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Hot List 2010
The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain, Marana, Arizona
15000 N. Secret Springs Drive
Tel: 520 572 3000
Tucked into the first folds of the Tortolita Mountains, 30 miles north of Tucson, this 253-room high desert property amid boulders and mature saguaros has an immediate sense of place that's typically harder to evoke at large resorts such as this. The authenticity is heightened by rock drawings, best viewed from the blissful spa, and, at night, fire pits that feel as if they could be illuminating an early Native American encampmentassuming the Native Americans played golf (there are 27 holes designed by Jack Nicklaus). The excellent main restaurant, Core, is overseen by chef Joel Harrington, formerly of Fearing's at the Ritz-Carlton in Dallas, and has an exotic American menu that includes pulled rabbit and buffalo tenderloin. The resort is far enough from Tucson that guests need to be content with staying put, which, with the Sonoran Desert all around, and over 20 miles of hiking trails running through it, should not be difficult.
Which room to book: Some people like gazing across the desert at night to the lights of Tucson, but for an overwhelming sense of serenity, ask for a fourth- or fifth-floor room looking up into the canyon.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.