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“Great place for rustic escape from the modern day”

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The Cataloochee Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed November 21, 2013

First off, I stayed in the Main Ranch House, so the experience in the cabins or Silverbell Lodge may be different. The house is an old structure, but is in very good condition. They had a big fireplace which was nice to gather around. The biggest surprise was... NO TV in the rooms! (I understand that other areas of the property have DirecTV). This may be just what you are looking for, but I was a little surprised. There is a TV in the main lobby, if you just cannot make it without. They do have wi-fi, however, it can be a little slow, and you may get knocked off and have to reconnect. Also, NO CELL SERVICE on the mountain. I found a spot or two on the grounds that had a bar or two occasionally, just enough to check VM or make a call, but if you are very dependent on using your cell phone, forget about it!

The Hummingbird room where I stayed was very nice, with a queen and twin bed. It was fine for me at 5' 10", but if you are tall, you will hit your head on the roof beams, especially toward the outside wall. Likewise, people 6 feet and over will have to stoop in the shower and toilet area. The queen bed was very comfortable, and the heater kept the room nice and toasty (it got down just below freezing overnight on my 2 night stay).

The food was AWESOME!! My business retreat included all meals, and they were all incredible. Great home cooking, served family-style. For those unfamiliar with that concept, food was brought out in big bowls or platters, and you passed it around and got what you wanted. Beverages were served by the wait staff. Two of our meals were cookouts, where they placed a buffet outside next to the grill, where staff cooked steaks & ribs for supper, and hamburgers & hot dogs for lunch. You can eat outside if you want, but it was too cold to stay out there during my visit.

Some of the family members of my business associates went horseback riding, and I heard very good comments on their experience. I did not have time to participate in any outdoor activities.

Overall, it was a great experience. I would recommend it for families wanting to get-away-from-it-all during warmer months (my stay was in early November).

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled on business
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Thank ncengineer91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mary C, Manager at The Cataloochee Ranch, responded to this reviewResponded January 25, 2014

Thank you so much for you review of Cataloochee Ranch. I know many people want all the technology but we find that the lack of it helps people to reconnect to themselves and their families. Remember the gathering around the big fireplace? I hope to see you soon for a regular vacation or another business meeting.

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63 - 69 of 111 reviews

Reviewed November 19, 2013

We just got back from a quick weekend trip and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The rooms are perhaps a bit dated, but met my expectations from reading other reviews and viewing pictures. My wife probably would have liked the rooms to be a bit more upscale, but they were fine by my standard...clean, warm, and cozy (Silverbell). The horseback riding was a lot of fun and we thought it was reasonably priced. Based on some of the reviews I was a bit unsure of the food but it was all wonderful....perhaps a highlight of the trip for me as I grew up on this type of food (fried chicken, baked ham, biscuits, grits, country fried steak). The grounds were beautiful and the staff and family were extremely pleasant and quick to answer questions and give background on the rich history. We did a long hike, sat by the beautiful fireplace, and enjoyed conversation with the other guests. We also stopped in Waynesville and enjoyed a nice lunch and a trip to the Mast General Store. We will definitely be coming back!

Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
2  Thank traveldawg06
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mary C, Manager at The Cataloochee Ranch, responded to this reviewResponded January 25, 2014

Thank you so much for your review of Cataloochee Ranch. Though I know the older building and furnishings are not for everyone, each room has it's own personality. We are in the continual process of updating the rooms and updating some of the menus. I look forward to see you again soon.

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Reviewed August 20, 2013

The family and I have been to the ranch many times over the past decade. Our recent visit is consistent with past visits. Just a bit more attention to detail, and thoughtful but inexpensive touches would pull them over the peak toward great. Instead, they are kind of stuck at very good.

Pro's
* Quiet, safe, family oriented environment - they're 70+ years in business.
* Horse rides are excellent; the Hemphill Bald ride is a standout. The guides have been universally excellent. This year we again had Sam lead our group on the 2.5-3 hour ride, like all the guides they are helpful, safety conscious and fun.
* Hiking; lots of trails to choose from. The hike over to the Swag is a family favorite. Evans Cove is 2nd.
* When Miss Patsy cooks, everyone is happy. She is awesome, her country style recipes are great.
* The Ranch has stepped up their after dinner entertainment. Music has been excellent for a couple seasons. Might not be a big hit with the kids, but the parents and others enjoyed the music very much.
* Skip all the junk on Soco Road, drive to nearby Waynesville for a a great lunch and shopping experience on Main Street.
* Private, covered outdoor deck with a million dollar view.

Con's
* Cabins need updating, even the pricey Cabins on the Ridge. Bathrooms, carpets, furniture.
* Lot of unhappy folks who take a room in Main Lodge, see above - plus noise/odor from adjacent rooms and spaces.
* Cookouts good, other meals are OK. The kitchen has not figured out how to serve a meal on a hot plate, so the food is frequently lukewarm or cold. This has worsened in the past few years.
* Logging off a big chunk of Ranch property this year, tearing up a whole hillside. Seems like a big disconnect between the Chestnut tree experiment and the cut and run logging operation?
* Lodging ammenities are getting pretty scarce, and down graded in quality. 2 hotel sized bars of soap for a family to last a week?????

Pro's very much out weigh the cons. Just a bit more attention to detail and they can clear the hurdle to being a great family resort, not just a good one.

Room Tip: Avoid the rooms in Main Lodge. Opt for a cabin. A Family of 3 maybe 4 would enjoy one of the cabins...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Jim B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mary C, Manager at The Cataloochee Ranch, responded to this reviewResponded August 24, 2013

Thank you for you review. We appreciate your input and take all things to heart. As we approach our 80th anniversary we look for ways to continually improve and reviews like your help. Special attention will be paid to updating and upgrading the cabins. We always run our plates before service in order to provide a clean, warm plate but we will make that a bit closer to serving time. The logging we are doing is more selective timbering and thought it looks harsh now the long term plan is to provide sunlight to the young trees to allow them to grow. All this is done with careful consideration to the land as well as the guests and we are very vigelent about monitoring the loggers. Many of the trees that have been taken out were beginning to rot on the inside and would have fallen soon anyway.
I hope that you may see some of these improvements on your next visit, if not please feel free to seek me out directly.
Thank you,
Mary

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Reviewed August 9, 2013

Recently went with family to the ranch. The ranch cabin was clean but old with old furniture. Bathroom could use some updating. I was surprised that the staff wasn't friendly and the owner never did come around during dinners to meet or talk with anyone. The food was ok but during their "family nights" it was a little skimpy -- they served fried tilapia fish -- one of the worst fishes health-wise you can eat -- one night and a homemade pie which they didn't even have enough to serve all the guests. For the price, we expected more. There is someone from the horseback riding stable that comes every morning at 8:30 to sign up those interested in riding ($55 per hr) and this was enjoyable -- kids loved to ride on the mountain trails and were able to ride two of the days we were there. We were there for three nights and when we arrived in the afternoon, the horseback was filled up with no room for the kids to ride that day. The grounds of the ranch are beautiful with great views. It's basically a place to rest, hike, and ride horses. No spa and not much in the town of Maggie Valley. Kids did enjoy their stay.

Room Tip: There are a few newer updated cabins so you might check these out. Most don't have two rooms...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank Linda G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2013

We stayed there for four nights in mid-July and brought our granddaughter with us. Rented one of the ranch cabins with a drop dead view of the mountains. Stayed a fri,sat,sun,mon. The first three nights they had entertainment or an activity, but not on mon nite. We square danced, listened to the wolf man, want on a hay ride, hiked and went horseback riding. From the folks who serve the food to the cleaning staff to all the gals at the horse barn, customer service was excellent. It seemed like old home week as most of the guests knew each other ôr were there for family reunions, we were the new bees. We had picked out our favorite place to eat the first three days and then couldn't sit there as they had reserved the whole room for a reunion. And we were put in another room. We liked the get away so much that we plan on going next year to beat the heat on the coast. One small improvement would be to vary the breakfast menu, four mornings of basically the same thing was a little monotonous , they had, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs every morning and then changed it up with the addition of one of the following: with grits, or pancakes or biscuits or gravy. don't get me wrong the eggs were delicious, just saying. Loved the place, well maintained and well definitely go back. Since its all inclusive so to speak, don't forget to tip those hard working folks who serve you!

Room Tip: Definitely the Ranch cabins, we stayed in the Azalea which is an antique cabin, almost too rustic, f...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Caylinsgranny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mary C, General Manager at The Cataloochee Ranch, responded to this reviewResponded August 24, 2013

Thank you for your wonderful review. We love for grandparents like yourself to become heros to their grandchildren by taking them on a special vacation. We look forward to your visit next year if not before.
Thank you,
Mary

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Reviewed August 2, 2013

Recently returned from the ranch where we visited for the first time. All in all it was a good vacation, but with a few changes it would have been excellent. The location is fanatastic and the view worth a million dollars. The temps are much cooler being at least 10 degrees lower than the valley. The rooms were as expected for a ranch. The grounds are well kept though they could use some color and upgrading. The horse ride was great and the views on the Bald wonderful. Our son enjoyed fishing in the trout pond which was well stocked. We hiked one of the trails which we enjoyed, but it could use some maintenance. The food was good, but not fantastic considering the cost. Breakfast was the same all three mornings. It appeared that some guests received more personal perks. The biggest disappointment was the staff attitudes. Considering the cost of the vacation we thought the staff was lackluster. Most resorts really go out of their way to meet your needs and make you happy. The Cataloochee staff just didn't seem to be very concerned. The staff couldn't recommend any particular outings, events, or excursions. When asked to recommend a hiking trail guest services said they don't hike. Sorry, but the staff should know their product frontwards and backwords. We enjoyed the experience, but improving attitudes would take a B+ experience to an A+. The family is setting on a gold mine if they would just go that extra mile. Smile more, get to know your guests, show a little more hospitality, ask questions.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank D O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mary C, Manager at The Cataloochee Ranch, responded to this reviewResponded August 24, 2013

Thank you so much for you review. We are love having all the families. The staff attitude has been addressed by doing some retraining and refining with our personnel. Your input is very helpful and we hope to become better and better.
Thank you,
Mary

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Reviewed July 12, 2013

The Alexander family must treat their help so well! Everyone who works here acts like they own this ranch and cares so much that everything is right for the guests. The place is beautiful, the accommodations are clean and cozy and ranch like. Both Children and elderly alike have plenty to see and do. People just seem happy here. It's like a camp for families and you meet the nicest guests. My family of 24 plans to return next year!

  • Stayed: July 2013
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Thank Magalita1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Cataloochee Ranch

Address: 119 Ranch Dr, Maggie Valley, NC 28751-8509
Phone Number:
Location: United States > North Carolina > North Carolina Mountains > Maggie Valley
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 21 Specialty Lodging in Maggie Valley
Number of rooms: 24
Also Known As:
The Cataloochee Ranch Hotel Maggie Valley

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