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“Best vacation in 20 years” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Southern Cross Ranch

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Southern Cross Ranch
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3.0 of 5 Bed and Breakfast   |   1670 Bethany Church Rd., Madison, GA 30650   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 6 Madison B&B and Inns
Marietta, Georgia
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Best vacation in 20 years”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2012

Our family came to celebrate our 9 year old daughter's birthday. She had been asking to go horse back riding for months and we never managed to coordinate. We spent the weekend at Southern Cross riding, eating and enjoying the horses. This ranch is fabulous! You get to help care for the horse you are riding, walk in the pastures with horses running free, eat fabulous food and hang out with the nicest staff anywhere. We're planning our next visit!

  • Stayed March 2012, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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114 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (31)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
North Palm Beach, Florida
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2012

I took my daughter (along with my mom and younger daughter) to Southern Cross Ranch to celebrate her 13th birthday. Southern Cross was amazing. The staff, the food, the accommodations, the horses are all outstanding. We are all beginner horse riders and that was not a problem at all. They found a horse to accommodate each of us (even my mom who has never ridden before). My daughters and I stayed in a Category 5 bedroom and my mom stayed in a Category 1 right across the hall. The Category 5 room was HUGE, had a beautiful fireplace and a huge bathroom. It was plenty big for my daughters and I. The food at Southern Cross is absolutely amazing. I cannot wait to bring my husband back.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scotland
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2012

We took our 12 year old grandson on holiday to Southern Cross Ranch after we fell upon this place having given up on our search for a suitable ranch holiday. From the moment we arrived until we left we loved every minute of it. None of us had ever been on a horse before and were a bit daunted by the thought. However, we need not have worried everyone was so helpful and the horses were so well trained that we all thoroughly enjoyed the riding. The food was great and loads of it and I can't thank them enough for making a special vegetarian meal each meal time - and I was the only veggie there! We will definitely be going back.

Room Tip: There are no bad rooms.
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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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Georgia
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2011

I agree with the other reviews that there were a lot of great aspects of this experience.
However, mainly we were disappointed in the riding. Perhaps my expectations were too high from reading the reviews, and from my past experiences when we owned horses. Our first ride was a 2-hour walk through woods, generally over fairly narrow trails where we rode one behind the other. We definitely would have enjoyed some variety and some scenery. We'd been told that we would ride the first hour with the guide and then could go on our own, but this didn't happen, and we plodded along, walking in line in the woods for two hours. It had rained two days prior so some low areas were muddy; but even so, with over 200 acres, there were plenty of areas that were dry and open, where guests could have done a little trotting or cantering and have some variety, but this was not offered in the first ride. In the afternoon ride, we rode partly on our own and then joined a group that was doing some cantering. We found that neither of our horses had a particularly comfortable gait, so that was also disappointing. I later learned that some of the horses are considered more comfortable than others.
We also got frustrating mixed messages from staff--some of whom were relaxed, and some of whom were controlling. For example, as we were tacking up in the afternoon, the barn manager said it would be fine to canter as long as we were in a dry area. But five minutes later, as we were going out, another staffer gave us a lecture that it was unsafe to canter, and that we could not do it. There were several instances like this when we felt like children being scolded.
The lodging was very comfortable, but there was room for improvement--it was like you were staying in someone's home and they just couldn't get to all the small things needing attention. (I probably wouldn't go into this stuff except for all the 5-star reviews, which to me means there is almost nothing that needs attention.) Some examples: Our spacious bathroom needed tile repair and the toilet wasn’t properly bolted to the floor; there was a pretty two-story foyer but the stairway carpeting showed the heavy traffic from dirty shoes. We loved features like the metal artwork and beautiful furniture and bedding in our room, but the artificial flower arrangements throughout the facility were not to our taste. The driveway to the main building is one part attractive landscaping, one part equipment parking. A large tree centered in front of the main building blocks the view of what would otherwise be a focal point as you drive up. None of this is a serious complaint especially when the lodging staff is so pleasant; we’re just saying that five stars is an overstatement.
We would have preferred that the staff find a place to smoke other than on the porch at the entrance to the dining room; it's a pretty place to sit and wait before mealtime, but it would be much nicer if smoke-free.
Also, our bed had a quality mattress but was seriously too soft for my comfort. I think some rooms may have firmer mattresses, so you may want to ask if you have a preference.

Room Tip: Our room had a quality mattress but it was very soft.
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scgranch, Manager at Southern Cross Ranch, responded to this review, December 7, 2011
I am glad that the reviewer enjoyed “a lot of great aspects” of their experience and awarded us 4 out of 5 stars. I would to like to address the additional comments posted about their experience. As stated, the reviewer was mainly disappointed in the riding and that it had rained prior to their first ride. When conditions are wet, it’s not ideal for many outdoor activities, including riding. Guests may elect to take a rain check for the ride, or alternatively, are welcome to make the make the best of it by riding in small guided groups at a walk. We generally refrain from unguided riding when conditions are slippery just for safety. This is why they were only able to go unguided on the 2nd ride. Despite this reviewer’s opinion, it was too slippery to safely trot or canter in the morning ride.

We monitor the trails closely and moments before the beginning of the afternoon ride, the trails were cleared for trotting & cantering. Unfortunately, it appears that one team member was not aware of this development and momentarily misinformed the reviewer.

However, I am puzzled why the reviewer referred to the trails as narrow. Some trails are wide enough for a dump truck and all of the trails are wide enough for utility vehicles. Also, it’s only natural and customary to ride one behind each other when trail riding. It just isn’t practical to ride abreast when riding on trails. In fact, when trotting or cantering, it would be unsafe and nearly impossible.

Every breed and every horse within breed will have a different comfort level of gait. Most people would consider any type of riding to be generally “uncomfortable”. The majority of our horses are Paint and Quarter horses, two of the most popular breeds in the United States. They are the type of horses you see in most movies and westerns and have been used by cowboys for generations. Most novice riders have difficulty in “finding the comfort zone” when riding, especially at a trot. It takes some experience to feel comfortable. Nonetheless, guests are always welcome to request a different horse on their next ride.

Overall, we strive to offer the best possible experience while still being safe. It seems the majority of visitors agree. Unfortunately, weather is as weather does. I believe this reviewer was more “disappointed in weather” than “disappointed in riding”.

Bed comfort is subject to very personal tastes. I believe another reviewer reported the mattresses as being too firm. Most of our guests love the beds and many even want to buy the identical set for their homes. Naturally, no one mattress type will satisfy everyone, but we use quality mattresses (Serta) and bedding. We aren't the only hotel where this reviewer found the mattress too soft. Also, the main drive makes a generally pleasant, convenient pass by the stables on the way to main guest house. We have an enormous concrete pad (maybe 1-2 acres) by the stables. We use this for guest parking, horse trailers, tractors, farm equipment, and sometimes even hay storage. After all, this is a large horse farm (but the equipment is not "in the driveway").

The stairs in the main foyer do attract their fair share stains due to heavy traffic, especially when it’s wet outside. This may have slipped past us on this occasion. We also missed the wiggly toilet! Both have since been addressed, but we would have been delighted to fix it on the spot or found another room. Overall, if there is anything we can do make one’s stay more pleasant, please let us know! We listen. Don’t forget to check out what our guests have to say on our facebook page.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ellenwood
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2011

My husband and I were looking for a getaway for my birthday and fell upon this place. Upon arrival we were greeted with warm smiles and an abundance of information to help us make a great decision. We stayed for two nights and loved every minute of it. Both of us are horse lovers and couldn't wait for the rides. The ranch is beautiful. The rooms are amazing and spacious. A real feel of home away from home. Very clean and comfortable. The owner was a charm. You would never know that she is the owner.She was in the kitchen just like the other staff. Her warm spirit made it an easy choice for us to return for our next trip. The horses are easy to handle and very well trained. Looking forward to our next trip in October!!!

Room Tip: The category 4 room is amazing! The longer you stay the better the price.
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  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2011

Having intially been looking for a riding holiday in Italy or Portugal I went to my travel agent to price flights. The travel consultant said that if I was looking for a riding holiday I should check this place out..........I've just returned from my 3rd visit having already booked my next trip before leaving. I love this place! The people, the horses and the food are wonderful. Relaxation, peace, quiet, great food and great horses - what more could you ask for?

Room Tip: All the rooms are great. Just tell them what you're looking for and they'll do their best to...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled solo
    • 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.
Pa
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2011

I found this B&B on the web and read all the reviews. None of them were negative and after spending 5 nights there I can't wait to return. The place is heaven on earth and the staff, horses, food and surroundings made this the best vacation I have ever had! I met wonderful people from all over the world and we had our love of horses and the outdoors as a common thread. We formed a group and already are planning on returning next Fall. I can't say enough wonderful things about how well you are treated and the animals that live there are well cared for and loved. This was very important to me as I am an animal lover. This ranch is a very comfortable place for singles as the rides and community dining make it easy to strike up conversation with others. The guides are sweet, knowledgeable and very patient. The horses are so gentle and lovable I wish I could have brought one of them home with me.
You will love this place and want to return often just like I do!

Room Tip: All rooms are lovelyl and you sleep soundly.
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled solo
    • 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 Southern Cross Ranch

Address: 1670 Bethany Church Rd., Madison, GA 30650
Location: United States > Georgia > Madison
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 B&Bs / Inns in Madison
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Southern Cross Ranch 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Southern Cross Ranch is a new breed of dude-ranch experience that combines a working ranch with the comfort of a cozy bed-and-breakfast inn. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Southern Cross Ranch Hotel Madison

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