Hacienda rooms could use an update, and require a drive to reach hotel lobby
Nightly resort fee
The 4-pearl Omni Tucson National Resort has a beautiful, 650-acre desert setting west of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Golf is a major focus here, and one of the two 18-hole courses served as a PGA tournament course for over 40 years. The resort offers extensive amenities aside from golf, however, including a big pool, a 13,000-square-foot spa, three restaurants, and tennis. Mountain Vista Rooms have upscale southwestern decor, while the Haciendas are larger but farther from the lobby and in need of an update.
An upscale golf resort in the desert with lovely mountain views
The Omni Tucson National Resort is an upscale resort that caters to golfers. The 650-acre property has only 128 rooms, so the crowds that can accompany the larger golf resorts in Tucson will not be seen at the Omni. The relaxed atmosphere and excellent views of the Santa Catalina Mountains make this a peaceful desert retreat.
The two 18-hole golf courses on the property are very different. The Catalina is a throwback to an earlier era, before target golf became popular, and features rolling hills and lakes. The Catalina hosted the PGA Tour's Tucson Open from the 1960s until 2006. The Sonora course is more modern and features a challenging target-style course that winds through rugged desert.
There are plenty of other activities for non-golfers, including tennis, basketball, shuffleboard, sand volleyball, and yoga classes at the huge fitness center. A large pool area with cabana rentals and a bar is lined with date palm trees. The 13,000-square-foot spa offers a full range of services, and features a whirlpool, steam room, sauna, and cold plunge pool. There are three restaurants on-site: an upscale steak house, a sports bar with a billiard table and cigars, and a breakfast restaurant with outdoor patio.
The Mountain Vista Rooms in the main hotel building, interior spaces, and exterior received a $30 million renovation in 2009. The lobby is a beautiful, huge space with Southwestern art, wood ceilings, and tile floors. The Mountain Vista Rooms are just as modern and upscale, but the Hacienda Suites, housed in casita-style adobe buildings, could use an update.
The Omni Tucson National Resort is located in northwest Tucson, and offers lovely view of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The resort is surrounded by residential neighborhoods, so a vehicle is essential for seeing anything beyond the property. Valet parking is included with the resort fee, and 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.
40-minute drive from Tucson International Airport
5-minute drive to the De Grazia Gallery in the Sun
20-minute drive to La Encantada shopping area
20-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
35-minute drive to Pima Air and Space Museum
35-minute drive to Mission San Xavier del Bac
45-minute drive to Saguaro National Park East
45-minute drive to Old Tucson Studios
45-minute drive to the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum
Mountain Vista Rooms with beautiful, modern Southwestern decor, and casita-style Hacienda Suites that could use an update
The Omni’s Mountain Vista Rooms are located in the main building, and have upscale Southwestern decor: wood-beamed ceilings, headboards of natural fiber, an animal print pillow on the bed, and chocolate throws.
The Mountain Vista Rooms were last renovated in 2009, but the Hacienda Suites could still use an update. These suites are housed in casita-style adobe buildings that require a drive from the lobby. The old tube TVs and worn furniture don't compare to the Mountain Vista Rooms' fresher style, but the Hacienda Suites do come with kitchens, fireplaces, patios, and pull-out sofas, making them convenient for families or groups.
Views vary but the best face east toward the mountains.
The Mountain Vista Rooms are 600 square feet and come with king-size or two queen-size beds. They feature private balconies and stylish Southwestern decor.
Hacienda Suites are housed in casita-style buildings (there are four rooms or suites per building). They have around 1,000 square feet, king beds, living rooms with pull-out sofas, kitchens, patios, and fireplaces.
A steakhouse, a sports bar, a breakfast restaurant, and a pool bar
Bob's Steak & Chop House is a fine dining restaurant that serves prime beef, seafood, and salads for dinner. It's located above the golf course with views of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
Legends Bar and Grill serves lunch, dinner, and drinks indoors or on the outdoor patio overlooking the finishing hole of the golf course. Menu items include soups, salads, sandwiches, microbrews, and draft beers. Open late morning to late night. Sports games are played on the TVs, and there's a billiards table.
The Fiesta Room serves breakfast daily inside or on the patio overlooking the Sweetwater Terrace.
Sweetwater Cabana Bar serves drinks during the day poolside.
Room service is available.
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