Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Tucson, Arizona, United States

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Beautiful, quiet setting in view of the Santa Catalina Mountains
  • Gorgeous grounds with cacti garden and sculptures
  • Charming property steeped in Hollywood history
  • Flat-screen TVs and iPod docks
  • Horseback riding and hiking on nature trails
  • Free Wi-Fi and self-parking
  • Fresh ingredients and an extensive wine list at The Grill
  • Heated pool and Jacuzzi with lovely mountain views

Cons

  • The spa is small
  • No fitness center; free access at a local gym instead
  • No room service

Bottom Line

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.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

A 30-room resort with a historic, charming vibe

Grounds at the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort
Grounds at the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort

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.

 Location

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.

  • 30-minute drive from Tucson International Airport
  • 5-minute drive to the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun
  • 5-minute drive to La Encantada shopping area
  • 15-minute drive to Sabino Canyon Recreation Area
  • 20-minute drive to the The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona
  • 30-minute drive to Reid Park Zoo
  • 30-minute drive to Pima Air and Space Museum
  • 30-minute drive to Mission San Xavier del Bac
  • 40-minute drive to Saguaro National Park East
  • 40-minute drive to Old Tucson Studios
  • 40-minute drive to the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum
  • 75-minute drive to Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley
  • 2-hour drive to Phoenix

 Rooms

Big rooms with Southwestern decor and a homey feel

The Casita at the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort
The Casita at the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort

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.

  • Flat-screen TVs with premium channels
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • No in-room safes
  • Historic Rooms are housed in the original school dormitory and overlook the building's inner courtyard.
  • Upgrade to a Suite for more space, a separate living room, and a private patio. Some also feature fireplaces.
  • Casitas are the largest units and come with private parking, patios, small dining areas, living rooms with fireplaces, and kitchenettes with microwaves and mini-fridges.

 Features

Many of the amenities and activities have an outdoorsy focus

Library at the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort
Library at the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort

 Food

Renowned cuisine at The Grill restaurant, which features an extensive wine list and fresh ingredients.

Terraza Garden Patio and Lounge at the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort
Terraza Garden Patio and Lounge at the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort
  • Dinner is served nightly in The Grill, which offers renowned cuisine and an extensive wine list that features more than 2,000 labels. The fine dining is complemented by the use of fresh ingredients direct from a garden created especially for the restaurant by celebrity wellness expert Dr. Andrew Weil. Piano players and jazz musicians provide live music here nightly. Happy Hour specials are offered Mondays through Fridays, and brunch is served on Sundays.
  • The Terraza Garden Patio & Lounge serves appetizers and light fare for lunch and dinner daily. It features a roomy patio with an outdoor fireplace.
  • Room service is not available.

 Bottom Line

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.

Things You Should Know About Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort

Address

  • 5501 N. Hacienda del Sol Road, Tucson, AZ 84718

Room Types

  • Casita
  • Hacienda Room 2
  • Historic Room

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 30
Pool: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Tucson, Arizona
Address: 5501 N. Hacienda del Sol Road, Tucson, AZ 84718
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