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“Amazing family getaway” 5 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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Ranked #2 of 10 Hotels in Solvang
Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
87 helpful votes 87 helpful votes
“Amazing family getaway”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2012

We spent three nights over the Labor Day weekend at Alisal Ranch, and found it to be a tranquil, extraordinarily friendly place where our family could get away and spend some wonderful time together. Lots of activities available, as well as plenty of opportunities to veg and let the kids run around the property & hang loose. Room is not updated, but very clean and comfortable, and quite suitable for a ranch getaway. Details follow:

Property grounds: The grounds are quite nice and tranquil, marked by very large grassy areas that the cabin porches spill out onto. Our particular room was well located - off the main area, and next to a much smaller, enclosed "quad" area, which included two comfy table & chair sets under a lovely pergola. Our boys - 7 and 4 years old - took great pleasure in the wide open grass spaces, by far their favorite aspect of the trip. After you check in, you walk across a bridge spanning a dry river bed, and enter into the big grassy area - you can feel the calm air and atmosphere the minute you arrive. There's a shady corner to sit and lounge in, and beautiful landscaping everywhere. I could just sit on the grounds all day.

Room: we stayed in a one bedroom suite, comfortable bed, lots of windows. With two little boys, two bathrooms is a wonderful thing to have. There's two couch/lounges in the main room that the staff converts to beds in the evening, the kids slept fine there. A full wood burning fireplace (restocked with wood and fire starters daily) is a terrific touch to take the edge off of the cool mornings. Bathrooms are standard fare, very clean; not updated. No TV. Coffee maker in the room (yay). Wi-Fi is on the property, but generally need to be near the library or other areas of the property to get good reception.

Activities: We stayed three nights and got in horseback rides for the kids, a hay wagon breakfast ride, a separate horseback ride for my wife and me. We also went swimming, the pool has a very shallow end (2.5 feet), and the hot tub is popular. There's a farm where kids can interact with horses, ponies, cattle, tortoises, goats, gather chicken eggs, feed rabbits, and hold all kinds of critters and reptiles. Lots of loafing around time and time to run around the property. I would have loved to take advantage of the horseback ride to breakfast, and we didn't have enough time to take the shuttle to the lake, where they have boating & fishing activities. Another day probably would have been sufficient, and if we were to play golf on one of the two gorgeous courses, we would have needed a day on top of that. I should note most of the activities - horses, lake, golf, etc. are not included in the price of the room. Also a spa and fitness center are onsite, neither of which we made it to.

Dining: Breakfast and Dinner are included with the room, and both are served in the main dining area - breakfast being wonderful, consisting of hearty biscuits, hash browns, sausages, pancakes, waffles, eggs, etc. Plenty of fresh fruit & cereals too. Dinners are a more formal affair, where jackets (not ties) are required for men, which lends a distinctly pleasant old school feel. There's optional kids' activities (also for an extra charge) that we took advantage of, which enabled my wife and I to have lovely dinners together. On Saturdays in the summer there's a ranch-wide BBQ dinner, with country music and dancing, and hay bales for kids to jump around on. Ribs, shrimp, brisket, corn, etc etc., with this humongous tub of peach cobbler (among other things) for dessert. Wine, etc. not included with any of the meals. For lunch there's an onsite grill, which is not included in the price of the room. Standard fare, burgers, quesadillas, hot dogs, sandwiches, salads, etc. Burger is quite good. Avg. cost for lunch for two adults and two kids ran to about $55 per meal. Overall happy with the food.

One other thing to note - many families have been coming to the ranch for many many years, and it was very nice that we already knew a family that was staying at the same time as we were. However I must say that the regulars were very curious about us, and welcomed us warmly to the ranch. It's interesting - everyone seems to give each other plenty of space, but it also is an intimate and pleasant atmosphere. We've already booked our trip for next year.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 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
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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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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
Los Angeles, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2012

I had a fabulous time at the Alisal. Amazing rooms, food, golf course, and kids activities. I especially love the babysitting services provided by The Little Guest. Our family had a very memorable experience.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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
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  • 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.
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...
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  • 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
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  • 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
61 reviews 61 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
48 helpful votes 48 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.
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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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