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“Nice but pricey” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort

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Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort
1054 Alisal Road, Solvang, CA 93463   |  
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Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 10 hotels in Solvang
Orange County, California
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Nice but pricey”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2012

This was my 3rd time at the Alisal. The location is beautiful, nestled in the Santa Ynez mountains near Santa Barbara. Accommodations are nice, but not at all fancy. If you're expecting a 5-star resort, this place is not for you. Where they do excel is in their service. All staff I interacted with were very professional and friendly. Breakfast and dinner are included, the latter being particularly nice. My only complaint is that, as other reviewers have noted, all the activities are extra. I suppose this has to do with the clientele the resort is seeking to attract -- not budget-conscious travelers, but wealthier individuals with money to spend.

Room Tip: Avoid the rooms closest to the golf course; they are older-looking and not sound proof. Best rooms a...
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
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110 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (29)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2012 via mobile

Just got back from a trip to the Alisal Ranch. Whole family loved it. Kids can't wait to get back. Rides were great. Service was amazing- no request was too much. The staff really went above and beyond. We were there just before they were closing for a week. Food was fantastic first two nights and ok but definitely lesser quality the final night. Overall really a wonderful treasure of a place.

  • Stayed December 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
san francisco
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2011

my wife and i just returned from our 3rd stay at alisal. playe golf at the resort course every day of our stay-for golfers, a very nice challenging course, easily walkable, in good shape; did not get tired of playing the course multiple times. went on two trail rides, scenic, nice. re the rooms; i've read other rooms that say the rooms smell of smoke. well, there are fireplaces in all the rooms so what do you expect? the rooms aren't plush, but this ain't the 4 seasons either. our room was spacious, clean, quiet, comfortable bed, nice porch, fridge in the room. very comfortable. no tv's in the rooms, but if you're desparate there are several available. food was very good; nice wine list too. wi fi worked well throughout the resort. we even had cell phone reception (iphones with at&t). staff very friendly as always.
this place is a deal after labor day. we'll be back.

  • Stayed September 2011, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thousand Oaks, California
1 review
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2011

Alisal is a shameful profit center, pick-pocketing every guest who visits. Rates are now up to $540/night for a one bedroom studio (we stayed in August, 2011).

Yes, they have good activities. But, each and every one is an additional cost, unless you want to string beads or finger paint in the rec room with the under 10 crowd.

The food is boring.

Breakfast is an embarrasment. A basic scrambled egg buffet with greasy sausage, bacon, and hash browns. Denny's Grand Slam Breakfast wins by a mile. If you want to order off the menu, you get the exact same thing, only a waiter brings it to you. If you do want to order something different off the menu, brace yourself. A dollop of salmon, which is supposed to come with that entree, is an additional $8.00.

Dinner in the dining room is marginally better.

But, how about "ho down night on the grass" every Saturday night? Too bad for anyone who prefers peace and quiet while they eat. Dining room closed to all.

If you want to eat, you're forced to dine at a table with a plastic red-checkered table cloth, on the lawn.

Bring your fly swatter or a twig to shoo away the spoiled, out-of-control kids weaving in and out of your feet, under the table.

Room surcharge. Bed surcharge. Tax surcharge. Charges for archery, horseback riding, tennis, golf, spa, any kind of lessons, kidie care, and most shameful of all, they charge $1.99 for a travel size tube of toothpaste if you've forgotton your own. Even Motel 6 gives it to you for free.

My daughter purchased two wine glasses from the dining room as a souvenior. The lobby charged her $10.00 per glass. She paid for them. She could just have easily taken two from the table, stashed them in her purse and paid nothing. But she's an honest person and paid for them.

Just how many glasses just like these are broken everyday by accident in your back room and dining room? Who pays for that? No one.

How dare the Alisal charge my daughter for two meager glasses that break every day in your own dining room when she could have stolen them for free?

The big bank of Alisal counts on money from at least three sources:

Returning guest who they know will spend any amount of money to keep up the yearly family tradition - no matter the cost.

World travellers who've heard about the Alisal. They stay only once and don't care what it costs. They stay just long enough for the Alisal to download their pockets directly into their vault.

Impressionable new families to lure into the fold, and eventually become cash-cow long-timers. Long time visitors don't matter and slough off with time. Who cares, after all, there's always fresh meat coming through the profitable revolving door.

It's a brilliant, profitable business model. Owners who read this, or any employee working at the Alisal, are skickering at this moment.... because the next sucker just pulled into the lobby.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
, Director of Sales at Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort, responded to this review, September 23, 2011
The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort has a long history dating back 60 years of guests returning to the Ranch each year. We have never experienced such negative feedback as the comments listed above. The Alisal Management acknowledges the Ranch does not appeal to everyone, but clearly we have found a niche that appeals to many.
During the summer months Alisal has developed family-friendly programs based on our guest feedback over the years, a majority of whom are repeat multi-generational groups and primarily families. Beacuse of our large numbers and subsequent extra staffing during this time, activities are priced a la carte rather than included in the overall stay. However guests may also choose to come from September-May when we offer our Round Up Vacation Package, which includes most activities.
Given our high guest return ratio it is clear to us we are a unique destination where families come to clebrate the traditions we have set forth.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2011

Each August we head for the Alisal, counting the days as we approach check-in time. My husband and I came with our six year old son for 3 days....our son now comes with his wife and six year old twins {since they were a year old}. We haven't missed a year...for 31 years.
Families we met all those years ago, arrive with their grandchildren as we visit ,dine,swim ride,fish and enjoy catching up on the year that's past.
Truly a place of beauty, shared with old fashioned friendships,great service and given with much care.
A rare and wonderful experience these days and provided by the same famiy since the 1940's

Room Tip: Quiet or near activities will help and always renew before you depart.
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Juan Capistrano
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2011

I just returned from my 18th trip to the Alisal Ranch with my immediate and very extended family. There are many things we all love about Alisal, and that is obvious from all of the trips we have made there. But.....the general family consensus is that the instant mashed potatoes must GO! The entrees in the dining room are usually very good, but when paired with those instant potato flakes, the meal is very poor. I ususally try to avoid any entree served with the potatoes.

Finally, the lunch menu at the Chuckwagon Grill could use an "update"......pretty much the same choices for the past 18 years!

Room Tip: We do not mind the room decor as some seem to object to, but bring your own pillow unless you like s...
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
DaveLautensack, General Manager at Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort, responded to this review, August 23, 2011
I am very surprised this guest could possibly think that the Alisal uses "instant potato flakes." We make a different REAL potato dish every night of the week that acompanies several of the entrees on that night's menu. The Alisal offers a different 10-entree menu every night of the week. Specifically, our potato dishes are the following:
Sunday - Baked sliced red potatoes with leeks and Brie cheese
Monday - Potatoes Gratin - Baked shredded Russet potatoes with Parmesan cheese, garlic and cream
Tuesday - Mashed Russet potatoes with turnip (75% potato and 25% turnip)
Wednesday - Potatoes Gratin - Baked shredded Russet potatoes with Gruyere cheese, garlic and cream
Thursday - Mashed Yukon potatoes with Cheddar cheese
Friday - Mashed Russet potatoes with buttermilk
Saturdays - Saturday Night Barbecue - no potatoes are served
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2011

We love the place and the environment, which is great for couples and families. However, for the value, where is the food quality? Food is not first-class at the restaurant, where you expect a fine dinner in every sense of the word. We know food, and this is not what we are used to when paying top dollar p/day. The worst food comes from the cafeteria, where they also take too long to bring you something as simple as a sandwich, which is not even fresh or tasty or even with a touch of Alisal creativity and thoughtfulness. Also, for the value, the rooms are not really romantic or out of the ordinary, not to mention the bath rooms in it. We have stayed at the Alisal three times, and nothing has ever improved in this regard despite or feedback notes left on the guest cards. Last but not least, the swimming pool should be warmer and more inviting temperature-wise, and they could do more fun activities in the pool for at least 30 minutes or so, while families are in or around this area. The staff for horses and petting zoo are very nice and helpful. Debbie at the petting zoo was very sweet.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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

Address: 1054 Alisal Road, Solvang, CA 93463
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Solvang
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 10 hotels in Solvang
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
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 
Also Known As:
Alisal Guest Ranch And Resort
Alisal Guest Ranch Hotel Solvang
Alisal Hotel Solvang
Alisal Resort Solvang
Alisal Ranch Solvang
The Alisal Guest Ranch

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