A desert resort with a sense of place
JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa is set in the surprisingly lush Sonoran Desert, bordering the largest stand of giant saguaro cactus found anywhere and laced with hiking and bike trails accessible from the resort. Of the original 300 acres purchased for this development, half were donated for a natural preserve, so that the property will always be surrounded by the geometric forms of the saguaro cactus and the natural contours of the land.
The Presidio of Tucson was founded in 1776, and the area was Spanish almost as long as it has been part of America. Before the Spanish came, Apaches roamed the area and the permanent residents, Tohono O'odham, lived along the base of the mountains. Starr Pass sets out to reflect the early Native American, Mexican and Spanish cultures as well as the Old West of ranching that lie under today's modern, vibrant Tucson community.
Hand-crafted metal signs scattered around the property explain natural and human history, and native flutist Larry Redhouse performs an Native American ceremony near the fire pits on the patio each morning. The hotel lobby features a mural of a dramatic summer thunderstorm behind a shelf of huge jugs of flavored waters — turning the necessity of fluids in the desert into a thirst-quenching experience. Still, even amongst all of the tributes to the ancestral past, nods to the present can be seen throughout this desert resort. Electronic concierge boards in the lobby (something like gigantic iPads) provide guetss with all sorts of local and resort information while other amenities such as the Hashani Spa and 27 holes of picture-perfect golf only add to the Tucson hotel’s appeal.