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, 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, 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, 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, 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,, 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, 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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For more information about these Tucson resorts:


Arizona Business Magazine November/December 2011