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“Every stay gets better”

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Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort
Ranked #4 of 11 Hotels in Solvang
Certificate of Excellence
Glendale, California
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Every stay gets better”
Reviewed 13 June 2011

This was our 6th stay at Alisal and it was the best yet.
Anyone considering a stay there should first look at their website. As wonderful as it appears on that site, the description and photos don't do it justice. You have to experience it to understand what an exceptional place it is.
My wife is former horse owner and loves to ride. (I tell people that when we got married she traded in a whole horse for the back half of one.) This trip she went on two trail rides; my anatomy could only take one since they last two hours. All three days we took the van up to their private lake and fished. The lake, about 100 acres. is all "catch and release" and is full of bass and blue gill. If you can't catch fish there, you never will. We rented a boat and had the entire lake to ourselves each day. Even if you don't fish, just cruising the lake and watching the deer, the hawks, a bald eagle, the herons, and enjoying the absolute peacefulness is something every guest should try.
The website gives a detailed description of all the amenities but I do have a caution about the food. Breakfast and dinner are included in the room rate. And as the menus posted on the website show, this is a not typical hotel fare - it's off the chart good. I think three days is the maximum I could stay there because after that my clothes don't fit. (Maybe it's something in the fresh air.)
Everything about Alisal is designed to promote a relaxed, but never boring, stay. From the spacious rooms, WITHOUT TV"s or phones but with Wi-Fi, and a fireplace with plenty of firewood, an assigned table in the dining room for the length of your stay, two golf courses, stables, a spa, tennis courts, a private lake and a staff who are attentive and helpful but never in the way, Alisal is a destination vacation. After you arrive, you won't need your car again until you check out.
Admittedly, it not inexpensive, but if you factor in the included two meals per day and the facilities and activities that are available, it makes the rates much more reasonable.
Alisal is simply a treasure that we try to visit each year.

Room Tip: When available, RoundUpVacation package is a deal.
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  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank mikefromglendale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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235 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Value
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (82)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles
Level 4 Contributor
47 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 June 2011

Our last night, the resort had a power failure, we spent the night in darkness, no power and more important...no heat. There are no phones, for safety was my biggest concern. No on checked the room, someone could have fallen and hit their head...and no one would have known. I wrote the General Manager, David Lautensack and I never heard from him or the resort. People still go....but they will never see me again.

Room Tip: They are all old and the bathrooms are dates
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  • Stayed May 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
16 Thank markandmarytravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
, General Manager at Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort, responded to this review, 24 June 2011
This guest was part of a group that stayed at the Alisal Guest Ranch for three nights. We received a letter of complaint from him and contacted the gentlemen in charge of his group immediately to solicit his opinion on how the Alisal should respond. The group coordinator assured the Alisal that the guest had grossly overstated the inconvenience he experienced during a valley-wide power outage. Clearly, the disgruntled guest was seeking a significant adjustment to his bill. We did not offer him an additional adjustment because the group he was a part of had already received a substantially discounted room rate.
- Dave Lautensack
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santa Monica, CA
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2011

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.

  • Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
10 Thank pharmanuke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bonita, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 6 April 2011

It was a memorable vacation many years ago, with my husband and children. They
felt they had the freedom to do many things (safely) on their own, while we were free
to engage in our own activities in a beautiful setting. This is the reason I now want
to take my grandchildren, who would be the same age my children were, so they can
experience the beauty and fun at the Ranch.
NOTE: ABOVE DATE OF STAY IS NOT CORRECT, BUT YOU DID NOT GIVE ME THE
CHOICE TO ENTER THE ACTUAL DATE.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank vickirosas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paso Robles, California
Level 5 Contributor
47 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2011

We took our 2 teenagers and their friends and got a cottage with adjoining rooms,,,they had their privacy,,and we ours but we could still keep an eye on them. The rooms are super comfy and they provide firewood which adds to the great western ambience. The horse rides were the highlight. The surrounding scenery is gorgeous.
Dressing up for dinner every night was wonderful,,,the boys felt spiffy and we got lots of great family time and pictures. The fishing was great and the boys really enjoyed the petting zoo!!

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Gigi1998
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Solana Beach, California
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 February 2011

It amazes me to read anything remotely negative about The Alisal, it's as if they are insulting my closest family members. To come to the Alisal is to embrace nature, ranch living, the outdoors, etc. Surrounded by green, rolling hills lined with Oak trees and grazing cattle, I can't imagine needing or wanting cell phone service.

The Alisal will never need publicity but I am blessed to have grown up visiting the Alisal, and can't wait to pass the tradition on for years to come.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank richterradical
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 January 2011

We have traveled to Alisal for the last several years with our extended family, with ages ranging from age 1 to 94. We all love it so much, and look forward to returning each year. It's not cheap! However, the enormous, delicious breakfast and dinner is included in the price - you don't even need lunch between those giant meals. Also, we go there in the winter when the activities are included in the price, instead of coming at an additional cost.

The staff are very gracious and helpful. I sort of expect that from the hotel and restaurant staff, but am pleasantly surprised each year at the wranglers and barn staff. I've been around a fair few cowboys and customer service isn't usually their strong point! Here, though, they are courteous and friendly. They also take great care of their animals, and insist that you do as well, which I appreciate.

For my toddler there's a lead-around horse to ride, all sorts of animals to pet and brush (from rats to parakeets to mini-cows). There's no TV or telephones, and I get terrible cell access there (AT&T) so it truly is a break from technology as well.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank rlt_losangeles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort

Property: Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort
Address: 1054 Alisal Rd, Solvang, CA 93463-3033
Region: United States > California > Solvang
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Solvang
#1 Family Hotel in Solvang
#3 Spa Hotel in Solvang
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 73
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 
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Also Known As:
Alisal Guest Ranch Hotel Solvang
Alisal Guest Ranch And Resort
Alisal Hotel Solvang
Alisal Resort Solvang
Alisal Ranch Solvang
The Alisal Guest Ranch

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