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“Great Views--Food, not so much”

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Three Bars Guest Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 31, 2013

This is our 4th dude ranch vacation. Three Bars is nestled at the foot of the Kootenay Mountains--the setting is beautiful, quiet, and the accomodations (cabins) are superior as compared to other dude ranches insofar as they are very clean and well kept and nicely designed. The food, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired. This is supposed to be an award winning dude ranch (with accompanying price tag) and as such the food just has to be better. There was never any choice at any meal (fish was never offered) and the food itself was poorly cooked (ie. the "roast beef" was like shoe leather) and often cold if you are at the end of the chow line. And I don't subscribe to the idea that "it's a ranch and therefore you shouldn't expect much in the way of choice or quality when it comes to food".

The wranglers were competent and friendly and the horses were typical to what you would expect on a dude ranch. The terrain around the ranch was beautiful. New horses (recently purchased ones) were broken in to ranch and trail riding duties by the wranglers during the time they were escorting us dudes on trail rides. I don't think this is a good idea as during our stay two wranglers were thrown from their horses and ended up with some bumps and bruises. New horses should not be trained "on the job".

One last comment: I would have liked to see a little more effort by management to be sensitive to guest needs that are slightly out of the ordinary. My wife was a little too nervous to lope or gallop on her horse but wanted to do a lot of trotting. She tried to communicate this to the powers that be but often found herself in novice groups that mostly walked their horses. Surely there is enough flex so that a "trot group" can be orginized without too much trouble?

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Carlyle M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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87 - 93 of 134 reviews

Reviewed July 21, 2013

We would like to thank the Beckley Family and all their staff for the wonderful week our family
spent on their ranch. It was all we expected and more. The accommodations
were comfortable and the food good and plentiful. This was our first trip to
the Canadian Rockies and we were blown away by the scenery. It was
especially great to see it on horseback. The horse riding program was better
than we hoped for. We were all very inexperienced riders and more than a
little nervous. The staff did an excellent job of choosing our horses and we left
at the end of the week feeling way more comfortable on horseback while still
maintaning respect for horses. The wranglers were instrumental in this, they
were very patient and calm and answered any questions or concerns we had
fully. All of them were truly great and we felt confident in whom ever took
us out.
It was a great family vacation (for both experienced or inexperienced riders) and I would highly recommend it.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank JLB678
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2013

As you may guess from the title this was not our first visit to Three Bars, in fact it was our seventh. Persuading my sons (24 & 21) to return is never a problem due to the exceptional range of activities available, the stunning setting and our experience of both the owners and wranglers. This year was no exception with an excellent wrangling crew, again led by local joker in chief Don Wallace, returning wranglers Jamie, Lou and Marlowe and a new group of enthusiastic/knowledgeable youngsters who work extremely hard to make your stay exciting, interesting, safe and fun. I cannot commend them highly enough.
I have noted the comments of a previous reviewer regarding their disappointment with the food and personally disagree. We stayed 10 days and always felt well fed, there were options and everything was tasty and well prepared. The kitchen staff were not only friendly but really attentive throughout our stay and added to our enjoyment.
So why should you pick Three Bars above other options? Difficult question to answer since we have chosen no other ranch since our first visit in 2003. In my view Three Bars delivers (time and time again) adventure, excitement, stunning environment, friendly attitude, professional staff, quality horses, variety of activity, comfortable rooms (recently upgraded), awesome views and an outdoor holiday that should satisfy any active family.
The Beckley family constantly monitor their guest feedback and the number of return guests is testament to their consistent standards. My thanks to April, Jeff, Tyler & Jenna for another fantastic stay.
Ps: My thanks to the reviewer who appreciated our campfire efforts.
Pps: Not surprisingly we are booked to return next year. Being a cowboy for seven days is simply not enough.

Room Tip: All cabins are excellent.
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank martin_mcdowell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2013

This was our first Ranch holiday and it was a super experience.
The Wranglers were awesome and so helpful, all the staff very friendly. The food was adequate but never claimed to be gourmet, and there was always a reasonable chose, I was never hungry.

The horses were amazing and managed steep slopes without a slip. You could choose to trot, lope or just walk.

The Ranch is set in wonderful scenery and laid out really well.

The cabins are really comfy and spacious enough - only slept in mine.
A really enjoyable stay.Would love to go back.

Room Tip: All cabins are as good as the next cabin
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank zanyjane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

We have just had the time of our lives at this ranch. We'd never stayed at a ranch before and didn't really know what to expect. My daughters, aged 21 + 17, and I have all ridden for years, but my husband doesn't ride and was looking to relax and do very little. No-one was disappointed!
Everything about this place oozes professionalism and care, from the wranglers' genuine desire to help us get all we wanted from the experience, to the well-trained horses and the food and accommodation.
I wouldn't agree with previous reviews re the standard of food. After a hard day on the trails (or on a rocking chair, reading!), we wanted tasty, filling food and that's exactly what we got.
Every member of staff is friendly, helpful and approachable, which rubs off on the guests. There are plenty of opportunities to socialize with other guests, and most of us got together before or after dinner, and mixed at meal times, but there was no pressure to do this if you needed some family time.
I have nothing negative to say about our experience ......we will be going back next year if we can :))

Room Tip: Can't get a bad one.....all views are stunning
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Fiona L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2013

I've been struggling with how I want this review to read since leaving the resort two days ago. So, I'm just going to jump in.

First, some facts. Our party included myself and my wife, our two children (10 and 14), and the grandparents (late 50's, early 60's). We stayed in three rooms for 5 nights and spent US$12,000 including tip for the stay.

The pluses:
Great location with beautiful scenery.
Best horse program we've ever participated in (and we've done plenty of resort rides).
Great choice of activities.

The minuses:
Food was okay at best.
They missed on the details (you'll know when you visit).

So that you know the type of travelers that we are, let me tell you about our tastes. We have stayed at 5 star hotels and eaten at 5 star restaurants and find both to be uncomfortable and a waste of money for us. We prefer a good local diner to national chains, and because we were in the restaurant business ourselves in the past, we appreciate the effort that goes into a family-run establishment.

As mentioned, the location and scenery are fantastic and my words can't add to the pictures or descriptions that others have already given.

The activities were a great supplement to the riding program and my kids were wiped out at the end of each day in a very good way. They also provided a good venue for the guests to come together and interact. We really hit the jackpot when a family from Ireland, who had been here several times before, hosted the campfire sing-a-long. It was a night of great music (very talented folks) and lots of laughs.

The best part of the entire stay lies with the resort's greatest assets: the wranglers. These young people not only kept you safe and confident with the horses (for us novices), but they also interacted with the guests on a regular basis by joining us for dinner and participating in the evening activities. I wish that I could thank them all by name but frankly I can't remember them all. Rachel and Jamie (sp?) were the "old timers" of the group and come to mind quickly and I thank them in particular for their professionalism and spirited conversation. You will enjoy your time with all of these people immensely.

So, why not 5 TripAdvisor circles? For the amount of money that we spent, I expected more from the kitchen. Again, we're not looking for a 5 star restaurant experience, but to be honest, the breakfasts were more akin to the free breakfast buffet at the Holiday Inn than to a local diner (on some mornings, the HI would've been a better option). The lunches were fair. The real disappointment came at dinner. I find it almost criminal that a working cattle ranch would serve pre-sliced deli-style roast beef heated in beef broth as a "roast beef dinner" (how about showing off the quality of your cattle by roasting your beef and putting it on a carving station?) and the BBQ ribs were oven baked and then put into crock pots (how about a real smoker burning outside?). The deserts each night were a different flavored sheet cake (no cobbler or pie?). I'll keep the critique short by saying that menu had too many prepared foods and not enough home cooking.

Oh, I mentioned the lack of detail. I learned a long time ago that hospitality is as much about the small things as it is the big things. Maybe even more so. I want to be careful here because this is a multi-generational family business and it appears to be a labor of love on their part. That being said, sometimes a business owner can be so involved that they can no longer see their baby from the eyes of the customer. I used to employ secret shoppers in my restaurants to give me that "outsiders" perspective. The results were always an eye opener; some good and some not so good, but always constructive. That type of critique would serve these owners well. So, am I going to point out those details? No, I will leave it up to the owners to seek those out.

Overall, a very enjoyable time and one trip that my family will never forget.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Thefrev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
theranchguy, Owner at Three Bars Guest Ranch, responded to this reviewResponded July 10, 2013

Hi Colorado
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on Three Bars Ranch. It was great having you and your family visit. We take any critique very seriously and are always looking to improve our guest experience here at the ranch. I can assure you that we work very hard to attend to every detail. We do want to be clear that we do not offer a 5 star dining experience. We try to stay true to our routes in offering home cooked ranch meals that the whole family can enjoy. For anyone interested in reading more about our dinning details please visit the dinning page at http://www.threebarsranch.com/ranch_facilities_dining.php

All the best and hope to see your family again,
The Beckley Family

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2013

Stayed here September (2012) to celebrate a major birthday. A truly awesome experience for the horse lover like me (though you don't have to love horses to enjoy it). I love the mountains and the the ranch is nestled in a valley between two ranges so the view was fantastic.

The ranch was everyting I expected a horse ranch to be - laid back and rustic with great food and friendly staff. The accommodations were clean and comfy, the food was hot and plentiful and the wranglers were awesome! The horses were well cared for, very well trained and easy to ride, though I would have liked to do some faster rides (which they advertise for experienced riders). My husband also did a pheasant hunt which he really enjoyed.

The only issue I had, was that we came the week after their summer season ended, and while I enjoyed the fact that there was only about 16 of us on the ranch which dewindled as our week progressed, there was nothing happening in the evenings - other than we could hang in the bar. Even though their busy season was over and we were were a much smaller group, I feel they should have had something planned for a least a couple of the evenings - even just a camp fire to sit around instead of staying in the bar. They should make that fact a little clearer on their website or advise when taking bookings during thier òff`times. Had I known I probably would have come a week earlier or made arrangement for a rental car so we could go into town,

I would definately recommend Three Bars Ranch for anyone looking for a horse lovers holiday or a place to just relax and enjoy a little down time.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank onthegoNL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Three Bars Guest Ranch

Address: 9500 Wycliffe Perry Creek Rd, Cranbrook, British Columbia V1C 7C7, Canada
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Kootenay Rockies > Cranbrook
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Cranbrook
Price Range: $140 - $253 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Three Bars Guest Ranch, The Adventure Ranch of the Canadian Rockies. Three Bars is Canada's premier guest ranch. Packages include access to a world class riding program, rafting, guided hiking, mountain biking, skeet shooting and a full evening program. All accommodations and meals are included in packages. ... more   less 

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