If you like desert landscapes, Mexican food, ranches and resorts, come to Tucson. It may not be on the mainstream international holiday map, but that’s why this Arizonan city is such a great choice for southwestern authenticity. Found an hour from the Mexican border and a couple of hours’ drive from Phoenix, it’s home to the University of Arizona, Western-style saloons, the (outdoor) Sonora Desert Museum, the Kitt Peak National Observatory and Mount Lemmon. Take a bike, balloon or food tour, to see the city from the ground, the air or via your tastebuds. And check into one of these Tucson hotels.
JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa
Built in 2004 and renovated in 2013, this Marriott property in the city’s Mountain Park, has 575 guest rooms, including singles, doubles and suites, some with balconies. Set to a backdrop of Saguaros, the resort reflects much of the local landscape, with desert-inspired decor, ceilings made from cactus spines and accents of native southwestern culture. Three golf courses, a spa, a gym and a multilevel outdoor pool with waterslides and a lazy river are found within the grounds, with Mediterranean and Mexican restaurants and a sports bar available for food and drink.
The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain
Encompassing several tiers, each low rise, this Ritz-Carlton hotel has been carved into Tortolita Mountain. Beamed ceilings complement serene contemporary furnishings, with Asprey toiletries, Nespresso machines and private terraces boasting gas fires for cosy evenings stargazing the clear, dark skies. Leisure facilities include a tennis court, a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course, wellness and mixology classes and three swimming pools (including a Serenity Pool with a tanning island) set across the multiple tiers. There are also six restaurants, a spa, and a programme of activities at the “Rangers Station” for the younger guests.
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
Occupying nearly 100 acres of desert plateau in the Catalina Mountain foothills, this resort is fronted by its own lake and multiple waterfalls. This leads onto two golf courses and four floodlit tennis courts. The spa has won multiple awards and there are two heated pools and jacuzzis for some relaxation time. 398 rooms and 27 suites have private balconies, on which you can dine. Or pay a visit to the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort’s two restaurants; Flavor Ventana for a gourmet take on Arizonian favourites and the Flying V Bar & Grill, a casual eatery offering 70 different types of tequila and a “guacamoliere”.