We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Magical” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort

Save Saved
You added Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort to your Saves list
Best prices for your stay
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort
1054 Alisal Road, Solvang, CA 93463   |  
  |  
Hotel website
  |  
  |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 10 Hotels in Solvang
Welwyn, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Magical”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2012

We travelled from England and stayed at Alisal as part of a California road trip with a 14 year old daughter and 11 year old son. Yes, it is expensive but we found it to be such a memorable friendly place where kids ditch the gadgets for once and are free to make new friends and roam around in a safe environment. Horses are said to have special spiritual qualities and watching them graze or gazing across the landscape from horseback was mesmerising. The food was superb and the service excellent. It is true that it is dominated by lots of repeat visiting families, but all I know is as I write this from my home in London, I have such special memories of our romantic cowboy experience that you can't put a price on. If we lived closer, I'd sure as hell be staying every year. My only weeny criticism is the lodgings are all semi-detached or attached properties and there is only a flimsy door between you and the neighbours. However overall Alisal will stay in my heart for a long time to come, and other Brits will head that way from my recommendation no doubt.

Room Tip: go for the semi-detached rather than attached to several others
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

116 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    73
    16
    9
    12
    6
See reviews for
58
24
Solo
0
6
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
Grass Valley, California
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2012

What a fantastic experience! Private golf course, beautiful rooms, outstanding dining facility, all inclusive experience... it is our perfect get away place close to home. The rooms do not have TV's or telephones because it is designed to be a place to get peace and quiet. The Alisal Ranch is designed with families in mind so don't be shy about taking the kids, parents, grandparents...etc. I would go back there tomorrow and definitely plan on doing so in the near future. They have multiple package options based on your preferences. Excellent facility.

Room Tip: Men, bring a sports jacket. There is dress code in the dining room for evening meals. Breakfast is...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2011, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2012

Our 3rd consecutive summer and the experience is always relaxing for our family. The best part of Alisal is that it gives the kids a chance to have a "real" experience, not a hotel experience with overpriced food and a crowded pool. Alisal is about slowing down and being together as a family. Fishing is great, horseback riding, golf, tennis, wonderful spa, and comfortable and tidy rooms. We'll be back next year!

Room Tip: ask for one of the suites with the renovated bathrooms
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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 diego
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2012

I took my 3 kids (aged 13, 11 and 7) to Alisal Ranch in April for a 3 day-2 night stay.

Minuses:
At the time of booking, I was told it activities would be included so it would work out to be about $1650. When I checked in, I was told activities were not included and we were already there and ended up paying about $2,500. Also, lunch was not included. Aside from price (which we do not mind paying if it's good value), I personally think this place is overrated. The rooms are ranch-style and older and undergoing re-modelling. The pool was crowded and the layout was plain. There was only 1 ping pong table and ping pong balls were crushed. The staff worked hard but do not go out of the way to make us feel welcomed, with some exceptions like Dale who gave lessons on Archery and gun rifles. He is wonderful !!! A lot of people raved about the food but I think they are fine dining but not super memorable or special.

Pluses:
Kids get to roam on their own and love that sense of new found freedom. The morning horse back ride to the Adobe House is very memorable. Afternoons were too hot so morning rides are better but cost more. People who were there were mostly with their family. I was surprised to learn that many have been going to this Ranch for many years. We did meet a wonderful family and the kids enjoyed spending time fishing (easy to catch some), playing soccer and other activities.

Overall, was a fine trip for a few days but there are so many other great places I think we can go. This is not a place to go for luxury but the energy of the place and people can be more vibrant.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Los Angeles
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2012

My husband and I have been wanting to stay here for decades, and have gotten to visit twice this year. Both times were exceptional, but in different ways. The first visit, we were fortunate enough to be there over the time Jim Messina was putting on a Singer-Songwriter workshop for a few lucky individuals. This culminated in a dinner show on the weekend that was simulcast on the internet. We were lucky enough to get tickets to the show, and it was delightful getting to see the songwriters perform their own songs. The second half of the show featured friends of Jim Messina who came to jam with him, and play his songbook. We felt almost like family by the end of the evening. Everything about Alisal Ranch gives one that feeling. The pacing is slow. The horses gentle. With over 100 horses, there are plenty to choose from. The wranglers are exceptional, and a great deal of time is spent finding just the right horse for each guest. Highly recommend the breakfast ride, which leaves in the early morning, and culminates at the adobe by Alisal Lake, where a wrangler entertains with singing and guitar, and the large BBQ area is set with the same delicious breakfast one receives in the dining room, but which tastes even better because it is out under the sycamores. The fishing is excellent, and the working cattle ranch makes you feel like you are much farther away from civilization than you are. Yoga and spa offer a retreat after the day's activities. Most people golf on the two courses, but we headed out to visit a half dozen of the beautiful wineries in the area. We never watch TV, so that was not missed...and isn't that why you go to a ranch in the first place? Bucolic surroundings make even a few days here feel like a week's vacation.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland, CA
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
61 hotel reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
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...
See more room tips
  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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 ( Wi-Fi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 10 Hotels 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 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia so you can book your Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
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

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.