A 1960s-era Main Street hotel nears the end of its transformation to a modern one-of-a-kind boutique lodging operation designed as a launchpad for adventure-seekers.
A fall opening is planned for The Finch at 325 E. Main St.
The specific opening date has not yet been determined, according to an announcement.
Its opening will bring 80 rooms back into circulation that have been missing from Walla Walla’s inventory since the January 2018 closure of the former Red Lion Inn & Suites.
The property was purchased by a new ownership group made of investors who represent the ownership behind The Lark in Bozeman, Mont.
Demolition and rebuilding has gone on more than a year. The latest update describes the result as Streamline-era architecture featuring open-air design, an outdoor fireplace and community gathering spaces that encourage guests to interact with locals.
The operation incorporates Walla Walla’s draw as a road-cycling destination by offering an on-site tuneup station and multiple storage options. The hotel has purchased two cruiser bikes from Allegro Cyclery to have on hand for guest use.
“Walla Walla is a destination that has something for everyone, and The Finch will serve as the perfect base camp for our guests,” said General Manager Matt Skaletsky in a prepared statement. “This hotel reflects the beauty and innovation of the region, offering a modern, comfortable and creative space to explore, indulge and relax. We look forward to welcoming guests to The Finch this fall, just in time for one of the most festive times of year in wine country.”
The hotel experience features Livit Coffee Co. coffee along with a selection of herbal teas, an assortment of local fresh breakfast snacks each morning, a custom-designed Map Room and free Field Guide travel journals at check-in, to help navigate the area.
The rooms each feature custom wall installations created by regional artists and inspired by Walla Walla’s food, wine and outdoor culture. An example given is a design by Whitman College graduate Yogesh Simpson of an infographic depicting soil compositions of wineries in the southwest to northeast Walla Walla regions. Other room features touted include plus mattresses, Malin+Goetz bath products, cozy bathrobes and bathrooms with walk-in tile showers.
Rates will begin at $159 per night.
For decades the property has served Main Street as a hotel, switching identities over time. Before it was a Red Lion, it operated as Walla Walla Vineyard Inn. Before that it had been a Howard Johnson.
The Finch was developed by a Bozeman, Mont., group with partners connected to Walla Walla. All of their specific identities have not been disclosed. But through public relations efforts, the group describes their goal as developing properties “that remain true to their surroundings and maintain a genuine connection to regional inspiration.”
Design of the hotel came from Thinktank and Fernau+Hartman architecture firms. Lynden, Wash.,-based Elements Hospitality was general contractor. The hotel will be operated by Columbia Hospitality, which also oversees management and operations on behalf of the ownership that purchased The Inn at Abeja last year.
Ron Williams, CEO of destination marketing organization Visit Walla Walla, said getting the rooms back in circulation will help bolster options for guests.
“We are experiencing multiple times of the year where we don’t have enough hotels for the guests that are coming,” Williams said.
He said the price point is a “sweet spot” in the marketplace for guests. The focus on recreation and exploration also highlights activities and resources in the community.
“They’ve done a very good job of understanding what the market is and how to really target it,” Williams said. “We expect this property will be successful quickly, bringing in a new group of people that we haven’t necessarily had.”