Walla Walla innkeepers form B&B association

The Walla Walla Bed & Breakfast Inns Association aims to promote hospitality to Valley visitors.

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WALLA WALLA -- A new bed-and-breakfast association offers a one-stop online shop, answering the age-old question: Is there room at the inn?

Eleven area innkeepers have formed the Walla Walla Bed & Breakfast Inns Association with a goal of promoting hospitality to Walla Walla Valley visitors. That includes helping visitors find a place to stay, said Alexa Palmer, association president and owner of the Fat Duck Inn.

"If I'm full, now there's a vehicle, if you will, to send people into a different direction," Palmer explained.

Palmer said "ease of shopping" isn't the only benefit for visitors scouting a place to stay.

In order to be included, member inns must meet a variety of standards. Each one must be licensed and inspected by the state. They also must pass Walla Walla Bed & Breakfast Inns Association qualifications before being invited to join.

"We want our guests to be assured that they will be treated to the highest standards possible," said Albert Musard, association vice president and owner of Green Gables Inn, in a prepared statement.

Among the qualifications: each member must have fewer than 10 rooms, offer breakfast to the guests, have a resident innkeeper and meet standards of cleanliness and safety, Palmer said.

The array of founding bed-and-breakfasts vary from vineyard-tucked inns to historic Victorian homes. One -- the Vine and Roses Inn -- hasn't even opened yet. That business is slated for 2010 at the corner of Whitman and Division streets across from Pioneer Park.

In addition to lodging opportunities, the association will also include lists of restaurants, special events and packages on its Web site -- www.wwbbia.com. Examples include the Gourmet Getaway packages that pair chef-led cooking courses with lodging and wine tasting events in the first quarter of the year.

Palmer said the offerings are geared specifically toward the bed-and-breakfast demographic. At the Fat Duck Inn, she said, the profile of a typical guest is mid- to senior-aged with disposable income for a luxury experience who tends to stay two to three days enjoying local wine and fine dining.

"It's a different kind of traveler," she said. "They don't want to walk down a fluorescent-lit hallway. They want a more personal experience."

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