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“BIG Improvements” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort

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Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   1054 Alisal Rd, Solvang, CA 93463-3033   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 10 Hotels in Solvang
Certificate of Excellence
Leaburg, Oregon
Level Contributor
102 reviews
75 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
“BIG Improvements”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2014

We have been coming to Alisal for many years as a family and have enjoyed the fine hospitality and many activities offered. In the past I did write one review that was not very complimentary of the food quality, but I am pleased to report that there have been several positive improvements at Alisal. First, many of the rooms have been renovated and are now very tastefully done with excellent color schemes and upgraded bathroom features. Second, we noticed that the food quality on the past visit was excellent, with many fine choices. Congratulations. The rooms renovations were a bit overdue, and while the food service was always good, the quality of the menu items seems to have really improved since our last visit in 2013. A wonderful family destination.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Douglas M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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188 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    134
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    10
    14
    7
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106
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (67)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Seattle
Level Contributor
23 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 14, 2014

We needed a venue to accommodate a 24 member family reunion and decided on Alisal. We could not have picked a better location; it was perfect! Each and every family member found something to do that appealed to keep them busy during the days. Watching the 3 grandchildren (4 - 6 year olds) take their first horseback riding lessons was priceless but they had even more fun at the adjacent barn, feeding the animals and collecting eggs. The Lil Wrangler programs were ideal for making it fun for them while allowing the adults with some kid-free time.

The breakfasts were over the top and a great time for the various family members to gather informally to map out the day. Dinners ranged from the formal Dining Room experience with numerous choices on the menu to a not-to-be-missed buffet at the lake to a down home BBQ following the weekly Alisal Rodeo.

The only real challenge for our group was that most of our phones rely on ATT cell service and the only cell service at the ranch is Verizon. This was mitigated somewhat by the generally good WiFi service throughout the property (our room had intermittent coverage but the front porch was fine). I have heard, but cannot confirm, that the ranch is planning to install ATT repeaters covering the property. If so, that would be a huge benefit to our group.

Finally, no review would be complete without complimenting the service. We have been to many outstanding and renowned hotels and resorts and we cannot think of any better service than what we experienced during our stay. The server to guest ratio in the Dining Room is unusually high and very attentive. Housekeeping demonstrated an uncanny ability to know when you would be gone long enough to service the room, including turn-down service!

Alisal is not the easiest place to reserve a block of rooms because they are dedicated to their numerous returning guests, who have priority. But the effort turned out to be well worth it for our family.

Room Tip: Be aware that a "Two room Loft Suite" is really a large suite with the master bed in the s...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Don J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brea, CA
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2014

My wife and I had a very relaxing weekend. The staff made us feel welcome and our studio room was terrific. I was concerned after reading some of the poor/horrible ratings, and also about the value of a $625 per night lodging, but our experience was great, and yes it is expensive, but if you leave with a new relaxed attitude and a smile on your face, you may find it worth it like I did. You also get 2 meals per day, and if you stay over on Saturday during the summer, they have a Bar-B-Que gathering for all the guests. We were assigned a room that had been refurbished about 2 months ago, and we found it very comfortable and fresh. No TV, phone or cell service, but WiFi worked and there were free newspapers available in the morning. The Alisal assigns each guest to a table, that you use for each meal, kind of like a cruise, and you have the same wait staff. Our waiter made us feel like he cared a lot about how we enjoyed the food and offered suggestions,brought out different items, and I can't count the number of time he asked if there was anything we wanted or needed. Top notch service! The food was very plentiful and good, I would not say super gourmet, but we enjoyed it. Suggestion: If after the first meal, you think you are getting too much, you can ask for half portions so you don't waste the excess.(at least that was what our waiter said, we did not have a chance to try it because he told us at the last meal before we checked out) The grounds are well kept and with the large Sycamore trees, Liquid Amber and Oaks, there was ample shade with sitting areas to relax and enjoy the quiet. Make sure you take the breakfast at the Adobe hayride(no extra charge) or horse ride (extra cost). This is a great way to experience the outdoors and have a very good ranch style breakfast sitting under hundred year old trees at a picnic table, with people who are friendly and having a good time.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank B-Rad_SoCal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 9, 2014

My husband and I met up for a great birthday celebration with my life long friend and her husband. We stayed in the loft style room, with 2 bathrooms. I forget the exact name of the room but it was great. The previous reviewer was not very happy with the room, however, I've stayed in amazing places all over the world and I thought ours at Alisal was great. It was rustic, but large and clean and exceedingly charming with a fireplace. I loved the property and riding everyday was perfect. The horses were very well cared for and safety was of the utmost importance. Thanks to the Wranglers who lead our rides each day providing lots of info, and were incredibly polite. The meals were terrific, and the staff very accommodating. You should try the banana infused french toast...forget the calories and enjoy. We had a good choice of meals and the wine selection was decent. The staff all went out of there way to ensure we were happy and having a good time. We traveled from Toronto and our friends from Victoria and it was well worth the trip.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank 987Dan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arcadia, California
Level Contributor
37 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2014

I want to be fair about my review, so I'll do it in the fewest words possible, and let you decide for yourself.

The Good
- 10,600 acres of beautiful land. The lake is awesome, and the horse back ride was great.
- Great staff

The Bad
- The food at the place where they require you to wear formal wear is probably on par with Denny's (I might be a bit generous here)
- Perhaps it was appropriate to dress up for dinner at this restaurant 60 years ago, but the place is so outdated you can't help thinking "You got to be joking right?"

The Horrible
- To be completely frank - when you pay $900/night for a family (breakfast and dinner included), you'd at least expect a decent room. To the best of my recollection, the rooms are worse than Holiday Inn. The wifi barely worked in our room.

Room Tip: Make sure you ask for a room closer to the pool area. We were stuck in two rooms (#61 and #62) righ...
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  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank tsaoh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TracyFrost, Guest Relations Manager at Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort, responded to this review, May 23, 2014
Please know that we do appreciate your business and for taking the time to write a review on Trip Advisor. I am very sorry that your dining experience did not meet your expectations. I have passed your feedback onto our Director of Food and Beverage. We have received many wonderful reviews about the Alisal dining experience, but apparently we fell short during your stay. We hope that we will have the opportunity to welcome you back to the Ranch and provide to you the kind of dining experience that so many of our guests enjoy and to show you your recent stay was truly an exception. Being that the Alisal Guest Ranch is steeped in tradition, since first opening in 1946, guests look forward to dressing for dinner. It is a tradition that they come to expect when staying with us and one that we are not willing to compromise.

Though we strive everyday to keep the Ranch “the way it has always been” we realized that what was once considered “rustic” had now morphed into what one might consider “tired”, and we knew we had to take action. We have just completed the remodeling of 22 out of 41 rooms slated for renovation. The changes you will notice include: new interior and exterior doors, double-pane windows, new heating units, new carpet and paint, beautiful new window treatments, new Western-themed furniture and bedding. We have also completely renovated the bathrooms to include new cabinetry and countertops, new tile in the shower and tub surround, new tile flooring along with exquisite Venetian bronze fixtures. In addition, we have placed new wicker patio furniture on our newly renovated patios and porches. Those are just a few of the many upgrades that await your return. We are also happy to report that we have also just completed a ranch-wide Wi-Fi upgrade which allows for seamless connectivity during your stay. We value you as our guest and hope you will return to enjoy all that we have to offer.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pebble Beach, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2014

This is going on our 30th year at The Alisal and every year they seem to outdo themselves in every way! We had always had the same cottage on the green for a long while and decided to stay in one of the newly (as of April, 2014) remodeled cottages. It was amazing! Everything updated, but still in keeping with it being a ranch-room. New configuration of certain spaces maxes room available and makes it seem larger. The new decks are awesome (not all the cottages will have these).

There are so many things to do at The Alisal - for both young and old. Food is quite good; again in keeping with the style of the Ranch. I've ridden there for years and found it to be the safest, most congenial Barn around. Safety is their first concern and is greatly appreciated when you are riding in groups. They take very good care of the herd, equipment is in good condition and the Wranglers know their stuff; all of whom are friendly and helpful.

Golf is excellent and both pro shops are always there to serve. Courses are kept in ultimate shape and provide anyone from a relative beginner to a low handicap golfer a chance to post some good, solid scores. Food at either place is really good too.

Yes - there's no getting around the fact that it's expensive, but it also includes two meals per day. There are always packages to be had and seem to be very reasonable. A place to bring an entire family or come and enjoy your self alone.

Can't say enough about Management and Staff - just that they're the best!!

Room Tip: Check with the front desk and if possible view the map. Rooms close to dining are going to be a litt...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Margaret R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laguna Niguel, California
Level Contributor
300 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 237 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2014 via mobile

I took my two teenagers for our first visit to The Alisal Ranch over Spring Break. We wanted something fairly close to home (3 hours from Orange County) but far enough away to feel like a vacation. The Alisal fit the bill perfectly. During our 4 night, 3 day stay (just the right amount of time), we went on two horseback rides, including a breakfast ride. Riders are grouped among three groups -- beginner, intermediate and advanced. We chosed intermediate (the horses trot for short distances) but could have done advanced (loping for short distances). The two hour rides among the green oak hills were beautiful in April, with plenty of deer and birds to see along the way. The breakfast ride ended at an adobe in a beautiful sycamore filled valley, with a sumptuous breakfast and a singing cowboy. Other highlights for us were bass fishing on the private lake with our excellent guide Jason (we caught and released 40 bass in a little over 2 hours, fishing mid- day!), shooting air rifles (they have archery too), a nice 2 mile loop hike just before dinner, and the evening dinners. Jackets are required for men (and boys over 18) in the dining room. The menu changed nightly and all 4 dinners were superb. Nice wine list too. Before and after dinner, there is entertainment in the Oak Room. Patrick Montgomery played most nights and was really good. He sings and plays guitar and will sing just about any tune you can imagine. The 6 tennis courts were in great shape. We did not play golf but one of two courses was available. The stay was not inexpensive. The total cost for our party of 3 ran roughly $1,000 per day for everything. Our two room detached hacienda was comfortable but not luxurious. My only complaint -- the pillows are too small. There is no AC, but this was not a problem as it cooled down a lot at night (days were unseasonably warm in the 80's). The folks at the Ranch were all very friendly, and we recommend it!

  • Stayed April 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Diverdad1
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 Alisal Rd, Solvang, CA 93463-3033
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
#4 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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