Our family of six (kids ages 6-12) just got back from a wonderful 3 day vacation at the Mayan. Our daughters very much wanted to ride horses, and with the Hill country location & excellent reviews on Tripadvisor, we decided to come. There is so much to cover, so I'll break my review down:
1. Rooms--we stayed in adjoining units 29 & 30, the Chaparral cabin--one unit had one BR, one bath, and a sitting area with a fireplace, sofa, two rocking chairs, and two coffee tables. the other had two separate BR, one with a double, the other with two double beds, a bathroom, and a sitting area with a small table with two chairs, and a bar area with two chairs and two stools. Each unit had a "Texan decor", a TV (which we never turned on), and plenty of dresser space. there were no closets, but there was a small "hanging rod" with hangers that we hung our windbreakers on. Outside we had a private driveway, covered patio, porch swing, wooden park bench, and two rocking chairs. Our kids enjoyed hanging out outside and watching the deer. We liked our rooms. They were comfortable & spacious, and we spent part of two afternoons there due to short summer thunderstorms.
2. Food--great food & lots of it! No, they are not big city five star restaurant meals, but they are quite delicious, and everyone should be able to find something they like.
Breakfast--each day you can choose between the outdoor cowboy breakfast or the dining room breakfast. We did the cowboy thing the first two mornings--you either take a hayride down to it, or some days they offer a horseback option (which we did not do since you just get one morning ride). The hayride is lots of fun since you get to see plenty of deer and other wildlife on the way down. Biscuits, gravy, grits, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and two other hot dishes (beans, rice, and a delicious ham/bell pepper sautee), are served along with coffee, apple juice, water and OJ. A guitar-playing cowboy sings country songs. Lots of fun, especially on a cool morning. You should do it at least once. On our final day we ate at the dining room, which has more flexible times and more choices-eggs any way (including omelets), sausage, bacon, pancakes, toast, fruit, yogurt, cereal, milk, coffee, tea, and more juice choices. Service was great & quick!
Lunch--different choices each day, and included on the day of check-out--our first day we had a choice of chicken fajita tacos with flour tortillas and all the trimmings(including a very good pico de gallo), beef tacos on corn tortilla shells, pork tamales, beef & cheese enchiladas, fruit tray, and yummy homemade chocolate cookies with a coconut filling. Our second day we had meat loaf, pork loin, mac & cheese, lots of salad & veggie sides, and strawberry shortcake. Our last day we had fried chicken (very tasty--we don't typically eat fried chicken, but my health-conscious husband tried some and loved it), spaghetti with meat sauce, broccoli & cheese casserole, lots of veggies and salads, and chocolate cake. some lunches were indoors & others were under the shaded & ventilated pavilion.
Evening appetizers--offered under the pavilion from 545-645 nightly--at least two different ones each night--egg rolls, chicken nuggets, fried cauliflower, veggie trays, tortilla chips, and potato/cheese cakes, all with sauces or dips.
Dinner--our first night we took a hayride to an outdoor gazebo for a delicious BBQ--brisket, pork ribs, sausage, lots of salads & coleslaw, homemade sliced white bread, and blondies. The second night was under the pavilion--steak & potatoes with delicious sauteed mushrooms, salad, asparagus, & spice cake. Our last night was turkey, beef fajitas with fixins, beef tacos, an "assemble your own" mexican salad, flour tortillas, and pecan pie. There is live country music at every dinner.
Drinks--cold water, tea & lemonade under the pavilion from 11-10ish, with free beer & wine under the pavilion for most of the day, as well as free alcoholic drinks at dinners in other locations. There is a saloon with cocktails/liquor for an additional charge.
3. Activities--we came for the horses, and we weren't disappointed, even though one afternoon trail ride was cancelled and another shortened due to the weather. You get one morning & one afternoon ride, and usually there are four time slots to choose from. You ride single file, no helmets. Our kids were matched up with easy going horses, and sometimes got to ride the same horse again. Each trail was different, and the scenery was great! Once we rode by some dinosaur tracks. You can brush the horses outside of the corral if you wish. The ranch has lots of trails to wander around, plus you can walk to the Medina river to swim or fish (supplies and bait are provided). There is a nice outdoor pool with a covered deck, shuffle board, a basketball court, a volleyball court, horseshoes, two ping-pong tables, and a pool table. Each morning there is group activity offered--roping, fishing, and bb gun shooting were our choices, and they were lots of fun. Each evening at 545 some form of western entertainment is offered--first night was meeting a large steer, 2nd was an excellent trick-roper who added plenty of audience participation to his act, and 3rd was a very interesting "Wild Bill" history lecturer who brought replicas of many Western weapons (my oldest son's favorite). Each night at 8pm there is an additional activity--western music, an evening wildlife hayride, and country dancing lessons were our choices--there was s'mores campfire and "hicksville" campsite visit offered the evening we checked out.
4. The staff--the Hicks family has been in the dude ranch business for over 50 years, and they love what they do. we got to meet many members who either led the activities, served meals, or just hung out. Check out their beautiful pictorial family tree by the main office.
5. Other guests--there was an exchange club convention during part of our stay. We enjoyed getting to know folks, and our kids loved new playmates. On our second day at least 5 families from the UK arrived, most of them repeat visitors. There were several grandparents who had come with their kids in the past, coming this time with their grandkids.
To sum things up, this vacation is not cheap, but given all the activities, food, drinks, and entertainment included, it is a very good value! You don't need to go anywhere else or bring anything except clothes, sunscreen, bug spray, & a flashlight (to wander around at night). We will definitely come back, and try to bring friends or family next time!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- "Horsepitality" is the foundation of the Mayan Ranch which is located in Bandera, Texas, 48 miles NW of San Antonio in the Texas Hill Country. Come experience our superb food, great accommodations, enthusiastic staff, horseback riding over picturesque trails, and swimming in our Texas-sized pool. Learn how to spin a rope, crack a whip and pitch shoes. Or, just sit back and enjoy a wagon ride around the ranch property to see the wildlife.Bring your family or your business (we are a great facility for conferences.)The Mayan Ranch is full American Plan. Rates include all meals, lodging, ranch activities as well as complimentary beer, wine, sodas and coffee.There is a little 'cowboy' in all of us - Find yours at the Mayan Ranch. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Mayan Dude Ranch Hotel Bandera
- Mayan Dude Ranch Texas/Bandera