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“Amazing Experience”
Review of Tanque Verde Ranch

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Tanque Verde Ranch
Ranked #27 of 130 Hotels in Tucson
Certificate of Excellence
San Tan Valley, AZ
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Amazing Experience”
Reviewed May 17, 2014

We stayed here for 2 days, and wished we had stayed longer. There were about 50 rooms, ours has 2 queen size beds, kiva fireplace and had a truly western feel. There were no TV in the rooms, which were not missed, as there is so much to do. There are BBQ dinners 2 nights per week, with fabulous selection of food and way too much to eat. We took the breakfast horse ride, which was an unforgettable experience, over somewhat rocky terrain, surrounded by cactus brush, followed by a breakfast of pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs juices etc. again no shortage of food.
Apart from the wonderful experience, the nor thing which stood out was the customer service and friendly, polite helpful staff, from the wranglers to the front desk.
Would recommend this to anyone who wants a western experience.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank AZTraveller03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed May 14, 2014

There is something hard to describe about Tanque Verde. It's just a very unique way to spend a vacation.

Family feeling: We felt like we instantly knew the staff and they knew us. The front desk, the activities coordinator, the dining staff, bar staff, and of course the wranglers. Some staff switch roles day to day so you see them in surprising places! On top of that, you immediately get to know the other guests and make quick friendships. Over meals, everyone swaps stories about the horse they road, the snake they saw, etc, etc. I was worried the place would be filled with families with kids but, on the contrary, it was mostly couples, friend groups, and single people. All ages and nationalities.

Grounds: Every view is stunning and surreal. It was sunny every minute. We saw wild life, swam in the pool, drank margaritas. I loved it.

Food: Everything I ate was delicious and I loved the built-in meal plan. Did I mention the margaritas?

Riding: For me, the switch to western was a big challenge but you cannot beat the riding opportunities. TV Ranch takes safety and horse care very seriously and that was important to me. They can work with experienced riders or brand newbies. I was impressed with the incredible patience and care the staff spent on a horse-phobic guest. I was sure she'd give up but they gently persisted and it was a big success. We had some great trail rides while there.

The Room: I loved our room which was really more like a cabin. We were the last unit on the last row and the view was stunning. The room has floor to ceiling windows and a large patio. We sat out a few nights to watch the sunset and I will never forget the beauty, quiet, and peace of those moments. I feel obligated to add that we had a ton of moths in our room which were really annoying BUT we recognized it is the desert and cannot be helped. I sympathized with the staff that seem to be fighting a losing battle against them.

Other activities: My husband did mountain biking which ended up being a solo outing and a great time for him. We also did 2 nature talks and one in-house shopping night with local artists. All were great.

Cost: The sticker shock for this vacation was the hardest part but it was our honeymoon and I was determined that we have a really special southwest experience. In retrospect, considering that our every need was met and exceeded, I feel like the money was very well spent.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank jess_march
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 27, 2014

From the moment that we were enthusiastically greeted at the airport by Jeff until we were dropped off at the airport for our return flight home, our vacation at TVR was practically perfect. The location of the ranch is amazing, and the staff (being extremely knowledgeable about the history of the ranch and the Sonoran Desert) gave us lots of interesting information about the local area. The Sonoran Desert is absolutely beautiful, and I would never have dreamed that a desert could be so green! Everything at the ranch was very well organized, and there were activities that interested all of us. The best part was that we could do things on our own or together as a family, and everybody was happy at the end of the day. Being a beginner horse rider, I really appreciated the patience of the wranglers at the ranch. The lessons were great and by the end of the trip, I was really getting the hang of it. Andy was a terrific guide and took us on some great rides in the desert. He helped us with tips on how to ride the horses, and he made the rides really interesting and fun. The mountain bike rides were equally fun, and Tim was awesome on the trails. We loved the hikes, the tennis clinic, the evening barbecue (complete with Wild West performer Loop Rawlins) and the list goes on. There is no way anybody can complain about the food at TVR, because there is something for everyone, and plenty of it. The meals were top notch. I especially enjoyed Mexican night, but really every meal was great. Shane in the Dog House Saloon was great, and we looked forward to relaxing and chatting with him at the end of our busy days. Also had a great massage at the spa on our last day there. I didn't know what to expect, but TVR definitely exceeded my expectations. We all want to come back for another stay. I miss it already!

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Cindy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed April 27, 2014

We just spent four days at Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson (two adults and a 7-year-old girl) and had a wonderful time.

I'm not entirely sure what makes something a "dude ranch", but TVR is its own place and feels authentic for what it is. It's not a working ranch/farm, but located just outside Tucson it is devoted to riding and relaxation.

If you've never been to the "living desert" around Tucson, the environment is stunning, with saguaro cactus rising high, dry heat during the day, and cool nights. Horseback riding through the area is really an amazing way to see the terrain.

The staff were friendly and relaxed in a way that made it easy to do whatever was going on. Food was mostly served buffet style and was plentiful and always well made. The meat and southwestern dishes were usually excellent. Our room was clean, spacious, and felt appropriately decorated for the desert.

Other than horseback riding, there was a small pool and tennis courts that we enjoyed. We went fishing one afternoon. Hikes and mountain biking were offered, but we never got the chance.

Lots of horseback riding lessons were offered for various levels. We went on an "intermediate" ride where we trotted for extensive stretches through the desert. It was a surprising amount of time spent trotting compared to other rides I've been on elsewhere. If you want to "lope" (canter, if you're used to riding English...), you have to pass the dreaded (judging from other posts here) lope test. If you're going to be riding at speed weaving on trails through cactus you probably want to be competent, however. I passed the lope test and am not that great a rider, so the bar isn't really that high. However, I didn't get a chance to go on a loping ride.

The intermediate lesson gives you a chance to practice loping, which is good experience even if you aren't ready for a loping ride.

The kids program (divided into 3 age levels) was also heavily focused on horseback riding. Our daughter had never really ridden before and just loved this.

In addition to lessons and rides, there were other horseback activities including a sort of mini rodeo and a competition to pen cattle. We went on a walking ride with our daughter to an outdoor breakfast one of the mornings (they offer this twice per week) and had great pancakes prepared on an outdoor griddle.

Other guests were friendly and fun to talk to, ride with, and get to know. At meals you could eat alone if a small table was available or sit at a larger table with other guests. This latter option was a great way for everyone in our family to get to know other at the ranch. There were a moderate number of guests at TVR while we were there, but you could walk around almost anytime of day and feel like the place was almost empty because of its size and the number of people off doing activities.

We've been to Rocking Horse Ranch in NY twice (also reviewed by me on TA), and the places are very different. RHR is a dude-ranch-themed resort, and while there's lots of riding there is essentially no instruction. Riding at RHR seems like a duller and yet more stressful experience. At TVR, the wranglers were much more relaxed about everything while still keeping a watchful eye on the riders. The food at TVR is much better than RHR and, like everything at TVR, feels authentic in a way that RHR does not. RHR makes for a fun vacation. There's nothing similar to the waterslides, rock walls, etc. that were just wonderful for kids at RHR, but TVR feels like you've gone someplace real.

Flying in from the east coast, we really only had three full days of activities at TVR despite staying there for four nights. This was too short, and when we go again (which I'm pretty sure we will), we'll need to schedule things to get at least one, and perhaps two more full days.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank David R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United States
Level 6 Contributor
134 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed April 26, 2014 via mobile

We recently spent 5 days at TVR. It was a lovely experience for our family and we plan to return. The service was stellar and the staff was so accommodating. The kids camp was fabulous and our kids loved it. This place does attract some high maintenance guests and I was disappointed to hear some of the complaining. The BBQ and hikes were favorites after the horse riding. Thank you!

Stayed April 2014
Helpful?
Thank jake2771
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 26, 2014

Before taking our trip I spent some time reading the reviews for Tanque Verde, both the positive and the negative. As a horse owner I was concerned when individuals reported the poor condition the horses were in. My husband really wanted the children to see the South West and to spend some time on a ranch with the children. We just got home and we are missing the place, the people and the horses. We had a wonderful time. I kept an eye out for some of the things people had complained about and I honestly have no idea who these people dealt with because we had the most pleasant experience with staff and horses.

I'll start with the staff, first off there is no possible way for me to name everyone because I will miss someone and feel bad about it. I'll start with the wranglers because my girls and I literally became barn rats arriving early to our lesson so we could talk and hang out with the wranglers. Why people did not find them friendly I have no idea. As a horse owner and former riding instructor when you ask someone to do the same thing 20 times you may become impatient. People need to realize horses are living creatures and your safety, the safety of all the guests and also the safety of the horses are their priority. I read a lot about people being bothered by the lope check. I have a horse, I ride, I passed the lope check. I will tell you that there is no comparison to loping in an arena and loping on the trail. It can be difficult and takes some endurance. One of my girls did not pass the lope check the first time and she took a second intermediate lesson and passed the check the second time. They gave her constructive feedback and she applied it. She also rarely rides and was able to master some very solid skills through the multiple lessons she took.

Our rooms were very roomy, clean and comfortable. Yes they were a little dark, but I felt this kept them cool and refreshing after a hot day on the trails. I thought the decor was cozy and rustic to added to the atmosphere.

The grounds….amazing! Someone on a poor review complained about the dim lighting at night. I felt that the pathways were well lit. You had to pay attention, but we had no trouble finding out way around the grounds at all.

The dining was fantastic. There were amazing selections for the plated and buffet meals alike. I am not a fan of buffets myself but I felt the menus were well thought out with a vegetable, starches a red meat, a chicken dish and usually a fish. There was plenty of soup and salad at every meal as well as fresh fruit. I thought it was neat to see the owner flipping pancakes at the breakfast ride. The Cottonwood picnic and cookouts were also great and the cooks were very accommodating to special requests for rare or well done burgers.

General Staff. Again, people had complained about not being asked about their stay. Were were seriously asked at least twice a day if not more. I had a sit down discussion with one of the staff and she took note of some of my observations. Overall I found the place very guest oriented and receptive to it's visitors and their needs. We had a few hiccups on our trip, but hey that's life and seriously what I call a first world problem. My husband arrived two days after us and no one picked him up at the airport. He was a bit upset, but he rented a car instead of waiting for them to come and get him. They apologized and we know to double check now on pick-ups.

Here were my suggestions, the kids club is exactly as it states a kids club. I suggested breaking the groups up in to smaller cohorts and rotating the kiddos through the different activities for smaller amounts of time in an effort to keep them moving. They do mount a lot of kids up at the same time and if your child is mounted first they wait around a long time. This was noted by the manager as well. Also, the schedule should be adhered too better, my son was very disappointed when he ran down to do fishing and it was canceled. I know things happen, people get sick etc, but have a plan to maybe do fishing later, for a little kid this is so upsetting. He loved playing Capture the Flag with the group and basketball and the tennis lessons as well.

The Bar…awesome, both bar tenders were terrific.

The pool beautiful, however I'm not sure how to remedy this. As a former lifeguard it is very scary to me when I cannot see the bottom of the pool. We saw the pool being vacuumed daily, however the water is very cloudy, I suspect as a result of the warm weather, water and gallons of sunscreen that everyone applies daily. I don't know if more bleach or chlorine is needed, but for safety purposes the water should be crystal clear and the bottom of the pool visible at all times.

We loved our stay. We will be back. I am happy to discuss anything further with staff and answer any questions. We had a wonderful time and were sad to leave. The Albanese Family

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Jill A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed April 20, 2014

We have been long time advocates for this wonderful guest ranch adjoining the gorgeous Saguaro National Park. Our daughter practically grew up here and for a decade had been her favorite place and must go vacation spot for us. Over the past two years, the prices have risen, the quality of the experience and value have fallen and the long term staff have disappeared. This year's trip has probably ended a great relationship.
The list of problems this year was long and we even took time out of our vacation to address our and others concerns with the manager to try and make changes before they lost their long term loyal clients. Unfortunately, the current manager seems more focused on costs than on customer service - a drastic change from the past. When we specifically addressed this, we were given a lesson on economics as opposed to customer service. There are many ways this place could step up their service.

During peak season its difficult to do the activities you wish unless you sign up early. Now they also want you to sign up for mealtimes. The staffing of the kitchen and dining area has dropped - during meals, food, old dishes get left around on the tables. Service at sit down meals is very slow and those meals you wait for are marginal for the price paid. We walked out of dinner due to the delays and drove to a local restaurant. The scheduled mealtimes did nothing to improve this. The riding in the desert remains a favorite but even this has changed with very new and inexperienced wranglers. One morning a group came for a private ride they had signed up for the night before - having chosen their horses etc...on arrival to the corral, no one had the horses ready and the wranglers made the guests seem like it was their fault. Ugh!! There a few bright spots remaining at Tanque Verde Ranch but its awful to see a great destination become mediocre.
Bring back the notion of customer service and a management team that understands that the TVR exists is its customers to enjoy the western experience. Please fix this place before it goes the route of HoJos, another former American icon.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Rideronthestorm14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tanque Verde Ranch

Property: Tanque Verde Ranch
Address: 14301 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85748-7138
Location: United States > Arizona > Tucson
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 Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#12 Romantic Hotel in Tucson
#13 Family Hotel in Tucson
#25 Business Hotel in Tucson
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Tanque Verde Ranch 3.5*
Number of rooms: 76
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tanque Verde Ranch Resort was named "Best Dude Ranch in Arizona" by Dude Republic in 2012, as well as a "Top Ten Family Resort" by the Travel Channel since 2007, and a "Top Five Ranch" by Conde Nast in 2008. Tanque Verde Ranch is one of America’s old time cattle and guest ranches. Located on 60,000 acres of Tucson’s most breathtaking desert landscapes, nestled amongst the Rincon Mountains and adjacent to Saguaro National Park and Coronado National Forest. Established in 1868, the superb guest ranch is recognized as the last luxurious outpost of the old west providing guests with plush accommodations, unparalleled amenities and a vast array of exciting activities such as horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing and hiking. La Sonora Spa is the perfect place for a bit of quiet relaxation, and the kids will love all the supervised children's programs! Don't hesitate – getaway at one of the premier, all-inclusive dude ranches in the country. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tanque Verde Ranch Hotel Tucson

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