Carmel Magazine

CM Nov 1, 2016 Barrymore HO16_DigitalEdition

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O n a Tortolita Mountain trail lined by towering saguaros, mesquite trees and granite boulders, Ron Brink pauses beside a chain-link cholla. Brink, who oversees nature programming at Arizona's Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, breaks a piece off the shrubby, spine-covered cactus with a pair of pliers and then melts the thorns with a lighter. After slic- ing into the fruit, he offers a taste of the peppery, avocado-like interior. "These chollas are packed with moisture, which makes them a secret sur- vival tool in the desert," Brink says. Guests might not expect to learn survival tips at a Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond luxury resort, but nature is central to the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain experience. Situated on 800 acres in the Tortolita foothills, 30 miles from downtown Tucson, the property is an upscale oasis that takes inspiration from the surrounding Sonoran Desert. Rich mesquite wood, nature photography and subtle Southwestern design details distinguish the resort's 253 rooms and suites, while copper accents and quartzite floors also pay homage to the regional landscape. Balconies in main lodge rooms overlook the neighboring mountains and canyons; stand-alone casitas offer additional living space and private patios. Throughout the property, guests enjoy Frette linens, plush robes, Asprey bath products and marble bathrooms with separate soaking tubs and rainfall showers. And, nightly turndown includes chocolates and constellation cards that suggest local stargazing options. In addition to guided stargazing outings on Friday evenings, the Ritz- Carlton Dove Mountain team leads several themed hikes that explore the area's ecology and history: cactus walks, birding excursions, nighttime scorpi- on tours and rock art hikes spotlighting ancient petroglyphs, among other hikes. During the nightly Spirit of Adventure Celebration gathering on the Ignite Lounge patio, Ranger Brink shares Native American stories while flute music echoes through the canyon. THE RITZ-CARLTON, DOVE MOUNTAIN Tu c s o n , A r i z o n a B Y R E N E E B R I N C K S D E S T I N A T I O N S C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • H O L I D A Y 2 0 1 6 187 Photos: Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

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