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Reviewed August 17, 2009

Everything was absolutely EXCELLENT!!! All of the staff goes the extra mile in helping guests. They are all awesome hosts and so thoughtful in anticipating our every need. They make us want to come back every year!!

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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Thank lilybianca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2009

very outdated. no tv in the room and nothing to do after dark. it's like a cemetery. visitors there seem to have this strange religious cult like attitude. the resort has no pulse and is quite dead. if you like to pay $500/night for motel 6 then go at it. the restaurant where they ask you to dress formal is like pizza hut or jack in the box. the food is terrible with and tasteless. the bbq is your typical canned sugary sauce. the staff were great and the lake was fun. other than that it's a waste of time and money. it would be worth it if they charged less than $100 per night

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank travelandfoodsnob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2009

We went to the Alisal with an extended family during the summers of 2008 and 2009.

The Alisal is a beautiful location with enjoyable activities, above average food most nights with an excellent barbeque on Saturday nights. We are a family used to rustic locales and outdoor activities with insects and the other inconveniences of the outdoors. We've traveled most of the western state's national parks and have visited Boston and NYC and typically stay in moderately priced accommodations.

The prices they charge are absolute price gouging and I really think they are living off their long time clientele and reputation. Our family of 5 for three nights cost $4900, that's over $1600/night and it was for only one room with a rollaway. We did two horseback rides, fishing and the ropes challenge course. For about $1200 more we could have gone to Maui and been there for a full week and gotten a large condo.

Some points:
Rooms are rustic, but clean, we didn't notice the smell being a problem.
Verizon cell phone service works, but it appears nothing else does
No phones or TVs in rooms, which was fine with me
Food related outdoor activities in the summer are consistently overrun with wasps looking for sweets or greasy foods. Some years are better than others for this.
The Ropes Course was a lot of fun but completely overrun with flies both years. This was like nothing I've never seen and we've been to truly insect riddled places like Alaska. The horses and cow pies near the ropes course are probably to blame.
Pool is huge but there is nothing special about it and they have a lot of rules about what you can play with in the pool.
Ridiculously good fishing with a lot of bass that are easy to catch
Great place for extended family reunions if everyone has the bank account for it

They really need to either upgrade their facilities and activities or just drastically lower their prices. I personally would be happy to return at far lower prices, but I'm guessing that is not likely since they are probably still getting enough long time guests. I am bewildered that they are able to get enough guests, but everyone I know in our part of California knows the Alisal and think highly of it and want to visit it, so their past reputation is taking them a long way.

Stayed: July 2008, traveled with family
4  Thank howag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2009

I stayed here with my husband and children (9 and 7), my parents (in their 70s) and my sister and brother in law. We all really enjoyed our 3 night stay and wish we had booked more days.

Alisal makes you feel as if you are staying with friends. I felt as if my children had an old fashioned American vacation. The area is close to Solvang, but you feel very isolated and safe. There is limited cell coverage and no TV or telephones in the rooms but that was part of the charm.

I don't believe my children missed the TV because there were so many activities available for them to do. My husband and I felt safe letting them out of our sight while they played! It really felt like a bygone year.

None of us are more than beginner horseback riders but our wonderful rides, made me want to take lessons so that next time I could graduate to "trotting."

As you can see, I am already planning our next visit!

  • Stayed: July 2009, traveled with family
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Thank LaneyCAL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2009

Alisal is a fond spot for many returning visitors. Although they have built a small, attractive spa (with expensive services) and have wireless in rooms, there are NO phones in the rooms. Cell phones do not work, we were worried about a medical emergency or a fire and no phone. There is no air conditioning even though the summers are hot, hot, hot and smaller rooms have no cross ventilation. It's time for Alisal to come into the 21st century and improve their infrastructure.
The food is average, wait staff is good, hostesses can be haughty. Saturday night BBQs are great but the enthusiastic dancing by all was doused by a 30 minute break at 8 PM by the band. The band should play until it gets dark.
The grounds are lush and beautiful, the pool area great, and the real treasure is the vast amount of land they own which can be seen on trail rides. Wranglers are neurotic about guests staying nose-to-tail, they take frequest stops on a ride, and spend too much time on "warnings". The beauty of the hills is almost lost amid the cautions. Lake fishing is fun, fish can be caught. Golf is good.
I recommend this property with reservations, don't go when the weather is hot.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled with family
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4  Thank PegasusLongBeach_CA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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