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“Don't Come for Luxury, Come to Have Fun” 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 amenities
Ranked #2 of 10 Hotels in Solvang
Oakland, CA
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
73 hotel reviews
Reviews in 61 cities Reviews in 61 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Don't Come for Luxury, Come to Have Fun”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2012

This is definitely a family resort with more to do than you could possibly fit in the four days we spend here. Archery, fishing, air rifle range, shuffleboard, a great art room, ping-pong, horses, petting zoo (recently with three captivating baby bunnies), golf, tennis, spa (good but not great) acres to roam and for children to wander without fear, a good workout facility, and beautiful grounds. The rooms are not great, most have not been updated as the photos on the web site make it appear. They are very much throwbacks to another era. You do get a coffee-maker and great shower but the furniture may date to the 80s, at best in most. Beds are okay. And you have to be somewhat careful about which room you end up in or you may end up listening to your neighbors, so get a property map if you can.
I happen to really like the food. Homemade granola is superb, great berries, good fruit, nice buffet for kids to graze, best hot chocolate in the country. Great meat at dinner, reasonable wine list and very good vegetarian selection. Peanut butter pie and Oatmeal pie are outstanding dessert options. Breakfast and dinner are included in the price of the room.
My family (3 kids, parents) look forward to the this trip each year. The service is wonderful, people who work there really seem to enjoy it. Plus, if you tend to go back around the same time each year, you get to know other guests. It is a throwback in many respects to a better time, better place.

Room Tip: Rooms in separate buildings are very good. But you don't go to Alisal to spend time in your roo...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
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121 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    78
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    9
    12
    6
See reviews for
59
26
Solo
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7
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 (31)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2012 via mobile

And I'm 15, so basically my entire life. Alisal is honestly my favorite place in the world. I wouldn't miss our annual trip there for anything. There is so much you can do, for all the people saying they got bored: you don't know how to have fun. And also you don't need a tv, it's teaching you to live Without one. If you need to go watch tv, go to the library (adults only, so no noisy kids) or in the cottonwood room. Also there are two desktop computers in the library as well, they are slow but they work. There is pool and ping-pong. If you honestly get that bored, the scenery will take your breath away. The horseback-riding is phenomenal! It is always fun, even of your horse decides to misbehave (you get a story out of it at least). You also never ever want to miss the breakfast ride! It's an experience to have! Hope you enjoy your stay at the amazing Alisal.

  • Stayed April 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Monterey, CA
1 review
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2012

In travel, you win some, you lose some, and I lost at the Alisal Guest Ranch. Unless it's part of your family tradition or you maximize every cent (golfing, tennis, fishing, and riding) of an off-season package deal, I have no idea why someone would spend $400-$500 per night here. First, I'm disappointed in the Alisal for, in my opinion, misrepresenting the quality of its rooms on its website. My husband and I visited the ranch recently, so that he could ride and I could relax in what appeared on the website to be a sunlit, open, airy, and tastefully appointed room. Instead, I had the pleasure of spending two days in a dark, dank, and cold room--one step up from a Motel Six and the bathroom was right on par with that of a Motel 6. So disappointing, especially since we spent $400/night on our stay. I feel terribly foolish. Granted, the restaurant was quite pleasant, as were the common spaces, but when you want R&R, you want a pleasant room in which to nap and read. My husband and I have traveled all over the world, and I have never stayed in such a mediocre room at that price point--the meals and activities, unfortunately, did not make up for it. I'm sorry to say I was glad to finally go home and rest in my own (vastly superior) bed. Alisal ought to honor the values of its long and storied heritage and offer a more truthful representation of its rooms on the website.

Room Tip: Ask before you book!
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thousand Oaks, California
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2012

We spent 2 nights there in the winter, when the prices made our stay a real deal, because most of the activities were included free.

The location is beyond heavenly! Why go to a dude ranch in Wyoming, when you have The Alisal in California? You will ride horses through herds of wandering cattle, past eagles' nests and a hidden lake, see an old wrangler's cabin (you can tour it when you are on the Saturday breakfast ride--it's been restored with antique furniture, cast-iron kitchen utensils, lots of taxidermy including a stuffed mountain lion, etc.), and see turkey buzzards hovering in ancient oak trees overhung with Spanish moss.In fact, the breakfast ride was a high point not to be missed!

I really liked the attention to safety at the barn. They have a really nice group of quality horses, most of which are reliable for beginners, and some of which are fun for advanced riders, too. The horses are very well cared for, and the wranglers (Kudos to Julia, who was a lovely guide!) take very great care to make the ride safe as well as fun. If you want, you can spend 4 hours a day on a horse, seeing the best and most beautiful California coastal valley scenery....In fact, the Alisal is not far from the old Reagan Ranch....you can imagine what Reagan must have loved about the area.

If you love ranch riding, you should visit The Alisal especially in winter when the hills are green and the days are cool. It is a world apart....a real California treasure.

Room Tip: Some rooms can be noisy in summer. It doesn't matter very much in winter (the nicest time to vi...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orange County, California
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
59 helpful votes 59 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.
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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:
#4 Business Hotel in Solvang
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 73
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 
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Also Known As:
Alisal Guest Ranch Hotel Solvang
Alisal Guest Ranch And Resort
Alisal Hotel Solvang
Alisal Resort Solvang
Alisal Ranch Solvang
The Alisal Guest Ranch

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