The Alisal is a frustrating mixture of great and crappy. If you are a discerning traveller, read on and you should get a good feel for which end of the spectrum will stand out for you.
The Great - Location is really magnificent. Bucolic and lush. From the lodge area to the trailrides to the lake, this place just feels good. It is all about the activities here, so the horseback riding, fishing, paddle-boating, archery, etc. get you out into the gorgeous scenery. Enjoy.
The Crappy - You don't come here for the rooms. I'm just going to lay it out there. The bathrooms are basic. They function and they are clean, but they aren't attractive or even inviting. The littl lodge rooms themselves, again, are functional. There is a romantic ambiance of being in an outdoorsy cabin that I love, but drawbacks that are inexcusable for a $650+/nt experience - which is the minimum you'll pay once all of the taxes and activities are thrown in. The fireplaces don't draw well at all, so even I, who grew up with wood buring fireplaces and love the smell, was overwhelmed within 15 minutes. It wasn't windy. They just don't function well. And once the smoke fills a room, everything smells like smoke until it gets washed. The sheets, your clothes, etc. We tried every night to no avail. Even before we started, the room had a permanent smoky smell that I found nice, but my wife found just a bit over the edge of unpleasant. The furniture just needs an update. Nothing more to say here. It just looks old. A bit beyond rustic. Again, not terrible, but ridiculous for that much money. The food quality was disturbing. It was basic. That's it. Do not expect fine dining. It is, quite honestly, about on par with an outback steakhouse, but far more limited in terms of selection. Not terrible, but again, how much are we paying here?? Final note is that I found the staff unpleasant. I won;t get into details, but the front desk staff was not helpful or nice.
So, if you are going because you and your wife/husband are St. Regis and Four Seasons afficionados who want to try something a bit more active and fun, be aware that there is a trade-off. You'll find the activities great. you'll love the location, and you'll love the idea of what you are doing. But if you MUST go in with ZERO expectations of the rooms. They'll look nice when you walk up, romantically appealling when you open the door, and like a Hampton Inn when you see the bathroom, or that disappointing bed and breakfast you stayed in 10 years ago when you see the furniture. You also may not be able to take advantage of the fireplace, which is a major drawback. And be prepared for food that is basic. You'll feel ripped off by the price if you focus on the room and food. You'll feel okay if you actually plan to take advantage of many of the activities and re-program yourself to look at the "rustic" nature of your accomodation and food as part of the ambiance. If you have young kids, the place is nice. You just want them to be active, happy, and full at mealtime. This place will do that, for sure.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort is located in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley and renowned Santa Barbara County wine country. Privately owned and operated since 1946, the Alisal is a working cattle ranch and full-service resort. This historic ranch is one of four original Spanish land grants on the west coast given to conquistador Raimundo Carrillo in the late 1700’s. Today, the romance and majesty of the old west remain in the wide-open spaces and unspoiled natural beauty of the Alisal. They serve as a reminder of simpler times and as an invitation to those with a taste for adventure. As California's premier guest ranch, the Alisal transports guests back to a bygone era. Set on a 10,000-acre working cattle ranch, this one-of-a-kind resort blends the best of nature with exceptional golf, horseback riding, tennis, fishing on a 100-acre private lake, fitness center and spa, children's activities, barnyard activities and fine dining. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Alisal Guest Ranch And Resort
- Alisal Guest Ranch Hotel Solvang
- Alisal Hotel Solvang
- Alisal Resort Solvang
- Alisal Ranch Solvang
- The Alisal Guest Ranch