Loews is a smaller but luxurious hotel program (27 hotels as of 2021) that I had never tried before, so I was very excited to book a stay at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Arizona. It was a short stay but very memorable and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this resort to anyone headed to Tucson. Check out what the experience was like below.
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Booking the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
We booked through the American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts (FHR) program. It’s a great luxury hotel program with properties located all around the globe. The major plus of booking with FHR is that it also provides you with the following benefits for your stay:
- Noon check-in, when available
- Guaranteed 4pm late check-out
- Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
- Daily breakfast for two people
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Special amenity unique to each property
It’s perfect to use when staying at hotels where you don’t have elite status and in this case there is no Loews elite program (anymore) so it made perfect sense to use the program to stay here.
We found a rate for a Ventana Patio King Bed Room going for around $180 and with taxes it came out to right at $200. This meant that we could use the new hotel credit from the American Express Platinum Card to completely cover our one night staycation.
With the addition of the $100 property credit and $70 breakfast credit along with the upgrade, we were able to receive about $400 in value while only paying $30 out-of-pocket for the property fee. Not a bad deal at all.
This resort is located in one of the most scenic spots in Tucson — the Catalina Foothills.
Specifically, it is built right by Ventana Canyon which means that you have access to great hiking trails next door. Seriously, we hiked Ventana Canyon and had amazing wildlife encounters with a desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoise, and tons of birds (see the video below).
You are also in close proximity to another hiking hotspot Sabino Canyon, which offers some of the best trails in the area including: 7 Falls Trail, Phoneline Trail, and Blackett’s Ridge. Mount Lemmon is also close by and is a must when in Tucson, especially if you are seeking cooler temperatures and a change of scenery with beautiful pine trees.
There are a ton of restaurants and shops in the nearby area as well so this resort definitely is in a prime location.
Check out some footage from the hike below:
Check-in (early check-in granted)
We called ahead and the hotel assured us that we could check in at 1 PM so we arrived right on the dot.
I was immediately impressed with the landscaping at the resort as you don’t typically see a lot of bright green grass in this area of the country. I also appreciated how the tones and patterns of the structure blended in with the natural surroundings.
Once we made our way to the lobby, check-in was very smooth.
There was a trainee working the front desk and so things went a little bit slower but I understand people have to get experience somehow so it was not a big deal.
Also, the employee providing the training was doing a good job of providing direction to the new employee and simultaneously facilitating the check-in process — something that requires a good deal of patience.
Fortunately, the good service we got at the beginning lasted throughout the entire stay which left me with a great impression of this hotel brand.
I was able to confirm that we would receive an upgrade and we had the choice of a city view or mountain view. I think both views would be great but I am definitely a mountain person so we went with the mountain view.
At check-in you should be issued basics like a map, wristband for the pool, and breakdown of the facility operating hours. You can also opt to receive a text message with a link to all of the menus and other information you would need for your stay.
There are multiple parking lots so depending on which side of the hotel you are on you want to choose the one closest to your room. You can also access the hotel via side entrances which also have elevators near them.
There was a pretty potent smell in the elevators and in the hallways. It wasn’t necessarily a bad smell but I think it had something to do with the construction that was going on at the time.
The room (Mountain View King Bed)
When we entered the room, the temperature was already set to the upper 60s which was a nice surprise since outside temperatures were in the triple digits (105º).
The Mountain View King bed is pretty spacious and about what you would expect in terms of square feet (450 sq. ft./42 sq. m.).
There is a little coffee and tea station as soon as you enter the room. The mini fridge is a little bit hidden underneath there so make sure you don’t miss it as you’ll find some much-needed water bottles inside.
On the other side is a closet in which you can find two bath robes.
The king bed was extremely comfortable in terms of the softness of the matress, bedding, and pillows. Each night stand on either side of the bed has a lamp with one power outlet. On one side you’ll find the phone for a quick and easy access to the front desk and room service and then on the other side you’ll find an alarm clock.
Next to the bed there is a little seating area.
There was a pretty basic workstation with multiple power outlets and USB ports for easy charging which I appreciated as I had a few meetings to knock out. I should also point out that the Wi-Fi was solid during this stay and despite being so close to the mountains, cell phone service was not an issue.
There was a large flat screen TV on top of a dresser with plenty of drawers.
The bathroom is awesome as it houses a huge bath (which also has the showerhead). There is only one sink in the bathroom but a good amount of counter space. Also, it came stashed with Julien Farel bath amenities including bar soap, body wash, hand sanitizer, and lotion.
One slightly odd feature of the bathroom and entry area is the tile. It has an uneven finish so it is like walking on large cobblestones which doesn’t necessarily feel the greatest on your feet although I could see how some people would like it.
The bath/shower utilizes a sliding glass door to keep water in when showering. There are no jets in the oversized bath but it is still pretty relaxing to soak in such a large tub.
The mountain view from the fourth floor was fantastic as well with inspiring views of the Santa Catalina Mountains covered in beautiful saguaros.
We had a direct view of the pool and koi pond (with kois big enough to swallow you if you fall in).
The waterfall is a little bit tucked away but we still had a great view of it from our balcony.
I highly recommend watching the sunrise and sunset from your balcony because the lighting on the mountains is truly beautiful — it is hard to beat golden hour in the desert.
One of the things I really loved about the balcony is that it is pretty deep which allows you to have a lot of privacy when relaxing on the balcony.
If you are on the fourth floor some of the balconies have an enclosed ceiling while others have the more open one which unfortunately does not offer as much shade.
There are a number of facilities at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. There is the pool, gym, spa, tennis court, golf course, multiple restaurants, gift shops, etc.
Some of the facilities like the gym, spa, tennis courts, and the Flying V restaurant are located in a separate building from the main hotel. It’s a very short walk so it’s not a big deal.
They even have a little nature trail that winds through the property and provides you with interpretive panels that give you some interesting insight into the vegetation and wildlife of the Sonoran Desert.
They actually have a desert tortoise exhibit and of course one of the stunning features of the resort is the waterfall. I would highly recommend taking a stroll on the paved path to the waterfall one morning or evening during your stay.
The waterfall structure is all natural but the flow of the water is pumped from the hotel during most of the year when the falls go dry.
There is also a butterfly garden and upper terrace area but we were not able to see everything due to some construction going on.
The lobby is pretty open and there is a lot of seating areas in the adjacent Cascade Lounge.
You’ll also find a large multi-panel television that is perfect for watching a sports event.
The west wing of the property is where are you will find all of the meeting space. You can also find a gift shop as well but note that these are not all open during the week.
When you exit the lounge area there is a terrace area with an interesting quartz collection.
There is a good size pool located right in the middle of the hotel. Around the perimeter of the pool, you’ll find plenty of lounge chairs and some umbrellas to help you escape the unrelenting Arizona sun.
There is a bar and seating area (Bill’s Grill) near the pool with umbrellas for shade and also high pressure misters to help you cool down.
You can also rent cabanas for around $300 per day. These cabanas have nice seating and TVs inside and come with complementary fruit platters and I believe nonalcoholic drinks.
You can also jump on some cornhole if you were in the mood.
The gym was pretty big and had tons of different equipment in there. You definitely can get a great work out although I would recommend hitting the trails instead.
The dining options include the Canyon Café, Bill’s Grill, the Cascade Lounge and Patio, and the Flying V (which you may need to make advance reservations for). The hours are different based on if you are visiting during the week or a weekend so make sure you pay attention to those.
The only restaurant we were able to try out was the Canyon Café which we visited for breakfast.
We fully utilized the $70 FHR breakfast credit and pretty much sampled all of the main dishes they serve like eggs Benedict, avocado toast, and waffles.
I really enjoyed everything and the service was fantastic as well.
We also utilized the $100 property credit for various room service requests including a ton of sparkling water and an interesting caramelized banana split dessert dish.
If you are in more of a hurry you could also visit Barista which is a grab and go breakfast that opens at 6 AM.
This was just a fantastic stay all around. In terms of bang for buck I feel like we received a ton of value due to the low price and all of the FHR perks. If you visit, try to get out and do some hiking in the nearby trails to really get a sense of the scenery. I would happily recommend this resort to anyone coming to the area.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.