The Wildcatter Ranch, just outside of Graham, Texas, about 90 miles northwest of Fort Worth, is a true gem. I spent four days at the relatively new guest ranch that opened to the public in 2005, and I fell in love with the gorgeous 1,500-acre property on the Brazos River. Add to the beautiful surroundings some wonderful down-home Texan hospitality exuded by the friendly staff, phenomenal, hearty cuisine at the Wildcatter Steakhouse, and the super-comfy beds in the luxury suites, and you have the makings for a superb girlfriend getaway, couples’ escape or family vacation.
I’m not even a huge “horse person,” but I enjoyed my 90-minute trail ride, led by super-knowledgeable wranglers, and I appreciate that there are loads of other activities on site: archery, clay shooting, canoeing, ATV tours and hiking trails, to name a few.
Wildcatter Ranch Sage Spa
The spa at Wildcatter Ranch is housed in a simple wooden building, next to a simply gorgeous outdoor infinity pool and adjacent hot tub. I highly recommend taking a dip and soaking in the hot tub before a spa treatment to set the tone for relaxation — truly, the view of the surrounding hills is enough to put your mind, body and spirit at peace.
But I also highly recommend a massage or facial in two-treatment-room spa, with a small waiting area and changing room/bathroom. The twin treatment rooms are behind heavy, dark, velvet drapes, which help set a cozy, comfortable environment.
My 50-minute Swedish massage was oh-so relaxing. I loved my friendly therapist, who asked me a few questions about being a travel writer and living in Colorado toward the end of my treatment; otherwise she just let me doze in and out of sleep. She spent an unusual amount of time rubbing my feet — which was much appreciated after walking the property prior to the massage.
Other treatments include 50- or 80-minute deep-tissue massages, a Brazos Stone Massage (using hot stones from the Brazos River), body wraps and scrubs, and a variety of facials using Murad products.
Wildcatter Ranch Accommodations
Choose from 16 guest rooms in the main hotel/conference center, two freestanding, two-bedroom guest houses or 16 upscale suites. I recommend the luxury suites because each has its own semi-private back deck with phenomenal views of the lush countryside(at least it was beautifully verdent when I visited in late April, after some heavy rains). The suites are individually named to reflect a local theme — from “Cattle Raisers” to “Oil Boom” to “Famous Chiefs” — with complementary furnishings, accents and photos complete with historic commentary, that bring the Texas history to life.
Modern conveniences and appreciated upscale features in the luxury suites include microwave, small refrigerator, coffeemaker, granite vanities, curved shower roads and handmade Texas soaps.
Bottom Line: The Sage Spa at the Wildcatter Ranch isn’t anything fancy; it’s definitely no frills without a lot of “extras” or luxe decor. But it is a warm, cozy setting with a friendly, qualified esthetician/massage therapist on hand to help soothe sore muscles after a day of horseback riding, hiking, canoeing or otherwise exploring the gorgeous Texas property. Trust me, you’ll appreciate the opportunity to simply relax and unwind and be pampered a bit during your guest-ranch vacation.
Learn More: Wildcatter Ranch website, (888) 462-9277.
– Review and photos by Kara Williams, who visited April 2010
As is common in the travel industry the writer received a complimentary spa treatment and resort accommodations.