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Walla Walla, Washington & Courtyard’s 1000th Hotel

Horizon Air plane

There’s a wide range of cities on the planet that stick out in your memory when you hear the name, and Walla Walla, Washington is certainly one of them. The name rolls of the tongue and when sitting at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport waiting for my connecting flight to the city, a number of passengers around me were repeating the name with smiles on their faces.

I made it out to Walla Walla as an invited guest of Courtyard Hotels as they were preparing to open their 1000th hotel in a town known for sweet onions and fantastic wine. I’m always up for an adventure and jumped at the opportunity.

Walla Walla is a picturesque town with a main street, friendly faces and winery tasting rooms on every corner. A nice bonus when traveling from Walla Walla airport on Alaska Airlines, a box of wine can be checked in free of charge!

Lobby3

I love staying at boutique hotels when I travel, and from what I gathered from staying at the Courtyard’s newest property, they’ve given a fresh injection of what works with those hotels and put their own spin on it. The lobby is inviting with comfortable seating, local art is prevalent and there’s an interactive wall which helps to provide directions and a layout of the area.

One big improvement for me, having gone to a Courtyard a few years ago, is the availability of craft beer and local wines at the restaurant. It always seems a bit strange to travel to a new place and only have the same options available in my own city.

Blintzes + Biscuit at Maple Counter Cafe

Blintzes + Biscuit at Maple Counter Cafe

While in Walla Walla I had a chance to check out some of the culinary options from an upscale restaurant to down home comfort food. It can be hard for me to find decent biscuits in Southern California so I order them whenever I see them. I ordered it as a side to a plate of blintzes at the Maple Counter Cafe although they’re a meal in itself and I shared it with my new friends Jenna and Cat, awesome vloggers with a massive following on YouTube. As most places in the town, they offer local craft beers and wine.TMaccaronesPorkShank

Dinner at T. Maccarone’s was one of the highlights of the trip. Our group ordered most of the appetizer menu and there was plenty of wine flowing. The highlights for me were their dungeness crab cakes and my entree, a kurobuta pork shank from a farm in nearby Idaho, which was braised in cider and accompanied by smoked pork belly, a white bean ragout and local chard. I’m not a huge merlot fan but I had a chance to to try a number of Washington merlots on the trip and was impressed by what the winemakers in the area are crafting with the varietal.

CourtyardHotelToast

I had a chance to try a few meals in Courtyard’s in-house restaurant, the Bistro, that serves full meals during breakfast and dinner hours. I was a bit nervous that I’d be disappointed at the restaurant, given that hotel meals can be hit or miss and I was the only food-focused blogger on this sponsored trip. I’m happy to say that I was impressed by their offerings here. At breakfast my croissant was flaky and I was able to order eggs any style with crispy potatoes. At dinner, the herb roasted chicken was a hit along with the wild mushroom and fava risotto. Both meals are a far cry from rubbery eggs and dry chicken breast that I’ve had elsewhere.

The Bistro5

I had a great time at the hotel and Walla Walla in general. There was a whole day dedicated to wine tasting as well and I’m looking forward to sharing that on my partner site, Sartorial Exposure. In the meantime, take a sneak peek on my story over on Mode.com for a preview. I’d like to send a huge thanks to Courtyard for allowing me to be a part of their celebration!