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Reviewed October 17, 2009

This older resort is very well maintained and the grounds are beautiful. The one bedroom one bathroom unit is large and ours was very clean. Full size washer and dryer for the in-room laundry. Floors creak so neighbours below may be disturbed. Yes, housekeeping comes in every single day! They want to ensure someone hasn't done something stupid that jeopardizes the property. The bed is extremely firm and sofa bed is no more comfortable. Internet: No in-room internet and the free lobby connection is only available from 8 AM to 8 PM when the lobby is open. We really hated not having the internet. We use internet to book tours, make restaurant reservations, check maps, distances, shopping hours, weather, etc. We also post holiday pictures and email family. My spouse is up early and likes to read the local news on the internet. Phone: Free local calls and each unit has its own phone number so no switchboard. The resort is only 40-50 minutes from San Diego, 30 minutes to Wild Animal Park, an hour to the coast but if you want to see everything, the narrow winding road in and out becomes VERY tiresome. Two casinos within 30 minutes of resort. I think this resort is better for people with families who want to sit by the pool and playground or people who golf. Otherwise, you are isolated by road, distance, time and NO internet.

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank AB_Travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2009

My husband & I wanted to get away somewhere that is in the San Diego area but not necessarily in the hubbub of the beaches or city traffic. We looked for discounted hotels on Orbitz and stumbled across the site for San Diego Country Estates located east of the small city of Ramona and about 35 minutes from Julian. It is a "timeshare" type accommodation with a "home-like" room--actually more than a room with a combo kitchen/pantry/dining room/kitchen bar and a living room with an L-shaped entertainment center. The kitchen was better stocked than what was expected from the other reviews. With all the ammennities they provide, it was a great value especially if you enjoy privacy and keeping to yourself. The kitchen was stocked with basic pans to get by, if you're a gourmet, then you may want to bring your own fry pans.
We enjoyed the ability to hang out around the grounds and prepare our own meals. The hotel provided all types of recreation -- Foosball, Air Hockey, ping pong, billiards, board games, and even tennis equipment (if you needed it). We used the pool/jacuzzi and the tennis courts. The hot weather made using the tennis courts only good in the late afternoons. The city of Ramona is not too far from this site with some good casual restaurants and grocery stores. If you're into malls, you're out of luck in this town, but a highway leads to downtown San Diego if you have withdrawals of the big city.
The only negative thing against the hotel is the bathtub. The mold was pretty disgusting around the overflow, the tub handrail coupler, and the caulking used around the shower doors. That's really when your Clorox bathroom spray comes in handy.
For what is available to you and the value, it is worth it.

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank JametWilly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2009

We stayed in a one bedroom condo with our two small children and there was plenty of room for all of us!
The king size bed was comfy and the fold out couch in the living room was huge.
The patio had a grill so we could BBQ some burgers and sit outside at the table.
The playground/park was so close and ideal for our kids - lots for them to do. The views were spectacular and the pool was fun.
The staff was very friendly and provided a goodie bag full of small toys and games for each of our kids - they loved it!
We will definately return next year.

Stayed: January 2009
1  Thank Julad2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
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