Old Jan 20, 18, 7:17 am
  #53  
senzer
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 123
Thanks for the great review - I sent you a PM with a few additional questions. Look fwd to your reply!

Originally Posted by Nash_Andrew View Post
Since there havenít been a lot of recent reviews of this property on FT, I wanted to share a review of my experience. TL;DR - the Ritz Dove Mountain is a fantastic place to get away, relax, and enjoy outdoor activities of all kinds.

My fiancť and I visited for a long weekend, staying on points (40K/night). The property is 90 minutes SE of PHX off I-10, so we rented a car and made the boring but easy drive. The resort is 10-15 minutes off the interstate at the very top of the large, luxury development called Dove Mountain. I assume development kicked off in the late 2000s as itís still largely unbuilt. You reach a guard house and continue up the mountain, past the golf club, into the upper reaches of the valley before coming to the hotel, nestled between two mountains, boasting views for miles across the valley. The facility is not pretentious, but itís beautiful - the vibe is understated ďwesternĒ luxury. The crowd is an even mix of families with kids, childless couples of varying ages, and some business/group travelers.

Check in was seamless - makes sense as you speak to the guard driving up - and everything weíd discussed with the concierge was as requested (thanks Marcela, she was terrific). They had a kind note and gift for us in the room as we were celebrating a special occasion. The hotel consists of the main 5-story building, a connected spa facility, the pools and grill area, and a cluster of villas beyond, deepest into the valley. We were upgraded to a superior king on the 5th floor. The room was spacious, tasteful, and showed no signs of wear whatsoever. My only two complaints would be consistently inconsistent shower pressure (it literally stopped running for about ten seconds on two separate occasions), and the inexplicable choice by the designers not to separate the balconies. When you step onto your balcony, you can see every other balcony on your floor, and the adjacent ones on adjacent floors. No privacy at all, making you not want to use the balcony!

The name of the game at this resort is outdoor activities. The property is surrounded by hiking trails, which we explored several times. I canít emphasize enough how beautiful it is - what a treat to walk out of the hotel and enjoy 20+ miles of jaw dropping scenery. We hit the pool, enjoyed sunset trail riding at Tucson Mountain Stables (booked by concierge), and went on a sunrise hot air balloon ride with Foolish Pleasure Balloons (booked by concierge). All were fantastic. I also hit balls and practiced at the extensive facility at the Dove Mountain Golf Club, which was a treat. The fitness center is great, brand new equipment, and was empty whenever I went. Other available activities we didnít have time to enjoy include tennis, group fitness classes, mountain and road biking, and stargazing.

We had a couples massage one day and went a few hours early to the spa. The massage was perfect (I really needed it) and our treatment room was larger than my living room and also had a tub (!?) that we did not use. The spa daily fee is waived when you have a massage booked, so Iíd recommend going to use the whole facility if you are getting a treatment. It has a sizable private pool with hot tub and cabanas that are first come, first served. They serve food and drinks at this pool and itís very quiet and relaxing. Thereís also a large indoor-outdoor hot tub/sauna/steam room in each locker room as well. One small gripe here, the spa areas seemed a bit understaffed in terms of attendants considering the price.

As for food and drink - excellent all around. Thereís a lobby bar and restaurant (also has sushi Friday and Saturday night) with a big patio and fire pit, a poolside bar and grill, a breakfast/coffee joint called ToGo, and Core, which serves sit down breakfast and is the fine dining outlet at night. Caytonís is a burger restaurant at the golf club. Our favorite was Caytonís, and also the breakfast at Core. Pro tip: if you want the breakfast burrito, get it for $10 at ToGo instead of $16 at Core. The omelette with hash browns and toast is a much better deal at $19 than the full buffet breakfast at $32 unless youíre truly starving. Another pro tip - if you like sushi and youíre there on a Friday or Saturday night, donít miss eating it at Ignite. If you didnít know they served it, youíd probably never know since it isnít heavily advertised. As is always the case at this type of hotel, the F&B is very expensive, but with the exception of the burrito mentioned above and the tacos at the pool, I never felt as though the value proposition wasnít there.

A final note about the resort fee, about which there are several comments in this thread: when you pull up to check in, simply insist on self parking - the valet will eventually give in. The lot is about a 3-5 min walk from the hotel entrance. Then on checkout simply ask them to remove the valet portion of the resort fee from your bill, stating that you self parked. Boom - $50/day resort fee becomes $21/day. Since it includes unlimited bottled water, sunscreen, backpacks for hiking, golf club rental, tennis racquet rental, fitness classes, etc, it goes from being a rip-off to a real value. Well worth it in my mind.

Overall (along with their Kyoto hotel) this is one of the best Ritz Carltons Iíve ever visited. Everyone remembered our names and took great care of us, the scenery is stunning, the facility is top notch, and the opportunities for fun activities both on property and off are extensive. The only reason I can think of to not go would be if youíre a city type and/or have to be in the heart of the action. Since this property is a 30 min drive from essentially anything else, youíd go crazy.
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