This is my revised review. Management were not apologetic about the bad experiences we had, in fact they were just rude and defensive, refusing to acknowledge the issues they need to address. So I decided to edit my review to clarify the problems we had so that both new visitors to the ranch can be aware of what awaits them and also so that the owners can better understand what the issues are and hopefully rectify them.
We planned our trip to C Lazy U based on the glowing reviews on Trip Advisor and left wondering if the owners were writing their own reviews...
Basic, run-down rooms that have seen better days. Door didn't shut properly in the bathroom, chipped tiles, hideously uncomfortable beds - they really need to invest in this, heavy blankets instead of goosedown duvets and a mixture of lumpy pillows, old fashioned bathrooms with teeny tiny tubs. There is no air-conditioning or climate control; we went to bed hot and woke up freezing every night. It wasn't the style of decor that bothered us. We love authentic country lodging and that old rustic feel. But seriously, would a duvet and some new pillows be that difficult for the ranch to provide to their guests? If i wanted to wake up each morning feeling like i'd been camping, I would have pitched a tent, not booked into a 'luxury' guest lodge.
Quite pretty in the main lodge where you eat your meals. Pool area has past it's prime, would have appreciated more comfy and modern sun loungers. Could have been better designed so that your view from the bar/pool overlooked the hills instead of the lodges...
Unfortunately a pine-killing beetle has decimated the forest here and you spend your time wondering what it looked like before all the dead trees. Some parts were very pretty, but it was quite 'samey' and it's nowhere near as beautiful as Aspen and other parts of Colorado. Durango (south of Colorado is amazing - try the Soaring Tree Tops Adventures. All you see are beautiful healthy pine forests and aspen groves for miles). Granted, the owners have no control over the damage the beetle inflicted but future guests should know what they're in for. It was nice. Nothing spectacular that's for sure.
Majority of the staff were extremely nice and enthusiastic. The wranglers inparticular were great. They try hard to please.
Child care for little ones is appalling. The camp counsellors for the under fives looked like they'd rather be scrubbing toilets than looking after their charges. In fact, many of the other guests pointed out to myself and my husband on our return from the daily ride that the babysitter was doing a lousy job of interacting with our boy. Our 2 year old's nappy was frequently left unchanged for hours at a time. He had such a bad nappy rash on one day from sitting in his own poo and wee for hours that he literally screamed in agony as we attempted to wash him down in the bath. He was red raw for two days. Management didn't seem overly concerned and it took several complaints before we saw a marginal improvement in child care.
Another problem was I had to remind the counsellors frequently that they needed to offer my son a drink of water and apply sunscreen frequently. He's not going to last very long in the hot midday sun at this altitude without water! I also came back several times at lunch time to find that my son was still wearing his sweater and long trousers from the morning when it was cold and fresh. In the middle of the day when everyone around them is wearing a t-shirt and shorts and it's boiling hot, you'd think that would be a strong enough hint to remove a few layers of clothing from our toddler. Sadly not.
There was only one child in the 'Cow Pokes' under 5's program. How could a camp counsellor be so useless? We were paying for one on one attention for our son. So in total, there were two babysitters and 3 children. They weren't exactly run off their feet. It was pathetic. They just seemed inexperienced and a little clueless. We called the ranch ahead prior to booking our stay on two separate occasions plus emailed, to confirm that the ranch does indeed offer babysitting for under 3's. We made it clear that C Lazy U wouldn't be suitable for our family if they didn't have babysitters as our toddler was only two and a half. They were adamant that they could provide one to one attention the whole week. We had 4 different babysitters looking after our son during the week. FOUR! Poor Noah didn't get a chance to bond with any of them. Though, to be honest, most of them spent their time fiddling on their phones, chatting to other staff or twizzling their hair instead of playing with our son. One of the sitters was very nice - Liz. At the end of our stay management approached us and apologised for the 'sub-standard care' (their words exactly) that our son had experienced and to make amends they offered us a 50% reduction in the childcare rates. We didn't ask for this, or hint at this. They did that on their own. It was obvious that they felt bad about the situation. Oh, and they are proud to share that the person who runs their childcare program has a degree in education. Ok, and what about the counsellors who actually look after the children? I asked one of the babysitters (who looked all of about 16) what experience he had with children. His credentials were: 'I've got brothers and sisters'. Right...That explains a lot.
Hit and miss. Some days I loved the food, on others I pushed it around my plate. The dishes seem dated. Adults were fed better than the children. The kids are fed garbage - mac and cheese, buttery dishes, processed meat and little else. My son eats healthily at home and didn't take to the 'junk' foods served here. He doesn't have any special dietary requirements or allergies. He just eats normal healthy food. But they love to serve the children stodge, grease and sugar here. I guess because it's cheaper than fresh, organic food.
We fell in love with the majority of the guests and made friends easily. We look forward to meeting up with many of them in the future.
The spa is set up on its own in tents overlooking the hills. It's quite pretty from far but on closer inspection it was kind of poor. Nothing like the tented spas I have experienced before. I had a manicure and pedicure and it was just painful really. The uncomfortable stool I 'perched' on for an hour while I had my nails done was not fun and I was so hot with no air conditioning or breeze that I was dripping sweat all over my seat. The pedicure chair is cheap and not comfortable either. The massage was nice, nothing to write home about. This isn't a world class spa. It's not even a great spa. Before i went for my massage i asked two other ladies about their experience. The first said it was 'ok' and grinned conspiratorially, not wanting the staff to overhear her. I asked if it was great. She laughed and said, no it was just ok. I received a similar response from the other guest i asked. They both said they wouldn't go again and not to bother. So, obviously it wasn't just my experience.
Very well run, organised and helpful staff. Horses are hit and miss but this place caters to tourists - not serious riders. If you are an experienced rider you will find the terrain frustrating ( too many holes in the ground, fallen dead trees) as you can't pick up that much speed. Also most of the trails require your horse to climb steep tracks before you reach places suitable for cantering so it's also not kind to the horses to run them tired after their daily marathon uphill trek.
Basically, this place has seen it's hey day and needs to reinvent itself if it wants to survive. It's standards are not five star and don't even compare with four star hotels that we have stayed in. The long standing guests are sentimental and not honestly appraising the mediocre standards that C Lazy U has fallen in to. Given the price, we expected much more.
Are we fussy? Yes. We are well travelled and love to find new places to cherish. Did we enjoy ourselves? Yes. Would we go back? Nope. We are trying Echo Valley Ranch next time.