My wife and I stayed at the Rawhide Ranch for a one-night getaway. I liked the concept and was very excited to check it out. We checked in late but received prompt service from Derek. At the end of the check-in process, we were warned that doors must have been left open during a prior event, and the entire place was buzzing with flies, especially the bathrooms. We were told that there were some fly strips in the common area that we could take to our room. I wasn't sure what to say to that, so we headed off expecting to make the most of it.
We still needed to grab dinner and were advised to drop our bags to head out before everything closed. We noticed the numerous flies as we dropped off our bags, but did not spend time on the issue. After we returned from dinner, we realized how bad it was. I would estimate 30 flies in the bedroom and 20+ in the bathroom. We could not find any fly strips, but there was a swatter left in the room for us. We tried to ignore the flies and make the most of it, but after an initial calm period when we entered the room, they started to get busier and a little more aggressive, buzzing by and landing on the bed sheets, and occasionally on us. It was fairly intolerable.
After offering to drive my wife home (she declined), I spent the next 45 minutes swatting flies. I was able to reduce the population to a tolerable level, but only after substantial effort. We had no misconceptions about the fact that this was a ranch and was not a 5-star hotel. However, the fly situation was not what we nor anyone else signed up for. If I was camping in a tent, I would only have to deal with an occasional invader. Even camping outside without a tent, I wouldn't have had anywhere near the nuisance. The fact that we were warned and that measures were taken (though woefully insufficient) indicate that this situation was abnormal and not a routine "it's a ranch" issue.
I was still determined to shrug it off mostly to "stuff happens", but the more I thought about it (and the more of my time was wasted swatting flies rather than enjoying my wife's company), the more I realized that the real issue was the management response. Why weren't the fly strips already in the room rather than waiting for me to track them down and hang them? Why didn't someone spend a few minutes swatting the flies like I did? It would have been much more efficient work with a step stool and without my wife lying in the bed. If nothing was going to be done, why not a friendly heads-up before we arrived so we could make an educated decision before driving 90 minutes? Why not even an offer for a discounted stay (or return visit) or a free breakfast? I don't know if all the other rooms had the same degree of infestation that we had, or if the problem was underestimated because it takes a while after entering the room for the flies to get fully active, or what, but the situation should not have been tolerated by the management, and it would be unfair of me to not point this out to readers.
Aside from the flies....
We did opt for the $9 breakfasts. The food was OK, no better, no worse. We ate very hurriedly because it was a constant effort to defend against the flies in the dining room as well. I wished we would have just found somewhere in town to eat.
The mattress was among the most uncomfortable I have slept in. My wife and I met in the middle because the mattress sagged so badly.
The campfire setup looked nice from a distance, but we did not check it out due to our late arrival and the need to get food.
The heater in the room were a nice touch and worked well.
We had no issues with smells inside the room. Outside, it smelled a little like a barn of course, but it was refreshing and part of why we chose the Rawhide.
As others may have noted, the rooms are a lot of hard wood, so noise echoing could be a bit of an issue on crowded nights, especially with lots of kids around, but it was mostly quiet enough the night we stayed.
I think this palace has potential, and I'd like to chalk this up to one bad circumstance compounded by a poor management response (or knack thereof), but I unfortunately am not willing to come back and give it another try. That said, I can see why others would opt to give it a try nonetheless. I should also note that the rate was quite good and it would have been a decent value without the fly issue, although the poor (broken?) mattress in the Doc Holiday room is way below standards regardless of price.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Rawhide Ranch is a guest ranch that offers you a taste of the dude ranches out west without the long drive and high price. It is a unique experience that will satisfy ones craving of horses, zip lines, dining, the outdoors, relaxation and reconnection with friends, family, co-workers or parishioners. We welcome large or small groups, company outings, corporate retreats along with the family out for vacation. ... more less
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