Stunning hotels/resorts in Arizona: Palomar Phoenix, Tanque Verde and Tubac
Thanks to the Star's Richard Ouzounian for this comprehensive posting from Arizona
PHOENIX - You’ll find gold in the southwest this summer, my friends, you just have to know where to look.
I know lots of snowbirds come to Arizona once the weather chills up north, but now are when there are really awesome bargains to be had. And don’t tell me how hot it can be down here in the summer. You think Toronto’s has been exactly temperate? And there’s no humidity here. None. That’s why it’s called the desert.
Start out in Phoenix, at the city’s newest hotel, the superchic Hotel Palomar Phoenix Cityscape. (2 E. Jefferson St.; 877-488-1908; www.hotelpalomar-phoenix.com). It’s a Kimpton hotel, which means it comes full of perfect attention to detail (see photo) and a sophisticated sense of humour. The inside of each room’s wardrobe is painted with a list of outdated, but still legal, Arizona statutes, like “Any crime committed by someone wearing a red mask is automatically a felony.”
The rooms have wonderful views of the new Cityscape development that’s revitalized Phoenix’s downtown and you’re going to want to spend time on the third floor pool that blends invisibly into the happening Lustre bar. And for all this, there’s a special summer opening rate that will let you get all this for $149 US a night. That also includes free access to the new Gold’s Gym Elite opposite, a nightly wine reception and a $25 nightly food certificate.
Believe me, you’re going to want to use that at the delicious Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, one of the best spots I’ve eaten at in North America this year (see photo). Small plates with pizzazz and punch, thanks to Chef Stephen Jones and a cocktail bar that mixologist Jacques Bezouidenhout keeps to state of the art standards.
Then it's time to hit the desert. Take a 2 hour drive to Tuscon and drop by the Tanque Verde Ranch (14301 E. Speedway Blvd.; 1-800-234-3833; www.tanqueverderanch.com). It's the perfect combination of authentic Southwestern atmosphere and upscale Eastern comfort. Individual adobe-walled villas are incredibly spacious and beautifully equipped, many with a two-person Jacuzzi!
And that's going to come in handy after you've been out on the trail horseback riding over breathtakingly rugged cactus-covered terrain. You can ride up to 3 times daily, get fed 3 enormous, delicious meals daily and enjoy all the other nature and fitness activities. Believe me, there are plenty.
Thanks to their "Fill Up Your Tanque" special, good until Sept. 15, you'll get to enjoy all this for $199 a night, $375 double. That's all meals, horseback riding, activities, everything! and they'll even toss in a $100 gas credit!
How about getting a little closer to the Mexican border? One hour further south brings you to the historic town of Tubac. Originally a Spanish colonial garrison back in 1752, it later became known as an artists' colony and a recent reinvention of the town has made it a fantastic place to visit, shop, eat and enjoy.
Mission central will be the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa (1 Avenue de Otero, 1-800-848-7893; www.tubacgolfresort.com). Once a historic working ranch, it added a 27-hole championship golf course (see photo), a luxurious spa, several first-rate restaurants and 98 individual sleeping units to fill out the 500-acre ranch in comfort.
Bing Crosby and John Wayne loved to tee-off here, the movie Tin Cup was shot on location and during the summer, you can golf for as little as $29 (including a cart) depending on the time of day. I don't golf, but I found the location itself beautiful and restful enough to warrant a visit, especially at this summer's prices: 3 nights for the price of 2, with rooms starting as low as $114.
Like most of Arizona this summer, it's an offer you can't refuse.