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“Labor Day Weekend Fun”

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Rocking Horse Ranch Resort
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Highland
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 6, 2012

After reading a ton of reviews, we finally got to experience the Ranch first hand. It was a lot of fun, especially for our 6-year-old. There is a ton of activities and it can be as busy or relaxing as you'd like it to be. The food is not fine dining, but very good nonetheless. The negative reviewers are just looking for things to complain about. The activities were great, shows were fun, fireworks were spectacular. We will be going back again!

Room Tip: Brint your hair dryer!
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank RB118
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 4, 2012

I just went for Labor Day weekend to the Rocking Horse Ranch with my husband and teenaged son. This was our second time here, and we had the most relaxing, fun-filled time. The place is a little expensive, however, I think you get value for your dollar (just add up what you might pay for all the different activities you do -- meals, entertainment, water park, horseback riding, etc.). The resort also gave us a substantial discount for staying three nights and I loved that everything was included. You need no additional money during your stay (though we each did buy a souvenir at the end of our trip at their gift shop).

My husband and I were really impressed with the staff (the resort employs many people which in itself is good in this economy) and they provide great service. For example, the grounds of the resort were immaculate with flower gardens and hanging flowers. The grounds crew takes such good care of the place that after a brief shower, they were out blowing the pathways clear of any stray leaves or other debris, and after an evening of fireworks over the lake, all debris (from people and the fireworks) were gone by early morning (including any stray balloons and glowsticks that they gave the guests the prior night). Then there are the lifeguards who keep the pool areas neat and clean, the staff running group activities (such as bingo, blackjack, or other competitions), staff providing boats and sports equipment to individual guests, staff running water sports activities (water skiing and rides on a banana boat), staff cleaning the rooms, staff running the archery and riflery ranges, staff running the reception desk, staff running the bar in the lobby (with free popcorn and cold water with lemon), and the bar by the pool (which had free food and drinks during the afternoon cocktail hour).

And of course, I can’t forget the dining room staff. The food was really good. It was self-serve buffet for breakfast and lunch, and table-service for dinner (with dessert buffet tables, including a chocolate fountain). Food was plentiful and the service was very fast and efficient. (And the character lunch was cute with all the picture taking.)

Lastly, there was the great staff working with the horses and taking good care of the riders. There are 105 horses there (plus a zebra, donkeys, camel and a couple of cats). My husband went horseback riding 2 to 3 times a day (people rode anywhere from zero to five times a day). I just rode once and decided to use that time with other activities such as taking a horse-drawn carriage through the woods, taking the hiking trail around the property, and kayaking. We had plenty to keep us busy after riding too – such as playing miniature golf, tennis, ping pong, billiards, air hockey, Wii games, jumping in the bounce house, and of course, sliding down the water slides into the pools. And I should note there were many other activities that we didn’t do (such as bungee jumping), and services we didn’t use (such as the spa and child care programs). Each night, there was also entertainment such as an illusionist David Haines and his wife. Thus, we had full days but they were enjoyable and relaxing.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank PLK609
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2012

We originally planned to stay for 4 nights, but multiples sickness forced us to shrink it to 2 nights. The reservation people were very understanding, as they modified our booking multiple times to accommodate our situation.
We went to the ranch earlier in Apr, had a great time, decided to do it again in Aug when the outside pool is open. A bunch of friends also decided to join us, as the school is out that week. Much has stayed the same, except:
1) Bathroom has been renovated, with new fixtures and a nice counter/cabinet. Still no shelving and no removable shower head.
2) The pool outside is GREAT. The kids love the kiddie pool with the baby slide. The main pool has a great slide that was really fun for parents too. Water is clean, life guard is alert as always.
3) Water skiing and banana boating - we didn't part take in these activities, we were fishing across the lake and observed. While it looks fun, it could take a while for your turn, it is not as easy as it looks, as people keep falling off from the ski. It was fun to watch tho. Oh BTW, if you really want to catch fish, you should consider using something other bread (which they provided at the sport shack), you can't keep the fish, it needs to go back to the pond.
4) Water station - they are well positioned so that you don't get dehydrated. One by the sport shack, one by the pool, one in the bar near the front desk. I don't recall there is one near the horse stable.

We had a great time. Didn't use the day care/camp this time, as we want to make fun as a family. All the staff we encountered was very courteous and helpful, anything to make our stay enjoyable, we just need to ask. :)
We took advantage of their 15% off toward future stay, we will be back in Dec to try snow tubing!

Room Tip: Main lodge is the way to go
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank qqmelodia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2012

You would think for over $1,000 for one night, they would serve edible food and the staff would be a little nicer.
The kids had a great time with horseback riding, archery, water skiing, tennis, shuffleboard and swimming. I guess that is where all of the money goes.
Alert: cruise style seating. We shared our table with another family who were just miserable. I couldn't wait to leave. For dinner we were stuck eating at 5:30 because the 7:30 seating was full. No one told us this when we booked the room.
They served luke-warm, overdone food that tasted like banquet food. The waiter was abrupt and barked at us several times - first to move over and make room so other people could sit at our table - except there were eight of us at the table and already taking up every chair except two that we left open next to each other. Then the other family ordered fried mozzarella as an appetizer but the waiter insisted they ordered the mushrooms. I heard them clearly when they ordered the mozzarella. He never apologized, merely said he must have misunderstood them.
You have to walk across the dining room to fill your cup with soft drinks. We had to ask three times for our pitcher of water to be filled. I didn't know my husband had already asked, so I asked and the waiter replied with "you're going to have to give me a minute okay?"
Luckily the breakfast buffet was much better. When you serve yourself, there is no chance of error or being treated badly!
Activities: the young man running the water sports/tennis rentals was so friendly and helpful. This was a stark contrast to the nasty young man driving the boat for water skiing. He was curt with our kids and never once smiled or encouraged them in any way. The red headed girl with glasses helping the guy was just as nasty. They acted like we were bothering them. Hello? This is your job. And we are easy-going, happy people. I wonder how they treat the obnoxious guests??
Horse back riding was another nasty experience. We went on the intermediate ride which consisted of mostly standing in place waiting. There were around 30 people on horses on one ride. Ridiculous.
The other nasty experience: we were playing tennis and my daughter had to use the bathroom. We went up to where the outdoor pool was and asked a young man for the closest ladies room. he opened a little gate and told us to go in the bathroom right around the corner. When we came out, another young man yelled to us that we were not supposed to be inside the pool deck after hours. I told him we needed to use the bathroom and then he actually said "what did you do jump over the gate?" I told him that no, we were let in by another male staff person. He said he was going to kill him. At this point I was tired of being treated so poorly by the staff and told him so. His response was "uh, okay."
We will NEVER go back to this place. I have no idea what kind of clientele they are used to dealing with, but almost every employee had an attitude towards us like we were going to steal, cheat or lie. Yuck.

Room Tip: Rooms on the second floor are nice and quiet. Get a room near the lobby for close access to everythi...
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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10  Thank BoutiqueHotetraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
rockinghorseranch, Owner at Rocking Horse Ranch Resort, responded to this reviewResponded September 5, 2012

BoutiqueHotetraveler,

I was disappointed when I read about your family’s experience with us. We at Rocking Horse pride ourselves on being one of America's top-rated family resorts; this is largely due to our friendly and accommodating staff. Unfortunately in your case, it does not appear our staff reached that expectation.

I called a meeting with ALL of my management team to review your comments. It is critical to our team that an experience like yours does not happen, after all… it rests on the shoulders of our staff members to ultimately make or break a guest’s experience.

I do have to say on our behalf, that I was on property during the dates of your stay with us. There were a little over 400 guests in house. I spoke with literally 40 or 50 families, all of whom spoke very highly of their experience with us.

Regarding your food comments, I sat at two out of three dinner seatings that weekend and felt the food was delicious. I walked the dining room and the feedback was very positive.

I only wish that being this dissatisfied, you would have made yourself known and asked to speak to either myself or a manager. I am on property daily to ensure that our guests experience the highest possible standards in family resort hospitality.

I hope you will take a moment to e-mail me directly at steveturk@rhranch.com or call me at (845) 691-2927. I would like to show you that we can meet your expectations if you do decide to visit us in the future.

Steve, Owner

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2012

I'll preface this review by saying that my family and I are "Disney Snobs" and I knew it was going to be a challenge for this place to live up to that level of vacation. We wanted a quick weekend getaway for the kids before school and my daughters are very interested in horse back riding so I thought this would be a good fit. And for the most part it was. I'll start with the positives:

We were greeted by very friendly parking lot staff and the front desk attendants were very nice and quick, which I appreciated. The rooms ( main lodge) were clean and roomy. The kids loved the indoor waterpark and though it was much smaller than the website would have you believe I never felt like it was too crowded. They also loved the bungee jumping and there was never too long of a wait for that, they were able to enjoy it repeatedly. There were many activities and the kids were on the go all the time, which was great. The food was not amazing, but there was a large selection and we certainly didn't go hungry. The kids were thrilled with the selection. My husband did not particularly care for the family-style dining but I thought it was fun! We met many interesting people. I gotta give a shout out to Ted the waiter. He was best employee on the ranch by far ( and the only one worthy of tipping) he was outstanding, just a great guy. I saw someone else wrote about him on here as well. I'm not surprised he is in a class of his own.

My daughter is a 8 and a beginning rider. She loved the horseback riding and cried when we left. Pleasing the kids was the point of the vacation so i consider this a success. You can read my personal reflection on the horseback riding under "negatives".

Now for the negatives:
I did not enjoy sitting at dinner and comparing the various rates people paid for the same experience. Some people paid full price, others the 15% discount, and still others more than 25% discount. I will say that I booked at full price and when i saw the 15% discount being offered online I called and they readjusted the price. While I certainly appreciated this, the RHR was not going to extend this price to me without an inquiry. Make sure you press them for the best deal I guess. Just that one call saved me $1000 dollars! No joke.
There was no hairdryer in the room. I was truly perplexed by this. What hotel doesn't have a hairdryer in 2012. Admittedly, I didn't check the website for this feature as I assumed it was a given. It wasn't a big deal because this was a kids trip and for the most part wearing your hair in a messy ponytail is fine, but it was a tad annoying.

Kids being unpredictable as they are like to tell you they are "hungry" at 9:30. Sorry kiddos, off to the vending machine you go because there is NO food available after the 7:30 dinner. I found this very strange. Some sort of concession stand or general store open later hours would have been appreciated.

I don't even know what to say about the horseback riding. I have 7 horses, a stable, and an indoor riding arena AT MY HOME. I have been riding for more than 20 years. Myself ( and everyone else) were treated like complete morons by the so-called "wranglers" who basically amounted to teenagers on a horse-inspired power trip. It was appalling. In addition to literally screaming condescending orders at everyone on the ride, they repeatedly engaged in horseplay ( pardon the pun) with each other that any horsemen would have found unacceptable. The main offender of which seemed to be the man in charge of the stable. He was conducting himself in a borderline inappropriate manner with the female (and much younger) staffers.

I tried to make the best of it because my daughter was truly enjoying the experience and I wanted to give her some additional exposure to different horses/ people etc. The first ride out I was basically speechless at the end of ride after witnessing the behavior of the "wranglers" and how they were treating people. The second ride out I had to just laugh because it was so ridiculous. We went to the "orientation" the first day so my daughter could get acclaimated. I ended up walking away in disgust. The "wrangler" Jen, a miserable person with a terrible attitude was rude to the little girls asking questions, took about 5 minutes to "instruct" the group, and acted like she was going to die if she had to stand there one minute longer. Now granted, I'm sure these employees do deal with mainly beginners and let's face it people can be pretty stupid but this IS THEIR JOB. At least TRY to hide the clear annoyance. If you are any kind of advanced rider expect severe disappointment and dismay. Ifyou just want to get on a horse to say you did, this place is perfect.

Overall the kids loved it and are begging to go back. The grounds were immaculate and beautiful. A weekend trip was perfect but i wouldn't recommend staying any longer than 3 nights. Aside from issue with the wranglers, everything else was very enjoyable and we would consider visiting again.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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9  Thank Colleen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2012

PRO: Courteous, helpful staff; good food; beautiful landscapes; clean facility (except for some of the hotel rooms); very kid-oriented activities (a con if you have older children or you want something for adults); horseback riding; good daycare.

CON: Overall not a good value unless you’re really into horseback riding or you go off-season. Also beware of tennis-rage… saw some rich dude throw a hissy fit (tried to hit some people with his racket) because they walked by the courts while he was playing.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank JDH E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2012

When my daughter was small we went here about 8 times. Always clean, always nice. The food is so-so but the entertainment was first class. If you do everything then it's a bargain. It's like a cruise ship on land.

Room Tip: Stay in the main building if you have children. That way they can go back and forth between the roo...
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank VCS29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rocking Horse Ranch Resort

Address: 600 State Route 44/55, Highland, NY 12528-2259
Location: United States > New York > Highland
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Highland
Price Range: $399 - $699 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 113
Also Known As:
Rocking Horse Ranch Hotel Highland
Rocking Horse Hotel
Rocking Horse Resort

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