Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Historic resort with great mountain and city views, along with plenty of outdoor activities and modern amenities
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.
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.
Big rooms with balconies, good views, and flat-screen TVs
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.
Three saline pools with adjacent Jacuzzis and pretty views, eight tennis courts that offer nighttime lighting, and beautiful grounds with gardens and nature trail
Fresh American cuisine wtih a Southwestern touch at the acclaimed GOLD restaurant, which plucks ingredients right from a garden on the hotel property
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.