Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Upscale resort with gorgeous natural surroundings and numerous amenities
Among its many competitors in resort-laden Tucson, the upscale Loews Ventana Canyon Resort distinguishes itself with its gorgeous location in the Santa Catalina Mountains. Whereas other resorts can claim good views of Tucson’s landmark mountains, Loews places its guests at the foot of the impressive range with direct access to trails. It’s the perfect place to explore the desert, starting with a short walk on the Window Walk nature trail to a waterfall in a small canyon at the edge of the resort.
It’s not just the mountains and views that earn praise from guests, however. The Flying V Bar & Grill gets consistent high marks and the huge Lakeside Spa is also popular. For sun seekers, there is a large pool with adjacent Jacuzzi in the main courtyard (which also includes a ping-pong table and croquet area underneath mesquite trees) and an adults-only pool beside the spa.
The main pool draws crowds in the warm months, including guests from the nearby The Lodge at Ventana Canyon resort. The pool area can get noisy (especially on weekends), so guests should be aware that rooms with city views may be quieter than units facing the pool. All rooms include patios or balconies, with excellent views from some units.
Outdoor tennis courts and two 18-hole golf courses located across from the hotel's main building offer more beautiful vistas of the spectacular surroundings. The main building itself blends well into the mountain, with brown stone walls covered in vines. Sweeping grounds dotted with native cacti and trees surround it. Inside, the lobby provides another great perspective of the stunning landscape and grounds, as massive windows frame the mountainside and pool.
In north Tucson, at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains
The Loews Ventana Canyon Resort is situated at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains in north Tucson. It is surrounded by upscale neighborhoods and public land, including the popular Ventana Canyon hiking area just to the west. However, no shops or restaurants are within walking distance, so a vehicle is essential. The resort charges for both valet and self-parking. 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.
Spacious rooms with balconies and high-tech amenities
The 398-unit Loews Ventana Canyon Resort offers a wide variety of choices, including studio-style rooms on the ground floor and large suites on the upper levels. All rooms feature private balconies or patios, flat-screen TVs, and iPod docks. Decor is dominated by desert colors that include tan, peach, and dark brown, while Mexican-style wood armoires and photographs of local scenery add a regional touch. Bathrooms are big and feature granite countertops and huge soaking tubs.
Beautiful golf courses, tennis courts, and pools seamlessly blend with the stunning natural surroundings
American and Southwest cuisine at the Flying V Bar & Grill is popular with guests, but it's on the pricey side.
The Loews Ventana Canyon Resort is located right at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains, and the views are terrific. Wildlife sightings are common, and there’s even a waterfall at the end of a nature trail. Additional highlights include two Tom Fazio-designed golf courses, outdoor tennis courts with nighttime lighting, and a large, free-form pool -- all offer spectacular vistas of the surrounding landscape. This upscale hotel does not have a resort fee, but some guests feel nickel-and-dimed by charges for in-room Wi-Fi, parking, and use of the fitness center and tennis courts.