An Excursion to Tucson

Last week, I had the opportunity to get down to Tucson to see Yanni perform.  I was unfamiliar with Yanni’s music, and let me tell you, it blew me away.  See a few video highlights here.  But, I’m not here to discuss Yanni’s concert, instead, I’m going to tell you about my stay at the Loews Ventana Canyon.

I’ve been to Tucson a number of times staying at the Westward Look, Westin La Paloma, Embassy Suites Paloma Village, and the Hilton El Conquistador.  I’d always been interested in staying at the Loews Ventana Canyon so was really looking forward to this trip.

The Room

A friend and I drove down in the afternoon and arrived just in time for check-in.  Check-in was easy. The clerk provided us with a brochure of activities and our pool wristbands.  We then made our way to our room.  We had a Skyline Mountain View Double Queen Room.  The room had what appeared to be newer furnishings, nice contemporarily décor, and ample space. The bathroom was good size – the tub/shower combo was huge.  But what was even better was the view.  We had a spectacular view of the mountain!  I loved looking at the cacti and the little waterfall (yes, waterfall) in the distance.  The patio had some chairs to sit on, but it was far too hot to do so and we weren’t there that long to really enjoy the room.

While we didn’t spend much time in the room, I can comment on how extremely clean it was (as well as the whole property).  This is something that is very important to me, and I was glad to see that this resort took that seriously.  The bed was also very comfortable.  I had a very nice rest.

Dining

We opted to do dinner at the hotel before heading to the concert and ate at the Cascade Lounge because they were offering happy hour.  The happy hour runs daily from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.  The lounge is a large space right off the lobby.  Great views of the mountains.  We sat at the bar.  I found the happy hour specials to be not that great.  It was $2 off beer, wine, and cocktails.  There were a few happy hour specials on food too.  Some items were $2 off.  I think a few others may have been more heavily discounted.  If there is one fault I can say about the hotel, it is the price of food.  Everything seemed a bit high – from the lounge menu, to the poolside menu, even the coffee shop.  (A tall Starbucks dark roast was a bit over $4.)  We ordered coconut shrimp and a margarita pizza.  Both were excellent.  The pizza had a lot of cheese and the dough was very soft.

Property Amenities

We visited the pool. The hotel has a large pool with gorgeous views of the mountains.  There is a café nearby, and you can easily get poolside drink service or food brought to you.  We looked at the menu, but didn’t eat there as it was still early and we had to head back to Phoenix.  There is ample seating and the chairs have little flags you can raise for service.  They also had a hot tub nearby and a desert tortoise habitat.  The tortoises weren’t out when I stopped by to see them.  The hotel also has a path to a hiking trail which I bet would be amazing during other times of the year.  At 109 degrees, I wouldn’t recommend hiking.  There were also some ping pong tables outside and a corn hole game.  There were a few other spaces that looked like they’d be wonderful places to hold a cocktail reception.  Overall, I really liked how the property looked and its layout.  The hotel provides a brochure at check-in with a list of the weekly activities.  Some nights they have stargazing, and they have daily activities for the kiddos.

The location of the property seems a bit far when you turn off the main drag, but that’s the charm.  It’s nestled right near the mountains, and out of all the properties I’ve stayed at in Tucson, this one has the most beautiful views.

Overall, I’d give the resort the following ratings:

Rooms – 4.5/5

Cleanliness – 5/5

Dining – 3/5 (Quality 4/5 but pricing 2/5)

Property Amenities 4/5

Location – 5/5

Would I stay there again? Yes. I think it’s a solid property in a good location. Dining is the only place it is missing the mark a bit and that’s due to the pricing.

And, while we didn’t do any sightseeing while we were in Tucson, the city does have a variety of activities (especially outdoor activities) for visitors to enjoy. I recommend checking out the Tourism Bureau’s site.  For those into natural wonders, a bit south of Tucson is Kartchner Caverns which make for an enjoyable visit too.  San Xavier del Bac isn’t too far away either which makes an interesting little detour.

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