Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort Rating: 3.5 Pearls
With just 30 rooms, the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch offers perhaps the truest boutique experience in Tucson. 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. The property lacks a fitness center and the spa is quite small, but the hotel exudes an intimate vibe that is hard to come by in Tucson.
Arizona Inn Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The upscale Arizona Inn, with 95 rooms, is one of the swankiest and most beloved boutique resorts in town. It is a historic property that retains its 1930s charm -- highlighted by antique-laden casitas and the elegant Dining Room -- while offering modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs and iPod docks. The hotel is centrally located in midtown Tucson, yet beautifully manicured grounds with tennis courts and a pool create a feeling of peaceful seclusion. The Hacienda Del Sol offers similar amenities at a slightly lower price point, however.
Tubac Golf Resort & Spa Rating: 3.5 Pearls
It may be a "resort," but with 98 rooms the Tubac provides guests with a much more intimate experience than Tucson's many megaresorts. The upper-middle-range Tubac Golf Resort & Spa offers a scenic desert setting with great views of the Santa Rita mountains. Many outdoor enthusiasts are drawn here for the 27-hole championship golf course -- featured in the movie "Tin Cup" starring Kevin Costner -- along with the large spa. Rooms are generous in size and offer fireplaces, big bathrooms with soaking tubs, and shaded outdoor patios; the 52 Hacienda rooms were added more recently than the others. An excellent restaurant with outdoor seating and the beautiful setting make this hotel worth the one-hour drive south of Tucson, but some guests complain about a pesky nightly resort fee, which you won't find at the Arizona Inn.
Tanque Verde Ranch Rating: 3.5 Pearls
This rustic, all-inclusive resort is a quintessential Western dude ranch surrounded by miles of gorgeous mountains and desert. The property borders Saguaro National Park East, where guests can enjoy guided horseback rides, hiking, and mountain biking. There's also swimming, communal ranch meals, and kids' activities. Despite the resort's remote location, guests can stay plugged in with free Wi-Fi access. The 74 guest rooms, however, lack TVs -- though for some, that only adds to the authenticity of the experience.
Lodge on the Desert Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The 103-room Lodge on the Desert is a unique slice of Tucson, with a 75-plus-year history and an updated look that gives its historic rooms a modern feel. The boutique hotel features a hacienda-style layout, big rooms, lovely landscaping and decor, and a heated pool -- though it is quite small -- with water features. But some may find the similarly priced Arizona Inn a tad more charming, and the Tanque Verde's rooms are more upscale, while still offering a boutique, rustic vibe.