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All reviews washer and dryer an hour wildcat canyon tennis courts the kitchen san diego electric grill santa ysabel horseback riding beautiful area apple pie beautiful flowers replace towels shuffle board lots of hiking trails laundry basket golf course
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Reviewed September 16, 2008

I had a terrible experience at this resort.

The overzealous housekeeping service, clearly incapable of reading the English on the "Do Not Disturb" sign, woke me for two consecutive mornings before 10am. I work nights, and could work remotely on my laptop, so this was a bit of a problem.

On the second day I phoned the front office to complain and was told that they HAVE to come in to check on the unit daily, no matter what. I guess that proves that they do not trust their guests. So, that afternoon, after 3pm, I was taking a shower, still with the sign on the door, and the housekeeper LET HERSELF IN. I was livid.

I phoned the front desk and was told "actually sir, the sign says Privacy Please" as if that should mean anything - who else would bother me while I was on vacation? I was transferred to the front desk supervisor, who was an incredibly unapologetic, nasty woman who told me "most normal people are up by 9:30am." I got a bit upset and used a profanity in my response, and she hung up on me. No consideration was made for me as a guest of the resort.

This resort is at least a 15 minute drive from anywhere to eat, and although the views are beautiful, there is absolutely nothing to do. Between being in the middle of nowhere and the lack of care from the staff, you can bet I would never stay there again or recommend it. A terrible place.

  • Stayed: July 2008
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Review collected in partnership with Cleartrip
14  Thank UnhappyVisitor2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2007

We booked a week as a timeshare exchange. Checking in was smooth, but it was downhill for the next couple of hours. The first room we checked into was a one bedroom upstairs unit that looked out on the tennis courts. The best part was the view. Parking was limited. My husband and I hauled the first armload up the steps and were disappointed to find a very dated unit with rippled and faded carpet, dilapidated furniture, broken down bed, old fridge (ice trays only), etc. My husband sat down on the couch and immediately hit the frame. The room was not one where I would ever have wanted to spend an evening in. I called our exchange company and complained - they contacted the front desk and we were offered another room in a different building that was "updated." So back we went to the front desk to get the key and check out Room #2, a lower unit in another building that was supposed to be refurbished. It was only nominally better than the first room, still with rippled carpet, a somewhat newer fridge, and slightly improved (though not great) furniture. Add to that the incessantly barking dog in the next complex over and we were back on the phone with our exchange company. Room #3, which was offered at some apparent inconvenience that required switching guests who were arriving the next day to a different room, was at least tolerable, though I still would not characterize it as a gold crown property at a facility that trades high season year around. This was also a lower unit - an unfortunate choice because the floor upstairs was not sufficiently insulated/soundproofed (?) such that we could hear the people in the room above us walking, which awakened us at 11:30 PM, 2 or 3 AM and again around 530 AM every night during the week that we stayed. There were tvs in the living room (with VCR and DVD) and in the bedroom. The one in the bedroom was small (guessing, but maybe 19" and the living room tv was closer to 26") and the sleep timer did not work. The bathroom was very basic - a tub with shower and sliding door, one sink. It did have a blow dryer.

The pool area is nothing to speak of. The rectangular pool and jacuzzi look like what you might see in a basic back yard. Disappointing.

On the plus side, the kitchens are well-equipped and, if you are a tennis player (I am not), the courts are nice. The fitness room is small but has a very good assortment of equipment and was generally not overly busy. As noted in other reviews, you can check out two movies at a time (we didn't, but it was available). The clubhouse had a pool table and ping pong and there were saunas in the men's and ladies' locker rooms near the pool area and fitness room. You could also check out some sports equipment and towels for the exercise room. The staff was courteous and left us a bottle of Martinelli's sparkling cider with a note to compensate for the inconvenience. Housekeeping made the bed and exchanged towels daily. They also supplied toilet tissue, kleenex and paper towels, coffee filters, some artificial sweetener, packaged cream, sugar and tea bags, and one package of coffee (we brought our own so I don't know whether they supply more). It was very convenient having a washer and dryer in the unit and there are electric barbecues on most (all?) of the patios.

If you plan to have a fire in the fireplace, be sure to bring wood. I'd also recommend that you bring laundry detergent, ziploc bags, any condiments you might use if you plan to cook (other than salt and pepper) and coffee.

The town of Ramona is one main street and is a good 15 minute drive away. There are some fast food chain stores, an Albertson's and a Stater Brothers. We did not go out to eat in Ramona, so not sure about the restaurants. Barona is also nearby for gambling and golf. The Barona Creek course was well groomed and we enjoyed a round followed by dinner at the casino's buffet, which was also good and very reasonably priced. Nationwide's Championship event will be played at Barona in early November and they have been working to prepare the course for that. The course was wide open, fair and challenging. Golf at San Vicente was not nearly as good - the course was just overseeded so was recovering when we played it. The course is pretty - narrow and treelined and somewhat short.

There are several places to hike in the area. If you are very ambitious, there is a hike originating a couple of miles south on Wildcat Canyon Road from Barona casino (on the other side of the highway) with lots of up and down terrain. It is roughly 5.6 miles each direction from the parking lot, which is just off the highway. Take plenty of water.

We attended the town's Oktoberfest - it was a wasted trip. Think small swap meet with a couple of kiddie rides and a beer and wine garden.

We also went to Julian where we sampled the pie (try the caramel covered apple pie at Julian Pie Company) and visited the tasting room for Witch Creek ("Tequila Tami" is great). En route we stopped in Santa Ysabel at Dudley's bakery, where we bought way more bread than any two people should.

Visit the Wild Animal Park - nice grounds, interesting guides and they are doing good things to protect endangered species.

Everything else we were interested in was 45 minutes or more away, including Temecula (wine tasting) and the Carlsbad outlet stores.

If you do not mind being in an isolated area and are a tennis enthusiast, this would be a good option for you.

  • Stayed: October 2007, traveled as a couple
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17  Thank OCSoCalGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2007

The San Diego Country Estates are simply fabulous! We has a two bedroom condo with two private patios. The furnishing was elegant and updated. The town of Ramona is 15 minutes away and has many little shops , all the major fast food restaurants and a few nicer restaurants. It is located close to everything. You can reach the San Diego Harbor, the San Diego Zoo and Sea World in around 45 minutes.

The resort has a lot to offer for active people. The scenery is peaceful and beautiful. We highly recommend the resort.

Stayed: October 2007
4  Thank reneeop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 24, 2007

We stayed at the San Diego Country Estates during the week of March 24th. We are from the Los Angeles area and did not expect this kind of place existed in the San Diego area. The location is in the country side surrounded by mountains. You'll see cows, sheeps and even horses by the road!!
It is in a residential neighborhood. The check in desk people are very friendly especially DJ and Patty.
UNIT:
The location has 2 floor buildings and I didn't see an elevator.
We booked a 1 bdroom unit through our timeshare. The unit was very spacious and clean. ( a lil' outdated though; 70's) It had a dishwasher, washer and dryer inside the large bedroom,iron, hair dryer, TV's (a DVD/VCR player) a barbeque grill and a nice fireplace. You are able to check out two movies free of charge at a time. The kitchen is very well equipped with all the pots/pans and gadgets you might need. It has a nice size refrigerater (ice maker). It was nice to be able to cook light meals for my two sons. (2 and 1 year old)
LOCATION;
This place is in a semi-remote location with no fast food places (15 minutes away), so make sure you either eat before you arrive or have some food to prepare. There is a deli-mart , Pizza place, and Mexican food restaurant on San Vicente Rd. and Gunn Stage Rd. (5 minutes away). The closest markets and fast food restaurants are on Main St. (west of 10th st.) (intersection where frwy 67 & 78 intersect).
ACTIVITIES:
Make sure you bring your tennis raquet. This place has plenty of tennis courts and they have a fitness center and a daily list of activities the place offers. They also have basketball courts. They offer free internet access in the lobby area and have plenty of novels and puzzles in the lobby. I did see a fitness center but did not inquire on fees if any. During this time, they were remodeling the eating area. There is a park within one block with volleyball courts, swing/slide area and basketball courts.
SIDE TRIPS:
If you have time make sure you go to Julian (hwy 78 is very scenic) and enjoy the 1 hour drive or so. It is a small town up 4,000 feet. They make very good apple pie and have a mine excursion ($10 dollars for adults) Make sure you make time to explore the scenic views as you are driving down hwy 67 to go to San Diego. This place is very close to an Indian casino Barona
(Wildcat Canyon Rd). Sea World is about 40 minutes away. It is very close to San Diego Wild Animal Park. We also visited some outlets called Viejas outlets across the Viejas Casino. (30 minutes away)

  • Stayed: March 2007, traveled with family
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15  Thank BettyL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2006

I've read previous reviews on this resort and agree it is a great destination. There is plenty to do at the resort and San Diego, a wonderful city, is an hour away. If you go to San Diego, be sure to visit the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum.

The reason for this review is to tell those who read it about a great, fairly short sidetrip. From Ramona, go north on state Route 78 to Santa Ysabel and then Julian. Santa Isabel is only a crossroads in the foothills. However, the plant where they bake Julian's pies is located there. Wonderful warm pies right from the oven. If you want, then go on to Julian. It's only seven miles but the road is a bit twisting and turning. Julian is a neat little town and worth an hour's stroll.

Stayed: October 2006
7  Thank RustyCarpenter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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