According to the Chinese Lunar New Year, 2014 is The Year of the Horse. According to astrologists, this means that this year will be a great year for travel since the horse communicates speedy and successful transportation from one destination to the next. To celebrate the animals that are meant to bring us a wonderful travel year, we found five luxury dude ranches perfect for paying homage to a cowboy's best friend.
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Part of the Relais & Châteaux family, Triple Creek is a rustic yet elegant mountain resort in the Montana Rockies. With private log cabins, an intimate lodge, world-class cuisine and an adult-only policy, the property is great destination for a romantic getaway. They offer activities focused around three categories: Relaxation & Romance, Nature & Scenery, and Sporting & Nature and include opportunities for visiting art galleries; partaking in cooking classes, fly fishing, helicopter tours, and horseback riding; or relaxing by the lodge’s heated pool.
Star Rating: 5
Room Choice: El Capitan Two-Bedroom Cabin
Equestrian Experience: Swan Mountain Wilderness Adventure
A Bar A Ranch
One of the country’s oldest dude ranches in the country also boasts one of the largest with nearly 100,000 acres to explore. A Bar A Ranch, built in 1926, holds only three guest houses and sixteen cabins in the North Platte River Valley. With a focus on family and outdoor recreation, the property offers privately-guided, customized, and small-group activities. And, as a bonus, they do not require (experienced) guests to ride with a wrangler. If you so choose, you can also ride from one destination to the next on Expedition Activities while a staff transfers your gear to the next location.
Star Rating: 4
Room Choice: Anderson House
Equestrian Experience: A Bar A Expedition (Overnight)
Photo Courtesy of Clayoquot Wilderness Resort
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort
Tofino, British Columbia Canada
Open annually from mid-May until end of September, Clayoquot Wilderness Resort is a five-star eco-safari destination ideal for those who love glamping (glamorous camping). The spacious tents are full of luxury amenities such as in-floor heating, antique dressers and tea tables, opulent rugs, flush toilets and large indoor/outdoor shower. For dining, Chef Ryan Orr serves dishes that are clean, natural and showcasing ingredients from the region while drawing from the vast multiculturalism of coastal Canada to create new flavors.
Star Rating: 5
Room Choice: Luxury Ensuite Bathroom Tents
Equestrian Experience: Visit the “Bear City” gold mines
Photo Courtesy of Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort
Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort
The allure of the “Old West” is present at Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort and is known for its wide-open spaces, unspoiled natural beauty and 50 miles of trails to explore. In an effort to make sure all guests have the opportunity to enjoy everything about the countryside, the ranch’s guestrooms do not offer TVs or telephones. (Cell phone reception is also limited). But who needs those items when there’s a spa, private pond for fishing or boating, an 18-hole golf course, and tennis courts located on the property. Alisal still maintains many of its old traditions like dressing up for meals and using the old cattleman’s quarters as their distinguished dining quarters. It’s also said to be a celebrity favorite.
Star Rating: 4
Room Choice: One-Bedroom Suite
Equestrian Experience: Breakfast Ride
Photo Courtesy of Cibolo Creek Ranch
Cibolo Creek Ranch
Even cowboys need a little pampering sometimes. Thanks to Cibolo Creek Ranch, they can enjoy peace and lavish comforts while still enjoying the great outdoors, not to mention true Texas-size hospitality. Many high-profile clients and celebs (Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall) have been known to frequent its accommodations to get a taste of the quintessential (luxury) dude ranch experience. Winning design awards from the American Institute of Architects and the Texas Society of Architects for its 19th century architecture, the interiors are also impressive with Spanish and Mexican furnishings throughout. Influenced by Mexican culture and traditions, the dining room’s meals are a mix of local delicacies and gastronomic creations.
Star Rating: 5
Room Choice: The Master Suite
Equestrian Experience: Customize Your Own