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“Annual visitors to Alisal for over 25 years” 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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Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 10 Hotels in Solvang
Monterey
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Annual visitors to Alisal for over 25 years”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2010

I was prompted to write this review after reading a few of the negative reviews on this site. Let me say that I love the Alisal, and would hate to miss our yearly visit. The huge ranch and lake are spectacularly beautiful, and that along with the outstanding service is what makes this place so special. It is true, there are no phones in the rooms, cell phone reception is spotty, you are somewhat isolated, particularly in the "golf row" accommodations we prefer, and the staff does pamper the heck out of you - so where's the problem?? They run the Alisal like an old money, east coast, all inclusive resort where people come to get away and enjoy nature and the people they are traveling with. Family, children, good friends - whatever. The emphasis is on privacy and leisure activity.
Every year my husband and i meet our good friends at the Alisal for a very special weekend. We started going in June, but switched to February because golf, tennis and group rides are included in the room rate (Round Up package). Breakfasts have always been spectacular at the Alisal, and dinners vary depending on the chief, and management on hand that year. Never has the dinner been terrible, some years it has been like a good quality steak house, so I would concede that the dinner menu is not their strongest offering. However, we love having our designated table, only one seating per meal, and our special server who welcomes us back at every meal and makes us feel as though they are there only to serve us! Their wine list is very good, and they do have a sommelier who will discuss their outstanding Santa Barbara county wine selections.
Alisal isn't modern, the room decor is dated, and the bathrooms don't have the latest treatments, but it is very well maintained, clean, and very well done in a classic manner. I hope the critics for whom this destination doesn't suit just stay away, because I wouldn't change my Alisal for anything.

  • Stayed February 2009, 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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121 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Solo
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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 (31)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Scottsdale, Arizona
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2009

This was my third visit and since I had not tried their spa services before I thought I would give it a try. I popped in around 1:30pm without a reservation and asked if they could fit me in. They cheerfully called Dante on the phone (he lives in Santa Barbara and has to normally be booked in advance!). Luckily for me at 2:00 Dante arrived at the spa and was able to accommodate me. Being a frequent spa visitor, living in Scottsdale, I am rather spoiled, so when they said that Dante was a good masseuse, I was crossing my fingers.
Fortunately, Dante knows a thing or two about massage. He was excellent and could certainly teach other therapists in Scottsdale alot! If you are traveling to Alisal pick up the phone NOW and prebook a massage with Dante. It will be the icing on the cake of your guest ranch visit.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled on business
    • 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
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Santa Barbara, CA
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2009

Everything was absolutely EXCELLENT!!! All of the staff goes the extra mile in helping guests. They are all awesome hosts and so thoughtful in anticipating our every need. They make us want to come back every year!!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2009

very outdated. no tv in the room and nothing to do after dark. it's like a cemetery. visitors there seem to have this strange religious cult like attitude. the resort has no pulse and is quite dead. if you like to pay $500/night for motel 6 then go at it. the restaurant where they ask you to dress formal is like pizza hut or jack in the box. the food is terrible with and tasteless. the bbq is your typical canned sugary sauce. the staff were great and the lake was fun. other than that it's a waste of time and money. it would be worth it if they charged less than $100 per night

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2009

We went to the Alisal with an extended family during the summers of 2008 and 2009.

The Alisal is a beautiful location with enjoyable activities, above average food most nights with an excellent barbeque on Saturday nights. We are a family used to rustic locales and outdoor activities with insects and the other inconveniences of the outdoors. We've traveled most of the western state's national parks and have visited Boston and NYC and typically stay in moderately priced accommodations.

The prices they charge are absolute price gouging and I really think they are living off their long time clientele and reputation. Our family of 5 for three nights cost $4900, that's over $1600/night and it was for only one room with a rollaway. We did two horseback rides, fishing and the ropes challenge course. For about $1200 more we could have gone to Maui and been there for a full week and gotten a large condo.

Some points:
Rooms are rustic, but clean, we didn't notice the smell being a problem.
Verizon cell phone service works, but it appears nothing else does
No phones or TVs in rooms, which was fine with me
Food related outdoor activities in the summer are consistently overrun with wasps looking for sweets or greasy foods. Some years are better than others for this.
The Ropes Course was a lot of fun but completely overrun with flies both years. This was like nothing I've never seen and we've been to truly insect riddled places like Alaska. The horses and cow pies near the ropes course are probably to blame.
Pool is huge but there is nothing special about it and they have a lot of rules about what you can play with in the pool.
Ridiculously good fishing with a lot of bass that are easy to catch
Great place for extended family reunions if everyone has the bank account for it

They really need to either upgrade their facilities and activities or just drastically lower their prices. I personally would be happy to return at far lower prices, but I'm guessing that is not likely since they are probably still getting enough long time guests. I am bewildered that they are able to get enough guests, but everyone I know in our part of California knows the Alisal and think highly of it and want to visit it, so their past reputation is taking them a long way.

Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2009

I stayed here with my husband and children (9 and 7), my parents (in their 70s) and my sister and brother in law. We all really enjoyed our 3 night stay and wish we had booked more days.

Alisal makes you feel as if you are staying with friends. I felt as if my children had an old fashioned American vacation. The area is close to Solvang, but you feel very isolated and safe. There is limited cell coverage and no TV or telephones in the rooms but that was part of the charm.

I don't believe my children missed the TV because there were so many activities available for them to do. My husband and I felt safe letting them out of our sight while they played! It really felt like a bygone year.

None of us are more than beginner horseback riders but our wonderful rides, made me want to take lessons so that next time I could graduate to "trotting."

As you can see, I am already planning our next visit!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
Long Beach, CA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2009

Alisal is a fond spot for many returning visitors. Although they have built a small, attractive spa (with expensive services) and have wireless in rooms, there are NO phones in the rooms. Cell phones do not work, we were worried about a medical emergency or a fire and no phone. There is no air conditioning even though the summers are hot, hot, hot and smaller rooms have no cross ventilation. It's time for Alisal to come into the 21st century and improve their infrastructure.
The food is average, wait staff is good, hostesses can be haughty. Saturday night BBQs are great but the enthusiastic dancing by all was doused by a 30 minute break at 8 PM by the band. The band should play until it gets dark.
The grounds are lush and beautiful, the pool area great, and the real treasure is the vast amount of land they own which can be seen on trail rides. Wranglers are neurotic about guests staying nose-to-tail, they take frequest stops on a ride, and spend too much time on "warnings". The beauty of the hills is almost lost amid the cautions. Lake fishing is fun, fish can be caught. Golf is good.
I recommend this property with reservations, don't go when the weather is hot.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
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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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