Four Days Under the Desert Sky in Tucson

posted on Wednesday, March 01, 2017 at 12:00:44 PM

Escape the hustle and bustle of your everyday life with a long weekend in Tucson. Whether you’re a first-time visitor to the desert or are coming back for seconds, you’ll find plenty of ways to relax while enjoying the unique architecture, history and hospitality the Southwest region is known for. And thanks to the convenience of Vacation by Marriott’s Tucson travel deals, you can leave the planning details to us and begin relaxing before your flight even takes off. 

Day One: It’s early afternoon when you hit the ground at Tucson International Airport. You gather the luggage and pick up a rental car, then make the short 15-minute drive into the foothills and your home away from home for the next several days: the magnificent JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa. You check in and are pleased to find your room overlooks the lazy river and golf course just below. The sun is shining bright and the air is warm, so you slip into swimwear and head down to the pool. You take a lap around the Starr Canyon River, making a stop for a trip down the water slide before completing your circuit, finding a lounge chair and ordering a cool beverage. And later, you take a seat on the patio at Primo to enjoy a Mediterranean dinner of migas crusted blue nose bass, preceded by a very tasty Chile fried calamari salad. The atmosphere is splendid, and before long, you’re enjoying a nightcap at Salud before retiring for the evening. You’ll sleep well before your tee time tomorrow morning.   

Day Two: Like most things associated with the JW Marriott, Starr Pass Golf Club is absolutely spectacular. The course winds its way through the picturesque Sonoran Desert, with saguaro cacti and other desert vegetation providing amazing scenery. The setup consists of three different nine-hole courses, each designed by Arnold Palmer. You begin on the Roadrunner course, which doesn’t play terribly long but features dramatic – and unexpected – elevation changes. With nine holes down, you switch gears and take on the Coyote – as quiet and serene as any place you’ve ever swung a club. At one point, your only company seems to be the local jackrabbits and deer, which just adds to the enjoyable outing. Once off the course, you visit Hashani Spa, where any residual soreness you’ve experienced from golf is removed with a massage that’s specifically enhanced for muscle and joint relief. You leave the session completely refreshed and wondering why this type of post-golf treatment hasn’t become a habit sooner.         

Day Three: This morning you sleep in before enjoying a leisurely breakfast, then visit the fitness center for a workout before lounging around the pool for a while. You hop in your rental car and find some authentic Mexican cuisine for lunch at Mariscos Chihuahua in Tucson’s “Barrio Hollywood.” From there, you make the 20-minute drive past Saguaro National Park to White Stallion Ranch, which is home to one of the largest private herds of horses in the state of Arizona and features a variety of horseback excursions. You meet up with your guide, mount up and head into the rugged Tucson Mountains. The terrain is stark but beautiful, and the panoramic desert views from elevation are breathtaking. The trail gets steep and rocky in spots, but the horses are surefooted and comfortable. You ride through “Movie Pass” surrounded by cacti and are reminded that the film industry has been shooting here for more than five decades. You snap some pics from the summit and eventually arrive back at the ranch before sundown. What a day!  

Day Four: You’ll be departing for home later this afternoon, so you somewhat reluctantly check out of your room at the JW Marriott and drive into the city for a little shopping and lunch before heading to the airport. You stop by Old Town Artisans – a historic adobe building that dates back more than 150 years – and check out a wide variety of local works of art, then hit Bookmans Entertainment Exchange to purchase some reading material for the flight. Finally, you arrive at Mercado San Agustin and browse around La Cabana, admiring the folk art, antiques, traditional pottery and serapes before grabbing a table at Agustin Kitchen, where the Arizona farmers' salad with chicken is a refreshing way to complete your visit to the Tucson area. You look toward the mountains and appreciate the serene feel to this place that seems complemented by the vastness of the natural landscape. It’s something you won’t soon forget. And the seemingly endless sunny days and amazing sunsets aren’t bad, either!

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