After a beautiful stay in Phoenix, we knew it would be hard to top that experience. We packed up in the Mustang (yes, I left TJ alone for 2 minutes in the rental car office and we went from compact to sports car), put the top down and headed south. One of the most surprising things to me is the difference in landscape between Phoenix and Tucson. We left patches of green golf courses and palm trees for an arid, desert terrain, just two hours to the south. We experienced for the first time what felt like a mirage. After a few hours of driving past cacti and lots of brown, out of nowhere sprung the signs for The Ritz Carlton, Dove Mountain. Nestled tightly within Tortolina Mountains, sat the sprawling luxury 5 star resort that we would call home for another 3 nights.
This resort was vastly different than the one we just came from. Dripping in luxury, sat sparkling pools and large open lounge spaces, all surrounded by mountains. The sun was blazing and it was lunchtime, so we made a beeline for the poolside restaurant, Turquesa. After a latin inspired lunch, we settled in to soak up the last few hours of warm, Arizona sun.
We checked into our room, only to be greeted by a beautiful view and a spread of desserts. (Someone knew there was a pregnant lady in this room!). And the bathtub! OH! Readers, you must understand, when you have been unable to soak in a hot tub for months, a bathtub becomes your new best friend. And one this big meant full submersion. Other room amenities included a dual headed shower, a Nespresso machine and the most perfect morning view of a sunrise, complete with a balcony.
I made sure to spend every single morning sipping my morning tea with biscotti watching the sunrise, because that is something one doesn’t always have the luxury of doing. Sunrise for me usually happens driving to work or on the weekends, I’ve already been up and at it for hours and it is long forgotten. Neither situation is ideal, so I made sure to enjoy it while I could.
On our first morning, we ventured out to explore the trails. The hotel is situated among 20+ miles of hiking and biking trails and you better believe I wasn’t going to miss out on that just because I was carrying a bowling ball! The concierge was a bit weary about sending us out on a trail, but eventually we were told there was an out-and-back just past the entrance that was a short, steady climb with a great view. Little did he know, as soon as I saw that that trail connected to a more significant trail, we’d be gone for hours. We ended up hiking 2 miles that morning, snaking back and forth, up and down the mountain, taking in spectacular views of the area.
By the time we finished, I had definitely earned my lunch at the golf club.
We grabbed the hotel shuttle and headed over to The Golf Club at Dove Mountain, where our favorite on-site restaurant, Cayton’s Burger Bistro was located. The restaurant sits on the edge of the course with breathtaking views, delicious burgers and a regular guest, a friendly little road runner. After lunch, we finally caught sight of the resort turtle, Rocky. He was huge! And adorable.
We spent the rest of the afternoon basking in the sun and enjoying the mountain views. In the evenings at Dove Mountain, there is an old tradition of playing fluted music from the mountain top, which is naturally broadcast throughout the canyon. On this particular night, we made sure to grab a seat by the fire and listen to the sounds of the flutist against the setting sun, before heading out to meet my cousin in downtown Tuscon at a great restaurant, Wild Garlic Grille.
On our last full day at Dove Mountain. TJ was itching to hit the golf course and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to experience my first full spa day. I have to admit that some of the best views at Dove Mountain, came from these one of a kind experiences. If you weren’t there to golf or hit the spa, there are plenty of other activities to take advantage of including guided hikes, mixology classes (we did this, it was delicious…even my virgin cocktail!) and great activities for kids.
My day at the spa was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. The adults only, heated pool was PERFECT. The pool at the spa was wedged into a side of the mountain, making guests feel surrounded by nature. My masseuse, Justin, was amazing and treated me to one of the best experiences of my pregnancy – a complicated contraption that allowed me to lay on my belly for my massage. I spent the rest of the day lounging poolside, enjoying lunch from the spa menu. After a day like that, I finally understood why people *invest* in a spa day at luxury resorts.
After 3 exceptional days enjoying all of the amenities and luxuries the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain had to offer, it was time to head home. Thank you to the staff here for wonderful food, impeccable service and the perfect way to end our babymoon. Until next time, Arizona…
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck