The owners of Prosser’s Horse Heaven Saloon are breaking into the overnight business, fulfilling a longstanding vision to provide an all-inclusive experience for guests.
“We wanted to diversify beyond the brewery and tasting room,” said Gary Vegar, who owns Horse Heaven Saloon, as well as Horse Heaven Brewery, with his wife Carol. “The guest industry in Prosser through the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla is rapidly becoming a destination for visitors from the greater Northwest and across the country. We are pleased to be part of the growth.”
And the Vegars aren’t alone.
Wineries offering overnight accommodations to entice visitors to stay longer is a growing trend in the region.
The space above the downtown Prosser restaurant has been transformed to create a 1,000-square-foot Parlor Meeting Room along with two guest rooms, each with a private bathroom.
“The parlor is decorated like an opulent hotel lobby — some may say a very upscale bordello far beyond what existed in historic Northwest towns. The guest rooms are named after their wallpaper — the black room is the Naughty Noir Room, and the red room is the Bordeaux Bordello Room. Of course, the room names are all in good fun,” he explained. “We remain a family-friendly business in a small town.”
Other décor includes chandeliers, faux copper tin ceilings, oak floors, deep red wall paint and gold window treatments. A full kitchen and two large dining room tables can accommodate large groups.
“The parlor is set up for special events in a classy, dressed up room,” he said.
A baby grand piano sits in a corner of the parlor, and Vegar said they plan to have a jazz activity once a month with local artist, Ben Macy.
“Guests will have the option of hiring the piano player to add to their private experience,” he said.
Patrons who stay in one of the two 14-by-14 foot rooms — which feature king-size Davenport beds — will have access to the parlor, providing there are no private events. The meeting room can be rented by the hour for private parties, and the space includes a murphy bed for guests who would like to add overnight accommodations to their private parlor experience.
Hourly parlor room and guest room rates have not been set, but Vegar expects to be fully up and running in April.
Further south in Paterson, Alexandria Nicole Cellars is waiting for Benton County to give the thumbs up so it can provide guests with a fifth overnight option.
Two years ago, the winery removed the 14-by-20 foot canvas tents that were used for glamorous camping, or glamping.
“People are looking for a unique experience and getaway. We decided to … build a more permanent structure to expand the season and accommodate for the climate,” said Ali Boyle, co-owner of Alexandria Nicole with her husband, Jarrod.
The winery built four tiny houses, all with less than 400 square feet of space. Each has a queen bed, private bathroom and wine fridges.
HGTV featured the construction of two of the houses while Northwest companies competed to create a unique design using minimal space.
“Finishing Touches out of Seattle won on HGTV, and our wine club members voted for Elite Construction out of the Tri-Cities,” she said, adding that the tiny houses featured in the competition tend to be the most requested by guests.
The structures are surrounded by the winery’s vineyards and can accommodate two people, and the overnight stay includes wine tasting at Alexandria Nicole Cellars.
Reservations run from May through October, and Boyle said they’ll begin scheduling guests for the 2017 season this month.
“We have 4,000 wine club members, so they book it pretty quickly,” she said, adding that last year, 82 percent of the reservation spots were filled.
Although it likely won’t be available this year, the newest option for guests will be a container house.
“There’s a narrower field of builders doing container houses. As soon as we get the OK from the county, we’ll get different bids,” she said. “HGTV wants to come film it when we do.”
Room rates for the existing tiny houses are $250 for weekends and $200 for weekdays, with a discount added for wine club members. One of the houses is a bit smaller than the others, and that rate is $150 for weekends and $100 for midweek.
Desert Wind Winery also has rooms to meet the needs of guests wanting to stay overnight in the heart of wine country.
The Inn and Desert Wind, off of Wine Country Road in Prosser, has a small restaurant area, banquet room and massage rooms, among its plethora of amenities. While wedding and anniversary parties often take advantage of the large event space, the four luxury suites attract guests who are just passing through as well.
“The main reason for opening the suites was to provide accommodations for people visiting the Yakima Valley Wine Country,” said Cecilia Pleake, Desert Wind Winery’s tasting room lead. “Weddings are a staple at Desert Wind, and our suites are often used for wedding nights and romantic getaways. However, we welcome all those looking for something special during their visit.”
The largest room, Sacagawea, features a jetted soaking tub. All of the suites come with a fireplace, private balcony, breakfast delivered fresh to the door, a complimentary bottle of wine and complimentary tasting downstairs.
“We fill up quickly on weekends throughout the year. However, late spring through harvest is when we see occupancy at 100 percent throughout the week. Our availability is on our website, and guests can call the tasting room to check as well,” Pleake said.
A little further west in Grandview is Cowan Estates Vacation House, offering views of Mount Rainer, Mount Adams, Horse Heaven Hills and Rattlesnake Hills.
After much deliberation, the home, which sits on 65 acres of farmable land, was transformed by the owners, David and Susan Cowan, to serve as a vacation house for people visiting wine country.
In spring 2008, Cowan Estates Vacation House opened for business.
“It was the perfect setup … a private country setting with a large house so groups could stay together without having to pay for several hotel rooms,” said Tracy Stroud, who handles the marketing and reservations for her parents’ business. “There is a huge lawn to enjoy an in-ground pool that is perfect to cool off in during the hot summer days.”
With its proximity between Yakima and the Tri-Cities, the house is surrounded by hundreds of wineries, breweries and restaurants, she said. And at 3,600 square feet, the home can accommodate groups of up to 10 people with four bedrooms and 3.5 baths.
“There is a fully stocked kitchen, a large living room and the walk-out basement is set up as a huge game room with a pool table, bar and lots of seating,” she said. “When we first started, our clientele was definitely wine tasting groups visiting from outside the area. Now we have a large range of groups — families coming together from opposite sides of the states or just wanting to get away.”
To find out more about rates and overnight packages visit:
Horse Heaven Saloon: facebook.com/Horseheavensaloon/
Alexandria Nicole Cellars: anctinyhouses.com
Desert Wind Winery: desertwindwinery.com/inn
Cowan Estates Vacation House: facebook.com/Cowan-Estate-Vacation-House-114446471086/
Daily and Monthly NewsSign up now!