I have just completed my third stay in less than a year at Tonkawaya Ranch. I think it is time for a serious review! I hope this review helps other people who are considering staying there.
First, the Cons: Don't book hoping to receive a 5 star stay. I have stayed in many places over the last years, including 5 star hotels, and this not why you should stay at this ranch. There is no waitstaff and no concierge (although the owners are happy to help you with anything you need). You are not in the middle of town, and there is no covered parking, and no valet.
But, the Pros far exceed the cons. Here are a few: The cabins are less than 8 minutes on a straight, good road, from Main Street, where all the shopping and historic sites are. I have seen all of the cabins and they have great beds, good linens, nice towels and showers with massage spray. The kitchenettes have copper sinks and everything one would need to prepare a simple meal. The cabins are not large, but they are decorated better than many homes. Each one is decorated with a very Texas Hill Country flair that makes you feel like you are on an escape from reality. The outsides of the cabins look old, but they are not. The owners have aged them to appear like a state or national park cabin, and the front porches are awesome! There is nothing better than sitting on the front porch watching the stars or the sunrise! Sitting out there gives a feeling of serenity.
The guest corral may not look very impressive in the photos, but it is a very large size. There are a couple of picnic tables, a fire pit, a bar-beque with smoker pit, and horseshoes. I don't play horse shoes, but my husband and I have enjoyed the fire pit at night, sitting in the adirondack chairs and star gazing.
My husband loves the portable hammocks. He rarely gets to relax, so when he comes here he gets in a hammock and watches the deer and other wildlife, stargazes, and naps.
Each cabin has a flat screen HD TV, and though they don't have cable, there are a lot of movies to watch. Also, the cabins have juice, water, coffee, popcorn, hot cocoa, and other snacks, so it is easy to settle in for the night.
This place also feels very safe. The owners live higher up the hill and the whole place is over 100 acres. My children (which came on the other two trips) were able to go outside and play, free to roam, but I can see them and watch them and know they are secure.
I have always stayed in the Windmill cabin because it sleeps four people, and I have two children. My husband and I got the chance to stay in the honeymoon cabin this time. The honeymoon and cowboy cabins are decorated really different, and it seems like they are more intimate for two people.
When comparing price, these cabins rent for $89 to $125 per night for two people. That is far less than a motel room. The cabins are not very far apart, maybe 100 feet, but you are not sharing a wall with your neighbor like in a hotel or motel room. So the real sense is that they are very private.
I guess the best thing about the cabins is not necessarily the cabins. It is the environment. There are longhorn cattle, deer, and turkey, and lots of other wildlife to watch from the safety of the front porch. The field beyond the cabins allows for views of the real Texas hill country - you can literally see for miles. I lived in Fredericksburg for a while, and even the locals don't have views like this. You really get the feel for Texas when you stay here. It is so peaceful and really beautiful.
You can tell the owners put a lot of thought into settling the cabins in place and wanted to make this a good destination for people traveling to the hill country. There are plenty of special touches - and if you get the chance and have the money, spend it on the top of the hill sunset watch! I have never seen anything like the views from the top of their hill, and it is very romantic to sit up top and sip wine to watch the sun go down.
Bottom line- if you are looking for a real Texas experience, and are happy with a room that is comfortable, clean, and tasteful, this is the place. For the money, and for the opportunity to stay on a real ranch and experience the wildlife and beauty in a well outfitted guest quarters, this is your spot.
After staying in several other places including motels and B&B's in Fredericksburg, this is definitely my pick. It is a great value and a rare opportunity to experience the solitude of the country so close to a busy tourist spot.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A true Texas Hill Country experience and getaway. On a private ranch, six separate cottages offer porches overlooking distant views and wildlife. Just 6.9 Miles off Main Street, Fredericksburg, TX between town and the popular 290 Wine Trail. We offer fresh, full breakfasts in well stocked, comfortable cabins. Wineries, music, historic sightseeing, and world-class shopping are all nearby. Each cabin is private yet open to the beauty of the Texas Hills. Nightly bonfires, paved road access, and a guest recreation area with hammocks, horseshoes, barbeque pit, and picnic area. TV and internet access. ... more less