We decided to take a quick getaway from Phoenix to Tucson for the weekend, so used hotwire and picked up a pretty good deal.
We arrived late, around 9, and there is a staffed gatehouse. They were friendly, checked our name against the register, and handed us a hangtag so we belonged for two days. The drive from the gatehouse to the resort is about 1/4 mile, and we were met as we parked the car by a really nice bellman who already had a luggage cart, key, and check-in materials. This was great, since we were really tired and ready for bed. We had a first-floor one-bedroom suite facing the tennis courts and parking lot and James made sure we were settled in and had everything we needed.
The room where we stayed is their smallest room, but was by no means small. It had a kitchenette, a dining room table for four, full-size leather couch, desk/work area, separate bedroom that was larger than many hotel rooms by itself, and a very generous bathroom with a walk-in shower. It also had it's own patio area that was equally generous, but had a view of my car.
While the room was large, parts of it were quite dated and had some maintenance issues. The breaker panel for the electrical in our room was prominently located in the bedroom, and the cover to the panel was only held on by two out of the four screws. About half the furniture was newer, but then the other half looked original to the property. Pillows were uncomfortable, but the mattress slept well. Carpet looked new. The kitchenette in the room looked as if it needed to be ripped out and replaced with 80's tile countertops and old-looking appliances. The kitchen came in handy the second day when we decided to make food instead of eating out again. I've spent at least a year of my life at Marriott Residence Inns, and kitchens are handy.
My only other complaint about the room is that I could easily hear the conversation of the folks next door, which means they could hear me.
On the second day when we woke up I realized how beautiful our surroundings were. The back of the resort faces the mountains and also backs up to the golf course. I don't play golf, so I can't speak to the facilities, but they do have a pro shop for golf and tennis, and seem to be well-stocked. The campus is well-maintained, but the interiors looked as dated as our room. The dining room in the main building has a spectacular view of the mountains and golf course, although we only had room service. We are vegetarian, and the menu wasn't especially exciting for us, but we did have their breakfast.
As for the food, it was bland, but passable, but then breakfast food is often bland, so I won't try to judge their meatier selections which comprise most of their menu. I'm sure they do a great prime rib.
My wife had a deep-tissue massage while there, and it was excellent. She said the spa was also dated, which seems to be a recurring theme, and that there was nowhere to sit and relax. She's comparing it to the incomparable Joya Spa where she ususally goes in Phoenix, so it's not a fair fight. She likes spa days, and this is not really a spa day kind of spa, but more of a place you go while your husband is playing golf. But a good massage is a good massage, and the guy they have for deep tissue was fantastic, so score one for their spa.
They have tons of tennis courts, so if you like tennis, then this is probably a good place to stay. Unfortunately, it's quite a racket outside your room if you are facing the courts. Terrible pun, I know. We used the pool, which is inexplicably far from the rooms, across a parking lot and at the end of the tennis courts. That said, it's well-maintained and they had goggles for my son.
The hotel is a long way from downtown, so if you need to do business or visit downtown, this might not be a good place to stay. I think it took 35 minutes to get to el Chorro from our room. That's over an hour of driving. There are amenities and restaurants close by, so there's no pressing reason you need to go there.
One reason you might want to leave the property is to see people who aren't white. I have rarely been in a whiter place than the Lodge, and I was really stunned as I surveyed board after board of their members that I could only find one Asian couple and one Hispanic man. Maybe I missed someone, but I certainly didn't run into any non-white people except a waiter and our maid. This is a problem that's not specific to the lodge, but to wealthy Arizona in general. Diversity in Arizona mostly on paper, rarely in everyday life.
So to sum up: it's a beautiful setting, well-maintained grounds, dated interiors, great staff, reasonably priced, good on-site amenities, decent but not great spa facility, free parking, free internet, lily-white, and giant rooms with kitchenette.
I would love to give it more dots, but the hotel is badly, badly in need of a remodel or Rodney Dangerfield will be coming back from the dead to film Caddyshack 3 here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Against the dramatic backdrop of the Santa Catalina Mountains, stately ancient saguaros lift their arms to the sky, a myriad of fascinating wildlife scurries about the Sonoran desert landscape and all is right with the world. Nestled in this pristine setting is the perfect vacation destination, the Lodge at Ventana Canyon, with 50 cozy one or two bedroom guest suites. We invite you to make the Lodge your home away from home. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Lodge At Ventana Canyon Hotel Tucson
- Hotel At Ventana Canyon
- Resort At Ventana Canyon
- Lodge Ventana Canyon