MARANA, Ariz. - Next February, players in the WGC Accenture Match Play Championships at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain can sleep a little later.
That's because they'll be able to stay next to the golf course at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, hotel and spa, which is scheduled to be completed this fall. There they'll be able to experience all that a golf resort can offer - a 17,000-square-foot spa, world-class dining and even a large water slide - if they are so inclined. This 850-acre property includes a 250-room hotel and is adjacent to a cluster of secluded, multi-bedroom casitas, ideal for golfing families and friends.
The 64 PGA Tour players at this year's WGC Accenture Match Play Championship could stay at the Omni Tucson National Resort abut 25 minutes away, while the construction was well underway at the Ritz-Carlton. Reservations are already being taken for guests who want to stay at the resort when it opens.
"We are looking forward to welcoming guests this fall," said Michael McMahon, general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. "Much of the heavy work has been done, as we stay on track toward completion. It's an exciting time as we get closer to having every piece in place for our opening."
Set amongst mature saguaros along the backdrop of the Tortolita Mountains, guests at the Ritz-Carlton will be able to engage in nature walks, take part in a "cattle drive" or take to more than 20 miles of hiking trails. There are also marked mountain biking routes and guided jeep tours. Three swimming pools, including an "Adventure Pool" with a 235-foot water slide, are available for kids and adults alike.
A family resort to be sure, there's even talk of children being able to draw their own petrographs, and why not? Around 500 B.C., the people who once lived here were carving them, so why not those who stay here now?
For most guests, of course, just viewing these ancient petrographs is enough, and they'll be able to see them along the trails that are set up on the property. In fact, you don't have to go far to see them. Several are evident on large boulders behind the spa.
This is also the land of the Hohokam Indian people from about 300 B.C. to 1450 A.D. They dug wells and built canal systems to irrigate corn, beans and squash. Today, there is still evidence of roasting pits and remnants of a village square on the property.
From 1450 to 1697, Spanish missionaries colonized the area. By 1775, the Presidio of Tucson was established, one of several forts built to counter the threat of Apache raiders.
For a little more recent history, guests can still tour the modest shack of the former owner of the property, legendary Dove Mountain homesteader and cowboy poet Eugene "Cush" Cayton.
Cayton came to Tucson in 1926 and bought a choice piece of Ruelas Canyon in the Tortolita Mountains. He then established the T Bench Bar Ranch and entertained artists, scientists, prospectors and cowboys over the years until local developer David Mehl purchased the land.
Cayton's tiny abode is still located off one of the trails of the property. The restaurant at the golf club is also named after him.
It used to be that every Ritz-Carlton property pretty much looked alike - dark, traditional furnishings, for example - but that is changing.
At Dove Mountain, the color schemes and fixtures reflect the local culture, and the designs have been tweaked over the past few months.
With a couple of sample rooms built first, Ritz-Carlton officials have been able to change decor and the arrangement of the rooms as they get feedback.
In one example, they figured out that the large tubs in the rooms were ideal for couples but would be even better if the faucets were moved toward the side instead of the center.
The rooms will also have the latest technologies, including high-definition programming for the flat-panel LCD TVs, high-speed wireless Internet and the ability to upload presentations to the large TV monitors in the room.
The Ritz-Carlton even has its own cell tower, so guests will get uninterrupted cell phone coverage.
"You should at least be able to get everything you have at home," said Stephen Duercker, director of sales and marketing. "Really, more than that."
April 2, 2009