Nov/Dec 2011 Issue
This Enhanced Editorial was paid for by a promotional fee from an advertiser.

Tucson Is the Real Southwest
It does not get any more authentic than the welcoming warmth of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.

Location, location, location.

It may sound trite, but in a place like Tucson, Ariz., it makes all the difference in the world. After all, the sun and dry climate of the Southwest has for generations been regarded as a boon for health and wellness.

That is why Tucson makes sure it trades in the currency of delivering an authentic and memorable desert getaway, offering havens for a real, rich and savory experience. It is no wonder then that Tucson’s resorts, spas and golf courses rise to the top of traveler’s wish lists when they seek refuge in the sun.

Real Tucson Resorts

Getting away from it all is easy to do in the Real Southwest, especially when under the care of one of Tucson’s top resorts, all of which possess the winning formula that brings visitors to town. World-class, elegant or historic, they capture the essence of the region’s charm—its dramatic setting married well with the desert’s casual pace.

  • Tuscon ResortThe Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain is in a class of its own. Its mountainous surroundings, coupled with spa offerings, hiking trails, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course and other amenities make it easy to forget the cares of the real world.

  • Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort offers 45 holes of golf, as well as horseback riding and tennis; it is both an active vacationer’s delight and relaxing getaway.

  • Omni Tucson National Resort, a world-class property, is undergoing a dramatic renovation. The first phase of the $100 million project shows off eateries, spas and more. With 36 holes of golf and award-winning spas, the resort has plenty more to show off.

  • Esplendor Resort at Rio Rico recalls yesteryear in Old Mexico. The mission-style design is accented by the Robert Trent Jones Sr. golf course and the scenic Santa Cruz River Valley.

  • JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa is one of the region’s newest resorts, as well as the largest hotel in Tucson. It is the proud location of the Hashani Day Spa and 27 holes of golf.

  • Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa boasts a Jack Nicklaus course and the Red Door Spa, along with five refreshing pools.
  • Loews Ventana Canyon, a AAA Four Diamond resort, offers two Tom Fazio-designed courses that take advantage of the resort’s spectacular landscape and breathtaking views.

  • The Lodge at Ventana Canyon enjoys a AAA Four Diamond rating. It was voted World’s Best Place to Stay by Conde Nast Traveler Gold List.

  • The historic Westward Look Resort was named Tucson’s No. 1 resort in 2008 by Ranking Arizona. The Sonoran Spa and recent renovations help the 80-acre property stand out.

  • Miraval Arizona is a place to relax in luxury and tranquility, thanks to its world-class destination spa and Catalina Mountain backdrop. This top-rated, all-inclusive destination desert oasis focuses on healthy living and offers a full mind, body and lifestyle retreat.

  • Casino Del Sol Resort & Spa is Tucson’s newest destination jewel, having just opened in November. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe has added on to its casino operation with a 215-room luxury high-rise that includes a conference center and amphitheater.

Tuscon SpaAh, Spas

Tracking Tucson’s resorts brings the city’s spas to the fore, and the services are so renowned, they demand extra attention. It’s the combination of serenity and singularity that makes a day or week at a Tucson spa so special. These are places that will last forever in visitors’ memories.

For instance, Miraval Arizona is consistently named one of the travel industry’s highest-ranked spas and has won multiple awards for its facilities, activities, treatments and cuisine. Its regime includes a range of facial and body treatments, signature hot-stone massages, and opportunities for horseback riding, tennis, meditation, yoga, nutrition, fitness and enlightenment programs. At Westin La Paloma’s Red Door Spa, services range from detoxifying seaweed body wraps to hot-stone massages to rejuvenating facials.

Turn back the clock at Hishani, the spa at JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort, with a natural copper complex to relax facial features and keep the skin supple and firm. Other treatments emphasize local plants and herbs to improve circulation, introduce antioxidants and enhance well-being. The Lakeside Spa at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort offers a variety of full-service health, wellness and beauty treatments. Guests can indulge in assorted facials, massages and body wraps at the spa or hit the fitness facility to work up a sweat on the spa’s cardio, resistance and weight machines. The Sonoran Spa at Westward Look Resort’s treatments are tailored to each guest’s individual needs, and many services are inspired by Tucson’s abundant natural elements.

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Dove Mountain features indoor and outdoor treatment rooms, an over-sized treatment suite for couples and small groups, and an outdoor Serenity Pool terrace with views of ancient rock engravings. Two of its massage treatments draw inspiration from the prehistoric culture that once thrived in Tucson. The Hohokam Stone Massage uses warm mineral-rich basalt stones to bring on a state of relaxation while balancing the chakras and grounding the body’s energy.

In the Swing

As much as Tucson’s resorts emphasize their spa offerings and the associated means of leaving everyday stresses behind, they are equally emphatic in sharing the news of their golfing outing possibilities. Constant sunshine, warm weather and the unique Sonoran majesty make hitting the local links an ideal way to forget about the world for a while.

Tuscon GolfAnd it is not just the everyday golfer who finds Tucson irresistible. Indeed, some of the sport’s biggest stars—Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Lehman, Arnold Palmer—have either competed on or designed Tucson golf courses. The legacy of professional golf tournaments played here, from the first Tucson Open in 1945 to the current World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, chronicles a longtime local love for the game.

For a taste of Tucson golf, the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship every February gives a virtual tour of Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain’s Jack Nicklaus course. It is not the only famous resort course, though, as the Omni Tucson National Golf Resort & Spa has hosted a PGA Tour event for more than 30 years.

Meanwhile, the role nature plays in Tucson links designs is captured at the par 3, third hole of The Mountain Course at Ventana Canyon, which has been dubbed “the most photographed golf hole west of the Mississippi.” At Arizona National Golf Club, the winding layout by Robert Trent Jones Jr. takes golfers through arroyos, sculpted rock formations and desert flora. The lofty par 3, fourth hole overlooks the entire Santa Cruz Valley, offering southern views all the way to Mexico.

Tucson’s five municipal golf courses deserve attention, too, including two that have served as long-time tournament courses. Randolph North was set up for PGA Tour and then LPGA events so the greens vary greatly in slope and size, and present a real challenge for the serious golfer. The adjacent Dell Urich course hosted LPGA tournaments in 2003 and 2004, and it rewards strategic play.

Just minutes south of downtown Tucson, the golf courses at Green Valley, Tubac and Rio Rico offer rolling hills and buildings with Spanish colonial flair. Hollywood shot scenes for the 1996 movie Tin Cup at Tubac Golf Resort’s Rancho Nine course. It’s easy to recognize the par 5, fourth hole, with its menacing pond protecting the green.

No matter where the day is spent, though, be it luxuriating at a resort, relaxing at a spa or navigating the course, a stay in Tucson is like no other.

For more information about Tucson, visit www.realtucsonresorts.com.

For assistance planning a desert adventure and getaway in The Real Southwest, visit AAA.com/Travel.