Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ritz Carlton, Dove Mountain

I decided my first full review would be about a new Ritz Carlton Resort that opened up Mid-December 2009, and to which I took a trip to over New Year's with my lovely parents. It is the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain, and is located in Marana, AZ. Marana is in Southern Arizona (think an hour and a half or so south of Phoenix for those not familiar), a little north of Tuscon...and the place is beautiful. The pictures do not do it justice. The above is moi at the pool looking at the resort from the back. Now that I'm back home and freezing my behind off, these pictures are making me bitter...and pale! But nonetheless, let's continue!

Below is the firepit at the center of the back of the resort, past the lobby, and showing the beautiful mountains the entire hotel is set up against. 

When I say the place is beautiful I mean both the state, city and actual resort. First let's start off with the majestic beauty that is Arizona, in particular southern Arizona. Growing up on the east coast, the place looks like another the best way possible. I find the beauty of the landscape in the area to be both beautiful, awe-inspiring and tranquil. The next picture below is of some of the grounds, which blend the desert landscape with beautiful verdent accents of lush green. 

The resort itself is located tucked among and facing back towards some beautiful mountainous terrain. It is a winding drive up to the resort into a sort of oasis tucked back into huge mountains and hills behind it (lets say I grew up in a place with no mountains so my judgement on huge is relative here people) It is unlike any Ritz Carlton you have probably been before, I looked at it as a huge glamorous "luxury lodge" -type atmosphere. The lobby is open through sliding floor-to-ceiling glass panels, to the large half-moon area outside where most of the outdoor action is. There is a large fire pit and outside seating, and further beyond is an infinity pool and outdoor grill, Turquesa. Beyond this are individual guest casitas (a little guest house of sorts), and beyond that are the gorgeous mountains. You feel both tucked in and wide open to the beautiful space that the Ritz encompasses (and that is a large space...850 acres, which makes it the largest Ritz in North America by terms of acres, not actual building) To go to the Spa, Golf Course and other activities, you have to head from the front of the building out.

This is the pool area and the casitas in the background

We stayed in what the Ritz calls the "concierge level" in its resorts, and let me tell you, don't reserve a room here unless you plan on never being able to go to a resort without one of these amenities. My family made the mistake of this all the way back in childhood, taking my brother and I to Disneyworld and booking the concierge level at the Grand Floridian through the recommendation of a work friend of my dad's....and we have been hooked ever since.

The Concierge Lounge 

The concierge level differs in many resorts, but generally, its a floor or two of rooms that share a common lounge, accessed only by key card. The lounge has concierge on hand at all times, and serves free food and drink throughout the day. Here at the Ritz, it was a continental breakfast (including cooked items like bacon and eggs),fresh fruit, coffee, tea, espresso, granola, cereal and anything you could want. They also had a light lunch serving, and afternoon snack, pre-dinner appetizers and drinks and desserts. They are put out for a few hours and all the food and drink (read: Alcohol) is complimentary (well you pay the premium for the room I guess...but no extra is charged after that). This is another thing you must try if you can swing it. The concierge level will change your life...and leave you spoiled for the rest of it. And I'm not saying its cheap to do this by any means, but having a free breakfast for your family and/or free champagne/wine/liquor for yourself at night really pays for the extra you put down for the room. Totally worth me!

The citrus groves in the back for the resort's restaurants to use 

Back to the resort. If the pictures don't tell you how beautiful it is, let me say it one more time. This place is gorgeous. The service is kind and attentive and the rooms are fresh, modern and luxurious. The golf course is beautiful (my dad's review..not mine..he also said its HARD..but gorgeous), the spa is divine (even compared to some top spas I have been before) My only one problem with the whole resort was the pathetic excuse for toiletries they use. Seriously...I wish I took a picture. They are "ritz carlton brand" (to which I frankly miss the designer brands you get at other resorts like L'Occitane at the Four Seasons and Aqua di Parma, which you used to get at the Ritz)..and they stink! They are only large enough to use once...I have to use the whole bottle of shower gel for your body..and it won't even lather. The quality is poor and doesn't reflect to the quality all-around of the resort and its reputation.

Horrible toiletries aside (and that is a big deal to beauty-obsessed me, trust me), the place is so darn pretty and relaxing..I would return and use those awful products anyday just so I can stay there again. Bravo Ritz..even in the throws of a recession, you didn't cut corners (well except that darn shower gel) in your resort and made another fabulous, luxurious, yet unpretentious addition to your that really echoed the down-to-earth beauty of the place you built it in. If you think Ritz's are snobby, intimidated by them, or one that dislikes the sleek marble up the wazoo flashiness of some resorts and places...come won't be sorry.  I said it before but I have to say it again, these pictures are nowhere near as beautiful as it actually is. I'll blame that on the camera and not my pathetically amateur photography skills. xoxo L

1 comment:

Katie said...

I love staying at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. I haven't stayed in the concierge level before, but it sounds amazing. The last time I was there I came across The Residences, did you see them? Considering they were some of the most luxurious pieces of Dove Mountain real estate for sale that I had seen I immediately feel in love. If you thought the resort was incredible you should see The Residences, I'm hoping to retire there. I've seen a lot of luxury communities in Arizona, but nothing like these homesites. Not to mention the amenities of the resort and the golf course are accessible for homeowners, complete resort living.