by Cierra Sorensen

Recently a friend of mine boasted that she was going to spend her entire Saturday morning getting a professional massage at a fancy spa. When she told me, my reaction was twofold. The “city girl” half of me said, “Um, purrrrrrrr. Sign me up!” The other half of me, we will call her, ‘ranch girl’, said something like, “uh….. Why?”

I realized soon after that this was a bit strange. Who wouldn’t want to be pampered with a fancy massage from a fancy place!? C’mon, most of us probably would probably enjoy this. After doing some serious self-assessment, (totaling maybe 30 seconds), it occurred to me that this reaction is deep rooted, stemming all the way back to my youthful ranch girl heritage. You see, the ranch girl half of me interprets luxurious things such as massages as frivolity. Ranch girl said, “No way! That stuff is hogwash! Boot up and get to work!” City girl made a pouty face and folded her hands in mock prayer. You get the picture, right? I should clarify that this has more to do with my personality than with my upbringing. I cast no blame on ranch life for my inner battles. But this experience raised an interesting question for me; how does luxury fit into a dude ranch?

It should be noted that the Marble Mountain Guest Ranch has an on-site masseuse, who is professionally trained and well received! But for the guest ranch first timer, it may be hard to know what luxuries to expect while at the ranch. Here you will find a detailed list of what luxury looks like at some dude ranches, compared to some other vacation destinations.

Most resorts that boast ‘luxury’ have these features. Beneath each one I have included the dude ranch interpretation. Take a look!

  1. Spa: typically includes masseuse, facials, manicures, pedicures, detox, etc.

Ranch Interpretation: We have mud to spare, in different colors, textures, and scents! Feel free to bathe in it however you like. We also have a masseuse. He is as organic as they come; raised on the ranch, highly trained in massage, and keeps himself in shape through massage and ranch work. We also have manicure options. There are plenty of nail – biting rapids, as well as fence posts to stub your toes on. And for the traditional detox, try a hearty extra large serving of our homegrown cherries. They are sure to do the trick!

shovel pushing into mud on the ranch

MUD treatment? we got MUD at the dude ranch!

  1. Room service: Luxury resorts and hotels typically have a room service option, one where you can order food from a menu and have it delivered to your private room.

Ranch Interpretation: We have a staff of cooks who slave away in our dining lodge to create meals that are fresh, delicious, and sure to please everyone’s appetites. Lucky for you, room service doesn’t exist. Ranch owners want to put their guest’s best interest first! If we brought you your food, how on earth would you work off your breakfast of homemade cinnamon rolls, scones, eggs, sausage, fruit salad, and hot chocolate? You wouldn’t! And you would

original ranch cuisine

Original recipes, home made authentic cuisine, prepared by caring ranch hosts!

be in a blissful food coma that inhibited your ability to participate in ranch activities. At the Marble Mountain Guest Ranch, we always put our guest’s best interest first.

  1. Entertainment systems: Many luxury hotels and resorts furnish their rooms with some form of television, stereo, phone, or radio. This contributes to the room’s ambiance, and also provides private after hour entertainment for weary guests.

Ranch Interpretation: None of our cabins have televisions, phones, or any type of electronic entertainment device. On the ranch, we offer sun up to sun down entertainment, with new activities for our guests to participate in every day. We believe that if you are doing a proper job of hosting a dude ranch experience, there won’t be a need or even a desire for TV time!

No Time for T.V. - just too much to do!

No Time for T.V. – just too much to do!

  1. Mini Bar: consists of a liquor stock, mini fridge, and potentially a ‘bar’ for sitting at.

Ranch Interpretation: While the ranch does offer complimentary wine and beer at dinner time, there are no mini-bars in our cabins. However, guests are welcome to bring their own beer and wine and store it in their cabins.

happy dude ranchers

Good Times are Better Times when shared! Nope, don’t need no saloon for a good time.

  1. Private Classes: It is not uncommon for resorts to offer classes that guests can participate in while staying. For example, there may be a yoga class that happens every morning on the beach at 10 am. Or there may be a bird walk, or an art walk through part of town, or the forest.

Ranch Interpretation: Every activity on the ranch is some kind of a class! In the arena you will get personal riding instruction. On the trail rides you will get the opportunity to hone the skills you have been developing! For rafting, we begin each trip by going over basic paddle commands, as well as kayak instruction. Each day gets a little more challenging, and you will have the opportunity to progress as the challenges increase! (Don’t worry, it doesn’t get too hard! Our program is geared for beginner to intermediate. Have no fear!) Also, our shooting range will introduce you to basic gun safety, and introduce you to different types of guns and a variety of targets! (Both the moving, and the stationary kind. )

Vacation Horse Riding Instruction

Not Yoga, but private horse riding instruction while on dude ranch holiday.

  1. Private pools and hot tubs: Many of the exotic luxury resorts that can be found in the Bahamas, Hawaii, and other warm oceanic destinations, offer private pools and spas for their guests that are located right beside their rooms.

Ranch Interpretation: We take you to a beautiful and remote river every day! Here you can bask in nature and float down the river as it takes you to endless beautiful venues. Also, the ranch does have a swimming pool that is available for guest use during the summer season. Our pool is surrounded by beautiful flower beds and a variety of fruit trees. You can swim and snack and lounge while admiring the mountains that stretch as far as the eye can see.

private beach vacation

Don’t need a private pool, we have a private beach vacation!

  1. Concierge: someone whose job is to assist guests with needs such as housing, baggage, directions, etc. Also, the concierge usually lives on the premises of the resort.

Ranch Interpretation: At MMR, every staff member can be expected to act as a concierge. It is not just one person’s job, dude ranching is a team sport and it is spearheaded by ranch owners!!

ranch owners Doug and Heidi

You want a concierge? How about personal attention from the principles of the business!?

No matter how you interpret luxury, we guarantee that you can find both relaxation and entertainment during your dude ranch stay. Let the ranch introduce you to a different pace of life, one that has abundant activities for your whole family, and also offers relaxing comforts such as cozy cabins, delicious home cooked meals, friendly company, and the beautiful scenery of the Marble Mountains. It’s a vacation that will leave you feeling thrilled and spoiled in a way that can only be achieved on a dude ranch. So if you are feeling the need for a little down time, just head up to the mountains; we’re ready to offer you the mountainous Dude Ranch style luxury you are looking for.