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“greatest time of our life” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rancho Cortez

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Rancho Cortez
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872 Hay Hollar Rd, Bandera, TX 78003   |  
Hotel amenities
Abbotsford, Canada
1 review
“greatest time of our life”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2014

We spent only three days there and should have stayed longer. My friends and I were really surprised at how the staff treated us like family. Bill, Chris, and Kid, showed us the real cowboy life and we highly recommend this place to anyone who wants to have a great time. They also went out of their way to teach us Canadians how to do the Two Step. The story by the campfire was remarkable as with the hay ride. They also have a fitness program there. My friends and I noticed how much of a gentlemen these cowboys were and now have such respect for them.
The rooms were nicer than I expected and the food was awesome.
The trail rides lead by Bill, Kid and Eilene were great too. They really made sure we felt safe and had always kept an eye on us. So if you are a new rider, you're in good hands.
Cheryl at the office was also very friendly and answered all my concerns about the ranch promptly. This ranch was very well organized and cared about their guests. I'm so glad we picked the right ranch in February as it was not too busy and the weather was great too.

Room Tip: The Chief Joseph?room is great for a family and right beside the outdoor hot tub.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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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257 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    200
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Garrison, Minnesota
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2014

We took an unplanned stop at Rancho Cortez on a trip through Texas. We are so very glad we did. This place was such a nice surprise. We had a great experience from the time we arrived until the time we sadly had to leave. We were immediately welcomed by all of the staff and felt more like family than paying guests. We had great trail rides, received individual arena instruction and had a hay ride to feed the long horns. At night we enjoyed a campfire complete with cowboy stories. We would recommend this

  • Stayed February 2014, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2014

I spent 14 days there over Xmas break on the fitness program, including one week in the Warrior Boot Camp. Everything perfectly fit my or went beyond my expectations. In a word, this place is eccentric. It is authentically down home and not an artificial experience. The exercise and fitness program is serious -- about 5 hrs a day of workouts, hikes, water aerobics etc if you do everything scheduled. It's no frills, no machines, just awesome and expert and personable trainers. Kudos to Michael, Gilbert and all the others. I'm a 63 year old man, short and fat but not terribly out of shape. I was pushed only as hard as I wanted to go ("You get out what you put in,") Gilbert would repeat. So at no time was I suffering or feeling abused. I just got stronger and stronger and thinner and thinner. I lost about 10 lbs in the 14 days and have lost another 10 in the month since I came back (doing about 45 mins of day of walking and some weekend hiking). The food was real country and I never felt deprived or even hungry and I am a big eater. The meals were all high protein and just enough carbs to keep your motors running. Larry, the owner, is a good ole boy from Central Casting and has a great story for any topic you pick. His wife Mary is a mondo hiker and was more than willing to take those of us who wanted more hikes out into the hills. Mark, the head wrangler is a great dude, and I was able to squeeze in two trail rides while I was there. I had a single private room, which I would recommend. The bunkhouse accomodations are strictly for the young and hearty. The room and the bed were very comfortable and clean and it was great to have the heater right over the bed. There isnt really any cell phone service on the ranch and the one wifi connection in the common lounge was pretty slow. But that was cool, too. It was great to disconnect so cleanly and to get on the grid all you had to do is walk out the gate and go up the road a few hundred feet to get a strong signal. Bring your books or iPad movies as there are no TV's in the rooms and there is nothing around the ranch except other ranches. I picked up a rental car in San Antonio and kept it so I could drive into the hamlet of Bandera 15 minutes away to pick up healthy snacks at the supermarket and other stuff. The nearby towns Berne and Kernville are worth visiting and there's no law against skipping dinner on the ranch now and then and getting a salad or sushi in one of these places. Rancho Cortez was just plain butt-kicking awesome and I am definitely going back for a few days in March as it already feels like a home away from home. Let me also add that I am a spoiled big city writer and professor and not immune to luxury. But I can get that anywhere. Do NOT go to Cortez if you expect to be pampered, immersed in New Age mumbo jumbo or like to eat flowers instead of food. Otherwise, get your butt in gear and book a room.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Banderamary, Owner at Rancho Cortez, responded to this review, February 5, 2014
Thank you! I'm looking forward to more hikes when you return.
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Abilene, Texas
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2014

My husband and I live in Atlanta Ga. His work has us in Texas for a while,I had always wanted to go to a Dude Ranch...and Im so glad Rancho Cortez was the one we chose! Great experience from beginning til end. We spent the whole day. There was plenty to keep us busy,but we also chose to have some downtime and just sit and enjoy the views. The horses were very gentle and the trails were absolutely beautiful. All the staff were very nice and down to Earth..even Larry. :0)

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Banderamary, Owner at Rancho Cortez, responded to this review, February 5, 2014
Thank you so much! Rancho Cortez is a great place to relax.
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2014

Great homemade food, laid back atmosphere, fabulous place, great location staff welcoming, very friendly, perfect getaway. Don't think twice about it.................. just book up and go, you wont regret it, honestly.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 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.
Banderamary, Owner at Rancho Cortez, responded to this review, February 5, 2014
Thank you so much for taking the time to review our ranch. Glad you had a great time!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Naperville, IL
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2014

Just home from a fabulous weekend away from Katy at Rancho Cortez with three friends. I arrived blind not having researched Rancho Cortez nor had the time to look at Trip Advisor and arrived with no pre-conceived ideas, no knowledge of the Dude Ranch experience and just looking forward to a break from Houston and change of scene. I left thinking this is a place I definitely want to come back to on another girls weekend or with my husband and three kids. Located 10 miles outside Bandera (Texas Hill Country Cowboy Capital of the World for sure - all the claims are true) the Ranch is a family run business that provides a warm, welcoming reception and friendly and helpful service. It doesn't try to be sophisticated - its appeal for me lies in the fascinating characters who take part especially the owner Larry with his campfire stories, dry humor and desire to make sure you have a memorable time and the wranglers various who have been there, seen it, done it and told it a million times over but make you feel like you're their first customer in through the door. We stayed in January and took advantage of their $99 per night all inclusive deal. It was fantastic value - accommodation, three meals a day, all daytime activities and access to amenities included - unquestionable value for money. The amenities are very good - there is a small, kidney shaped outdoor pool with covered seated area, a larger indoor pool, an equipped fitness center, an outdoor hot tub and a large barn equipped with great indoor entertainment - pool table, table tennis, TV and other things including a restroom with shower each for boys and girls. This is in addition to the hiking trails, horse back trail rides, riding lessons, learn-to-lasso, hay rides and a huge camp fire lit every night. The property is very attractive with lovely views and is supremely peaceful - traffic noise doesn't feature whatsoever - just you, the stars and the flora and fauna. We were very happy with our accommodation - a stone cottage close to all the amenities that was clean, well appointed and footsteps from the campfire and restaurant. Designed for a family of up to 7 it was spacious enough for 4 women to feel comfortable (women beyond the age where sharing a bathroom and snoring habits is fun) . The atmosphere at the Ranch is relaxed - two of us arrived late Friday afternoon but were still offered trail rides that evening after published times. Hay rides sometimes come as and when the mood takes the owner but are well worth it - I won't spoil the surprise as to why. Meal times are very specific - please arrive at the specified time (it's not like a hotel where you can turn up an hour later than it starts), help yourself to food and clear away your dishes when you are done. The food is simple and there is no choice in what is offered but it is good. Think home-prepared - you're staying with a friend, not in a hotel. The other thing I would say is that if you have special dietary requirements such as vegetarian or gluten-free you should call the Ranch before you arrive and discuss it with the owner. They serve family-style, simple cuisine that is typically Texan and meat-based so don't come with expectations of anything more elaborate than that but if you have special dietary needs they try to oblige as best they can provided you give them enough time to prepare and are able to provide suggestions as to what you can and can't eat. The trail rides are designed for beginner riders but if you are an experienced rider I would say talk to Larry and see what he suggests. I'm not sure if he would be willing to offer an alternative option for advanced riders but if the Ranch isn't so busy and if you give him an opportunity to assess your riding skills you never know. Final thought - bring drinks and snacks to enjoy around the campfire - we brought beer, wine and nibbles - a portable fridge that plugs into the mains if you want to chill your food and drink and of course a bottle opener and glasses! Relax into your time at Rancho Cortez and enjoy the company of the folks who run it as well as the other guests staying there with you. This is as much of a social experience as anything else so come prepared to make plenty of eye-contact and share your story.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with friends
    • 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.
Banderamary, Owner at Rancho Cortez, responded to this review, February 5, 2014
Thank you! We're looking forward to entertaining your family next time! (And of course your next girls' getaway!)
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newfane, New York
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2014

Just got back from the ranch, we used the special off season rate, great bargin. Felt welcome from the first minte there to the last. Trail rides were so much fun, each time we rode we had a chance to experience a diffent horse. Wranglers took great care of us making sure the horse we rode were right for us with proper sturip adustments. Rooms were clean and big, meals tasty with very nice cook staff. We were treated like family.
We are already planning two more trips there next year, want to have fun Go to Rancho Cortez. Thank you, Larry, Mark, Chris and the rest of the staff. See you next year.

  • Stayed January 2014, 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
    • 4 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.
Banderamary, Owner at Rancho Cortez, responded to this review, February 5, 2014
Thank you for the great review! We're happy to offer low off-season rates-it keeps our employees working full-time, (And we don't want to lose them!) See you next year.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rancho Cortez

Address: 872 Hay Hollar Rd, Bandera, TX 78003
Location: United States > Texas > Bandera
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Bandera
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Dude and Guest Ranch in the scenic Texas Hill Country. Horseback riding, western entertainment, and family activities. Great lodging and meals in packages. Ride, Relax, Live your Dream at Rancho Cortez! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rancho Cortez Hotel Bandera
Rancho Cortez Bandera, Texas

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