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“great for a group of 15 people or a unique and private wedding” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rolling Thunder Ranch

Rolling Thunder Ranch
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Rolling Thunder Ranch
2261 Maricopa Highway, Ojai, CA 93023   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 4 Specialty lodging in Ojai
Albany, California
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“great for a group of 15 people or a unique and private wedding”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2011

We had our wedding at this property and it was everything I hoped for. Inside the entry gate is a stylish circular drive with statues. The lawn is immediately to the left. There are a lot of beautiful flowers and trees surrounding the lawn, and a small covered pavilion nearby. This makes a very nice location for a wedding ceremony. Near the pavilion is the Buffalo Cottage, which is private and has space for additional beds. The bunkhouse is just a little bigger than the bed in it, but very cute. It’s near the main house but good for someone who wants a little extra privacy. The main house has three bedrooms, all on the same floor, and a kitchen as well as a room that is a living/dining combo. The décor is really interesting; it has the feel of a rustic hunting lodge or mountain cabin (lots of wood and stone, dim lighting, twisted wood bedframes and antler chandeliers) but with seashells integrated into the rock walls along with a seashell bathroom sink and two carp pools in the living room. Outside is a black-bottom swimming pool surrounded by a stone patio, boulders, and palm trees. There is another pavilion here with a large rock table, fireplace, and tons of firewood so you can make a gigantic fire. The property is decorated with tiki torches, wagon wheels, wooden sculptures, and some wine barrels. There is a hot tub near the pool and another one near the lawn. We were invited to pick from the organic garden.

The owner Lisa Kenton is extremely nice and was essential to our wedding planning success. From the time we booked the property, she was my full-time consultant on caterers, photographers, the minister (Tamra is wonderful and performed the best ceremony we could have hoped for), and a local rental company for additional tables and chairs, glassware etc (Ventura Rentals had great customer service and excellent prices). She also threw in freebies whenever she could (like extra time at the property and extra tables and chairs which saved us some money). Our security deposit was refunded promptly.

Near the property are hiking trails and roadside stands with local fruit and vegetables. If you are looking for a getaway for up to 15 people or a really unique and private wedding venue, this is it!

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New York, NY
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2010

My husband and I stayed in the Buffalo Cottage. The website pictures represent this place well, but it should be noted that you are actually three miles away from downtown Ojai. In brief, the decor of this one bedroom cottage is rustic country/southwestern. The landscaping is lovely, and we felt quite separated from the larger house next door by generous foliage. There is a small farm next door with lamas, pigs, goats and sheep, and a park with nice hiking trails across the road.

There was some confusion on our arrival date. We were "upgraded" to this property rather than the one for which I had signed the contract. Since I had expressed interest in this location as well I didn't think the switch was a terrible thing. But.

I have mixed feelings about our stay. The rock shower is very attractive but there were several spiders in residence. One of them hatched her brood during our stay, and though this was charming in a Charlotte's Web sort of way it made us wonder how often the shower really gets cleaned. The garden is nice but there is trash here and there - a few plastic cups, two dead chairs, a broom lying around, an old flip-flop, etc. The Jacuzzi was welcome but there's a disconcerting red stain on the surrounding rock wall. The antler chandelier is a nice touch but the ceiling cover is falling off, exposing the wires underneath. It's a bit glib to claim this cottage has wireless internet if you have to be on your neighbor's porch to use it - no reception in our cottage or patio. And instead of a box of facial tissue, a roll of toilet tissue by the bedside? And I have to buy my own hand soap for the bathroom?

In summary, we would recommend this place if you are mainly concerned about quiet, privacy and bucolic relaxation. If you are picky about details and service, you will be disappointed. We are somewhere between the two, so we feel that our stay was OK but not the best value for our money.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glendale, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2010

We were surprised by our kids with this beautiful rental for our anniversary. The place is magnificent, all the hidden details, such masterful heart obviously went into the building of this paradise. We absolutely fell in love with the outdoor dinning/ tiki / bungalow / fire area. We spent every night star gazing as we have never seen. Ojai has very little outside light interference so we were able to remember what its like to actually see stars in the black sky. Being from LA this was priceless. The Co. was more than accommodating with all there extra help & hints of what to do where to go. We felt cared for more than just here''s the key BYE.. We loved it, this is really an a++ rental & the town was really charming and the nights of stars well, unforgettable.......XOXO

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Ketchum, Idaho
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2010

My husband & I are always looking for new and unique experiences and accommodations when we travel. We usually spend a great deal of time & money to find them. That is why we were shocked when we discovered this magnificent paradise less than a two hour drive from home!!!! The Rolling Thunder Ranch is so idyllic, its almost like like being on a movie set! You'll think you died and went to heaven! It is so peaceful and serene that one can't help but instantly fall under its spell, and completely relax. For us, it will always hold a special place in our hearts because it is the last place we took our precious 14-year old Lab before he passed away. He had an absolute blast running around freely and exploring the entire property. It was a truly magical vacation for us all. Jerry & Lisa have worked to create the most spectacular vacation rentals I've ever seen. We can't wait to return!!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2010

My husband had a wonderful and relaxing time here. the tropical gardens and landscaping were a sight to behold. I flet like I was in another part of the world!We both came to Rolling Thunder to get plenty of rest along with a tranquil setting. What a sight to behold. It is a definte must see for all!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2010

This home is owned by Jerry and Lisa Kenton and managed by Dave Navarro (the 7th property manager the Kentons have employed in under 2 years). The business is called Enchanted Vacation Rentals. The Kentons own many other vacation properties in the Ojai area and list them under the EVR name. They also own the Deer Lodge, which has tasty food with awful service (kind of like the vacation homes...beautiful settings with dreadful owners).

Frankly, I don't know how anyone ever books with them because they don't keep their appointments and they don't return phone calls. My fiance and I attempted to book the Rolling Thunder Ranch for a week leading up to our Ojai wedding as a place for us to stay with our immediate families.

When I first contacted Dave Navarro about the property, he told me it was booked over the weekend of my wedding, but since we wanted a week long rental, the owner would force an "upgrade" on the listed guests to another property so EVR could get 2 rentals. Seemed very unfair to the renters, but I went along with it...until Dave started flaking on every single phone call I made.

I scheduled a visit up to Ojai just so my fiance and I could meet the owner and sign a contract for Rolling Thunder. EVR was even going to put us up at the property for free. When we got to Ojai we learned we could not stay at the property because the current guests decided to stay an extra day. We had to pay for a hotel unexpectedly.

The next morning Jerry Kenton did not come to our scheduled appointment. When we finally tracked Dave Navarro down at another EVR property, he didn't even remember we wanted Rolling Thunder for a week and gave us a quote for 2 days only. We also learned no one had been staying at the Ranch the night before, it was just a case of the owners not wanting to be inconvenienced with a cleaning fee.

It was sad to let go of my dream of staying at the lovely ranch, but who can risk the possibility that the house you rent for a week is going to become strangely "unavailable" at the 11th hour? Especially during the week of a wedding!

Basically the Kentons are very wealthy, extremely flaky, terrible business owners, and have a bit of a monopoly on the vacay rental industry in Ojai. Too bad for the people who have to deal with them on a regular basis. They certainly make Ojai seem like an unpleasant place to visit.

Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2009

We have stayed in many homes in Ojai but this one
stood out from others. We have never had a more relaxing time. A
beautiful house and an even better view the tropical ambiance is undescribable. I recommend you bring alot of food because once your in you wont want to leave. Also the home has 2 spas and a gorgeous black bottom pool. I would also recommend
a long stay cause time will really fly. A good week will give you the right amount of time for everything.

I hope you enjoy staying in this magnificent home with your whole
family.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Rolling Thunder Ranch

Address: 2261 Maricopa Highway, Ojai, CA 93023
Location: United States > California > Ojai
Amenities:
Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Specialty lodging in Ojai
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Also Known As:
Rolling Thunder Ranch Hotel Ojai

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