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“Unreasonable Fees and Business Practices”
Review of Blackbird Farm

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Blackbird Farm
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed November 30, 2008

Friends of mine had a wonderful wedding at the Highland Ranch, and although the setting and event were fantastic, the surprise at the end was highly disappointing. My wife and I were going to spend the night outside of the ranch, but a friend--who'd already paid to stay on the premises and needed to leave early--offered that we stay in his stead. We took him up on his offer and after brunch-- which the wedding party paid for--we told Jim, the owner of the ranch, that the door of the place we stayed was open. He turned around and charged us day use fees and food and beverage fees for the past 24 hours despite the fact that wedding party had paid for everything, that we didn't use the facility nor eat his food, and too, that our friend had already paid for everything.

Based on fees listed on the Highland Ranch Web site, he may be absolutely technically correct, however, his approach, opportunism, and desperation were highly questionable and showed to us that this is not the kind of place we would want to stay and would never recommend. I've traveled to many places and stayed in many amazing and questionable places, but never have I had the mean-spiritedness that we experienced here. Lodgers beware!

  • Stayed: October 2008
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2  Thank skiprudolf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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20 - 26 of 47 reviews

Reviewed October 21, 2008

we loved Highland Ranch, great place to stay with families or with a group of adults- you could rent the entire place out fro a weekend and feel as if you own a ranch, but without all the work!

It is rare living in the bay area and find a place that the kids can roam free, enjoy a hourse back ride, fishing swimming tennis and just haning out doing art projects. we never wore are watch and I loved how you could arrange your own scedule- yoga on call or sit and do nothing on a hammock. The food and wine was absolutly 5 star. and the atmosphere was comfortable and friendly great host and hostess. we had a blue grass band come one night it was a real treat great music. It is rare to find this much of a jewel.

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled on business
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Thank balco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2008

I stayed at Highland Ranch alone with my dog. The wranglers kept me busy riding horses which I loved, George entertained me with dinner conversation, and my dog was welcomed by the resident dogs and allowed to go everywhere. We enjoyed hiking and hanging out at the pond where my dog loves to swim. I really enjoyed being able to just walk over to the main house to eat, not having to cook, clean, drive, or take out my wallet. I felt like a kid at camp - no responsibilities, just hanging out with the cowboys. It was great and I'll be back!

  • Stayed: October 2008, traveled solo
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Thank TailWagging
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2008

Highland Ranch is the perfect spot to do a lot or do nothing and have the best vacation of your life. Beautiful surroundings, incredible staff, well mannered horses, and delicious meals all included. We enjoy it as our favorite family vacation and as a couples get away. Whatever you are looking for you can find it at Highland Ranch!

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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Thank sherluk1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2008

We stayed at HIghland Ranch for a week as part of a large family grouping of adults (8 people). While accommodation is modest and quite basic (especially relative to price), HR was a wonderful place to stay at. This was partly due to the warm welcome and skill of the ranch's hosts it making everyone feel at home, partly due to the excellent very plentiful food, and partly due to the range of activities on site - from swimming and tennis to twice daily riding. All in all I would strongly recommend it.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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Thank LondonTravellerz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2008

Highland Ranch is in a beautiful setting with air about as clean and fresh as it gets. The horseback rides are through gorgeous terrain and the guides very knowledgeable. For those who want to leave the property, wine country is just a few minutes away with ample opportunities for tasting wonderful wine and beer. If you're looking for luxury, you won't find it here, but the cabins and main house are comfortable and true to ranch life. Jim and Susie and Rob and the rest of the staff are nothing short of fabulous and the food--well--I can't say enough about the food. It's all homemade, fresh, plentiful and as good as it gets. Be prepared to gain a few pounds! Also, it's a wonderful place for kids. Ours had such a great time, they didn't want to leave--catching their first fish, befriending the horses and dogs and hunting for frogs were highlights for them. The yoga and massage offerings are a must while you're there. The only thing I'd change is the pool temperature--it needs to be heated because for most of our stay (which was in August) the pool was too cold to be enjoyable.

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank newsmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2008

My family and I celebrated my 60th birthday at Highland Ranch. There were 4 couples and a few more guests for the birthday dinner Saturday night. It was everything my heart desired. Relaxed, beautiful, comfortable and we were sooo taken care of by the staff. I think the best part was that we all did exactly what we wanted all the time - even if it meant getting some time away from each other. Hey, we were there for a week :-)

  • Stayed: August 2008, traveled with family
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Thank happy079
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Blackbird Farm

Address: 18601 Van Zandt Resort Rd, PO Box 198, Philo, CA 95466 (Formerly Highland Ranch)
Location: United States > California > Mendocino County > Philo
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Philo
Price Range: $300 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on a 250 acre estate in the Anderson Valley Wine region. Blackbird Farm is a peaceful guest ranch and farm. Located an easy 2 hours north of San Francisco. With eight clean and comfortable guest cabins surrounding the charming 100 year old Main House where delicious, fresh and wholesome meals are served. Open for vacations, weddings, reunions, retreats and dogs welcome. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Highland Ranch Hotel Philo

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