A sun-drenched Tucson ranch
59 Rooms / 10 Suites
The quiet service and style of Tucson’s Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort are reminiscent of a genteel, bygone era.
Set on a desert ridge in the foothills of the craggy Santa Catalina Mountains, Hacienda Del Sol opened as a boarding school in 1929 for girls from prominent families, including the Pillsburys and Vanderbilts.
In 1948, the property — designed by noted Tucson architect Josias Joesler — became a guest ranch, where the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and John Wayne came to ride horses past saguaro cactus and mesquite and to immerse themselves in the relaxing Western lifestyle.
By the 1990s, the iconic property had slipped into a shabby-chic phase, but it was rescued by a partnership of Tucson locals, who restored the old adobe compound, updated the rooms and added The Grill, the much-lauded restaurant known as much for its views as its New American menu and vast wine list. A more recent addition is Terraza, the resort’s casual dining patio and bar.
Today, you’ll find that the 34-acre resort’s historic architecture, lushly planted courtyards and killer mountain views make for a million Instagram posts. Once you stop gazing at the setting, you’ll encounter gracious service, modern amenities and lots of extras that make this a great place for a sun-drenched escape.
With the 2015 addition of 32 mountain-facing rooms, the Tucson hotel’s 59 units are all slightly different, including the intimate, vintage accommodations that were once dorms in the historic building; the spacious new rooms that boast patios and outdoor showers; and the 1,600-square-foot, two-bedroom Tracy-Hepburn casita.
All rooms, though, are furnished with custom alder furniture handcrafted in Mexico, bespoke bedding and deluxe linens. Beamed, hand-painted ceilings, Mexican tile details and hand-painted sinks reiterate the resort’s Southwestern roots.
Flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, bedside charging stations and in-room refrigerators are a few of the modern amenities, while Fiji water, plush bathrobes and orange-scented Tarocco toiletries are luxurious touches.
Hacienda Del Sol’s intimate spa offers three treatment rooms, plus a nail salon where you can choose organic and vegan nail products.
The spa menu contains old standards like deep-tissue, hot stone and couples massages, as well as contemporary comforts like body polishes, Hungarian mud treatments for cellulite and age-correcting acai berry facials. Aromatherapy and a warm scalp massage are soothing enhancements to consider.
Virtually all of the body and facial treatments can also be done in the privacy of your room. Call the spa, and it will bring up the table, the aromatics and the soothing music.
The extras at Hacienda Del Sol enhance the true Arizona desert experience. The luxury hotel still has its stables, where you can saddle up for a 90-minute trail ride through the property’s arroyos, or dry creek beds, or sign up for sunrise or sunset rides. You can also hike the property’s trails on foot or take a short drive to numerous trailheads at the base of nearby mountains. If you prefer exercising indoors, a small fitness room has all the basics.
Two pools and a Jacuzzi let you soak up the views, not to mention the heated waters. And, yes, you can order a poolside margarita or two. Fire pits by the pool and throughout the property take the edge off of a crisp, clear night.
Inside the historic main building, cozy up to the hand-painted fireplace and admire the vintage Monterey furniture in the old living room or catch up on your reading or play a board game in the library.
Then there are the gardens, tucked throughout the grounds, which are also dotted with sculptures. Specimen cacti, pots filled with seasonal flowers, bougainvillea and lantana abound. There’s also a chef’s garden to visit and a citrus grove, where the groundskeepers will look the other way if you swipe a grapefruit or tangelo.