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“Art & Architecture in West Texas - Marfa, Prada & Cibilo Creek Ranch” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cibolo Creek Ranch

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Cibolo Creek Ranch
5.0 of 5 Ranch   |   HCR 67 Box 44, Marfa, TX 79843   |  
Hotel amenities
Madison, Florida
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
“Art & Architecture in West Texas - Marfa, Prada & Cibilo Creek Ranch”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2011

FROM THE NOMAD ARCHITECT (thenomadarchitect.blogspot.com)

As we headed down US 67, the modern art scene and sometimes parallel universe of Marfa, Texas had been such an amazing trip, we could not have imagined what awaited us upon arrival at the small stone entry gate to the 30,000 acre piece of heaven in the high desert of the Texas Big Bend known as Cibilo Creek Ranch. According to the web site, Cibilo Creek Ranch was founded by Milton Faber, a transplanted Missourian, in 1857. Built to withstand the attacks of hostile indians and others, the private fort is located in a breathtaking, mountainous landscape of austere and mesmerizing beauty.

With plentiful water from springs nearby, Faber built a ranching and agricultural empire with over 20,000 longhorn cattle, goats and sheep. The website provides a fascinating and detailed history of Cibilo, which, to my knowledge, is the only "fort" in the United States that has been transformed into a boutique destination resort. With every conceivable comfort, this is no stripped down glam camp. From the stunning architecture to the down filled beds to the vine covered porches and Mexican tiled walkways, Cibilo is chock full of character and comfort. Take all of that, throw in the cleanest, coolest, driest desert air found anywhere, and you just don't ever want to leave this desert oasis.

As we were ushered into the private concierge room and made arrangements for our stay, the architecture of this unique place was everywhere. As we were shown the dining and living rooms, as well as the wine storage area, I became more aware that no detail had been left to chance. Our room, which opened onto a long communal screen porch with a view of the small pond in the center of the compound and the mountains beyond, was everything you would expect in any five star hotel - great bed, large bath/shower area, classic furnishings and, best of all, no telephone and no tv!!!

I have talked in other posts about the unplanned and unexpected pleasures of traveling. The story of the restoration and conversion of the Cibilo Fort and the reestablishment of the ecology of the area by visionary owner, John Poindexter, is well detailed on the web site. As an architect, I have always had a keen interest in the stories behind the creation of unique places. Who better to give a first hand account of the herculean task of transforming this amazing place than the man himself. As we prepared for dinner, which is served by gracious hosts around a large dining table in the main "house", we were told the owner would be dining with us. This is where one of those moments you never forget enters the story. Not only did we learn of the vision, challenges and work involved in creating this unique resort, what started out as a rather formal dining experience, with a very eclectic group of strangers, turned into a three hour dining experience full of stories and tall tales. After dinner, we relocated to a massive outdoor stone fireplace, under a full moon, for more wine and conversation. The perfect setting to end a wonderful day of life in this desert enclave of stone, rust and old wood with great people we had only just met.

As we visited other parts of this vast ranch (there are two other collections of buildings) we began to understand what draws people to the desert. Frank Lloyd Wright once said that he always found inspiration when he visited the Grand Canyon, another natural architectural masterpiece in the desert. You understand that inspiration in a place like Cibilo. Every stone, every cotton wood tree, every ravine seems to have been "designed" to create the perfect landscape. In addition, Cibilo has a diverse assortment of animals, including buffalo, Texas longhorn cattle ,and even camels, which were were originally used by the cavalry in this part of Texas in the 1850's.

Places like Cibilo Creek Ranch create there own culture. They take you into their world and change you. I have said it before, but it bares repeating. The Nomad Architect is not about nice sheets and great service. It is about places like Cibilo that you really never leave. As we drove back to the airport in El Paso, I was so thankful that we had found this unusual place, designed to relax the head and nourish the heart, and I could have sworn I heard Texas Rangers August McCrae and Woodrow Call arguing over the best route to Montana.

Room Tip: Every room is amazing-and-God bless Texas!!
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (24)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Dallas, Texas
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2011

Just returned from this "sophisticated, historical, rustic retreat", that is unbeatable. 30,000
acres under the big sky with first class accomodations, food and service. See the rolling
hills in a Humvee or ATV. There are 150 miles of roads on the ranch. See herds of elk,
buffalo, deer. They even have camels. There is skeet shooting, star gazing parties, etc.
Loved the guest rooms; all uniquely decorated. The pool and lagoon are beautiful.
If you are a history buff the ranch has quite a story, with three forts rebuilt to detail the
way they were 160 years ago. Hosts Brad and Jeanne will welcome you and guide you
throughout your stay. This is the way to see far West Texas !

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Texas
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2011

We just got home from 3 nights at Cibolo Ranch and are having a hard time returning to reality! If you want to get away and enjoy a true Texas ranch experience, then this is the place! The resort actually feels like a wonderful home, where you are the guest. All of the staff went out of their way to make us feel at home. The food was wonderful and the atmosphere was great. I have not slept so well in years! Everyone asks, what did you do?
During the day, the hum-v tour with Mike, ranch tours with Jeane, swimming, fishing, paddle boating. Star gazing at night, along with prowling for animals in the wild! Before this trip, I couldn't imagine spending this much time in far south Texas at this time of the year, but it was delightful!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 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.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2011 via mobile

This place has incredible views and wildlife. Rooms are nice nothing fancy, the food is overall good no menu, staff is very friendly. The place is pricey but views/ experience are worth it in my opinion. Humvee tour is excellent!!! Last tip stay out of the managers way (couple during happy hour) she is not correct in details about the place or the owner wrong info from them!! Note make sure your manager reads the history of the place before they educate guest. 

  • Stayed July 2011
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2011

To call this a luxury resort is stretching the meaning of the word luxury to absurdity! The views from this property are incredible and the rooms are decent (but nowhere near worth the price), the staff and food are no better than you’d find at any Super 8 you’d find along the way to Marfa.

The woman working the front desk is consistently surly and rude. I travel a lot and I might get treated this poorly once a year – and it is never at a resort that claims to be 5 star! The food is nearly inedible and outrageously expensive for what you are getting. We made the mistake of having dinner here ONCE and had a small salad, a 3 ounce piece of very fishy tasting salmon (the only choice), under cooked carrots, VERY salty couscous, and a small piece of tres leches cake for $45. The next morning, I hoped breakfast would be better, but my $15 waffle was a disappointment as well. The rest of our stay we drove to Marfa and had some delicious dinners and wine for the same price. Try Cocineal (we had several great dinners here) or the Miniature Rooster the food is VASTLY better and totally worth the drive.

This place has a lot of potential, but the staff is just plain awful. I know it has to be challenging to get good help in Marfa, but it appears that this establishment has just plain given up trying.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2011

We stayed here for a 40th birthday (mine) and had a great experience.

Room Tip: The Presidential Room is awesome!
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2011

Very pretty location, but the service is sufficient at best. Very little in terms actual luxury and amenities. All meals are served family style. Lack of privacy.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Cibolo Creek Ranch

Address: HCR 67 Box 44, Marfa, TX 79843
Location: United States > Texas > Marfa
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Specialty lodging in Marfa
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Cibolo Creek Ranch 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The finest luxury hotel in West Texas and the Big Bend, 30,000 acre ranch, unique accommodations with fireplaces, spectacular views, gourmet food, three 1857 restored adobe forts & museums.35 minutes south of Marfa, 30 minutes north of Presidio, fitness center, spa, horseback riding, ATV tours, Humvee tours, skeet and target shooting, mountain hiking, bird watching, massages, facials, near the Chinati Foundation, Judd Foundation, and art galleries in Marfa, Big Bend National Park, Fort Davis, and McDonald Observatory. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cibolo Creek Ranch Hotel Marfa
Cibolo Creek Ranch Marfa, Texas

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