Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort Review

by Julie Cohn
Hacienda del Sol 32

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I’ll admit it.  When it comes to hotels stays, I am particular.  I expect the hotel I am paying good money for to be immaculately clean, well maintained, and comfortable, with a touch of decadence.  I’ve stayed at many lovely hotels, yet still manage to find one or two flaws during a stay, whether it be the dust bunnies behind the nightstand (yes, I do look), mediocre customer service at the front desk, or uninspiring hotel food.  It is not every day that one finds a hotel that has everything they want and more, yet my stay at the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort was exactly that….perfect.  Here are six unique things I love about the resort.

Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort

{I was invited as a guest but opinions and photos are 100% my own.}


The History

Starting as an exclusive girls ranch/finishing school in 1929, Hacienda Del Sol educated the daughters of some of the wealthiest families in the United States, including the Vanderbilts, Campbells, and Pillsbury’s.   After a fire in the early 1930’s, noted Tucson architect Josias Joesler redesigned portions of the ranch, which remained a school until 1942.  In 1948, Hacienda del Sol became a guest ranch, hosting celebrities such as John Wayne and Howard Hughes.  The resort was a favorite getaway for Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, and one of the suites is named in their honor.  In 1995, a group of Tucson investors bought the property and restored it to its original glory, with several modern enhancements including the addition of The Grill restaurant.  The latest renovations, completed in spring of 2016, include a negative edge pool overlooking the Catalina Mountains and the addition of 32 new guest rooms.

Highlight: Hacienda Del Sol honors its past with original art and architecture while embracing the future with modern conveniences.




From the moment I arrived until the moment I checked out, the staff made every effort to make my stay enjoyable.  The valet called me by name as I pulled up to the resort, as did the front desk clerk. The bellboy walked almost a mile (in the Arizona heat) so I could park at the parking lot nearest my room, to help me with my bags.  The staff member who set up my in-room massage table remembered me (by name) the next day and inquired if I needed anything.  One of the managing partners, Tom, gave me a guided tour of the grounds, then invited another couple wandering about to join us as we visited the culinary gardens. He spent time out of his busy schedule to share dinner and a lovely evening of conversation with me.  At the end of the night, I felt as if we were old friends.  Every single person I met on staff exceeded my expectations.  One could argue that staff were particularly helpful because I was a visiting travel writer, yet I witnessed the same stellar service granted toward every other guest I encountered.   The service was impeccable.

Highlight:  Want room service or extra towels? Concierge service is a quick text message away.





The Rooms

From the moment I walked in the door of my Catalina guest room, I felt pampered.  Every detail in the room is meant to enhance the guest experience, from lily-white linens on the bed to the plush oriental rugs covering the polished wooden floors.  The room was spacious, with gorgeous hand-carved bed, writing desk, armchair, and armoire.  A large outdoor patio/balcony overlooked the Tucson valley or Catalina Mountains.  Talavera tile double sinks, large walk-in shower, and separate water closet add luxury to the bathroom, as did an abundance of fluffy clean towels.  Little details, such as the walk-in closet with dresser, in-room safe with an electrical outlet for charging devices while inside the safe, bedside USB charger outlets, and in-room refrigerator were welcome amenities.

Highlight: The room was sparkling clean, even behind the nightstand, and the bed was comfy, with lots of pillows.





The Grounds

Lush private gardens, whimsical courtyards with colorful fountains, secret nooks, and unique metal, wood, and clay art are part of the landscape at Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort.  The Sunset pool, an original part of the ranch school, is family-friendly and open 24 hours. The northwest facing negative edge Catalina pool and jacuzzi offer breathtaking views of the Catalina Mountains and brilliant sunsets. On-property horseback trails offer peaceful rides with magnificent desert vistas.

Highlight: The resort grows many of its own herbs, vegetables, and citrus fruit used in the cuisine in a vine-covered culinary garden, designed with guidance from celebrated holistic and integrative health physician Dr. Andrew Weil.





The Views

Situated on a high vista overlooking the Tucson valley, the resort offers spectacular views from every direction.  To the north, the Santa Catalina Mountains shadow Oro Valley, to the west incredible sunsets, and south and east offer views of Tucson.  The nighttime view from my balcony, with Tucson city lights twinkling in the distance, was spectacular.

Highlight:  A window seat in The Grill is the perfect place to catch the sunset while enjoying a delicious dinner.




Spa Services

When informed I would have the massage treatment I ordered in-room, not in a spa setting, I was not thrilled.  The idea of having a massage table and masseuse in my private room was not at all appealing, but as this is how things were done at the resort, I begrudgingly went along.  Once again my expectations were exceeded (and completely blown away), and I now wish every hotel offered this service.

The massage table was already set up in my room when I arrived at the resort, so I was able to take a long relaxing shower in my own bathroom before the masseuse entered.  A plush robe was waiting in the closet after my shower, and I could relax on my bed while I waited for the masseuse.  When my masseuse arrived, she brought a variety of scented oils, and provided relaxing spa music during the massage.  The resort offers massages and a few other body treatments in-room; face, nail, and hair services are provided in the spa.

Highlight: After the masseuse finished, she discreetly left the room so I could continue to relax.  I lay on the table in blissful silence for a full twenty minutes after she left, took a quick shower, then had a quick nap before dinner.  The experience was sublime.




The Grill is one of the things I loved most about Hacienda Del Sol.  The service was impeccable, the views breathtaking, and the food superb.  The Grill has an extensive wine list, and the cocktails are one-of-a-kind handcrafted creations.  Diners can reserve a special Chef’s table, with seating and views of the kitchen for six, and nightly live entertainment is available seven days a week.  The Grill is available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and al fresco casual dining is available at Terraza Garden Patio and Lounge.

Highlight: The Hacienda Del Sol hosts several unique dining experiences throughout the year, including Argentinian cookouts, Italian dinners, Thanksgiving buffet, and Mother’s Day brunch.  Upcoming events include a Wild West Burlesque dinner show.



The Bottom Line

This is not a rustic dude ranch, this is a romantic luxurious getaway at a beautiful historic resort, with wonderful amenities and impeccable service.  Although the resort is listed as a four diamond property, it is five-star in every way.  The thought and care put into even the smallest details make Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch and Resort one of the finest resorts I have ever had the pleasure to visit.


Resort Information

  • The resort, a AAA Four Diamond property, is a Historic Hotel of America and a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts.
  • Family-friendly, but more of a romantic getaway.
  • Room rates vary from $150 -$350 depending on room type and season.
  • Valet parking and Wi-Fi services are free.
  • Pets are permitted with fee.

For more information about Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, please visit their website.  You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  For more of a peek into some of the unique features at the resort, please check out my video below.















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Desiree Miller 09/28/2016 at 12:22 pm

It’s gorgeous–and I LOVE the history of it all!! Now I need to get back to AZ sooner than I thought!

Julie Cohn 09/28/2016 at 6:05 pm

Girls trip? 😉

Kim - Liv Life 09/28/2016 at 5:22 pm

What an amazing stay! I have to admit I’ve never had a massage… but at this moment you have me craving one! And that sink?? I love the colors. I have also never been to Arizona, but you just moved that up on my list as well. What a fabulous stay!

Julie Cohn 09/28/2016 at 6:04 pm

Kim –

The tile at Hacienda Del Sol is so beautiful. The same sunflower tile in my bathroom is also set inside rock throughout the resort; the detail work they did was amazing!

Karin 09/30/2016 at 4:41 am

Wow, it looks beautiful! Thanks for the fantastic info!


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