The Alisal named as one of Historic Hotels of America
The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort in Solvang has joined Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The iconic luxury dude ranch, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, is one of more than 300 hotels and resorts throughout the country that is recognized and accredited for preserving and maintaining its historic integrity, architecture and ambiance.
“It is a true honor for the resort to be recognized by the Historic Hotels of America,” said Kathleen Cochran, general manager of The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort. “The Alisal has a unique history here in the Santa Ynez Valley. Our resort sits on a 10,500-acre ranch that was once a California ranchero, and everything, including our décor, culinary programming and activities, all take inspiration from the rich history of the property and the region of California.”
To be selected for membership in Historic Hotels of America, a hotel must be at least 50 years old, have been designated by the U.S. secretary of the interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and recognized as having historic significance.
The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort’s origin dates to 1843, during which it was known as Rancho Nojoqui, and the property has been a working ranch ever since.
It was renamed in 1868 as The Alisal, translating from the Chumash language to mean “Grove of the Sycamores.”
The Alisal became the hotel it is now known as in July 1946, when Charles Pete Jackson Jr. and his family opened the dude ranch for lodging. Since then, The Alisal has kept its Western-flair hospitality and has been home to everything from celebrity weddings and championship cycling training to the birthplace of the Kentucky Derby winner.
The ranch has 73 private guest cottages and suites, more than 50 miles of horseback riding trails, two 18-hole championship golf courses, a 6,500-square-foot spa and fitness center, six tennis courts and a 100-acre spring-fed lake with water sports, including fly fishing, canoeing and kayaking.
The cattlemen’s quarters that once fed grub to cowboys is now a discriminating restaurant, and deer can still be seen grazing, though these days, it is often on The Alisal’s golf courses. Horses and cattle roam grass-covered hills that have changed little since the days of the Spanish vaquero.
Additional decades-old traditions of the ranch, such as the Santa Maria style barbecue and rodeos, have direct ties back to the history and culture of the region.
One of the property’s most beloved activities is the Breakfast Ride via horseback or hay-wagon to the historic Old Adobe, which is a recreation of a building that used to sit in its exact location. Upon their arrival, guests are greeted by a “cowboy poet,” who provides locally inspired entertainment, and a buffet spread of hearty breakfast around a campfire.
Guests can stroll the grounds of the Old Adobe and visit inside, which is adorned with local antiques and taxidermy.
“We are delighted to induct The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort to Historic Hotels of America,” said Lawrence Horwitz, executive vice president of Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide.
“So many stories have come out of this notable property in California, ranging from celebrity stays and weddings to modern-day filming and its origin as cattlemen’s quarters, that we had to honor its longstanding tradition that so many families have come to know and love.”