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“Old World Experience”

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Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort
Ranked #4 of 10 Hotels in Solvang
Certificate of Excellence
Costa Mesa, California
Level Contributor
93 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Old World Experience”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 28, 2013

Staying at Alisal is like stepping back in time. It starts when you walk into your casita which feels like walking into Grandmas's house in the 60's. The room smells of a smokey fireplace...which is oddly refreshing since so many properties now use gas fireplaces. Although there is no air conditioning our casita was wonderfully cool even in the 90 degree weather. The bed is very comfortable and the room is equipped with a refrigerator and well stocked toiletries. We were there at a very slow time for them, so although that meant not a lot of other guests to deal with, it also meant that some services were scant. The restaurant/bar by the pool was closed, however the front desk was extremely accommodating in getting us food and drinks to have by the pool. The horseback riding was awesome. The wranglers are all so friendly and helpful. My husband had no horse experience and was trotting on his horse by the end of our stay. The breakfast ride is a must. You ride for an hour and see such beautiful landscape. We saw a bob cat, deer and even tarantulas (it was their breeding season). Then you eat breakfast at an old adobe in the middle of the 10,000 acres. They serve a wonderful hot breakfast and even have a cowboy singer entertaining you by the campfire. Such a great experience. The only disappointment is their spa/fitness center. They have a beautiful building and list a variety of classes on their website, but this time and before when I even stayed there in the summer at peak season there were no classes. They do not have a regular spa staff and they have to call in therapists for any services you may want, so it all needs to be arranged a day prior. They did arrange a private yoga session for me, but it did cost me $100 and I'm not sure it was worth the price tag, since the website states their classes are only $15.00. All and all....come for the horseback riding!!

Room Tip: All rooms are private casitas. I can't imagine staying in one that wouldn't be well located...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank shrink711
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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214 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (74)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 9, 2013

We first started going to The Alisal about 15 years ago. Thank God this place does not change with time. This is a working cattle ranch about 30 miles north of Santa Barbara, next to President Ronald Reagan's old ranch.

The bungalows are comfortable but basic - no air conditioning, TV, phone or wifi. Some will be disappointed but most will be delighted: a real chance to get away from it all! The are plenty of things to do such as horseback riding, archery, air rifles and fishing for starters. The bungalow interiors and pool are a throwback to the 70s but don't let that fool you. Breakfast and dinner are included and the food is delicious and the service superb. The portions are generous and I've never felt hungry at lunchtime.

We've been at The Alisal during various times of the year. I would recommend avoiding summer, as things can get hectic from all the families with kids. If you can, go right before school gets out or shortly after it resumes. At those times, the ranch is more peaceful and relaxing and the staff is able to be more flexible and attentive to the guests.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank JAMES W O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chino Hills, California
Level Contributor
33 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 6, 2013

After reading all the vistor comments we went to the "RANCH" and LOVED IT!
We had 3 rooms .All very nice and clean.We even got to check in early as most of
the crowd for labor day were leaving:) My Grandkids were in HEAVEN WITH RIDING
and the pool and other events at the ranch.We even hired a babysitter thru a agency
for a adult dinner night...worked out perfect.The staff was a liitle tired from the labor day
rush.....but they all we had met were VERY NICE AND HELPFUL.The lake people were
the greatest!My family will come back again!!! great famly fun!

Room Tip: Sept was very hot.....so we need a few fans in our room and bring some bug spray.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank michelle d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 3, 2013

I've gone 3 times and the first two times were sort of worth the RIDICULOUS room rate ($727/day w/ taxes). But this last time was the deal breaker! 95 degree heat, NO AC! NO warning, NO refund, NO apologies and Smokers!!! It was a joke. A very sad, very disappointing $3500 (for 3 days) JOKE!
I truly don't know how they stay in business. And have to assume that the all around deteriorating quality represents its inevitable decline.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
15 Thank Tripsterjlm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DaveLautensack, General Manager at Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort, responded to this review, September 9, 2013
I am truly sorry that your stay with us did not meet your expectations. The Alisal Guest Ranch is a very special place where families have been coming for generations. Being a ranch, we are rustic in nature and pride ourselves in creating a wonderful “ranch” experience for our guests. Unfortunately, the days that you stayed with us, the weather was on the warm side. We do have air conditioning in the common areas but the rooms remain rustic with no air conditioning, no phones, no televisions, and no smoking. Our room rates are quite moderate given that included in the rate is a full gourmet breakfast as well as a gourmet dinner prepared each night by our renowned Chef Pascal. The guest is correct in that some of our rooms are tired, particularly at the end of our busy summer season. Though our renovations are on-going, we have begun an extensive room renovation program that will span the next nine months, and will insure future guest satisfaction.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palos Verdes Estates, California
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 4, 2013

As other reviewers have noted, Alisal is a family place, with multi-generational families that come back year after year. My husband and I were first introduced to Alisal in the early 1980s, when we were in grad school, by such a family (the parents had basically been coming there since the place opened). Lucky us, we were their guests! Time moved on and when our daughter was age 8-18, we came to the Alisal every Labor Day and spent time with that family and other families that come every Labor Day-- always felt like a fun, big group reunion! After our 10 or so years of Labor Day at Alisal, we had to take a 3 year break, because our college age daughter's schedule didn't work for time off for Labor Day. But she's now graduated! And the Ranch called with an opening and we booked it! We are sooo excited to return! We want to continue going every year, we love it!
I wanted to post, given some of the snarky comments I read from people who clearly just don't "get" what the Alisal is. For those people, please, by all means just go to a Four Seasons. Yes, the Alisal is rustic, hence its charm, and I think people lose sight of the fact that the room rate includes a wonderful breakfast and dinner. I admit its still pricey, but to us-- priceless!
P.S. We owned horses for 12 years (in our back 40) and rode and jumped (English), and the Alisal trail rides and the wranglers are great! We came once early for the Wednesday rodeo--great fun!

Room Tip: Depends what you like, we actually like the older rooms by the golf course, because our friends are...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank PVKATMOM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
27 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 20, 2013

Book the pool suites with the new bathroom re-dos! Walk in closet, shower, tub, sink, separate toliet, and huge vanity additional sink area. Not cheap $620 per night for 2, $820 for 4, but includes all breakfast, and dinners. Food is incredible. First night I had a pastry puff with portabello mushrooms! Played bingo, musicial chairs, and karokoke, and about 10 games of ping pong with my teen! No tv, computers, phones,-so you can really relate! LOL! Plus tons of big groups of families, and everyone super friendly and you feel like 1 big family! Air rifles were great, and the hayride to breakfast, we stayed 2 nights, but needed a minimum of 3-4 next time. Also spotted a celebrity at the ranch, and she was very sweet! You have your same table at every meal. No driving anywhere, just RELAX, and all you need at lunch is a pool side smoothie to get you by. Alcohol not included! Late check out is hard, so get there EARLY the first day to enjoy the pool and hang. They seem to have a dining area that is more couples as well. I would go as a couple for sure. Our kids loved it. Old fashioned fun at it's best!

Room Tip: rooms with redone bathrooms, by the pool, could be nosy, but we loved it. your bedroom is in the bac...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Giannakatrine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
38 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 29, 2013

My husband and I stayed at Alisal for a quick, mini-vacation at the end of April (not summer or spring break so it was lightly occupied). Checking in on Friday and departing on Sunday. In advance I had asked if we could take advantage of some activities even before check-in. They said we could and while we didn't do so (went wine tasting instead), thought it was great. We had a lovely suite (really too big for two people) with NICE bathroom and comfy bed. We particpated in the horse ride to breakfast, air rifle and canoe'd around the lake (early Sunday morning and we were the only ones there). All events were fun and well managed. Staff was great...funny and engaging. I sat and read around the pool for a short time. There were lots of families -- seemed to be multi-generational and since we enjoy watching little kids, it was fun to be with them all. I say this because it is a family place. If you don't like kids, go somewhere else. It was fun to sit in the common room before dinner and talk with the other guests. Once you had one day done, there were things/activities in common to start the conversation and it went from there. So, even if you are just a couple, you get to know others pretty quickly. It is expensive and if you soak in the place, well worth it. I am a FOODIE, so the food was very good but not exceptional. It was very well prepared, generous portions, good selection and basic preparations. It isn't gourmet and we still enjoyed every meal. One more day to really relax and not feel compelled to do activites would have been perfect. Of course a week would be even better.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Terriojai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort

Property: Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort
Address: 1054 South Alisal Road, Solvang, CA 93463
Location: United States > California > Solvang
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Solvang
#1 Business Hotel in Solvang
#3 Spa Hotel in Solvang
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 73
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort is located in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley and renowned Santa Barbara County wine country. Privately owned and operated since 1946, the Alisal is a working cattle ranch and full-service resort. This historic ranch is one of four original Spanish land grants on the west coast given to conquistador Raimundo Carrillo in the late 1700’s. Today, the romance and majesty of the old west remain in the wide-open spaces and unspoiled natural beauty of the Alisal. They serve as a reminder of simpler times and as an invitation to those with a taste for adventure. As California's premier guest ranch, the Alisal transports guests back to a bygone era. Set on a 10,000-acre working cattle ranch, this one-of-a-kind resort blends the best of nature with exceptional golf, horseback riding, tennis, fishing on a 100-acre private lake, fitness center and spa, children's activities, barnyard activities and fine dining. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Alisal Guest Ranch And Resort
Alisal Guest Ranch Hotel Solvang
Alisal Hotel Solvang
Alisal Resort Solvang
Alisal Ranch Solvang
The Alisal Guest Ranch

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