Report: #105386

Complaint Review: Wit's End Guest Ranch - Vallecito Lake Colorado

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: Houston Texas
  • Wit's End Guest Ranch
    254 County Rd 500
    Vallecito Lake, Colorado

Wit's End Guest Ranch is very disappointing! Not as advertised and not worth the money! Rip-off! Vallecito Lake Colorado

*UPDATE Employee: Beware of Mr. Lee

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Our experience at this ranch was very disappointing, and we left early when we were fed up and could not take it any more. In no particular order, some of our complaints are as follows:

1. The photos of the ranch property on the Wit's End web site at are deceptive, and do not show the large volume of trailers, mobile homes and sloppy and unkempt residences that are on or adjacent to the ranch property, and which you spend most of the horseback rides staring at. The owner is more concerned with developing his property and selling off parcels of land than with running a solid ranch environment.

2. The food varied from average to lousy. They could not even pack a sack lunch right and messed our orders up twice, even after we complained. The cook remarked at one point that he had just fired one assistant cook and was going to need to fire the next one he had hired. At one dinner (Native American night) virtually every course was inedible. The ribs were raw and full of fat at the cookout. Our breakfast waiter each morning was incompetent. We ended up eating out several times, to avoid the ranch food.

3. While the horses were good, the wranglers were inexperienced and it was dangerous. We lost confidence. They took us (me, my wife and 3 children) on one ride up the side of a mountain and when a lightning and hail storm moved in on the way down the wranglers took us down a steep trail while the horses were spooking as opposed to getting us off the horses to wait out the storm. The wranglers did not even have a radio for emergencies, because (as they told us later) they had given their radio to some guy who was assigned to sit at the front gate and provide the appearance of security for the celebrity guests who were there during the week of our stay. During activities day in the Corral there was a runaway horse while young children were present; the senior wrangler told me afterward they knew that the particular horse spooked easily. Half of each trail ride was spent getting out of the unsightly ranch surroundings.

4. I had specifically reviewed the location of our cabin on the phone with the lady who handles Wit's End's bookings, named Lara, and when we got there the room was not in the location we had been promised, and did not have anything like the view we had been promised. It was at the shabby back side of the property and had an ugly large propane tank next to it. After we complained they moved us to two connecting single rooms that had a better location. But we sacrificed a lot of space in doing so, and they did not provide us a rate credit. We were fortunate, however, that we had not booked the south Streamside cabins as some of the other guests had. The cabins were not streamside, and required approximately a half mile walk or bike ride to get to the ranch facilities. We listened to one outraged guest argue at the front desk over how his family had been chased by dogs and irate landowners in trying to walk to the main property, before the owners finally moved them into the unit in the main property we had originally booked.

5. While the youth and activities staff at the ranch were enthusiastic and fun, they were inexperienced. Several guests remarked, and I observed, how the kids who drove us to fishing or other activities were fairly careless, frequently driving with one hand on the wheel and talking on cell phones while our lives were entrusted to them on swervy mountain roads.

6. We complained several times over the mice running around our room, and it became a joke after a while. The night before we finally decided to leave my wife could not sleep because she spent the whole night listening to several mice run around the room. She is afraid of mice, and was afraid to get out of bed to deal with them.

7. There was not enough hot water in our cabins for our 3 kids to take baths in the evening when they normally do, before dinner. I always got the last bath or shower and it was typically cold.

8. We were not provided nightly turn down service, even though the web site advertises twice daily maid service.

9. The ranch owner remarked to one of the guests who was there our week that he never bothers to learn people's names because he never gets repeat business.

10. We complained about one thing or another during our stay to the cook (several times), some of the wranglers, the fishing guides, the activity directors, to a lady who was introduced as an assistant manager, and to the front desk. The typical response from most was that they knew what we were talking about and that they were used to hearing gripes like this from guests. Most people apparently do not leave, however, because the owner requires people to pay in advance before they arrive, and refuses to refund money for dissatisfied guests.

11. We were finally fed up at the end, and left a day early. We went somewhere else and had to pay to stay there. After we left early we were told that the owner or someone had made a paper trail record that we had left early because of the weather, which was not true, and that we had never complained, which was also false. While we had some afternoon showers while we were there, I had no problem with that, and it was sunny by the time we left the day we checked out.

12. The owner knows exactly why we left, was dishonest, and insulted us by telling us that instead of refunding the last night of our stay we could apply the credit against a return visit next year, knowing that neither we nor any other guests who were at the ranch that week planned to return.

13. Our conclusion that we had been duped into overpaying for this experience was confirmed by virtually every other guest who was there that week. In conclusion, this ranch was not as advertised, and even after sticking it out for most of the week we left early and had to pay to stay in another location because we simply could not put up with it any more.

Houston, Texas

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/25/2004 01:57 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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Updates & Rebuttals


#1 UPDATE Employee

Beware of Mr. Lee

AUTHOR: Lara - (U.S.A.)

Response to Lee

1. We do not own nor take care of the private properties surrounding the ranch. We have never claimed to own or take care of the surrounding houses. They are not employee housing and are not legally ours to control. These houses that Mr. Lee spoke of are found on the road to the main grounds. They are not located on the property or near the property, other than the few houses around Streamside. Mr. Lee and his family stayed at our Wit's End cabins which do not have any houses or trailers with in viewing sight. You would have to get out on the road and travel 3/8 of a mile to find the first house. There are no mobile houses any where on or off the road, nor on the horse trails. This is all a fabrication in my opinion.

The photos posted on our web site are exactly what you are going to get. There is no deception there. The cabins look the same, the scenery is the same. None of the photos were doctored or altered in any way what so ever. In fact most guests think that the area looks better in person than in the pictures.

2. Mr. Lee claimed that he had complained on several occasion to our head chef regarding the food. This was checked into by our staff and we have discovered that this was never the case. Mr. Lee has stated to me in many conversations that he did not feel the need to take the time to mention any of these issues to the manager or owner to keep from making a scene in front of other guests, so how are we to know that he is unhappy. We can not fix things that are not brought to our attention.

Sack lunches are not going to be anything more than lunch meat, chips, fruit (usually an apple), and some type of candy bar. I do not know how this type of sack lunch can be messed up.

3. We did have celebrity guests staying with us that week. I do not know anything regarding the radios and who had one and who did not. However, I find it very hard to believe that none of the wranglers on the ride had a radio. This is not our policy. In regards to the appearance of security as Mr. Lee likes to call it, there was no appearance at all. We were instructed to have the front gates shut at all times by the celebrity, himself. Normally these gates are always open; meaning that anyone and every one could possibly come on to the property, although this seldom happens. With the gates shut and attended to no one other than guests and/or employees were allowed in or out of the ranch. This helps to cut down on outsiders and people who want to get a good look. For our celebrities who want privacy, we will do everything in our power to accommodate their request.

Run away horse: the children were asked to leave the arena once their turns had been taken. However, most did not and a lot of the parents had felt it was safe enough to leave their children in the arena. We were doing our best to get everyone out of the arena before the horse spooked, but even the Lee's were not cooperating. Any horse can spook, this one does not have a history of spooking easily, and in fact it is a horse that we use very often for our guests. The situation started when some children decided to ride around the arena after they had been asked to exit. One of the children lost their hat which spooked the horse the wrangler was riding. No one was hurt and many wranglers were in the area when this happened. Mr. Lee has no clue about what constitutes horse safety.

Mr. Lee himself should be very aware that things like this happen. Especially since his own son spooked the horse he was riding by dumping water (by accident) on and in front of the horse earlier in the day. The horse side stepped out of fear and his son fell off. Again, no one was hurt. I was there the day that all this happened and I saw every last bit of it.

Mr. Lee has made a statement that the horses should have been led down the mountain during the hail storm. This statement is so foolish! Any one who has an extensive background with horses knows that this would have been a sure fire way to have a serious accident by having a horse run over its rider or wrangler as a result of being pelted by hailstones. Having a radio with them would not have changed the situation by any means.

4. In regards to any previous conversations that Mr. Lee and I had, he was never mis-informed about his accommodations. He wanted a 3 bedroom cabin on the north (Wit's End) property. I explained to him the lay out of the cabin and what it contained and did not contained. He was quite satisfied with the information he was given. I do not know what he means by the cabin not being in the location I had given to him over the phone.

Our potential guests are all treated equally. Our policy states that visitors staying less than 7 nights are to stay in our Streamside cabins. Guests who are staying a full week are given the option of either property depending on the price they would like to pay. The guests that Mr. Lee spoke of had chosen to stay at Streamside on their own accord. They were aware of the location and distance. This became a problem when two dogs not belonging to the ranch or any of its employees would chase after them on bikes. We called animal control and the Sheriff's office as soon as we found out about the situation. The guest came to the office and stated his issue; we handled it appropriately. The guest and his family finished the stay with us and were very happy. No complaints other than the dogs. As Mr. Lee stated he over heard the conversation that took place with one of our receptionist. He did not know the whole story or what had taken place before their arrival. However, he now seems to be the expert.

5. I have not heard of any of these complaints from any of the other guests other than Mr. Lee. If so many people were concerned or upset over an issue no one came forward other than Mr. Lee. I find that very odd and supports my opinion that this is all a fabrication.

6. Again, he never complained to any of our staff members regarding mice. One guest on property had, but his family was not one of them. When we found out about the mice problem the issue was cleared up with in 24 hours if that.

7. It is not our position to control the time his family spends in the shower/bath. Just like any other cabin resort there will be a limit to the hot water that is available in each room. If he can not control his own family and the time that showers/baths are taken then that is a problem for him to solve. Every other guest seemed to handle this with out any issues. Mr. Lee was the only complaint we heard about but only after he and his family had checked out; a time span of about a month later.

8. Turn down service is available upon request as stated in all of the information he had received after booking his reservation. If it is not requested than we do not provide this service. Again, other guests took advantage of the turn down service. We can not make our guests read the info they receive, that is left up to them. Again, if this was such a big issue was did he not bring it to our attention during his stay?

9. This is a flat out lie. We have many repeat guests and have had many back this season. A lot of new guests from this season are returning for our 2005 season. The owner is very aware of this and goes out of his way to remember the return guests year to year. In fact we had two repeat families stay the week after the Lee's had departed. Had he stayed around the last night he might have had the opportunity to meet them. We also have another family who has been repeat guests for 13 years. The owner's statement to our celebrity guest was, I have a difficult time remembering many past guests' names.

10. No complaints from the Lee family were ever brought to our attention. I work off site but had made a point to be on site the week that Mr. Lee was visiting just to make sure that things ran smoothly for our celebrity guests. The guest that week did not know who I was due to the fact that I wanted to remain a part of the crowd, as just another guest, so that I could pin point any problems or issues that would arise with the families. While I was out there the staff would notify me of any problems with the guests or any issues that surfaced so that I could make sure things were handled and fixed ASAP. Never once did the staff come to me with any complaints from the Lee family. In fact they seemed to be having the best time. If things were so awful then I would think that they would have left a lot sooner than the last night of their stay.

Our policy is clearly stated on the confirmation that the guest receives. We have the guest read the policy, sign, and return it to us stating that they accept the above policy. We have a copy of this agreement signed by Mr. Lee, which is attached. He knew well in advance how our ranch operated. However, when it was time to pay the final balance, a week before his arrival, he was unwilling to do so. I ended up making a deal with him and waited to charge his final balance the Monday before his arrival. At the latest he would have had to pay the balance upon time of check in.

11. I was in the office during the time that Mr. Lee checked out early. He brought in his keys and stated to our receptionist that the weather here (meaning Wit's End ranch) was bad and we are going some place with better weather. When Mr. Lee contacted me almost a month later regarding a credit for the night he did not stay I told him that we do not have control of the weather and do not give refunds to guests who decide to leave one day early due to weather. He then stated to me that he was only being nice when he made that statement that there were other reasons involved. I asked him why he had not brought these issues up before his departure he claimed that he was trying to be polite and did not want to cause a scene in front of our celebrity guests who were not in the office at the time. However, they did end up leaving that same day which I find to be very ironic. That day the sun did not come back out, but not until close to dinner. It stormed most of the day.

12. The owner had no clue as to why the Lee's left earlier other than what was told to him by myself and our receptionist. Although, Mr. Lee had at one point stated to the owner that they were going to leave early because of the rainy weather. He was just as surprised to hear about all these complaints after the fact as I was. In my opinion Mr. Lee and his family came to our ranch had a great time, decided to chase after our celebrity guests that had departed and got upset when he realized that there would be no refund for that one night. Again, no complaints from the Lee family the whole entire week. Mr. Lee had plenty of opportunities to complain in private with both the owner and the manager. However, he never said a thing to either one nor to our staff.

Additionally, the Lee family went on a 3 hour hike with the owner and the celebrity guests. During this time the owner spent over an hour walking and talking with Mr. Lee. Never once did he bring up anything negative about his experience at the ranch thus far. Again, this was the perfect chance to speak with the owner, in private, since none of the celebrity guests were around them during this time.

In our opinion the Lee family is one that all hotels, resorts, and cruise lines should be aware of. He is much like the customer who eats all of his dinner, enjoys his wine and the service yet complains the minute it is time to pay his bill. All of his accusations, in my opinion, are nothing but lies. None of the other guests there during that same week had any complaints as Mr. Lee did; nor are we having problems with other guests that stay during that week other than Mr. Lee.
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