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“The Good, The Bad, and the Surly” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Tanque Verde Ranch

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Tanque Verde Ranch
4.5 of 5 Hotel   |   14301 East Speedway Road, Tucson, AZ 85748   |  
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Ranked #11 of 128 Hotels in Tucson
Hingham, Massachusetts
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“The Good, The Bad, and the Surly”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2013

We spent a week in April at Tanque Verde ranch, and while we did have a nice time, I would have to say I think next April we will look for another ranch to try.

First off- The Good-

Check in was courteous and quick, we felt like we knew all about the place before we even had our bags unpacked. Don't listen to anyone who complains on tripadvisor about distances, all rooms and venues are a pleasant, easy walk, with well lit pathways. (I love the care they take to minimize light pollution, the stars were amazing)

The food really was above and beyond what we were expecting. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinners were all very, very good. The pancakes at breakfast ride were truly the best I have ever had in my life, and the biscuits every morning at breakfast were a little too good. The menus were well thought out and varied, all in all close to a fine dining experience, with a little ranch-charm thrown in. The kitchen and dining room staff were friendly and very accommodating, special shout out to Bruce in the kitchen, who was so friendly!

The doghouse saloon was another high point, Lisa was marvelous, and I am still dreaming about the hellfire margaritas. The afternoon popcorn was a big hit as well!

The pool and the grounds are very well kept, we maybe could have used a few more sun loungers, but that seems true of most any resort during vacation weeks.

The evening talks, especially the rattlesnake show, were a big hit!

OK, so The Bad-

We realize this is a ranch, and were not at all expecting 4 Seasons style accommodation, but we paid for the best rooms at the ranch, the Hacienda, and found the room to be spacious, but that was about it. Tired, stained carpet, crumbling bathroom with a tiny, cracked tub, and the mattresses were very cheap and uncomfortable. I requested an extra pad, and they did put one on, which helped a little, but I left the ranch with sore shoulders after a week. Rather than the murphy beds advertised, we had 2 pull out sofas that were adequate for children, but would have been an absolute torture for anyone older than 13 or so. the mattress was about 4 inches thick and I would guess has been in the rooms since the mid 80's.... The view from the room was gorgeous, however, and Housekeeping did do a great job keeping the room in order. And we loved not having TV's in the room!

We came to the ranch for 2 reasons, for riding and for the kids to have a great week at a kids club. So now we come to

The Bad-

Kid's club- very disorganized, with very, very little to do besides what has to be the world's most boring riding lesson, or a trail ride. Most of the kid counselors looked like they would rather be anywhere than where they were. There are is a TV playing at all times in the Kid's room, and most kids were slack-jawed watching old movies whenever we picked up our two. One day I ran into 2 children who had just arrived and were lost and unsure where the kids were. I walked them to the kid's room, and brought them the counselor at the door. Now these kids were brand new, and they were not greeted at all, no "hi, welcome, what is your name?" just, "yeah, you sign up here, this is where we keep the clipboard". I left angry. My two seemed happy enough, as they enjoy riding, but I was curious why they always wanted to eat in the kid's dining room, and I soon figured it out. They also constantly play movies in there. Kids sit silently eating and watching old movies, while the counselors sit in a sullen huddle and talk amongst themselves. No interaction whatsoever. In fact, I twice went in there and found they were talking in graphic detail about the Boston bombings with 8 year olds sitting nearby. All in all I was not impressed.

And now to the riding, which was sort of all over the place... the good- the horses are very well schooled and very well behaved, which is testament to the skill of the wranglers. It is a big job to keep a herd of that size from becoming nose-to-tail drones, and I found the horses all to be pretty responsive, which was a pleasant surprise. I also like the idea of having a lope test, it is nice to go out on rides with people who can also ride. It takes the fun away when you are worried about some terrified beginner flying off the horse in front of you... So the lope rides really were great, long, sandy lopes through beautiful scenery. The only thing I will say is if you are there for more than 3-4 days the rides do get repetitive, but we were there for riding and ride we did, 3 times a day, which was a great value.

Now to the negative. I have been to other ranches, and I have never had wranglers that were that unfriendly. Our very first lope ride of the trip was led by a wrangler who was complaining to another wrangler that she had to take us out as we were leaving! It felt like 'welcome to the ranch, I really wish I didn't have to take you people out" Not a good way to start a week's vacation. It was busy, and they do have a lot to get done, but for crying out loud, do they have to just bring a horse over, point to a person, and say, climb up? Most of the people were absolute newbies and were nervous, and they were treated like an annoyance. Would it kill them to at least let them know what the NAME of the horse they are climbing on to was? A simple "this is Roscoe, he's a real sweetie and will take good care of you" would have made a huge difference. There were exceptions, of course, Maddie was very friendly, and also Katelyn. But many times I saw scared new riders asking tentative questions about their horses being met with sarcasm and derision. We were at the ranch for 6 days. We rode one walking and 15 loping trail rides. Not ONCE did a wrangler ask our name. Not ONCE did a wrangler start any kind of a conversation with us. Now, they generally would chat a bit if you tried, but the general feeling was they really didn't care. Towards the end of the trip we were asked for a horse preference, which was nice, but compared with all the other places we have ridden we just felt unwelcome. Also- if you have EVER ridden English in your life do not tell them. I did for about a year as a child, but have ridden Western my entire adult life and still got grief from wranglers..... It is entirely possible to do that job with a smile and a friendly attitude. I've seen it many other places, I just didn't get much of it there.

It's a shame, as most of what we found lacking in this vacation doesn't cost a penny to fix. I work in the service industry, and to me it is such a shame to see such a lovely place not live up to it's potential due to staff that really don't seem to even like their job.....

So we are moving on to a new ranch next April.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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421 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    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 (79)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2013

I came here for 2 nights with my parents who are now in their 70s. The ranch is certainly a lovely place set in a beautiful environment. We are all fairly competent riders but we were not sure what level of experience was needed so we started with a walking ride. We rode through a stunning desert trail with a lovely guide, Joe. The horses of course were supremely well trained. The riding itself didn't demand much skill but the trek was lovely nevertheless. We enjoyed talks about the desert animals and reptiles, had a nice evening in the Dog saloon, enjoyed the evening cook out and slept well in well appointed rooms. I personally found the experience a sanitised idea of what staying on a dude ranch would be, and I would have preferred a more rough and ready experience where rides are a bit more personalised. I realise this is hard to do when running such a big outfit. However, I would say that there was a slight holiday camp vibe to the ranch- and everything cost money. You even had to pay for a lope test before going on a more advanced ride. I would have liked to have gone out on a horse with one or two others and a wrangler and rode a bit more freestyle. It was great for my parents though who enjoyed the setting greatly. I think this is a great ranch for families and older people, but probably not exciting enough for the more adventurous!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johns Creek, Georgia
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2013

From our warm welcome to heartfelt goodbyes we had a fantastic time at TVR. The grounds are beautiful and very well maintained. You can tell the staff really wants you to have a great time.

Our room was very basic and dated-but we were not there for the room. The main draw is the horses. Our teenage daughter is our equestrian and had a great time riding and just being with all of the horses. We participated in the team penning which was a blast even for a novice. The wranglers work hard to try and satisfy everyone but we felt they were rather gruff. We did not feel they were mean, but we could not say they were nice either.

Tim does a really great job with the mountain bike program. Darryl is super with the tennis. The pool and hot tub were very nice but they could use some more lounge chairs at peak times.

Breakfast and lunch are buffet style. The selection is very good. I would call the food above average and on occassion some items were short until the staff was notified. Dinner was certainly several notches higher as one orders from a limited menu so each order is freshly made.
We were fortunate to be there for both a BBQ dinner and breakfast ride. They were fun events and enhanced the ranch experience but the food was not that great. For the breakfast the eggs were runny and cold but the pancakes fresh and hot. For the BBQ dinner, the food was also cold. Certainly there are some logistical issues eating remotely, but they do this twice a week so I expected a little more from that aspect.
With such a great time behind us, I do need to mention there was a time I didn't know if we would ever get to stay at TVR. When I first called to make a reservation I was told the reservationist was at a doctor appointment and could I please call back in an hour. I did so and was advised she still had not returned and it was unclear when she would be back. I called again 2 hours later. She still was not in. I asked if I could leave my name and number (they did not ask me). I waited a day and never got a call back. I called again. The reservationist was still not available. I asked if there was anyone else I could speak with. (Is there only one person who makes reservations?) Fortunately, Andrew (I think the COO) was able to expertly handle my call and things were fantastic from then on. I had the pleasure of meeting Andrew while we were there and he really wants to make things perfect for every guest and they get pretty close.
Overall really great place-my daughter cannot wait to go back.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Weston, Connecticut
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2013

This a wonderful ranch experience for the novice or lightly experienced rider. It is not ideal for an experienced equestrian young or old. The horses are hacks, understandably screened for docility to avoid them running off with a frightened guest. There are indeed a few spirited and beautiful steeds, but they are reserved for the wranglers.

That said. the kids program is exceptional as long as your child is under 11 and not too experienced a rider. Make sure that their riding ability is properly assessed on the first day and that they are matched with an appropriate mount.The majority of guests are families with children.

The rooms and Casitas are satisfactory but could use some updating. The food is excellent and the staff is welcoming and competent.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2013

This ranch is a quality experience, with a warm, attentive staff and great food. Excellent value for the money. I particularly commend Stringbean, who realized I had no particular way with horses but graciously provided a serene and scenic ride through the national park there. My young cousins joined me the last day and were treated kindly to a mother/daughter cowgirl day. Their children's program is awesome. It took great resolve to stay the course homeward, returning through Arizona from my road trip which began at Tanque Verde, as I was so tempted to add a few final days there. I would be pleased to return someday. Thanks again.

Room Tip: Ask them to mail a map of the premises before you arrive, as I was finally oriented just as it was...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Los Angeles
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2013 via mobile

The wranglers at the ranch were great at giving us the experience of horse riding while taking such great care of the horses. Leigh Ann the reservations manager was amazing! She bent over backwards to accommodate us and make sure our stay was memorable. She even lent us her cowboy boots to make our rides easier! The room we stayed in, 24, had a great view of the desert. Great place for families and groups. It just was really crowded when we went over spring break and so it takes a while to get everyone loaded on the horses and thus maybe less time actually on the trails so if possible would highly suggest avoiding peak times when the resort booked up.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
East Anglia
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay on the ranch. I'd never ridden before but after an introductory lesson of 30 minutes I was able to go on a walking ride. The horses are extremely well behaved and patient. The staff were all friendly and helpful. There are lots of activities but you can take part in as many as you chose, or indeed just relax. The food was delicious and of a much higher standard than I was expecting. All in all a great experience.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Tanque Verde Ranch

Address: 14301 East Speedway Road, Tucson, AZ 85748
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Arizona > Tucson
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Luxury Hotel in Tucson
#9 Family Hotel in Tucson
#11 Romantic Hotel in Tucson
#36 Business Hotel in Tucson
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Tanque Verde Ranch 4.5*
Number of rooms: 76
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tanque Verde Ranch Resort was named "Best Dude Ranch in Arizona" by Dude Republic in 2012, as well as a "Top Ten Family Resort" by the Travel Channel since 2007, and a "Top Five Ranch" by Conde Nast in 2008. Tanque Verde Ranch is one of America’s old time cattle and guest ranches. Located on 60,000 acres of Tucson’s most breathtaking desert landscapes, nestled amongst the Rincon Mountains and adjacent to Saguaro National Park and Coronado National Forest. Established in 1868, the superb guest ranch is recognized as the last luxurious outpost of the old west providing guests with plush accommodations, unparalleled amenities and a vast array of exciting activities such as horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing and hiking. La Sonora Spa is the perfect place for a bit of quiet relaxation, and the kids will love all the supervised children's programs! Don't hesitate – getaway at one of the premier, all-inclusive dude ranches in the country. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tanque Verde Ranch Hotel Tucson

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