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“Unforgettable”

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White Stallion Ranch
Ranked #1 of 130 Hotels in Tucson
Certificate of Excellence
Bend, Oregon
Level 4 Contributor
16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Unforgettable”
Reviewed 13 May 2012

I couldn't stop smiling; at the end of each ride, my face hurt. There is little that can make me feel freedom like loping on a good horse. Weightless and flying. Skiing does, except horseback riding adds the connection with another being: the horse who carries me, responding to my request to turn, pick up the pace, or back off the speed to match the horse in front of us. The sunshine washes the desert, illuminating the needles on the saguaro and dances with the shadows against the paddles of the prickly pear as we pass.

This trip was my daughter's idea. Each year, I take one of my two girls on a trip alone to build memories together, just the two of us. No competing sibling or agenda, just a mother-daughter trip, alone, to a destination chosen by the latter. My 13-year-old chose a dude ranch. We own horses which we keep at a stable just twenty minutes from our home, but her passion for all things equine and her knowledge that a dude ranch is also about much more than riding made it her first choice.

We'd stayed at White Stallion Ranch as a family when she was a baby. Although neither girl remembers the trip, her older sister fell in love with Russell True, the ranch owner, and would toddle to him in giggles every time she saw him. When she asked to go to a dude ranch this year, it seemed like the perfect fit.

ACCOMMODATIONS: And, it was. The room was nicely decorated and very comfortable. The good beds kept the sore muscles the trail from compounding into real aches and pains. I enjoyed the living room space and the great little patio in the shade of the trees outside our front door.

MEALS: The atmosphere at meals brings people together, creating a place where guests meet and swap stories. Many of the people we met had stayed at the ranch before, some for many years. Not surprising, as it is an experience I think most anyone would want to repeat. We ate on the patio of the lodge, under the giant olive tree, but our favorite meal was the breakfast ride where we took to the trails early and ate pancakes and eggs in the shade of awnings built of saguaro ribs, under the backdrop of the Tucson Mountains.

FOR KIDS: Soon after we arrived, my daughter met a handful of other young guests; people whose energy level matched their own. This allowed me to watch her over the top of my book from my shaded, poolside lounge chair while she laughed and swam. They shared each other's company not only in the pool, but feeding treats to the horses as well as the goats, donkeys, emu, and other animals in the petting zoo, and hanging out in the recreation center. As we shared stories at the end of the day, all of the other parents I talked with would sigh and tell me how much their children loved the freedom they can experience at a place like this. Few other vacation choices would provide it; they'd never let their children run off with other kids they just met at an amusement park or beach.

ACTIVITIES: There are a lot of activities, other than horseback riding. Although I didn't use the spa myself, other guest told me the massages were fabulous. We watched the staff demonstrate rodeo events and other guest try their hand chasing calves, team penning. I sat in on a horsemanship talk, and learned a few new things. They offered nature hikes, creating art, and western dancing, although we did not participate in all of them.

RIDING: The horseback riding was quite enjoyable. My horse was very responsive and willing, a good match for me. The wranglers were happy to change out my daughter's mount when she decided she wanted to try another horse. She likes to go fast, and loved that their solid-but-sandy trails offer some great terrain loping rides, as some dude ranches are limited by the steep mountains or rocky trails.

STAFF: We ended up staying during a week when the ranch was full, yet the staff were all helpful and welcoming, nonetheless. I might have preferred to stay during a week when they had more leisure time and could stop to chat, but the service certainly did not suffer because of the large number of guests. We were consistently greeted with a smile, and every request was treated as important.

We had a wonderful stay at White Stallion Ranch, and certainly hope to join the ranks of the repeat guests. Even if we don't return any time soon, my daughter and I created an experience together that brings us closer together, one we will not ever forget.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Schmeeve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Omaha, Nebraska, United States
1 review
Reviewed 12 May 2012

My first visit to a dude ranch - my work brought me there for team meetings and I was so impressed and surprised at how much a city slicker like myself enjoyed a dude ranch! It was everything the ranch promoted itself to be - relaxing, hospitable, convenient, modern, friendly etc. I am already saving up to take my husband back to the ranch with me next year - it is the perfect get-away if you need to refresh and refocus from the crazy, busy life most of us lead these days. The food was excellent - come hungry! Another review I read said it was too big - not at all - just the perfect size actually. I highly recommend this place!! Come prepared to ride horses through the desert!

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled on business
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Helpful?
Thank NLB1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Northampton, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 May 2012

This is our second visit to White Stallion Ranch and it feels like you are coming home. Life is just so relaxed and easy, you do what you want to suit you. Accomodation is excellent and so comfortable and clean. Food is plentiful, varied and delicious. Staff from every area are so friendly and helpful, nothing is a problem and everything is done to make your stay the best holiday ever. The horses are just the best, there is one to suit every size and ability. You are guaranteed to have a whole heap of fun and a constant smile on your face. We are saving hard to get back there again as soon as we can.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank steve_tuson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 May 2012

The ranch has a stunning mountain backdrop, delightful and comfortable accomodations, delicious and plentiful food, friendly staff, and an excellent selection of horses all kept in tip-top condition. In fact everything about the place is pretty well perfect except for one thing: it is just too big. I have been used to smaller ranches where you can get to know everyone quite quickly, but this is like a small town and even though I was there with a group of friends I felt somewhat isolated. This is a very personal view, and if you are more gregarious than me you will probably love it. The only other criticism I have, (and it is a minor one), is that the daily riding programme is very varied and complicated - darn it, I don't want to have to make so many decisions when I'm on holiday!

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Margaret R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
wsrcowgirl, Public Relations Manager at White Stallion Ranch, responded to this review, 3 May 2012
Thanks very much for your candid review of the ranch.
We are very sorry that you feel we are too big for the single traveler.
We have always focused on our single guests with a family culture of inclusion and acceptance. In fact, a very large number of our guests are single travelers.
We are particularly sorry that we didn't meet your expectations, as we tried to make sure your group always had reserved dinner tables and rode together.
We wish that you had let us know when you were here, because we could have helped you find a smaller ranch right away. We appreciate your comments and thank you for visiting, I would be happy to help you find another ranch that might be more suited to your comfort level - you can email me directly at swalshwest@yahoo.com and write TripAdvisor help in the subject line and I will gladly do some research for you directly. thanks again, Susanne Walsh
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 April 2012

As the second half of our first visit to the USA this was a perfect place to have fun and relax. Despite being active oldies we both enjoyed the riding and made many friends. This meant that we could each do our own thing, essential as my husband is a more adventurous rider than me. Russell and Michael and their families were amazing hosts who seemed to have instant recall of everyone's names and abilities. For anyone interested in a dude ranch holiday this must be the first place you should consider - we couldn't fault it. We were in bed by 9pm but only because we crammed so much into each day. Riding out to have breakfast at the cookout or the wine and cheese ride added an extra bonus.

Room Tip: We ahd an economy room which some may consider small but as we only used it to sleep in this was fin...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milton Keynes, England
Level 6 Contributor
103 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 April 2012

We stayed for six nights, my wife and I, my best friend and his three children, 6, 8 and 10. We were all complete novices at riding horses. A fantastic time was had by all. We're from the UK while my friend and his 3 children.

Our experience was basically one of a very relaxing way to learn to ride horses and go out on rides up to three times a day. You get the same horse for the time of your stay which allows you to bond with it and learn how to control "your horse".

Food was plentiful, breakfast from 07:30 was freshly cooked on the ranch, or you could take the morning ride to have it out in an area away from the ranch where they again cook breakfast for you. Lunch was a buffet that you just wandered up and selected from a reasonably good choice each day and dinner served at 7pm each evening which after drinks and nibbles at 6pm provided a nice relaxed evening. Everyone did seem to be in bed by 9:30 which was a surprise to us Brits, still out enjoying a bottle of wine together.

We found the $20 (each) shared lessons (1 hour) each day after lunch were incredibly useful to teach you the basics. One of the Wranglers teaches you and we got Katie each day, she was amazing at never getting frustrated with us and helping us to progress our skills.

By the end of the second day I could go on the fast rides (loping) and by the end of the third day my wife was ready to join me. The lopes were great fun, once away from the ranch boundary you would do two or three lopes, then the horses would walk up to a viewing point, then the same method back. You have to go on rides with Wranglers leading the way on specific routes through the True families land. This wasn't an issue for us and we appreciated the fact that each ride though going over the same 3000 acres would be a different route with different views.

For the more expert riders there were half day rides and full day rides (7 hours in the saddle). I can't wait to try a half day ride next time and some of the beginners we arrived with managed one before they left.

The bottom line is you can do what you choose. The kids all loved the horses and riding them.
WARNING: Children have to be 8 before they can go on lopes, so the youngest got a little bored of slow walking by the fifth day, we'll be going back when he's 8.

WARNING: There is no riding on Sunday's. It's only fair that the horses and Wranglers get a day off, remembering that you keep the same horse for your stay. The Wranglers work really hard and it's truly amazing how happy they are throughout the week, they seem to truly love their jobs. We went with Western & Oriental (UK) and Delphine got us a fantastic deal. She also advised us to go on a Sunday as it was their quiet day and a natural change over day. It's also a good idea to stay Saturday night (we had to fly home) as the Wranglers put on a rodeo and by then you'll know them all personally and really want to see them show their skills. It was our only disappointment that we couldn't see Katie, Laura and the guys showing their horsemanship.

Pool quite small but very deep at one end, but kids all loved it. Kids loved the games room, pool table, air hockey etc. and never seemed to worry about the lack of TV in the room.

Wi-fi slow (I've got fibre optic at home) but it did seem hard to get a good consistent connection on iPad.

Ranch is about two miles off interstate over a hill, so you actually feel like you're in the Wild West.

So how do I make this worth you reading. Russell (True) is everywhere, he works tirelessly to make sure you have a good time, so do ALL the staff. Every one of them makes a real genuine effort to help you have a great time. We visit the US most years to see our friend and really did notice the extra effort these guys put in to you enjoying yourself. We were there at Spring Break, they were full, it never felt that way and the personal service was excellent. This is a ranch where riding horses comes first and that is a very good thing. As a group who were really unsure whether we'd enjoy it, we had lots of fun just riding horses. The older kids did Team Penning on the last day and the 8 year old girl said it was more fun than Disney.

For a couple we had a double economy room and it was perfect for us for a week. It was the size of a normal ensuite bedroom but there were so many outside areas (and the weather was sunny) we would stay in the same size room next time.

Chris had a family room and again there was enough room for them all to have a good time, though we only really spent time in the room to sleep.

We had such a great time, we'd definitely go back again, next time we'll ride more, you have to sign up for the morning rides, but for the afternoon rides you can just turn up and they'll have the horses ready for you. I can see me riding much more next time. It's just so relaxing. The children can just be left to run around and have fun on the ranch, we didn't even need to go on rides with them, the Wranglers put all the children together for lopes and we could go off in other groups. This gave the children "independence" and we had no worries about trusting the Wranglers.

Room Tip: Pick the right size for your group, there did not seem to be "bad" rooms.
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank MycroftAllan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle, Washington
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 April 2012

My sister and I have visited White Stallion Ranch twice now - once at Thanksgiving (2011) and once over Easter week (early April 2012). Both times have been perfect vacations. For anyone who wants to spend time in the Arizona desert, with a variety of outdoor activities or just enjoy some comfort in the desert sun, we can’t recommend WSR highly enough.

Customer Service
The True family and the entire staff demonstrate an astonishingly consistent level of easy, warm and personal hospitality. I’ve never experienced this level of attention to excellent service on any other trip. Within a day just about everyone on staff knows your name. If you have special requests or needs (in my case, gluten-free meals) everyone knows that too, and accommodates your needs with a smile. For those who come to ride, Russell and Michael True have an uncanny ability to match the horse to the rider.

Meals
The three square meals a day are outrageously good, btw - lots of fresh salads, perfectly cooked oven-roasted veggies and potatoes, and the mesquite grilled meats are memorable. If you choose a hot breakfast, your breakfast is cooked to order every day. Dinners are themed on different nights of the week, so there’s a good variety of foods. Some lunches and breakfasts are served in a comfortable covered picnic area a short distance away from the main ranch – it’s a beautiful view (and they drive you out if you wish).

Accommodations
We’ve stayed in the Economy Double rooms, which are comfortable, nicely furnished in casual western decor, clean and well maintained. The beds are very comfortable. The gardens around the ranch buildings are beautifully landscaped with desert plants, and the surrounding desert is abloom (March-April) and fascinating to explore.

Entertainment
We come to ride so we typically spend most or all of the day in the saddle, but the ranch also has a very nice swimming pool, hot tub and fitness center, a mini movie theatre that’s well stocked with titles, an equally well outfitted game room, plus there’s an activity every evening, from western dancing to arts and crafts, to cowboy sing-alongs to astronomy to live “desert critter” shows.

Repeat guests
We’ve been amazed to see how many singles, couples and families make multiple repeat visits to the ranch. Guests receive an enameled White Stallion Ranch pin with their number of stays depicted as a numeral, and we’re told that the pin numbers go up to 50! We’ve just booked our next stay, and are once again counting down the days until we return.

If desert sunshine, wholesome and fun activities, great food and unmatched hospitality sound good, go and you’ll be equally delighted!

Room Tip: Decide on how much space you need in a room. We like the Economy Doubles - they are like a compact...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank MaraK_Seattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about White Stallion Ranch

Property: White Stallion Ranch
Address: 9251 W Twin Peaks Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743-8854
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Arizona > Tucson
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 130 Hotels in Tucson
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — White Stallion Ranch 3.5*
Number of rooms: 45
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
EXCEPTIONAL HOSPITALITY AND FAMILY TRADITIONS At White Stallion Ranch, the personal touch and hospitality of a traditional dude ranch is carefully blended with the service and amenities of your favorite resort. This dude ranch has a history of more than 50 years of ownership and daily management by the True Family and over 75 years as Guest Ranch. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
White Stallion Ranch Hotel Tucson
White Stallion Ranch Tucson, Arizona

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