Photo Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, Marana
The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, Marana
For guests at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, there is no mistaking that they are in the High Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona. There are the saguaro cacti, the cooing of quail in early morning, the black-velvet skies at night, and, rising directly behind the resort, the Tortolita Mountains, whose granite boulders are inscribed with graffiti-like messages that have been there for a thousand years. Visitors so inclined can get equally lyrical about the 27-hole Jack Nicklaus–designed golf course, the 17,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, the three swimming pools, or the dishes made visible in the open kitchen of the resort's main restaurant, the Core Kitchen and Wine Bar. The pervading feeling is that this is a place people have been coming to for refuge, rest, and replenishment for a very long time. (Since before 2000 B.C., according to some experts.)
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In the desert about 30 miles north of Tucson, with little in between, The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain's neighborhood is best appreciated while wearing hiking boots, or riding a horse or a mountain bike, or following the trajectory of a golf ball, all of which the resort can arrange. The nearest shopping is at the Foothills Mall, 13 miles to the south. But the best counterpoint to a few days of serenity at Dove Mountain may be a few hours of craziness along Fourth Avenue, a shopping and entertainment area where, very much in the spirit of the neighborhood, Antigone Books promotes itself as "Tucson's 100 percent solar-powered Independent Bookstore." In the other direction, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport is 90 minutes north of the resort.
Need to Know
Rooms: From $199 low season, $309 high season. 196 rooms, including 31 suites and 26 casitas Check-in: 4 p.m.; check-out: noon Dining options: With the mountains in the background, the outside view is part of the experience at The Core Kitchen and Wine Bar. But then so is the inside view, of the open kitchen, where dishes range from herbed gnocchi to seared sea bass. For less formal meals, try the avocado fries at the Ignite Lobby Lounge, fish tacos at the poolside Turquesa Grill (whose technology butler will charge electronic devices while visitors dine), and, at the golf club, a buffalo burger at Cayton's Burger Bistro. Spa and gym details: Perhaps it is no coincidence that the rock petroglyphs in the vicinity of the resort are best seen from the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain Spa. Inspired by indigenous Sonoran culture, the spa's signature treatment uses amethyst and citrine gemstones, combined with essential oils, to "enliven the senses and calm the spirit." The fitness center makes no spiritual claims, but it is open 24 hours and offers daily fitness classes.
Who's it for: Luxury travelers, including families, whose idea of the perfect resort stay is never having to leave the resort. Our favorite rooms: The 1,400-square-foot Canyon View Suites are hugely comfortable and have two balconies that look out at Wild Burro Canyon. Best end-of-day spot: A daily ritual is to toast the sunset from the Ignite Lounge and Bar Terrace while a Native American flutist, on a hill above the resort, welcomes the evening.