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Tucson Resorts - AZ Business Magazine November/December 2011

World-Class Tucson Resorts Are Diamonds In The Desert

Diamonds in the desert: World-class Tucson resorts offer a wide range of amenities for romance or family fun

By Michael Truelsen and Teresa Truelsen

The Valley of the Sun is peppered with destinations for weekend getaways, but sometimes a drive down the 51, 101 or 202 doesn’t put enough distance between you and your daily grind.

If you want more “away” in your getaway, head south on Interstate 10 to Tucson. The Old Pueblo, with its Southwestern flavor and character, is rich with places to relieve the stress of the work week. Whether your agenda includes romance or family fun, the perfect resort is waiting just down the road.

“The tone will be casual, relaxed, and friendly versus the frenzy of activity you might find in Phoenix,” says Jessica Stephens, director of communications and public relations at the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The Arizona Inn

Tucson Resorts: The Arizona InnFor a real taste of Tucson and its charm, settle in at the Arizona Inn (2200 E. Elm Street,  (520) 325-1541, arizonainn.com). Founded in 1930 by Arizona’s first congresswoman, Isabella Greenway, the Arizona Inn is on the National Register of Historic Places. This unassuming resort is tucked away in a residential area near the University of Arizona campus, which you can explore on a complimentary bicycle.

Relax in a casita-style room with a view of the tranquil central garden, while taking advantage of the Inn’s free WiFi. Finish your day with dinner in the AAA Four Diamond Award-winning dining room. Try the Arizona Inn Getaway package (starting at $499.50), which includes two nights accommodations, a fresh fruit basket and bottle of wine in your room, a three-course dinner for two, and breakfast for two each morning.

Westward Look Resort

In the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, the Westward Look Resort (245 E. Ina Road, (800) 722-2500, westwardlook.com) offers another peek into Tucson’s past. The luxurious resort opened in the early 1900s. Its 80 acres are home to three pools, tennis courts, nature trails, stables, a full-service spa and the award-winning GOLD restaurant, where the chef prepares meals with foods grown in the resort’s garden.

Once a month, Westward Look’s Cooking with the Chef program allows visitors to spend a day with executive chef James Wallace, learn about the Chef’s Garden, share a lunch made with the freshest ingredients, and take home recipes from the master. Get in the saddle with the Trail’s End Horseback Riding Package (starting at $480), which includes two guided horseback rides, dinner for two at Lookout Bar & Grill, and a fiesta basket fit for a vaquero with beer, chips and salsa.

Loews Ventana Canyon

Tucson Resorts: Loews Ventana CanyonAt the east end of the Catalina Mountain foothills, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort (7000 N. Resort Dr., (800) 234-5117, loewshotels.com) has been collecting awards for years, including the AAA Four Diamond for 25 consecutive years. This pet-friendly destination will pamper you and your pooch or kitty. With two golf courses, two pools, hiking trails, five places to grab a bite and a full-service spa, there’s plenty to fill a weekend.

Want to really pamper Fluffy? No problem. Ventana Canyon’s Woofie Weekend package offers accommodations for you and your pet, a “Wag Your Tail Delight” meal for your pet that is delivered to your room, a luxury pet mat, a bowl, mat and tags. And the resort waives the $25 pet cleaning fee. Woof!

Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa

Tucson Resorts: Westin La Paloma Resort & SpaIn celebration of its 25th anniversary, the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa (3800 E. Sunrise Dr., (520) 742-6000, westinlapalomaresort.com) is offering a great deal. This award-winning resort boasts five pools, a 177-foot water slide, a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, the Red Door Spa, award-winning chef Janos Wilder’s J-Bar, plus great activities for the kids.

Enjoy all this through Dec. 31, with two nights at the resort’s best rate, the third night is $19.86, in honor of the year La Paloma opened. The anniversary deal also includes 25 percent off throughout the resort and spa.

JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort

Hit the links, the spa or both at one of the more recent additions to Tucson’s resort lineup. You won’t see JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa (3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd., (520) 792-3500, jwmarriottstarrpass.com), until you round the bend. With its emerald Arnold Palmer golf courses, it’s a jewel tucked into the rocky Tucson Mountains on the city’s west side.

The Hashani Spa offers traditional massage and skin care to more exotic Ayurvedic treatments. It’s perfect after a day on the golf course. Bring the kids and make it a family weekend with the Starr Pass Family Fling and Swing Package (starting at $149 per night,), which includes unlimited rounds of golf for up to four people, free meals for kids 12 and younger, plus use of the pools, Lazy River and Monsoon Falls water slide.

Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain

If it’s relaxation and golf you want – although some might say golf is the opposite of relaxation – try the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain (15000 North Secret Springs Drive, Marana, (520) 572-3000, ritzcarlton.com). In the beautiful Tortolita Mountains northwest of Tucson, Dove Mountain’s courses are highly regarded. It is home of the Accenture Match Play Championship, attracting the likes of Tiger Woods, Geoff Ogilvy and Stewart Cink.

Play 18 holes on the Jack Nicklaus course, enjoy a 50-minute massage or facial, and get breakfast the next day with the Sonoran Golf and Spa Adventure (starting at $589 per night with a two-night minumum). Or go all out on the links with the Unlimited Golf package (starting at $439 for two people per night). That offer provides unlimited golf, use of all golf practice facilities, and unlimited use of a golf cart. Or skip the golf altogether and indulge in two 50-minute massages with the Signature Spa Deal.

Other resorts to consider:

Omni Tucson National Golf Resort and Spa

2727 W. Club Dr.
(520) 297-2271

Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort

10000 N. Oracle Rd.
(520) 544-5000

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Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011


Arizona Tourism Alliance Brian Johnson

Arizona Tourism Alliance

Brian Johnson, managing director Loews Ventana CanyonBrian Johnson
Managing Director
Loews Ventana Canyon

With 33 years in the industry, Brian Johnson has experienced firsthand the roller coaster ride the tourism industry takes as the economy shifts. Johnson has risen far in his career, working his way up from a dishwasher to his current position as managing director of the iconic Loews Ventana Canyon in Tucson. But even a resort as well known and popular as the Loews Ventana Canyon must work hard during tough economic times and low tourism rates.

“As anyone else, we have to find ways to create a new wrinkle that will bring people back to our property,” he says. In the past and in recent days, those new wrinkles have included renovations, nature trail additions that harmonize with the surrounding environment, and a butterfly garden. As one of the first ecologically conceived hotels, the environment has always played a part in all of their decisions, he explains.

Johnson’s involvement in the Arizona Tourism Alliance, where he serves on the executive committee, has been beneficial for both himself and the resort.

“It’s one of these things where you have a group of like-minded people who are dealing with the same issues and putting everyone together to create that effect that will help the common good of our industry,” he says. “It’s a global standpoint; we’re not just looking at one area, we’re looking at all the components and doing what is good for all of Arizona.

“I think in our industry, you can be whoever you want to be. This industry has created that opportunity for me and my family … ”

Lorraine Pino, manager of Glendale Convention and Visitors BureauLorraine Pino
Glendale Convention and Visitors Bureau

Spend just five minutes with Lorraine Pino and one thing becomes obvious — she’s passionate about tourism, not only in Glendale, but the whole state of Arizona.

As manager of the newly appointed Glendale Convention and Visitors Bureau (formerly the Glendale Office of Tourism), Pino promotes all Glendale has to offer. She has managed several campaigns that benefit both Glendale and the West Valley. One such campaign is Shop Glendale, a program that provides daily discounts and monthly prizes for the public from more than 70 business participants. To date, more than 35,000 Shop Glendale cards have been distributed.

Pino also helped create the West Valley Events Coalition, which brought West Valley cities together to pool their resources for advertising and marketing efforts geared toward tourism.

Involvement in the Arizona Tourism Alliance has been vital to the efforts of Pino and her team, she says.

“The resources, education and connectivity of the Arizona Tourism Alliance (ATA) are a huge help and much needed foundation for CVBs and DMOs (Destination Marketing Organizations) throughout the state,” Pino explains. “With our recent transition to a convention and visitors bureau, the resources of the ATA were monumental in helping us form our business plan.”

The new status as a CVB has brought a wealth of positive changes, she says. Funding from the members can now be used toward more aggressive marketing and branding efforts.

Doug Yonko, vice president of communication Hensley DistributingDoug Yonko
Vice President of Communication
Hensley Distributing

Doug Yonko is a true believer in longevity and commitment. Just take a look at his employment history with Hensley Distributing. The Phoenix-based beer distributor has existed for 55 years and Yonko — who works as the vice president of communications — has been with the company for more than half that time.

Hensley Distributing is active in many of the community’s charitable efforts, and encourages its employees to do likewise. The company and its employees are also committed to being involved in key issues that impact the state, including Arizona’s tourism. Yonko demonstrates that objective through his involvement on the Arizona Tourism Alliance’s executive committee, where he says he has the “opportunity to connect with some really smart people who truly understand the significance of tourism.”

The downturn in the economy and political issues such as SB 1070 have hit the tourism industry hard, Yonko says, but the situation has taught the business community how to withstand hard times.

“I believe there is a silver lining in these challenges,” he says. “The issues ranging from immigration to budget cuts, etc., have brought the business community closer in terms of the discussion and development for long-range solutions to protect and to foster the growth of the tourism industry. … We have to hold ourselves accountable, as well as the Legislature for our future — funding is critically important if Arizona is to remain competitive.”

AZ Business Magazine Jan/Feb 2011