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“A VERY COSTLY EXPERIENCE” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Flying L Guest Ranch

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Flying L Guest Ranch
3.0 of 5 Ranch   |   566 Flying L Dr, Hwy 173 S & Wharton Dock Rd, Bandera, TX 78003   |  
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Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
Package Deal
Ranked #10 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Bandera
san antonio
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“A VERY COSTLY EXPERIENCE”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2008

We live in Texas and were looking for a change of pace option for our annual family reunion/vacation. We called Flying L to inquire about all-inclusive vacations, followed up with a visit, and booked a 5-day vacation with the understanding from Sales that the rather pricey rate (over $8,000) included everything. We were 7 adults and 6 children. The kids enjoyed the water park and the horses. The food was good but the buffet menu was limited and rather repetitive. The night-time entertainment was marginal and didn't seem to hold our interest. The young kids program was not finely honed nor very imaginative. We were not unhappy to leave the ranch when our 5 days were up, 3 days were probably more than enough for this family vacation.
Upon checking out, with our cars loaded with luggage and kids, we received a real surprise when we were met with an additional charge of more that $1,100 for horseback and pony rides. When we complained we were told that the all-inclusive rate on this dude ranch did not include horseback riding. Our written complaint regarding the divergence from what we were told by Sales was also met with deaf ears. I guess that we should have read the fine print. Therefore, our 5-day vacation wound up costing about $2,000 per day, way beyond pricey.

  • Liked — clean
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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171 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (26)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
texas
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2008

We stayed at the Flying L this weekend after much reluctance once we read the reviews on this website. We, too, were part of the promotional rate after attending a 90 minute time share tour of the facility. We had a very positive experience. I do have to agree with another traveler, it is not necessarily a dude ranch. It has activities directed at being a dude ranch. ie, camp fires, cowboy storytellers, horseback riding, cooking smores, line dancing lessons, and a fabulous themed waterpark. We lucked out and were assigned the new housing which was perfectly clean and spacious. Although, if you are counting on the couch sofa, definitely bring a sleeping bag or thick blanket to cover that matress. All in all, for the price we paid, (59/night) it ranks way better than a night at the Motel 6 or whatever that would buy. Even if you are not here on the promotion, I think it would be worth the stay. Cowboy Buck is also a real gem!

  • Liked — water park, wildlife, rooms
  • Disliked — rained , some events cancelled
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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College Station, TX
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2008

I have been to the Flying L Guest Ranch the past three years as part of my office's annual retreat. In those three years I have had three very different experiences. Depending upon the type of expectation you have for a place like this, you could be thrilled or very disappointed with this property.

Let me start by saying that I grew up on a large farm and ranch in south Texas and, therefore, don't have much interest in the hay rides, cowboy stories, and other Western-oriented activities Flying L provides since they were a large part of my childhood. However, those interested in such activities will thoroughly enjoy all that Flying L has to offer, especially those with children. In fact, a sizable portion of the guests appear to be vacationing families who have chosen to come to the Flying L explicitly for their children's activities. Several of my colleagues have brought their children and felt that this was one of the strongest selling points of the property. So if you are interested in horseback riding, wildlife tours, nightly campfires, and a stunning Hill Country setting, the Flying L definitely delivers the nostalgia of the days when the West was still wild.

Accommodations are the one area of Flying L that is truly hit or miss. Rooms are spread around the property and are within walking distance of the Main House. The majority of the older rooms are set up in a duplex style, while the newer ones are in a condominium-esque style. Most of the pictures you see on Flying L's website (www.flyingl.com) are representative of their new construction, not the property as a whole. Those who desire a room with a fresh feel, complete with tiled floors, high ceilings, a full kitchen, and large bathrooms will want to book in one of the following buildings:

1) The Golf Suites (Room #s 1 - 12)
2) Holiday House (Room #s 101 - 108)
3) Goodnight House (Room #s 109 - 112, 209 - 212)
4) Sibley House (Room #s 113 - 116, 213 - 216)

The rest of the rooms are comfortable, but much older (probably 15 - 20 year old construction), less inviting, and somewhat lacking in terms of cleanliness. Given the many different duplex layouts seen on the property, it seems as though these rooms were originally built as summer rentals or time shares. As a result, upkeep on each unit varies considerably. As an example, the unit I stayed in during my first visit was immense for a single occupant, almost to a fault. Both the bedroom and the bathroom were amply spacious, while the living room was only slightly smaller. However, the second time I stayed in one of these units, it was much smaller in all respects. The bathroom was so small, in fact, that the staff had resorted to pushing a knee-high linen cabinet up to the shower in order to provide space for towels and other bath linens. Needless to say, this further cramped an already tiny space and made entry and exit from the shower look like an act out of a Cirque du Soleil show.

On a more positive note, the food service Flying L provides is VERY good (those looking for fine dining options should look elsewhere). Meals are served buffet style and are in keeping with the Western theme that pervades everything. Biscuits and gravy, crispy bacon, waffles, pancakes, cereal, pastries, and made to order omelettes are among the many items available for breakfast. The dinner menu changes every night and includes a choice of at least two main entrees along with the appropriate side dishes. There also seems to be dining options geared towards children as well. I believe that most guests pay for breakfast and dinner in their room rate since everyone seems to converge on the Main House at these times. As I have been part of a conference each time I was there, we had all meals on-site, with lunch catered especially for us. Other guests were no where to be found during this time in the dining area, which is the reason for my assumption about breakfast and dinner.

The final thing I will mention is Flying L's new waterpark dubbed 'Lonestar Lagoon.' This was a great addition to the property, though I am not quite sure of the cost of entry since, again, this was part of my conference package. Complete with a wave pool, a lazy river, water slides, and table service from the bar, Lonestar Lagoon is a great way to have some fun and cool down during the heat of the day. In many ways, the presence of this waterpark somewhat makes up for what the property lacks in accommodations.

All in all, Flying L is a good choice for those looking for a Hill Country experience with a few of the creature comforts of home. It would be a great choice if all the accommodations mirrored that of its newer rooms.

  • Stayed July 2008, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Importedtexan
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2008

My husband and I own a timeshare here which we stayed here for the first time. We own a timeshare at the waterpark suites which was a good location. We were close to the waterpark, cafeteria, and campfire, etc. The entertainment was nice. Buck was especially hospitable. Even on his day off he took the guests out for a hay ride to check out the deers and ghost town. He was great! Housekeeping was non-existent. Our room was clean upon arrival though one of the skylights in the living area, the light above the stove, and one lightbulb in the bathroom was out. We replaced the one in the bathroom since we visited the store out in town. We finally got the one in the living area replaced after calling for the 2nd time though maintenance never did come back to replace the one above the stove. It was kind of dim while cooking. Housekeeping only came after I called for the 2nd time that we needed toilet paper. They could at least check and see if we needed more soap or toilet paper or something every other day. Housekeeping was terrible. We ate in the cafeteria once. The food wasn't bad but not tasty either. It was kind of bland. Half our time was either eating out in town or my husband and I cooking in the kitchen unit. While we checked out the front desk clerk was busy having a conversation with another guest in line about personal stuff and then end up taking the guest's baby to the back to show her off instead of checking us out. It was a good 10 minutes at least. I think she could have her friend step to the side and let us check out first and then continue theier personal conversation. Anyways, next year we'll end up trading and go to Puerto Rico instead and the years following that to other cities and countries. The waterpark was great, the unit was nice even though we were short a few lightbulbs. Buck was the greatest and he especially tried to make our stay pleasant with his hospitality and nightly entertainments. Overall okay but not much to do in such a small town. We were pleasantly surprised to find that Kerrville was only about a 20 minute drive on one of the main highways ( I can't remember at the top of my head) which there is more restaurants, a small mall, movie theater, and all your major stores.

  • Liked — The waterpark
  • Disliked — Housekeeping
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Pickerington,Ohio
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2008

We were using a free 3 day 2 night stay package that we won and was advised that after the 90 min. presentation, we would be advised what hotel we would be assigned to and that the Flying L was just the check-in location. We were surprised when the very friendly staff at the Flying L advised us that they had us reserved to stay at the Flying L. We expressed our disappointment about the mix up to the Flying L staff even though it was clearly not their fault, but because of the Flying L staff's professionalism and hospitality, they made several calls for us above and beyond to attempt to fix the problem and make us happy. In light of the circumstance at hand, My wife and I discussed our options and decided to stay at the Flying L for a few days and it was a very good experience. Their staff really does have that good old friendly Texas hospitality and were continually trying to please as well as entertain the patrons. They're are not enough activities for couples or singles without kids because most of the activities are geared towards families, especially if you don't golf.

  • Liked — The friendly staff, lots of animals visible to tourist such as Deer, Elk,etc.
  • Disliked — location from San Antonio
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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austin
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2008

We originally booked our weekend getaway last summer (2007) but had to postpone our trip due to a hurricane. We were not allowed a refund, just a chance to reschedule our trip. So, we went this past weekend. What a HUGE disappointment. Before we left, we were notified (only after we called to confirm our trip) that we were being UPGRADED to the bunkhouse. We were traveling as a party of 7 (4 adults, 3 kids) so we were excited to find out that we were given a villa with 5 bedrooms. Boy, were we wrong! The bunkhouse is formerly known as the villa sales office. It has been recently turned back into accomodations for guests. It is located far from the main house of Flying L so we had to drive every time we needed to go to the main area. It is the first thing you see when you turn on to the property, before you drive thru the subdivision (don't ask me why there is a subdivision in the middle of a guest ranch). Housekeeping was still cleaning when we arrived. There are community stalled bathrooms and very dirty floors. We didn't feel that we had been upgraded at all. The sales sign was still on the wall, as was the water fountain (which ran all night), community bathroom, dead bolts on doors that could only be unlocked with a key from the inside (thank goodness there wasn't a fire), and the illuminated fire exit signs throughout. There were NO closets or drawers for our belongings and the beds were shoved into the rooms with very little room to move. There was also a king sized bed in the open area next to the main living area which was marked off by chinsy little room dividers which fell apart if you touched them. Our air conditioning unit froze over twice and we had to contact maintenance more than once before they even bothered to come out. We were told that we would have internet access but they would not give us the password for it. We made our way to the main house, signed up for dinner but weren't told that it was going to be outside in the 100+ degree heat. The main pool was full of sand and just plain dirty. The only saving grace for our trip was the water park. We spent all day there. It was clean and lots of fun. Thank goodness because there was nothing else to do. The creek where they advertised fishing was a stagnet pool of water, no movement, no fish and over a mile away from the main house (2 miles from our bunkhouse). We did enjoy the entertainment one night and the wagon ride under the stars however. But, the accomodations were not worth the money. Customer service was not up to par. We felt like we were deceived by their advertising and website claims. Flying L is NOT a luxury resort and does not stand up to claim: "The Flying L is best noted for its incredible staff. We pride ourselves on our high level of true Texas hospitality. Our professional and down home flare helps make your vacation relaxing and memorable from the moment you meet our friendly staff members. " I am ashamed that they claim to have true Texas hospitality. This is no where near Texas hospitality of any kind. Do not waste your time or your money staying at the Flying L. There are plenty of other guest ranches around where you won't be surrounded by filth, not to mention settled in the middle of a subdivision.

  • Liked — water park
  • Disliked — dirty, deceived by claims
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
texas
1 review
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 19, 2008

Signed up for this 'vacation' by Flying L Vacations. According to their promotion and brochure, and clarifying with the reservation people, we were told a "luxurious 1 bedroom villa", with kitchen facilities etc.
Once we got there, our room was the very old villa (17), where the sofabed was broken and its' mattress springs poked out, ac was very loud and you could hear the occupants in the next room very clearly so unfortunately, when their young kids and baby woke up early- so did we! There was only one TV (completely different to the pictures and what we were told). Tried to complain, but were told they can refund our money if we leave ASAP. We had just driven 3+hrs, not to mention kids were so excited for this family vacation. As the previous reviewer said- it was like a Bates motel. The floors were very dirty and sticky.

Went to the presentation, our salesrep, was extremely upset because we did not sign up- no manners. He was very chirpy when we started. After, I tried to find out about an incentive that I was informed about when I reserved this vacation since it was midweek. However, since I did not have anything in writing- I was pushed aside. In addtion, the manager (I'm assuming), asked how everything was, I queried about this incentive but he claimed ignorance. In addition, I informed him about our accomodation fiasco and he said at least we were fed and had a place to sleep. He went on to say that we would not be invited here ever again!!!!! He was very very very rude. I was shocked.

The highlight was the 30min horseride- Fabulous. The waterpark is ok, but it can get very hot since there are no trees shading it.

Bottom line, be careful. The hotel folks are very helpful but the salesrep for the timeshare can be rude. Take care.

Stayed June 2008
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Additional Information about Flying L Guest Ranch

Address: 566 Flying L Dr, Hwy 173 S & Wharton Dock Rd, Bandera, TX 78003
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Texas > Bandera
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Bandera
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Flying L Guest Ranch 3*
Number of rooms: 92
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to the Texas Hill Country! Grab your jeans, boots and hat! The Flying L Guest Ranch is THE place to reconnect with friends and family. Take a horseback trail ride that tread through mile after mile of natural Hill Country woodlands replete with White-tailed Deer and Armadillos! You can splash the day away at the Lone Star Lagoon, our full size water park. Or tee up a round of golf on our 18-hole championship golf course. Enjoy western entertainment, have some country cookin'... And then enjoy our fabulous accommodations. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Flying l Guest Ranch Hotel Bandera
Flying l Ranch Hotel Bandera
Flying L Guest Ranch Bandera, Texas

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