Huge terraced main pool with cabanas, whirlpools, and a kids’ splash area
Fun lazy river with a waterslide
Five eateries include fine-dining Italian and a Southwestern-inspired grill
Salud! lobby bar with free nightly tequila toast
Open-air dining near the pools, plus a Starbucks
Full-service Hashani Spa has extensive treatments, healthy fare, and a gorgeous lap pool
Sprawling modern gym is open 24 hours
Beautiful nature trails for hiking and biking
Rising Starr kids’ club and Blur teen lounge
Numerous meeting rooms and large-scale event spaces
Wi-Fi and parking (included in the daily resort fee)
Hefty daily resort fees for things like Wi-Fi and parking
Sprawling property can require lots of walking
Can get noisy and crowded, especially at pools
Lazy river and waterslide are seasonal
Big and loaded with amenities, the upscale JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa is a family- and business-friendly hotel with a lively resort vibe, located on the outskirts of west Tucson. It’s surrounded by striking desert landscapes and breathtaking views, observed from many of its 650 rooms and suites. All exceptionally spacious, they come with Southwestern-inspired decor, and balconies in higher categories. The championship golf course, state-of-the-art fitness center, full-service spa, beautiful big pools, fun lazy river, hike/ bike trails, and five eateries keep most guests on-site -- handy because the location is otherwise somewhat isolated. The morning Navajo flute ritual and nightly free tequila toast are a hit. The long walk to the carpark and hefty daily resort fees are drawbacks, but can be avoided at the more affordable Westward Look Resort.
A sprawling and lively family resort packed with amenities and surrounded by stunning desert views
Approaching the JW Marriott is like coming upon a massive desert oasis thanks to its majestic sand-hued main building and secluded nature setting on 50 acres of cactus-studded, red-dirt foothills that unfold in all directions and provide spectacular Arizona views. With 575 rooms and 75 suites, the sprawling property was built to accommodate crowds. Most amenities -- the gym, spa, event spaces, and the majority of eateries -- reside in the main building, while the beautiful aqua pools bejewel the backdrop with splashes of blue. Lobby bar, Salud!, opens onto a mega-sized terrace out back. Here, guests gather at dawn for a Navajo flute ritual; then at sunset around giant fire pits for a daily toast featuring the tequila infusion of the day. The atmosphere is festive and fun-loving, especially down at the pools. The lazy river carries tubers and floaters, a large waterslide captivates the kids, and a big terraced main pool create a playful mood, especially on hot days. The pools are so popular that crowding can become an issue on summer holidays and weekends when the hotel fills up. For peace seekers, the spa pool is removed from the action and far quieter, but it’s only open to spa goers.
Guests can also choose between golf, hiking, and mountain biking on local nature trails into the Tucson Mountains. With so much on-site, the JW Marriott hails as a one-stop resort destination. For many, there’s little, if any, need to venture out. Although the large size of the resort is impressive, one drawback is the location of the self-parking area requires a considerable walk through hallways and via elevators to reach the reception desk, which is near the opposite end of the property.
Slightly west of downtown Tucson, neighboring the Tucson Mountain Reserve
The JW Marriott Tucson Star Pass is located a 13-minute drive west of downtown Tucson, in a secluded mountainous area next to the Tucson Mountain Reserve. It’s a two-hour drive from Phoenix and 20 minutes from Tucson International Airport. Given the hotel’s remote-ish location and array of on-site amenities, most guests spend their days and nights on the property. A vehicle is really essential for exploring. There are no businesses within walking distance, but regional sights include Reid Park Zoo (20 minutes), Old Tucson Studios theme park (20 minutes), and the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum (25 minutes). There are lots of nearby hiking possibilities in the Santa Catalina and Santa Rita Mountains. Sabino Canyon Recreation Area (40 minutes) is the local favorite.
Classic rooms with Southwestern details, plus flat-screen TVs, large bathrooms, and many with incredible views
The rooms are considerably spacious at around 430 square feet, which includes space for sitting areas and work desks. Inspired by the natural desert landscape, smart Southwestern interiors blend neutral beige and taupe tones with handsome wood furniture and tan leather armchairs. Comfy beds, available as king or two queen configurations, are dressed in crisp whites. All rooms are air-conditioned and come with flat-screen cable TVs, coffeemakers, free bottled water, safes, irons, ironing boards, hairdryers, and bathrobes. Wi-Fi is covered under the resort fee.
With their spectacular panoramas, Lazy River, Golf View, Premium Pool, and City View categories might be worth the upgrade from the standard rooms. Premium categories also come with balconies and outdoor table seating for two. One-Bedroom Executive Suites add living areas and extra space, while Luxury Suites add second bathrooms.
Irrespective of category, spacious bathrooms feature marble tiling, big granite and wood vanities, glass-walled showers, separate tubs, and Aromatherapy Associates toiletries. The evening turndown service is a nice touch.
A ton of resort-like amenities catering to both families and business travelers -- plus a daily resort fee
Features are seemingly endless for families, couples, and business travelers. The 27-hole Arnold Palmer golf course is a star attraction. It comes with putting greens, a driving range, and a 20,000-square-foot clubhouse. Kids golf for free. The huge main pool is terraced over two levels, with two whirlpools, a splash area for little ones, and lots of deck chair seating. In addition, cabanas are available for rent. The lazy river and waterslide are a big hit with the kids, though they’re only open seasonally. Expansive Hashani Spa provides a full range of services including a beautiful outdoor lap pool that’s only available to spa guests. It also contains plunge pools, therapy baths, a steam room, and a spa eatery serving healthy fare. The 24-hour fitness center is modern and equipped with an array of free weights, treadmills, and elliptical machines. Scenic nature trails surround the property for hiking and mountain biking.
There is a bevy of available dining options. Italian fine-dining is offered each evening at Primo, with a choice of indoor and terrace seating. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Signature Grill features flavors of the Southwest with an emphasis on locally grown ingredients. Salud! is the expansive lobby bar that serves appetizers and drinks from late afternoon to late evening. It features an airy indoor space with massive windows and comfy outdoor seating surrounding fire pits on a massive patio. Guests congregate at dusk for the daily free Tequila Toast. A morning Navajo ritual featuring Native American flute also takes place here. Plunge Poolside Dining has covered open-air seating near the main pool. It offers sandwiches, tacos, and light snacks, plus a kids’ menu and take-out options. Catalina Barbeque Co. & Sports Bar serves American fare for lunch and dinner. It’s located in the Starr Pass Golf Club, and the hotel shuttle will get guests there and back. There’s also a Starbucks located off the lobby. Room service is available 24 hours.
An array of 80,000 square feet of meeting and event rooms caters to all manner of functions. Rising Starr kids club offers supervised activities and games for children ages 4 to 12. Blur teen lounge comes with tech appeal, such as Xbox, Sony PlayStation, and a movie area with stacks of DVDs. Self-parking and Wi-Fi are included in the daily resort fee. The car park does require a considerable walk, but valet parking is also available for an added fee. Car rental and dry cleaning services on offer. Laundry facilities are also available for guest use.
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