My daughter and I needed this trip. My dad had recently passed away, we wanted some mom/daughter time, and she and her husband needed a getaway with built in babysitting. Symbiosis! We were looking for a week of fun AND tranquility within driving distance from Austin, and we hit the jackpot! We had her 20 month old; our husbands were flying to meet us for a long weekend (Note: when flying you will have to get to El Paso and rent a car for the 2+ hour drive. In retrospect, they too, should have driven.). We needed a cozy, CLEAN, well equipped, family friendly house that would provide each of us with our own space, privacy from one another, indoor and outdoor play areas for my granddaughter, fun in the snow for all of us, and beautiful views. #15 at ----- provided it ALL. I mean ALL!
There are 3 bedrooms, each with new cable TVs, 3 FULL bathrooms - 2 inside the bedrooms and one adjacent, an open kitchen with eat-in bar, an open dining and living room with fireplace, and a connected glass den with workout equipment. We did not use the equipment of course, as much of our trip was about relaxation and comfort, but this room was a big hit with my granddaughter. The television in it has a DVD player which kept her entertained with Daniel Tiger, playing with her toys, and running to the ceiling-to-floor windows in search of her dear, deer friends we fed on the driveway every morning. Deer were actually outside her bedroom window when she woke, waiting for us to hand feed them!
Here are some unique and great features about this particular property in Alto, NM that will have us returning:
1. HOUSE: Its decorated in a cozy, lodge style. All areas but the bedrooms are open to one another, making it possible to socialize between the kitchen, living room and glass den. This is a nice feature if you have family of different age groups. After skiing the morning of Super Bowl Sunday, we used the grill on the treetop balcony while watching the game from the kitchen and comfy sofas in front of the fireplace. Our granddaughter played in the open, adjacent glass den watching her toddler DVDs, and there was no sound interference between the 2 TVs. There is so much seating space, we could've had a party! There are 3 sofas in the living room and 1 in the den. I did a lot of reading and planning for our side trips and dinners out on the smaller, cozy sofa that faces the treetop balcony. I'm really picky about upholstery and bedding in rental property and have been known to travel with Lysol spray. It was NOT needed in this house! They must have an excellent cleaning or management group.
2. BEDROOMS: All bedrooms have equally good bedding and private baths. Again, one bedroom has a bath with shower stall (no tub) in the hallway, but it's right outside the door, and the bedroom is as nice or nicer than the others. It's fair sleeping for all in large groups! No haggling over who pays extra, with small exception on the master. All beds are queens, the bedding is new and of good quality, there are plenty of extra sheets, and there's a washer and dryer in the kitchen. (I wish I'd known. Pack light because you can wash!) If you have extras in your group or a singleton who doesn't want to share a queen bed, the sofa in the glass den is a sleeper. We didn't need it, so I don't know how well it sleeps, but I did see a foam topper in one of the closets that could make it comfy.
3. MASTER: The master bedroom has a HUGE attached bathroom with deep jacuzzi tub and double sink vanity. It's one of 2 ways to access the master bedroom - from the hallway or from the glass room. This bathroom is clearly a remodel as the toilet is near the tub so it's not private, but you can close the bath off with doors from the bedroom and hall. It has has nice, new cabinetry, counters, fixtures, lighting and tile.
4. KITCHEN: The only thing you will need to bring or buy are groceries and laundry detergent. The kitchen has every appliance or piece of equipment you can imagine. The dishwasher detergent is supplied because... You MUST follow their very clear directions for using the dishwasher since the hard water is very mineral heavy. If glassware doesn't look clean when you arrive, the previous guests didn't follow directions for adding the provided vinegar to the cycle. If you plan to cook, bring your own seasonings. The kitchen is fully equipped for meal prep, but I don't think you'll find even salt & pepper.
5. USAGE: Directions for using the WiFi, TVs, fireplace, trash facility, and everything else are nicely framed and clearly posted throughout the house. These "signs" don't feel unfriendly. It feels like they are there to genuinely help you enjoy your stay and to help maintain this extra special rental. There is contact info in case your section of the driveways need to be cleared of snow, information about where the community center pool and conference room are located, and information about where to eat and what to do in town.
6. FUN: There are many fun things to do in the area besides skiing and snow boarding. The town of Ruidoso is close, cute and quaint. Yes, it has a Super Walmart, but you'll be glad for it! It carries inexpensive ski and snow gear in case you forget something (like we did!), and we even bought an inexpensive sled that we used in the on-property woods and at the ski area. We left it in the entry way closet for ourselves and others for next time, but PLEASE leave it there if you use it ; )! BTW... Like us, you WILL get busted for using sleds etc at Sierra Blanca. They will not allow activity other than skiing and snow boarding. (See my separate review on the ski area.) We made a fun day of historical exploration at nearby Ft. Stanton, and we'll visit Lincoln and the state hiking and fishing. If you've been to Sierra Blaca/Alto/Ruidoso before, you know it's no Colorado or Utah, but it's affordable snow for folks like us, and it's *QUICK DRIVING DISTANCE for us Texans!
It's clear the owners of this place take pride in their home. It's doesn't feel at all like a rental or vacation property, nor do you feel you're invading someone else's place. If you stay, please heed the owners' very helpful guidelines for maintaining and enjoying the property because we are now emotionally attached, and we WILL be back! In fact, we plan to go during the hot doldrums of summer so we can experience this place during a different season. Geez... So why am I sharing this??? Shh.... It's just for those of us who appreciate! ;-)
|How easy was it to book the property?||How helpful were the directions to the property?|
|How easy was key pickup/access to the property?||Overall condition of the property|
|Bedding & mattresses||Kitchen & utensils|
|Friends getaway||Older travelers|
|Families with young children||Large groups|