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“A BEAUTIFUL RANCH IN A MAGNIFICENT VENUE”

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Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort
Concord, New Hampshire
1 review
“A BEAUTIFUL RANCH IN A MAGNIFICENT VENUE”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 25, 2010

My daughter chose this lovely ranch in the Canadian Cariboo region of British Columbia for a mother/daughter retreat after completing her very stressful second year of medical school in the US. This ranch was both relaxing and adventurous and fit the bill quite nicely! We both had a wonderful time and we would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an opportunity to horseback ride in breath-taking country with or without a guide, on horses that are well cared for and truly loved. Pictures of the ranch are true to form but what isn't conveyed is the warmth and genuine caring of the staff. Everyone, and I mean everyone is there to make your visit enjoyable. The food is excellent and you can pop your head right in the kitchen and say hello to the gracious staff as they are preparing the food. They greet you in the morning with warm, pleasant smiles that are genuine and sincere. By the time you are ready to depart, you feel you are leaving behind good friends. This was not just a vacation, it will be a memory for my daughter and I.

I would also like to mention that on the way into the ranch, my rental car had a flat tire. The Roger's family not only went out to take care of the car, change the tire and drive the car back to the ranch for me, but they took the flat tire into town to have it repaired while I was riding at the ranch. No charge of course.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank MacDuffieGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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70 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2010

I recently visited this beautiful lodge in the interior country of BC upon hearing glowing recommendations from our close friends, and I must write my thoughts to anyone reading!

So many things to write! I LOVED the surroundings. The endless pastures, the scenic views and the enormous amount of natural terrain is mind blowing for a city slicking family like ours. The lodge owners could not have picked a better location, it is directly out of Legends of the Fall! It's surreal to pull up to the ranch and see horses, naturally grazing around, walking freely. The view seemed to go on forever.

The horse program was second to none. We've done horse holidays before and their horse culture is something we've never seen. Based on your experience, confidence and size, they handpick a horse for the duration of your stay. They teach you how to care for your horse, groom it and connect with it. They show a tremendous amount of respect for these gentle animals and it shows in how they teach their guests. After a few days, once you have the lay of the land, they let you grab a walkie talkie and ride on your own...(but only once you're ready). You can stay guided, but i like that sense of freedom.

The accommodations were gorgeous. We thought we had the nicest room until I asked to be shown the others on our way out...just out of interest. Each room or suite is different, each has their own look and feel. not sure which I loved the most, I think the one above the barn. Loved it, very fitting for the location, you open your doors and the horse corral is under you!

Food: wonderful. No complaints, they did everything they could to take care of my picky-eating kids.

We did a few lovely hikes in our spare time, could have done many more!

The staff were wonderful as well, they obviously love working there, it shows in their dedication and commitment. Not pretentious, just naturally happy to be there serving us to the best of their ability.

Even though this trip cost more than I usually spend, i was assured from a trusted and well traveled source that I would be pleased, and that's an understatement! Value for money is great once you factor in the unlimited horseback riding and activities!

One last thing: we loved the conservation and sustainability efforts of the lodge. They run on solar power and leave no footprint on the environment. Many lodges say they are green as a buzzword, these people set a great example.

Will tell all our friends, thanks for an excellent holiday!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank explorer031
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 21, 2010

Just spent 3 glorious days with my family (wife and 3 children aged 8, 10 and 12) at this superb ranch in the middle of the BC wilderness. Stayed in the guest rooms above the barn: With a king-size bed overlooking the homestead / lake and a separate room with 2 single beds, plus a further pull-out sofa, this is ideal if you have children.

Allyson and Roy, alongside their children and staff, do a superb job looking after their guests (believe the maximum they take at any time is 15) and making sure you have the best time possible.

Horses and riding are central to the experience and it clear that the welfare of their animals is paramount. That said this is not forced on you. If you want to simply relax one day and put your feet up, Siwash is a far better place to do it than most boutique hotels we have been to. There is also fishing, guided walks, swimming and cycling. I even understand from the owners they are planning a spa from next year.

The food is simple but delicious, the environment truly breathtaking and there is a really special feel to the place. A true home from home.

Like any place you get what you put into it. Chatting to staff and other guests on the terrace that overlooks the beautiful private lake whilst drinking a glass of wine (the drinks like almost everything else are inclusive in the price) and eating the pre-dinner canapes, is part of the fun.

You are 'off the grid' so mobile reception isn't possible (fantastic!) but if you really need the internet the ranch does have free wireless.

Special mention must go to the staff and in particular Jess and Marshall (the children of the ranch). They made our kids feel truly welcome, showing them round the homestead, canoeing, swimming, fishing, mountain biking or simply playing cards and other games.

This place is worth every penny. These guys deserve to be successful and I have no doubt awards will be coming soon for not only their focus on client needs but a real passion for proving sustainable living and a great guest experience can be delivered together without compromise.

My son made his feelings very clear as we were packing up to leave: “Please Daddy can we stay one more day? Please!”

We will certainly be back for more of the Siwash magic.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank julesbeck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 20, 2010

With the sole goal of disconnecting from everyday life and riding in the mountains - Siwash was a truly wonderful experience. The lodge was warm and comfortable - we spent many hours sitting on the deck overlooking the lake or in the great room, chatting with other guests, reading, or doing a puzzle. In addition to riding, we also made use of the canoe and rowboat - a great way to view a multitude of birds.

My husband and I stayed in the Siwash Suite, which was very spacious and had a view of the barn / corral where we watched the wranglers and ranch dogs gather the horses each morning. One drawback with the Siwash Suite is that it doesn't have its own outdoor space - several of their rooms do. We were treated to wonderful meals and the delightful delivery of coffee, juice and muffins to our room every morning at 8 a.m. (Breakfast was at 9, lunch at 1, appetizers at 5:30 and dinner at 6:30 - the schedule set to allow for morning and afternoon rides.) Service was very attentive, but relaxed and personal. Every effort was made to meet our special requests, including a personal riding lesson from the owner.

The true beauty of this ranch is its very remote location and riding through the beautiful countryside. The horses were extremely well cared for and trained - they were a joy to ride. Being matched with one horse for the duration of your stay, as well as the hands on part of grooming and saddling your own horse, added to the experience.

What particularly separates Siwash from other ranch vacations is that once they are comfortable with your ability to handle the horses and navigate (about 3 guided rides) you are able to venture out on your own - a great experience we thoroughly enjoyed. They equip you with a radio for safety. Rides wound around numerous small lakes, stands of quaking aspens, meadows and forests. We were able to cover a lot of countryside during our 7 day stay.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank OregonSpots
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palo Alto, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 15, 2010

The horses are wonderful, the staff pleasant and helpful, and the setting very beautiful and remote. But there are several serious shortcomings that make it difficult for Siwash to compete with other ranches in this price category. (1) If you don't ride or hike, there really is hardly anything else to do. Fishing trips nearby were frustrating and fruitless for those who went, there is no nearby town, there are very few other activities available. (2) Food, while delicious and attractive, was served in very small, spa-like portions. Seconds were often not available, snacks were never given (better pack your own, because the nearest snack shop is 1.5 hrs away), dessert was only offered at dinner, and the guests joked among themselves about being hungry all the time. A few cookies would have gone a long way toward making us happier. (3) When you're in this price range, you shouldn't nickel and dime the customers. Charging $12/glass of wine and $10 to borrow a DVD felt like extortion since we would have had to drive 1.5 hrs to buy them elsewhere. Summary: You can do better at this price range.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
2 Thank horsegirlCA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cariboocowgirl, Owner at Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort, responded to this review, July 18, 2010
Dear Guests,
Thank you for your feedback, although we regret that you didn't mention any of your concerns while here, which would have given us the chance to make the difference for you. We pride ourselves on personal service and are very clear and open in all our reservation paperwork, our guest arrival procedures, in-room information books, and throughout the stay, that we value your feedback and welcome it during your vacation.

However, your Trip Advisor feedback is valuable to us and we have had a staff meeting to discuss your complaints. As such, we have made the following changes to our services:

1. Cookies or a similar dessert will be served at lunch every day from now on.
2. A fruit bowl will be available at all times
3. All guests will receive a complimentary bottle of wine on their first evening
4. All guests will receive a complimentary DVD rental

Regarding your other comments, we are a bit confused. You wrote in our guest book before you departed the ranch and claimed to have had a wonderful time. Here is a direct quote of that entry: “Great weather, beautiful scenery, gracious hosts, and fun vacation. I’ll miss Sir Lance (horse) – that big baby! Thanks very much for everything.”

So we are very confused when you say things like there was very little to do here. The two of you purchased our Open Range package, which focuses on daily riding. It also offers unguided hiking on our groomed wilderness trails, which you did daily as well. You had the opportunity to ride mountain bikes at any time. You did not venture down to the dock for swimming or try out the boats we have available there for canoeing and rowing on the lake. And it’s too bad that you weren’t able to enjoy a game of badminton or bocce ball together.

We have many guests loving the swimming, boating, biking and outdoor games throughout the summer months of July and August. Likewise, they partake in wilderness survival, interpretive nature walks and they relax with in-room massage services (which were ongoing whilst you were here). You visited the ranch in mid-June following a few days of light spring rain and cooler temperatures... so it’s understandable that the swimming wasn’t as enticing for you. But the fact that you did nothing but ride and hike was your choice. There were plenty more activities available. If you were unaware of these options, we are very sorry for not making it more obvious, and will do so in future for other guests.

You did not participate in our fishing program, so we feel it is rather unfair of you to judge that activity. If you were indeed fishermen, you would know that it’s not all about catching, every single time. We do our very best, and the majority of guests do get fish on their lines, but it cannot be guaranteed. The nearby fishing waters are all very beautiful and those guests who can appreciate the spectacular scenery, wildlife, serenity and relaxation do enjoy that part of the experience as much as they enjoy reeling in a fish.

In regards to our food service, our rate includes room service with morning coffee and muffins, a full breakfast in the dining room, lunch, evening hors d’ouevre, and three-course dinner. For most, this is plenty of food. However, we do send out a suggested packing list to all guests when they book which clearly states what meals are included and recommends that if people would like to eat more often, they should bring along their favourite snack, for we are indeed located in a remote wilderness setting.

And in regards to the wilderness setting, perhaps you may not have considered the cost to bring fine food ingredients and fine wines to this special location. We use only fresh, seasonal ingredients and serve premium BC wines. In crystal glasses for that matter. If you research the cost of a glass of wine in an upscale BC city restaurant, you would find the lowest price to be at least $12.

The package rate that you paid each was $468 USD per night at the current rate of exchange. This included all the meals and unlimited non-alcohol beverages, guided riding with wonderful horses as you’ve mentioned, all the other activities and luxury accommodation. Please check the other luxury ranches in the US, compare apples and apples, and you will see that our rates are more reasonable and yet our horse program in particular, is far superior (which you told us was the reason you chose our ranch in the first place).

Please have a good look at all-inclusive resorts that offer food, services, accommodation and all activities on par with ours, and you will find that those which also include alcohol charge at least $800 per night, per person. Many people do not drink these days, so by charging for alcohol separately, it gives the option not to pay for a service one wouldn’t need. It is not our intention to nickel and dime our customers as you have stated.

Similarly, we charge $10 for DVDs because what hotel charges less than that for movie rental? As well, the only reason we put DVD players in the rooms was to keep our four-and-a-half star rating with Canada Select, an organization that does not understand why a wilderness lodge is not the place to offer TV. This cost us $6,000 -- the $10 per DVD helps us recover that cost. However, had you have mentioned your concern to us while you were at the ranch, we would have happily given you a complimentary rental.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 15, 2010

Siwash's website is really pretty. Beautiful Home, Running horses, Wilderness Lakes, Lots of pretty pictures. Big prices. We were fascinated by the pictures of lakes, streams, gormet dining, beautiful rooms, endless riding and fly fishing.

Reality Check. The riding was OK. The food was excellent but the portions small. Bring extra food with you. The Home is beautiful and rooms good. Grounds could use a mowing. The fly fishing is in a 12' boat with trolling motor several miles up the road. Most Lakes near the ranch are alkaline so there is no fishing to speak of. Leave your bathing suit at home, the lake is abit too weedy to swim.

What we saw on the internet and the reality of what you get is abit different. Ask lots of questions about the area and the horses. We felt Siwash was grossly overpriced.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank gailethomas12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cariboocowgirl, Owner at Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort, responded to this review, July 18, 2010
Dear Guests,
When you emailed the ranch shortly before your stay, asking to bring your hand gun to this tranquil, nature lovers’ paradise, we explained clearly that you would not be allowed to do so by us, or by the Canadian government. And then we wondered if this was the right place for you both. Now we regret that we didn’t follow through on that intuition.

We are very sorry that you didn’t enjoy the riding and were unable to appreciate the gorgeous scenery offered by our wilderness trails. You made it clear when you got here that you were accustomed to covering terrain fast while riding... we tried our best to accommodate your wishes in that regard, but the rushing resulted in your missing out on the full experience that most of our other guests so enjoy.

We were under the impression from the profile sheets, which you filled in prior to the trip, that you were both experienced with horses. But as soon as we introduced our riding program to you, it became apparent there was a huge difference in the way that we and you approach horses. You disregarded our lessons in natural western horsemanship and were rough with our beloved animals... shoving your knee to the belly of one and being so rough with the other that she hunched up and didn’t want to move forward, something that mare has never done in the 6 years we’ve owned her.

Furthermore, you were rude to our staff, and talked badly about the place to our other guests, two of whom have simultaneously posted an unfavourable review. Hence, we must take full responsibility for what we in the tourism industry call a horrible mismatch of guest and facility. It was our mistake in accepting your booking, and we sincerely apologize for giving you an unpleasant vacation experience as a result.

We could leave it at that, however, we feel compelled to give further explanation for some things you’ve written to put things in perspective for others contemplating a holiday at Siwash...

Regarding your comment about the lake being too weedy for swimming, in the interests of conservation, we preserve the reeds around the edges to provide important habitat for the many species of wild ducks and birdlife. We have a dock that extends far out into deep, clear water for swimming. Unfortunately you didn’t venture down to the dock, or you would have seen how wonderful the lake is for swimming once you get out past the reeds.

Regarding your comment that the grounds need a good mow, it’s a ranch! We use all pasture for grazing the animals. We keep the flower gardens and lawn right next to the lodge well trimmed, but it would not be sustainable to get out the lawn mower for our other pastures. Part of the appeal for the majority our guests is that the horses are kept in a natural environment close by for all to enjoy.

Similarly, our fishing safari program is based on sustainable best practices. We have an 80,000 acre guiding territory that encompasses a wide variety of backcountry waters. Some are indeed alkaline; some support sensitive eco-systems, such as the lake in front of the lodge, and others are great for fishing. The boats have electric motors so as to be quiet and non-invasive and we troll using fly fishing rods with sinking line and wet flies. For those who don’t want to troll in a powered boat, we offer fly casting using floating line and dry flies from float tubes, pontoon boats, and in waders from shore. You both chose the trolling.

Finally, we completely understand why you feel that Siwash is grossly over-priced; for you were unable to experience the place in the manner it is intended. We are truly sorry for our part in the miscommunication.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Coast
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 3, 2010

My husband and I consider ourselves to be guest ranch gurus, for we love horses and for years now we’ve taken annual riding holidays. We thought we knew some good ones, but in 2009, we found Siwash Lake Ranch in Canada. In our opinion, SLR is without a doubt North America’s premier dude ranch and wilderness retreat.

They do things very differently at Siwash. Everything from their special care of the horses, their highly personal riding program, to the fabulous food, the incredible, eco-friendly setting, and the warm, gracious hospitality—it’s all outstanding! We steer clear of large resorts and hotels. For folks like us whom enjoy exploring off the beaten path, nature, horses, and life’s little luxuries, then Siwash Lake Ranch is the perfect hideaway.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank ElaineEastCoast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort

Property: Siwash Lake Wilderness Resort
Address: Box 39, 100 Mile House, British Columbia V0K 2K0, Canada (Formerly Siwash Lake Ranch)
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Cariboo > 100 Mile House
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in 100 Mile House
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Escape to this luxury wilderness resort - an intimate and private hideaway for adventurous people who seek the finer things in life. Here you can ride to your heart's desire, fish for trout in wild lakes and streams, sleep under the softest linens and dine on exquisite home-grown organic cuisine. Canada's top eco-friendly luxury destination according to the Globe & Mail and ranked among ten luxury dude ranches by Forbes Traveler. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Siwash Lake Ranch Hotel 100 Mile House

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