Westward Look Resort Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Built in the early 1900s, this renovated guest ranch is Tucson's oldest resort and one of its most popular. Outdoor activities abound at the upscale property, which offers three saline pools, horseback riding and hiking trails, volleyball, basketball, and eight tennis courts -- but no golf course. Big rooms and two highly regarded restaurants overlook the serene mountains and city lights.
Arizona Inn Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The upscale Arizona Inn 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.
Tanque Verde Ranch Rating: 3.5 Pearls
This rustic, all-inclusive resort is an historic, 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. Guest rooms, however, lack TVs -- though for some, that only adds to the authenticity of the experience.
Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort Rating: 3.5 Pearls
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.
Lodge on the Desert Rating: 3.5 Pearls
The upper-middle-range 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 historic Arizona Inn a tad more charming, and it is often similarly priced.