A Romantic Getaway Guide to Tucson, Arizona

Bursting with southwestern charm, Tucson is a recreational paradise nestled amidst five mountain ranges in the heart of the Sonoran Desert

Credit:  Curt Woodhall

Bursting with southwestern charm, Tucson is a recreational paradise nestled amidst five mountain ranges in the heart of the Sonoran Desert

Seemingly blessed with eternal sunshine, the unique landscape in Tuscan boasts rolling hills dappled with century-old saguaros (cacti), ribbons of flowering desert plants, deep rugged canyons and staggering mountain peaks.

Sunsets here are a spectacle of towering silhouettes set against a blazing crimson and rose-coloured sky. The area’s dramatic desert scenery is a magical backdrop for Tucson’s luxurious resorts and world-renowned spas. Add in a thriving and innovative culinary scene and you’ll quickly discover why Tucson is a top spot for romance in southern Arizona.

Click through for our guide to where to eat, stay and play in Tucson…

Sleep in a legendary Hollywood hideaway

Rumoured to have once been the secret romantic retreat for old Hollywood stars Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, Tucson’s Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort offers southwestern glamour with sweeping views of the Santa Catalina Mountains. This historic Spanish Colonial style boutique resort, which was first built as a girls-only private school for the daughters of the east coast elite (think Vanderbilt, Kellogg, Westinghouse and Pillsbury) has been beautifully restored, and now includes an additional 32 new guest rooms.

Choose from the vintage charm of a historic room, or the ranch-style elegance of a Catalina room. Take a dip in one of two outdoor pools and hot tubs. Wander through whimsical botanical gardens. Dine at The Grill, one of Tucson’s most celebrated restaurants. Explore the foothills by horseback on a guided tail ride, and complete your stay with a treatment at the resort spa, or an in-room massage.

Savour a UNESCO city of gastronomy

Recently designated as a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy, Tucson is a mecca for culinary innovation. You’ll find everything from Mexican fusion and gastro pub fare to gourmet tasting menus prepared by James Beard awarded chefs.

Café Poca Cosa features a creative Mexican menu that’s written on a chalkboard in Spanish and changes twice daily. Expect beautifully presented flavourful dishes and exceptional margaritas.

For a more casual vibe, grab some authentic made-from-scratch wood-fired Neapolitan pizza at Vero Amore (pictured).

Or, stop by HUB Restaurant and Ice Creamery and dig into a home-style lunch of shrimp and grits, house-made pastrami or a jam-packed savoury pot pie, followed by a double scoop of whisky and bacon and bourbon almond brittle ice cream.

Credit: Miraval 

Day spa Like a celebrity

Many of Tucson’s famous destination resort spas—popular with the A-list Hollywood crowd—offer day-only packages for non-registered guests. Experience the pinnacle of rejuvenation at one of Oprah’s favourite retreats, Miraval (pictured). You’ll receive full access to the resort’s fitness centre, spa pools, steam room and whirlpools, as well as yoga, meditation and fitness classes. Lunch, smoothies and freshly squeezed juices are also included. If you’d prefer to recharge like January Jones and Debra Messing, pamper yourself with a day pass at the 80,000-square-foot desert oasis spa at Canyon Ranch.

Explore the Tortolita Mountains in style

A day trip to explore the Wild Burro Canyon Trail in the Tortolita Mountains is a must while in Tucson. The trailhead is publically accessed through the gates of the five-diamond Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, which is about 30-minutes north of Tucson in Marana. Tackle the scenic trails on your own, or book a guided experience—like the two-hour Sunset Vista Hike—with one of the resort’s Rangers.

While on property, it would be considered a crime to miss out on Condé Nast Traveller Magazine’s #1 Spa in Arizona and #3 Spa in North America. All treatments at the 17,000-square-foot eco-holistic spa include access to the heated serenity pool, tranquil lounge and sauna and steam rooms. End the day with a plate of buffalo tacos, avocado fries and sweeping views of Wild Buffalo Canyon on the patio of The Ritz-Carlton’s Ignite lounge.