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Reviewed February 13, 2007

Recently I organized a retreat for 8 people and came upon the Rolling Thunder Ranch in searching for a location that could accomodate a large group. The experience was wonderful. The grounds are beautiful and the accomodations are very comfortable. The staff were great in setting things up for us in advance such as yoga sessions and massages. The cottage is rustic without being tacky. There are fireplaces in numerous locations, 2 spas and a pool. There is a huge lot that you can escape in and really provide privacy and peace and quiet. We will defintely return again and could not recommend this location highly enough.

  • Stayed: February 2007, traveled on business
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Thank ksmccann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 3, 2006

The Rolling Thunder Ranch turned out to be the the most awesome place for our wedding. Our invitations said "informal and casual outdoor wedding" and that's exactly what is was. The staff was more than accomodating, the property was decorated beautifully and the indoor facility was like staying in a gorgeous mountain retreat. Our family was able to stay over night in the cozy, comfortable house while my fiance and I stayed in the Buffalo Cottage. The indoor rock firplaces, outdoor pool, lounging furniture and tropical landscape completed our picture perfect wedding day. Thanks for the most incredible day of our lives!

Ben and Sharon (Twyford) Holmgrain

  • Stayed: October 2006, traveled with family
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Thank Holmgrain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2006

This place is a gem, especially if you want to visit Ojai as a group (family, friends, whatever.)

In our case, it was 3 friends who wanted 3 separate rooms, so the 3 bedroom/3 bath format was good for us, and by sharing the cost, it was competitive with other similar properties in Ojai.

We were in the 'big house' and a separate couple was renting the adjacent smaller (1bed, studio-style) cabin, but it wasn't a problem in terms of privacy, because the big house has a beautifully landscaped pool, hot tub and outdoor fireplace/dining area completely protected by a zillion palms and other plants. The whole property is gated too (another nice privacy feature). We all agreed that renting the whole compound would make an ideal family reunion or big group experience. (That would give you 4 bedrooms and baths, one full kitchen and one 'galley' type kitchen, 2 hot tubs plus the run of the whole large property.)

The design of the property is fun (sort of Robert Redford/Sundance crossed with Hawaii...rock-n-timber cabins with palm-y landscaping.) The owner/artist has done literally years of labor to create an incredibly beautiful interior and exterior of rock cladding and paving. The fireplace+koi pond set-up in the big house living room is wild and wonderful. Very special and clearly a labor of love (witness the heart-shaped stones embedded in the kitchen counter of the big house and in the driveway!).

We also opted to get moutain bikes dropped off (an upgrade we noticed on the website) and were VERY glad we did, as we could easily ride the backroads and cycle into town, which was great.

Only slighlty tricky thing to be aware of: the 3 rooms in the big house are pretty uneven in terms of luxury and glamor. The master is huge and incredible (includes in-room fire stove and a wild all-rock bathroom, shower but no tub). The 2nd bedroom is more modest in size and has an en-suite bath with tub, but is overall not as lux-y as the master. The 3rd bedroom is very modest (furnishings nice but it's small) and right off the kitchen (if you're a late sleeper, others making coffee might bug you). And this room's bath is not ensuite, but is on the other side of the house (the general use hall bath near the other 2 bedrooms). So if you're splitting the rent between grown-ups, you'll probably want to base who pays what on which room you get in the lottery, because the range of size and comfort is pretty big.

In the end, we didn't care because we enjoyed the living room and pool area so much, we spent almost no time hanging out in our bedrooms. But to avoid disappointment upon arrival with your group, it's good to know there's a pretty big variation between rooms.

Last, the staff we worked with to set up the reservation, get the bikes, etc was extremely helpful and friendly. It was a great experience renting from them and we'd definitely do it again.

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Akimbeau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2006

We were looking for a unique place to stay in Ojai or Santa Barbara, and stumbled on the website, and fell in love. When we arrived, I have to say, it was better than the photos on the website. Each room is soooo unique, and we felt like we were in Hawaii. Alot of work was put into the decor of this property, and the outdoor BBQ's and fireplaces were way impressive!!

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled with friends
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Thank fabolouslady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 9, 2006

The Deer Lodge restaurant also manages a Ranch and Cottage. We booked the Buffalo Cottage for 5 nights last May 2006. Upon arrival at the restaurant, were we had to pick up the keys for the cottage, we had to pay the full amount immediately, even without seeing the cottage first?! When we arrived at the cottage we found a place very badly maintained and not used for a very long time.
The sheets were dirty (hairs and spots?) The windows didn't close! Dust was all over the cottage. There was a large garbage bag full of debris on the porch! The BBQ was full of leaves and totaly rusted! When we drove back to the Deer Lodge restaurant to tell the manager that we did not accept the state of the cottage for $395 & $495 a night! She told us that we would be refunded a 100%. Up till today we haven't received any payment. Watch out, this a ripp off!!!

8  Thank miekemarieke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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