Conference hallway. Conference rooms and ballroom to the right.

Missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman accepted a commission from a congregation in Wheeler, New York. Southeast Washington in 1835. A handshake sealed the agreement and the Whitman’s packed their bags and headed west. After meandering their way to the Columbia River, in 1838, Whitman cast the first adobe brick at Fort Pierce, later called Fort Walla Walla originally near current day Wallula.

Dr. Whitman’s mission was to spread the gospel. Yet he’d found a love of the local Nez Perce and Cayuse children. His school room would entertain at least 50 children and many adults with teachings and singing.

Marcus Whitman met an untimely death in 1847 while a fire destroyed all traces of the Whitmans. Because of their influence, they were never forgotten. As Walla Walla blossomed, their name was on the face of businesses and eventually the hotel in 1927. The finest hotel in the area, The Marcus Whitman easily drew presidents, celebrities, and dignitaries with its elegant rooms and famous restaurant.

Hotel Art Gallery on the 2nd floor.

The history of Marcus Whitman and the hotel is beautifully displayed in 35 art pieces by Dave Manuel with narration on the 2nd floor. The gallery tour begins with the 1802 birth of Marcus Whitman in Federal Hollow, West of New York, takes us on his journey to Walla Walla country, his life with the Nez Perce and Cayuse Indians, and Marcus and Narcissa’s deaths.

Art Gallery on the 2nd floor.

I invite you to consider joining us in Walla Walla for the 2018 Women Writing the West Conference.

Have you visited Walla Walla before? What was your favorite sight-seeing venue?

Connect with Carmen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. What great news for this Washingtonian! Congrats and thank you, Carmen and Shanna too. It’s a happy coincidence that my latest mystery, Murder in the Melting Pot,is set in the Yakima Valley!

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Jane, I take it you’ll be joining us next year in Walla Walla. Perfect for your book! My grandparents lived in Yakima for years. Your book is on my TR list!

  2. Carmen and Shanna: What a major commitment from both of you. Thank you for volunteering. The hotel looks warm, welcoming, and a good learning environment for WWWers.

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Judith, I hope you can come! I love the hotel. It is elegant. A touch of class and history rolled up into charm.

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Thank you, Shanna, for committing to be conference chair. You will do a marvelous job!

  3. What a great looking venue for the 2018 WWW conference! We’ve visited the old site of the Whitman compound, though there were no buildings, only the outline of where they used to be. I’ll get to just drive to this conference, which is nice. Thanks for the nice run-down. Can’t wait!

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Thank you, Mary. I agree, it will be nice to drive for a change. I would like to go a day early and scope out a few landmarks. Maybe next spring as well.

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      Glad you will be in attendance, Brigid!

      1. Yea for Walla Walla and the Marcus Whitman. Our WWW tradition of great conferences will carry on from Tucson to Walla Walla! Thanks for giving us a peek, and thanks to Carmen for being President Elect and LAURA Chair this year and President next! And to Shanna for stepping up to handle what everyone agrees to be the toughest job, conference chair! From this year’s President.

        1. Carmen Peone says:

          Thank you, Linda! Several years of amazing conferences and we just keep chugging away. I’m looking forward to Tucson! Here we come!