This was certainly an experience not to be missed by anyone travelling in the area and wanting to experience a taste of the cowboy ranch life. We had a wonderful time but the accommodation let it down. We booked two lodges (not cheap), one was ok but the other one (Lodge No. 3) was a disappointment. It was so dirty that even a cowboy would have a problem staying there. It was dingy and dark with curtains pulled over the windows that covered a multitude of sins. When I tried to open one of the curtains the whole rail fell down! The cover on the bed looked uninviting; and although the sheets seemed clean the towels had seen much better days. I made the mistake of peering down the back of the bed to find more cobwebs and dirt than you would think possible after 20 years! After that, we stayed awake all night wondering what might crawl up from under the bed. On our first night, I wandered into the bathroom and was confronted with a scorpion. Well, ok we're British, and the worst thing that we encounter is the odd over large spider or bumble bee, so we are a bit wimpey I guess. Anyway, sleep was impossible on that night as we didn't know how dangerous or how many scorpions were going to invade. Pity really because it was so quiet and peaceful on a night time. We got another shock the next day when we were confronted with a snake curled up on the front door. Now there are no phones in these lodges so you can't just ring reception and ask what do we do you just have to sit it out. Maybe the ranch should advise on such things? This particular lodge just needed a serious clean as the other lodge was not wonderful but ok and what you would probably expect from a dude ranch.
Now that I've got the down side off my chest I'll focus on the pluses (and there were many). The family run ranch provided great food and entertainment and nothing was too much trouble. Randy (The CEO) was a great guy and made us feel so welcome that we felt part of the family. Cold beer flowed continuously throughout the day and night (all part of the package). We enjoyed a Mexican night but even more so enjoyed the Wild West evening and the dancing. The food is lovingly prepared and presented by the family but as most of the eating is outdoors there was lots of flies which did put me off a bit (hazard of cowboy life). The riding was a great experience but don't get any ideas that you are going to ride off into the sunset like Butch Cassidy - it's all very restricted, regulated and slow. Mind you, in temperatures of over 100 degrees you wouldn't want to go at a racing pace let alone push the horses any faster than a dobin speed. The breakfast horse ride or the hayride (for those who don't want to ride horseback) was fab leading to breakfast cooking away on an open grill, enjoying the passing deer and the cowboy countryside.
The pool back at the ranch is a good size and there's always something going on so you won't be bored. You just need to remember that this is cowboy Texas, dusty and raw. Don't take any decent clothing with you because it will just be ruined. Trainers/boots, shorts and jeans that's all. Be prepared to rough-it and get your shoes dirty!
The weather was so hot that the river had dried up so there was not chance of tubbing down the river but that would have been fun had it been possible.
It’s such a pity the lodge let it down for us but we wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- "Horsepitality" is the foundation of the Mayan Ranch which is located in Bandera, Texas, 48 miles NW of San Antonio in the Texas Hill Country. Come experience our superb food, great accommodations, enthusiastic staff, horseback riding over picturesque trails, and swimming in our Texas-sized pool. Learn how to spin a rope, crack a whip and pitch shoes. Or, just sit back and enjoy a wagon ride around the ranch property to see the wildlife.Bring your family or your business (we are a great facility for conferences.)The Mayan Ranch is full American Plan. Rates include all meals, lodging, ranch activities as well as complimentary beer, wine, sodas and coffee.There is a little 'cowboy' in all of us - Find yours at the Mayan Ranch. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mayan Dude Ranch Hotel Bandera
- Mayan Dude Ranch Bandera, Texas