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“What a disappointment !”
Review of Rancho Cortez

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Rancho Cortez
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 23 April 2017

I was so excited to take my little girl to spend time at a dude ranch. We made a reservation for a half day from 1 pm-8 pm . Wh m I made the reservation I asked if all the activities would be available in late April and told yes. When we checked in at 12:45 I noticed the ranch a bit empty and asked if all we were paying for (riding, hayride, using a lasso lesson, entertainment, dinner etc) would be provided. The woman said yes they still provided the full activities and there were guests but finishing lunch. We ended up doing a walking trail ride with no trot or anything else with about 6 other customers.

After completing the ride I asked if they normally trot the horses but was told I needed to request. I asked if we could have another ride. I was told it was another $25 per person. We decided to check out the other activities. Hmmm, what can we do? Oh feed the cattle in about 3 hours. The ranch hands seemed too busy to arrange activities to entertain the 8 guests. I asked about the lasso lesson which was adjacent to the barn but was given no response on when they were doing it, even though 8 customers were all standing at Lund doing "Nothing" following the ride! Hmm you could check out the pot belly pig!!!

We could go swimming. But we did not have towels or a place to change. Quite honestly the pool looked like something out of National Lampoon's Vacation. With nothing to do and being in San Antonio for only 2 days, I decided to cut this visit early as we decided not to sit around for 3 hours just to see cattle being fed. I asked how much ch it was just for the ride and was told $50 per person even my 7 year old! I guess it is is only $25 per hour to add an additional ride?

To sum it up, I do not feel it was worth the nearly 1.5 hour drive nor the money. If El Cortez Ranch knew they were going to have 8 guests they should have planned to ensure that activities were arranged and coordinated by the staff and not simply leave the guests to loiter around. Very disappointing!

Room Tip: There are a few other hotels in Bandera as well as at least 3 other Dude Ranches nearby
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  • Stayed: April 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
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Thank jdealman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mary C, Owner at Rancho Cortez, responded to this reviewResponded 25 April 2017

Like we've mentioned before, we're sorry you and your daughter didn't enjoy your visit. We admit time on the ranch is slower paced than normal city life, but we like to give our guests time to enjoy each activity without rushing them around. Whenever there's a certain activity you'd like to participate in or any questions you have, don't hesitate to holler at one of our team members. As for our price, we do have each available package listed on our website, including rates for the hourly rides, but we apologize if any of the rates surprised you at all. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in Texas exploring San Antonio. Perhaps we'll see you again in the future some time. Safe travels and best wishes to you all.

Sincerely,
Larry and Mary - Owners

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19 - 23 of 333 reviews

Reviewed 17 April 2017 via mobile

We opted for the half day visit and we we're very pleased with it. Trail ride, lasso lesson, time to roam the hills and play about on the ranch, trip out to feed the longhorn cattle, tasty dinner (especially desert; apple cobbler and cranberry bread pudding with a sweet cream. I had asked Denise(??) if she shares recipes as it was so tasty. She said she'd write it down for me but I never saw her again that evening) and a cowboy singer at the campfire to end the evening. Kids loved the marshmallows at the campfire. We had a really great time and are really pleased that we went. My kids say that they would love to go back and stay over....maybe one day.

Stayed: April 2017, travelled with family
Thank ellkell28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mary C, Owner at Rancho Cortez, responded to this reviewResponded 19 April 2017

We're happy you and your family had a fantastic time on our ranch horseback riding, feeding the longhorns, and exploring. Thanks for visiting. We hope you all return again in the future!

Take care,
Larry and Mary - Owners

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Reviewed 20 March 2017

My husband and I wanted to bring our five year old grand daughter to Texas Hill Country to experience the flavor of the land and culture. (She lives in Bayou country in La) I researched several ranches in the area but my gut just lead me to Rancho Cortez. It could have been something as simple as the heated pool. However, from the first phone call, I had a strong feeling I would be making my connections here. Cheryl was very accommodating and patient with me and my multitude of questions.

I wanted rustic, yet roomy enough to spread out. There were many types of rooms to choose from depending on the number in your party (family). A large group had just left, so we were put in a larger room just to make us more comfortable. It could have slept seven. My grand daughter was thrilled she got to pick the bunk she wanted and she had a bed for HER "babies!"

As we seemed to enjoy the ranch through my grand daughter's eyes, I'll give you the run down on what she loved. From the second we stepped out of the car, she was greeted with the friendly beautiful horses. Her favorite animal was the pet pot belly pig called Tator Tot. She also enjoyed the burros, goats, and ducklings at a near by lake.

Cheryl, who lives on site, and Cowboy Larry, the owner made us feel like we were family who came to visit. Anna had a private little ride on a horse in the corral with Cowboy Chris because she was too young to ride the trail. He was patient, yet very informative. Although he was a quiet guy, he did his job well, treated the horses with respect and made Anna feel very comfortable up on the horse. In conversations with Cheryl, I had mentioned that we were there in part to share my grand daughter's birthday. To our great surprise, on the first night, Catherine, one of the cooks made her a special birthday cake for all to enjoy. Anna's delight was having Cowboy Larry himself have everyone sing happy birthday to her. We later found out HE was having a birthday the next week. Anna went back to Louisiana and told her mom she "Just had to make a picture for Cowboy Larry's Birthday!"

Also for kids, young and old, were the two pools, a huge rec room, tree house, work out facility, and acres of beautiful rugged land to hike.

From the grown ups point of view, we truly got to relax right outside our cabin, anywhere on the ranch and especially at the campfires at night. Just wish we had more singers in our group ha ha. We all loved the roasted marshmallows!! The food was plentiful, but don't expect prime rib steaks. We never went hungry!

Two days was plenty enough time for us with our five year old grand daughter. However, I could see having a large family reunion or multiple families along, then I would for sure want to stay longer. The other staff members we encountered were very friendly and helpful. I truly felt like we were visiting distant family here at Rancho Cortez!

Room Tip: Trust Cheryl to match the best room to accommodate your party.
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  • Stayed: March 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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1  Thank maxmtex2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mary C, Owner at Rancho Cortez, responded to this reviewResponded 23 March 2017

It was a blast having your family out here on the ranch! We're so glad your granddaughter had a fun time celebrating her birthday by riding horses, playing with the farm animals, and swimming. We were delighted to see her birthday card to Larry arrive! Thank you for all the support. We hope to see your family out here again!

Take care,
Larry and Mary - Owners

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Reviewed 4 March 2017

I planned a trip to visit Rancho Cortez with a large group and Rancho Cortez was very easy to work with. Their communication was great and the whole experience was better than I could have imagined. Larry was a delight and made the whole experience authentic and enjoyable. My only regret is that we didn't end up staying over night there. Also there is limited cell phone reception (which is nice if you are trying to escape reality) but if you need to communicate with the outside world (like I did to check in for a flight) they were very accommodating with allowing me to use their wifi and computer. I hope to be able to return someday! Thanks so much, Larry and staff!

  • Stayed: March 2017, travelled on business
    • Service
Thank Aubry B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mary C, Owner at Rancho Cortez, responded to this reviewResponded 6 March 2017

It's fantastic to hear you enjoyed your time exploring our property on the trail ride, Aubry. It's also great that our communication with you was helpful and created a stress-free experience. Thanks for your support. We hope you'll return again whenever you're in the area!

Best,
Larry and Mary - Owners

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Reviewed 3 March 2017 via mobile

I visited Rancho Cortez for a half day with some middle schoolers. We had a great time learning about and riding horses, learning how to lasso, seeing cattle up close, eating dinner, and sitting around the campfire. I noticed some other reviewers have low ratings for things like Larry (the owner) being politically incorrect and smoking or for the area around the pool being dusty (what do you expect on a ranch in Texas?!?). Here's the thing: this is a real ranch and Larry is a real rancher. While he might not be PC, after spending half a day there, I learned that he is quite knowledgeable about many things, a friendly guy, and very entertaining. This is not a white-washed resort-type experience where things are made pretty. You are visiting a real ranch. I would've loved to have spent more time hearing Larry talk. He did an amazing job with storytelling around the campfire, telling about the Alamo, which we had visited earlier in the week. He ate dinner with the guests and made sure to talk to each one and learn their names. I highly recommend this experience!

Stayed: March 2017, travelled with friends
Thank eatreadtravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mary C, Owner at Rancho Cortez, responded to this reviewResponded 6 March 2017

We greatly appreciate your recommendation and support. We certainly want each of our guests to feel welcome and we'll always go out of our way to ensure this happens. It's wonderful you and the students with you had a fantastic time horseback riding, feeding the longhorns, and telling stories around the campfire. Thank you for visiting. We hope you'll come back again soon, perhaps for a longer stay next time!

Best,
Larry and Mary - Owners

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rancho Cortez

Address: 872 Hay Holler Rd, Bandera, TX 78003-4364
Region: United States > Texas > Bandera County > Bandera
Amenities:
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 23 Speciality Lodging in Bandera
Price Range: €79 - €180 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Rancho Cortez! Located in the cowboy capital of the world, Rancho Cortez is a Texas Dude Ranch and Cowboy Fitness Farm offering horseback riding, lodging, day trips, hiking, and more! Saddle up and live your dreams at the Texas Dude Ranch! Cowboys, cowgirls, and experienced riders will enjoy horseback riding with expert cowboy, Larry Cortez. We offer plenty of Texas-style fun with hayrides, campfires, cattle roundups, lasso lessons, swimming in our pool, or soaking in our hot tub. With a broad array of wildlife species and ruggedly beautiful landscape as far as the eye can see, the ranch is the perfect escape from urban life. Lost weight and get fit on the Cowboy Fitness Farm! Fitness and weight loss visitors will work with personal trainers under the direction of Mary Cortez. Come for our popular 30 day weight loss camp or spend just a few days or weeks. Guided hikes, water aerobics, yoga, weight training, aerobics, pilates, and horseback riding - along with classes in the air-conditioned gym - will help you meet your weight loss goals. We can get you started on the road to a healthier life and teach you new skills to take home! Come to the beautiful Texas Hill Country for the getaway of a lifetime at Rancho Cortez! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Rancho Cortez Hotel Bandera
Rancho Cortez Bandera, Texas

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