Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A 30-room resort with a historic, charming vibe
The 30-room Hacienda Del Sol offers the charm and look of the old Southwest, with a historic feel that sets it apart from the big, modern resorts in town.
Built in 1929 as a private girls’ school, the Hacienda originally catered to the well-to-do and hosted the daughters of many famous families, including the Kelloggs and the Vanderbilts. It was converted into a guest ranch in the 1940s and became a favorite getaway for Hollywood’s elite, including film legends John Wayne and Clark Gable. The iconic duo Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn are even rumored to have fallen in love here in the Casita Grande.
The Hacienda’s Spanish Colonial style is right out of the Old West, with adobe walls, lodgepole ceilings, and arched doorways. The hotel is surrounded by a lush desert garden, containing many native species of plants and some aged-looking sculptures. Inside, there are more artistic touches in the small lobby and adjacent library, such as carved doors, black-and-white photographs, rustic pottery, and engraved tin adornments. The inner courtyard with a lawn is popular with wedding parties.
Located on 34 acres in the scenic foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, the resort offers some lovely vistas. The property's original heated pool and Jacuzzi have great views of the mountains, as do certain tables in The Grill restaurant. The Terraza Garden Patio and Lounge is a popular place to gather in the evenings to watch the sunset and eat tapas.
The Hacienda also features outdoor activities, such as hiking and horseback riding on the nature trails that surround the property. Amenities include tennis courts, shuffleboard, and a small spa that offers massages and a few other treatments. The hotel lacks a fitness center, so visitors who want to work out have to drive to a local community center that provides hotel guests with free access to its gym.
In north Tucson, situated in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains
The Hacienda Del Sol is located in north Tucson. It is situated in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains and surrounded by residential neighborhoods, so there are no shops or restaurants within walking distance. No shuttle service is offered.
Tucson is the second-biggest city in Arizona and perhaps its most culturally rich. Though officially founded in 1776, Tucson was first settled in the late 1600s by Spanish missionaries (most notably at the beautiful Mission San Xavier del Bac, the region's most iconic structure), and 4000 years earlier by Hohokam Indians. It is said to be one of the longest continuously-inhabited cities in the USA, known since its inception as the "Old Pueblo."
Sitting at 2,400 feet in a broad valley between five different mountain ranges, Tucson enjoys on average 350 sunny days per year and an arid climate that produces one of the most diverse desert environments in the world. The Sonoran Desert features the stately saguaro cactus, which is celebrated at Saguaro National Park on the city's outskirts, and many other varieties of cacti and unique wildlife including a few notable desert dwellers, such as rattlesnakes, Gila Monsters, and Giant Desert Hairy Scorpions. There was even a 2009 sighting of a rare jaguar. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has wildlife and flora on display, and is the best place to learn more.
With all that sunshine, Tucson is an outdoor lover's paradise. Scores of golf courses dot the city. Hiking possibilities are limitless and year-round in the Santa Catalina and Santa Rita Mountains nearby, with Sabino Canyon Recreation Area being a local favorite. Mountain bikers come to Tucson by the thousands for the miles of single-track trails in the desert. Bird-watchers can explore some of the richest avian populations in North America in nearby secluded canyons. And there's even a ski area among fir and pine trees atop Mt. Lemmon, which has an elevation of more than 9,000 feet.
Tucson's Hispanic community is woven into the fabric of everyday life in the city, and is reflected in the Mexican restaurants, the Spanish place names, and the arts and culture that play a large part in forming Tucson's identity. The arts abound in Tucson in dozens of galleries, such as the Etherton Gallery or DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun (celebrating the work of Tucson artist Ted DeGrazia). The University of Arizona houses the Creative Center for Photography, the nation's largest repository of photographs by notable artists such as Ansel Adams and W. Eugene Smith.
As a desert city, Tucson gets hot in the summertime with temps ranging in the 100s from May to mid-September. Winter is the busy season, when many visitors succumb to the temptations of 75-degree days and pleasant evenings around a fireplace. Summers can be enjoyable too, by sticking close to a pool or indulging in shopping -- just remember to pack extra water and avoid exertion in the midday sun. Locals might suggest taking a siesta -- "nap" in Spanish -- during midday hours.
It's important to realize that freeways are nonexistent in Tucson, save for I-10. Driving times can vary depending on time of day, as rush hour creates a twice-daily snarl on surface streets.
Big rooms with Southwestern decor and a homey feel
The Hacienda offers 30 rooms in a variety of styles, from single rooms in the original building to newer, multi-room casitas. Decor veers toward the classic “Old Tucson” look, with decorative Mexican wall tiles in the bathrooms, red tile floors, adobe-covered brick walls, and wood ceilings. Most feature a warm, earthy color scheme that echoes the natural desert surroundings. Paintings from local artists, handcrafted furnishings, and patterned area rugs add a homey touch.
Many of the amenities and activities have an outdoorsy focus
Renowned cuisine at The Grill restaurant, which features an extensive wine list and fresh ingredients.
This historic property is one of the few resorts in Tucson that has authentic old Arizona character. The Spanish Colonial-style building goes back to 1929, with charming rooms that benefit from modern amenities. It is steeped in Hollywood history, as film icons including John Wayne have stayed here. Lovely mountain views, beautifully landscaped grounds, and a secluded location make for a serene setting. A major highlight is The Grill, which offers an extensive wine list and fresh ingredients from a garden created by celebrity wellness expert Dr. Andrew Weil. However, the property lacks a fitness center and the spa is quite small.