Westward Look Resort Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Tucson, Arizona, United States

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

Cons

  • No golf course
  • Resort fee

Bottom Line

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.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

Historic resort with great mountain and city views, along with plenty of outdoor activities and modern amenities

Nature Trail at the Westward Look Resort
Nature Trail at the Westward Look Resort

The Westward Look Resort is an independent, upscale resort that occupies 80 acres in the desert foothills of north Tucson and features stunning panoramas of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The property also offers good views of the city lights, as it sits at a higher elevation than downtown Tucson. Guests praise the hotel for its beautiful location, relaxed ambiance, renowned restaurants, and many outdoor activities.

Originally established in 1912 (the year Arizona became a state), the Westward Look Resort began as a 172-acre homestead in the open desert outside Tucson. The hotel’s lobby is built around the living room of that 1912 structure, including the ocotillo cactus limbs in the ceiling and original hardwood floors. The old Southwest feel was incorporated into the surrounding spaces with wood beams in the ceilings, wrought iron chandeliers, and ornate wooden furniture. Both the decor and architecture of the resort recall the past century, yet the interior spaces and rooms also wear an unmistakable modern look that refines the aged charm.

There’s a sprawling feel to the property, which is dotted with cacti and mesquite trees. The grounds include a hummingbird and butterfly garden, nature path, and a meditation labyrinth. Most popular are the resort's three pools, which use saline water instead of chlorine. The horseback rides, hiking trails, eight tennis courts, and basketball and volleyball courts are also big draws. A focus on nature is apparent here, from the native plants that are incorporated into treatments at the Sonoran Spa to the chef's garden that provides fresh ingredients for the resort's GOLD restaurant. A nature center offers educational displays about the Sonoran Desert and there is even a telescope on the property, so that guests can view the desert night sky.

Perhaps the only thing missing from the hotel is a golf course, which other upscale properties such as the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort and The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa do offer.

 Location

In north Tucson, situated in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains

The Westward Look is located in north Tucson in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. It's surrounded by residential neighborhoods, so there is nothing much within walking distance, but large shopping areas and restaurants are just a 10-minute drive from the hotel. Self-parking is free and allows guests to park outside their front doors. 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 La Encantada shopping area
  • 10-minute drive to the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun
  • 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
  • 40-minute drive to Old Tucson Studios
  • 45-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 balconies, good views, and flat-screen TVs

The Suite at the Westward Look Resort
The Suite at the Westward Look Resort

With 241 rooms and numerous buildings, the Westward Look’s capacity is big, but so is the property, so it tends to feel less crowded than a typical large resort. The rooms are spacious and all feature a private balcony or patio, with pool, desert, city, or mountain views. Rustic wood furniture, an earthy color scheme, and even wood-beam ceilings in some rooms make for a charming vibe, while amenities including Wi-Fi and 42-inch flat-screen TVs offer guests some modern conveniences. Bathrooms are on the large side, but some only offer walk-in showers and no tubs.

  • 42-inch flat-screen TVs with premium channels
  • Wi-Fi use included with resort fee
  • Pet-friendly rooms available (fees apply)
  • The Posada Rooms are close to the main hotel area and offer pool or garden views, but lack safes.
  • Deluxe rooms (also called suites) are located on the second floors, and feature a range of views (as well as safes that are big enough for laptops).
  • Upgrading to a Stargazer Spa suite gets you a king-size bed, living room, two baths, and a private outdoor Jacuzzi.

 Features

Three saline pools with adjacent Jacuzzis and pretty views, eight tennis courts that offer nighttime lighting, and beautiful grounds with gardens and nature trail

The Pool at the Westward Look Resort
The Pool at the Westward Look Resort

 Food

Fresh American cuisine wtih a Southwestern touch at the acclaimed GOLD restaurant, which plucks ingredients right from a garden on the hotel property

GOLD Restaurant at the Westward Look Resort
GOLD Restaurant at the Westward Look Resort
  • The acclaimed GOLD restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. American food with a Southwestern touch is served, using many local ingredients picked right from the hotel property, particularly from a private chef’s garden. Excellent mountain and city views enhance the dining experience. Guests praise the food and service, but be aware that the restaurant is on the pricey side.
  • The Lookout Bar & Grille serves appetizers and light fare for lunch and dinner daily. Drink specials are offered nightly and live music is presented on select nights.
  • Room service is available

 Bottom Line

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.

Things You Should Know About Westward Look Resort

Address

  • 245 E. Ina Road, Tucson, Arizona 85704

Room Types

  • Posada
  • Stargazer Spa Suite
  • Suite - Desert View
  • Suite - Scenic View

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 241
Pool: N/A
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): N/A
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Hotel Information

Location: Tucson, Arizona
Address: 245 E. Ina Road, Tucson, Arizona 85704
(See Map)
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