Puttin’ on the Ritz

    The lobby area of The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

    When I was invited by Jennifer Pelczarski (Director of Public Relations) to come check out The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, immediately my mind went to the Fred Astaire movie “Blue Skies” where he danced to the tune “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” What you experience at this resort is far from the tails and spats that Astaire adorned. This resort, nestled in the foothills of the Tortolita Mountains north of Tucson is desert relaxation at its finest. One of the first things we noticed upon our arrival was that the hospitality was outstanding. The staff is genuine and caring and you feel as if you have arrived at a friend’s house for the weekend, instead of a luxury resort.

    The view from our room with the spa in the background.

    The architecture blends so well with its surroundings and the use of indigenous stones and wood compliment the interior. The best part of our guest room (according to the children) was the large soaking tub with a television at close range – I haven’t seen my kids bathe this much in years!

    After we settled in we realized that we were starving, despite the short drive. We hopped on a courtesy van that took us to Cayton’s (named after the original owner who had homesteaded the surrounding property). This restaurant is dubbed as having “America Comfort Cuisine with a Southwestern Flair” and we found it delicious.  First of all, they have this awesome snack mix that they bring for your to munch on with pretzels, crackers and nuts that is crunchy and spicy. I ordered the “CC” Burger, Evan order the Bison Burger (it took him about 5 minutes to figure out how to get his mouth around it!) and the girls shared a Turkey Club and a Sonoran Quesadilla. It was all delicious and reasonably priced for fabulous fare at a resort. When we were leaving it was starting to rain and we witnessed the most beautiful scenery from the combination of being adjacent to the golf course, the mountains and the sun setting. We rode back content and the girls jumped in the tub to relax and watch SpongeBob.

    The view across the Adventure Pool.

    The next day after our horseback riding adventure (which will be a separate blog, Riders on the Storm, because it needs its own space) we decided to check out the pool area. There was a lot of consideration put into the design of this pool area. There is the infinity-edge pool that has an area with lounge chairs in a shallow part of the pool to keep cool. This is more the section where adults would relax. Then the lower area hosts the 235 foot water slide, splash pad and a large pool that has sections that are only about a foot deep for the smallest guests to play in.  We decided to grab some lunch before testing out the slide, so we sat outside by the pool at Turquesa Latin Grill. This time Mylan was the winner with the “how are you going to attack that” plate. She ordered the La Torta which was an elongated pizza-like creation topped with chicken, beans, cheese, pico de gallo, chipotle sauce and other wonderful, flavorful goodies. I had the Tucson Ceaser, Evan opted for nachos (its own flavor explosion) and Solvay had another Quesadilla.  After eating (I know we didn’t wait a half-hour!) the girls hit the

    That is one big slide!

    water slide while Evan and I picked some chairs with a great view of the surroundings. It wasn’t long before I was nodding off! That was the one continuing theme that we noticed throughout the weekend – how truly relaxed we were.

    The best experience was yet to come as we had reservations for dinner at CORE Kitchen & Wine Bar. Now, I admit I was a little nervous, because Mylan is known for her picky eating habits. She ordered the Petaluma Chicken Breast (mostly for the Basil Risotto that accompanied it), Evan and I both ordered the Filet of Beef, that came with Smoked Potatoes, Trumpet Mushrooms and King Crab Cocktail. Solvay couldn’t

    The entrance to CORE Kitchen & Wine Bar.

    decide if she was “old” enough to order off the adult menu, so she decided on the Sliders from the kids’ menu. We were treated to a bread basket with  a Southwestern flair and chili butter and a “gift from the chef” – a small salad consisting of sea beans, jicama and apples in a vinaigrette. The sea beans intrigued us because of their salty flavor and the fact that they truly do come from the sea! When the entrees arrived we all grew quiet waiting for Mylan’s response – she loved the chicken! She actually devoured the entire meal and exclaimed that she enjoyed all of it – including the dandelion greens. I wanted to kiss the chef! Evan and I also enjoyed an exquisite dining experience with beef so tender you could have cut it with a fork. Everything was so fabulous that when asked if we wanted dessert, we knew we couldn’t resist! Before our ordered desserts arrived, we were presented with another “gift from the kitchen” – a wonderful vanilla-infused cream with an apricot set gingerly on top. It was truly amazing jut how much flavor these chefs could fit into a tiny dish!  Our desserts where equally as flavorful. Evan ordered the Sorbet sampler, Mylan the Ice Cream sampler, Solvay received a sundae (came with her meal) and I ordered the Classic creme brulee. I stopped short of licking the ramekin, after all we’re at the Ritz!

    A whimsical surprise awaited our return.