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“Like Coming Home”

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The Sugar & Spice Ranch
Ranked #10 of 23 Specialty Lodging in Bandera
Denver, Colorado
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Like Coming Home”
Reviewed April 11, 2014

My daughter and I have stayed at The S & S in Texas 2 times and are returning again this summer. Miss Leigh is an amazing host and always extremely gracious. Her patience with younger children is never ending and she knows her stuff. I read a couple of reviews on here and can't for the life of me believe that these people even came to the ranch. The accommodations although rustic are quite appropriate for the camp environment and actually have more niceties than most including a Jacuzzi tub, refrigerator, microwave and many other things in the bunkhouse.
The knowledge about horses and Miss Leigh's way with her horses is nothing short of mesmerizing. She is able to read them and her guests and picks the perfect horse for each guest and it never fails to work.
The lessons and the games that we played in the arena taught us much about our horses and ourselves. My daughter is a little more competitive than I thought. The games are designed to teach you how to ride while having fun. Anyone that is comes to the ranch is allowed to ride at their own level. We happened to go on a trail ride and it was fantastic. However, most riding is done in the arena as the horses are not "Dude Horses" as Miss Leigh states.
There was some down time during the day which we took full advantage of. We rode 2 times each day and had an hour or so in between to enjoy the pool.
Meals were outstanding and the evening activities we always lots of fun and memorable.
We were one of the families that had the opportunity to purchase the photo package and it was so great to have those pictures for memories and to share with our family members. By the way, that is not something Miss Leigh offered. It was a professional photographer husband and wife team that came out independently to offer their talents.
Lastly, our goal is to return for a few more years and then graduate to Wyoming for a new adventure with Miss Leigh and her lovely daughters who are so mature and responsible for their ages. We love them all and cant wait to see them again.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Tammy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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24 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Syracuse, New York
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 10, 2014

Although this was not my optimal vacation, my daughter (who loves horses - age 12) had a blast. Don't expect hotel - think out of the box. You sleep with about 10 other kids/mothers in a rustic bunk house and share one bathroom. The mother and daughters reside next to the guest bunk house and meals are served there. Walls are thin and you can hear conversations fairly clearly. Miss Leigh worked hard (and successfully) in preparing wonderful meals and entertaining the crew with trips to Bandura (my highligjht) horse games, evening entertainment such as a "cowboy" singer or movie night- even massages for moms at an additional fee. If you like rustic and horses - you may enjoy it. Just not my idea of vacation - my daughter on the other hand - cant wait to go back. I was expecting trail riding - but apparently that is not done at her Texas location - only Wyoming- much to my disappointment. If you know what to expect and can be okay with "Rustic" - you will have a good time. I gave up and just took photos. Scenery is okay - somewhat relaxing. A pool is available in summer - but not in January when we were there.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank non-cowgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bagdad, Arizona
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 4, 2014 via mobile

I'v been and am going back again in just a few weeks and than going to Wyoming this years with them as well. Mrs Leigh and her Girls are so awesome. Their Ranch is well kept and they have a POOL. The Bunk house has bunk beds and makes you feel like a kid again at summer camp. The kids write little notes all over them so they kinda take on a life all their own,and the bathroom is HUGE with a deep sunk in tub for those sore butts. LOL. They serve a large veritiy of foods so theres something for everyone,even your picky eaters.There's so much one on one you really feel at home. I will keep going back until I can no longer ride. The payment plans make it supper easy to aford it year after year. I can't wait get back in the saddle and spend time at the ranch. If you have ever been on the fence about going, GO! You will have the time of your life.

Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
Helpful?
1 Thank Sissy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
54 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed September 23, 2013

My two daughters (ages 6 and 8) and I just returned from a lovely three-day weekend with Miss Leigh and her family. We live in Austin, so it was an easy drive for us over to Bandera. Sugar and Spice is not an Old West theme park, or a dude ranch/spa resort where you "mosey on down to the corral" to clamber up on some already-saddled horses and go for a trail ride. It's more like spending the weekend riding at a friend's ranch - if your friend was a riding instructor and had a bunkhouse-style guest room, a fine herd of well-trained and well-cared for horses, a salt-water pool, and two really nice, responsible teenage daughters who cheerfully help out all weekend long. You'll learn a wealth of information about caring for horses, proper tacking up, equine personalities, safety, and of course, riding technique. Our first day was a slow start due to heavy rains the night before that rendered the arena too muddy to ride in the morning. No problem, Miss Leigh was prepared with activities for the girls, and they also enjoyed exploring the property and getting to know the dogs and barn kittens before riding in the afternoon. My girls appreciated the responsibility and freedom they were given, and bonded with their horses immediately. Food is great and kid-friendly, and Miss Leigh's daughters were great role models for my two rambunctious girls. At their age, my kiddos really look up to teenagers, and it is rare that they get to spend time with any, much less the kind of teens I actually want them around! Miss Leigh is an attentive instructor, and we all came away better riders and happy. Kids are already asking to go back.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank LauraMAustin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 12, 2013

I'm not much of a horse person, but my wife and daughter have been to Sugar and Spice several times and absolute love it. So, they took me over Labor Day weekend and now I'm a fan too. It's a rustic experience to be sure, but comfortable and homey. The owner Leigh and her daughters really made me feel like family and, despite my lack of riding experience I felt very at ease with my horse Willow. The food was excellent as well. If you want a real working ranch experience with great folks, this is the place to go.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Steve H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2013

I have made three trips to the Bandera Ranch and one visit to Wyoming. My daughter and I stayed for a summer camp and a three day weekend. Then we decided it was time to make it a family affair and included Dad in our last trip. It's isn't a spa destination with horses to look it at. This is a rare and real opportunity to be a part of a family run horse ranch. You can be as involved in the day to day work as much as you want. I like to wake up early in the morning to the soothing noise of the horses and take a cup of coffee to watch them eat hay while waiting for their breakfast. At 8:00 my daughter and I love to feed and help with the animals. Well, I pass on feeding the chickens but I love to watch them gather eggs.

Leigh is a wonderful instructor!! She loves to share her passion of equine with her guests and it shows in her desire to help you become a better rider. Starting from just tacking up - she is there to ensure you and your horse are on the way to happy trails. BUT she is going to make sure both of you are safe. She does a good job at also just letting you get a feel for it when verbal instructions get to a point that it is overload. She just knows when to let you ride and when to give you tips to improve.

This is a unique and priceless experience to share with your daughter. It's great to see the workings of other mother/daughter teams and learn from them. Some relationships your observe make you thankful it's not you! While others give you something to work toward. I also value the fact that Sugar and Spice shows Leigh and her daughters working together. Family working together!!!

The cabin guests stay in is very spacious with a mini-fridge and coffee pot. The bathroom has a huge walk-in closet, jacuzzi tub, toilet and shower with two vanities. Plenty of room for mothers and daughters (or a family) to get cleaned up and dressed without a hassle. And it is clean. The beds are bunks (four of them) and they are comfortable. It gives you the feel of camping but with modern comforts. I usually bring an extra blanket to snuggle with. The bunks are covered in the colorful musings of thousands of guests that have had the opportunity to be a part of the Sugar and Spice Ranch. We enjoy reading them all each time we are there.

The realness and honestly of Sugar & Spice is refreshing. Great for first timers and those of us that like to ride but don't often get a chance. Show up excited and ready to learn because you will learn a ton -about yourself, your daughter and horses.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank PinkShoeGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Texas City, Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed August 29, 2013

Horrible experience. We left two days early and were too intimidated to even tell the owner, Leigh, about how terribly we felt. My daughter summed it up with "Mommy, I was crying because of the lady, not because of the horse." The family that runs the camp were screaming at each other, cursing and crying right on the other side of our quarters. All 8 campers sleep in one room, with the same bunks and foam pads that the state parks use, and share one toilet. The food is cheap and salty. The instruction is entirely about what you're doing wrong. It was terrible to watch them talk so harshly to my children. One daughter nearly hyperventilated and I was stuck on a horse and couldn't go help her. For people new to horses or expecting any instruction at all, this is NOT the camp for you. We sat in the hot sun waiting while each person was individually berated. I with I'd seen the similar bad ratings on other sites before we went.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
7 Thank Family F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leigh2550, Owner at The Sugar & Spice Ranch, responded to this review, August 31, 2013
While we strive to satisfy all our clients we do occasionally have a guest that may not get the whole concept of what we do and how important it is to understand the way we do things. First of all, everyone is housed together so they interact in a camp environment, work as a community to understand the workings of other mother and daughter relationships. In addition to that we can witness some amazing changes in the daughters and how they look at themselves and their moms by observing other mother and daughter dynamics. I do recall the particular family that wrote this review and remember how completely terrified the daughter was by the pony, Buttercup she was assigned. I asked if she had had some traumatic experience in the past that would cause this. I was told no. I have always accepted the fact that this place is not for everyone and some people just are not going to understand what this place is and offers. We try and talk to each mom before they register to explain everything so that they will have the full picture of the place before they arrive. I sincerely wish these folks a blessed future with whatever they do.
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Additional Information about The Sugar & Spice Ranch

Property: The Sugar & Spice Ranch
Address: 884 Rikki Dr, Bandera, TX 78003-6074
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Texas > Bandera County > Bandera
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 23 Specialty Lodging in Bandera
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 1
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Sugar and Spice Ranch is exclusively for mothers and daughters who want to spend a week having the best bonding experience of a lifetime. Imagine bunking with other moms and daughters in a real bunkhouse and riding your very own horse for the week. You'll learn how to care for your horse by learning to tack up, groom, bathe, feed, turn out, and of course ride. Moms will feel like kids again, and your daughters will get the camping experience while still having the security of being with mom. You'll do virtually everything together including riding, swimming and on the last day of camp you will even participate in a team horse show. Our summer camp sessions run from Saturday through the following Friday every week from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Camp tuition is for TWO PEOPLE and is all-inclusive (lodging, all meals, tack, horses, lessons, etc.) We can't wait to share our ranch with you all. Be one of our guests and experience what happens when moms and daughters come together!!!! Ask about our Women's Only Weekends that run September through May. ... more   less 
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The Sugar & Spice Ranch Bandera, Texas

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