Loews Ventana Canyon Tucson: Bottom Line Review

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My wife and I visited Tucson specifically to go to Hyatt’s Miraval resort, but we arrived two days before our Miraval stay.  Originally I had used Marriott 50K certs to book a return to the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain, but when I realized near the end of 2021 that my wife had two $200 Fine Hotels & Resorts credits that would be lost if not used immediately, I looked for other options.  I found that we could book the Loews Ventana Canyon resort for $268 per night after taxes.  Since my wife currently has two Amex Platinum cards that each offer annual $200 Fine Hotels & Resorts credits, we booked the two nights separately: Friday night was booked with one of her Platinum cards, and Saturday night with the other.

That’s me getting ready to order an early dinner at the resort’s Flying V Bar & Grill.
Trip Background: In January, 2022, my wife and I vacationed in Arizona to escape Michigan’s freezing weather. We flew to Phoenix where we got a good deal on a rental car thanks to AutoSlash.  From there, we drove two hours to Tucson where we stayed two nights at Loews Ventana Canyon and then four nights at Hyatt’s Miraval Arizona.  We then drove four hours to Sedona where we stayed three nights at the Hyatt Residence Club, Piñon Pointe. Finally, we returned to the Phoenix area to stay three nights at Hyatt’s Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Scottsdale.  Look for a review of the Hyatt Residence Club, coming soon.

Loews Ventana Canyon is a very nice resort located on Tucson’s east side close to the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area.  The resort offers free shuttle rides to Sabino Canyon, but unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to try that out during this brief visit.  Next door to the resort is the Ventana Canyon Trailhead which is the start of an excellent hike through the canyon to the Maiden Pools (we did this and loved it).  On property, Loews Ventana Canyon offers very good food and stunning grounds, including a paved path to a beautiful waterfall.

Loews Ventana Canyon Bottom Line Review

Bottom line: If you can find good paid rates like we did, Loews Ventana Canyon is a fantastic use of the Amex Platinum card’s annual $200 Fine Hotels & Resorts credits.  If all else was equal, I’d still prefer the more luxurious, and closer to nature Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain, but the Ritz was far more expensive than Loews for that same weekend.  I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at Loews Ventana Canyon again.

  • Price: We booked the weekend for $268 per night, after taxes.  We booked through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts and prepaid in order to qualify for the Platinum card’s annual $200 rebate.  By booking each night separately with two different Platinum cards (both in my wife’s name), we received two $200 rebates for a net room rate of only $68 per night (or, more accurately, $100 per night when considering the daily resort fee).
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts Benefits: We received the following benefits during our stay thanks to booking through Fine Hotels & Resorts:
    • Room upgrade: We were upgraded to a room with a nice balcony and pretty view, but we didn’t score a larger room or suite.
    • Free breakfast for two: $75 credit per day (that was plenty!).  Tip is not reimbursed.
    • $100 resort credit (food & beverage): This is normally limited to $100 per stay, but since we booked the two nights separately, they awarded us the credit once per night.  This was very generous of them and not at all required by the program.  Some people try to trick hotels into providing this credit on both nights by booking the two nights under different names and checking out after the first night and checking in again for the second night.  None of those shenanigans were required here.  Note that the resort credit at Loews Ventana is limited to food & beverage charges only.  And tips are not included.  On our first night, our dinner charge came to $80 and so we added a $20 tip in order to use up the $100 credit, but the tip was not reimbursed.
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi: We were told at check-in to select the premium wifi option and that we wouldn’t be charged for it (which was true).
    • Noon check-in when available: We arrived too late to try to take advantage of this.
    • 4pm late checkout:  When we checked in, we were proactively offered 4pm late checkout.  We didn’t end up using it, but it was great that it was offered.
  • Resort Fee: $29 per night plus tax ($32.49 all-in).
  • Parking: Free self parking.
  • Turndown service: None.
  • Housekeeping: Provided daily.
  • Internet: Good? (I didn’t use the internet often enough to test its speed)
  • Dining
    • Breakfast: Very good.  We sat outside at the Canyon Cafe.  There was a buffet option, but we each ordered off the menu instead.
    • Lunch at pool: We each ordered salads which were excellent.
    • Dinner: Very good.  We ate each night at the Flying V Bar & Grill’s outdoor patio.
  • Would I stay again? Yes.  If all else was equal I’d prefer to return to the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain or to the Miraval Resort & Spa, but I would definitely return to Loews Ventana Canyon to use Fine Hotel & Resort credits again.
  • Pros:
    • Stunning resort grounds.  Paved walkways through the grounds are lovely and offer an easy path to a beautiful waterfall.
    • Very nice view from our room’s deck.
    • Food was very good.  I wouldn’t say that it was great, but we enjoyed every meal (two breakfasts, two dinners, and one lunch).
    • Excellent nearby hiking.  Take the free shuttle to Sabino Canyon or walk next door to the Ventana Canyon Trailhead.
  • Cons:
    • Check-In: While the woman who checked us in was friendly and clearly explained our Fine Hotels & Resorts benefits, she didn’t offer any information about the resort even after asking us if we’ve stayed before.
    • Room: For a luxury resort, our room seemed a lot like a very ordinary hotel room.  The bathroom was small, but with a huge tub.

Photos and Captions Follow

A viewing tower sits atop the resort’s main building.  This photo was taken from the resort’s grounds looking west.
That’s me taking a photo from the viewing tower
Resort path
Resort path
This on-property waterfall would naturally flow only four months of the year, but a pump ensures that water flows all year around.
The story of “one of the finest facilities of its kind in America.”
This welcome snack appeared in our room the first evening of our stay.
Our room was fine, but nothing special. I guess we had booked two queens since that was the cheapest option, but I had assumed that they would ask for our bed preference at check in (they didn’t).
The bathroom was surprisingly small for a so-called luxury resort.  The tub was huge, though.  And we appreciated that they stocked the bathroom with both regular and oversized bath towels.
This balcony was the highlight of our room. It’s not obvious from the photo, but we could see the resort’s waterfall from our balcony.
Ventana Canyon hike to Maiden Pools.  The trailhead to this hike is next to the Loews Ventana parking lot.
4.8 4 votes
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BonvoyedAgain

Great review. Btw, LOL @ “Creating a successful hotel chain meant more to (Tisch) than turning a profit.” on the Story sign. Should have just said the second paragraph.

Jay

The ribs at the Flying J are unbelievable. Best in town. Rival anything we’ve ever had in the Chicago area. Ribs at a golf course restaurant? It sounds counterintuitive but they are excellent, especially with the chipotle lime sauce. And a great deal at happy hour!

chris

This looks so amazing. I think I might have to try and use our credit next year for this place.

Points Adventure

Greg, what do you consider great airport car rental rate these days? $50/day after all taxes/fees?

Points Adventure

That’s pretty good. Mine is a few $ more with a corp rate (fullsize at PHX).

EMILY

Greg Why is FREQUENTMILER now bombarding my email box 6 times a day? I an sure not everyone is happy about this. This needs your attention, pronto.

Cavedweller

Thanks !!! Don’t feel bad I got on my buddies Text chain like 15 a day. I blocked his number back to 0.. He had no idea how nor did I but a total nightmare as in Who,What ????
Keep ur Tech Folks

Alex

Greg, please, please, do the written Miraval review!

LarryInNYC

How was the hiking?

KevinA

Lots of great hiking in the Catalina foothills. Sabino Canyon is just 10 minutes away and has trails for all skill levels. AllTrails lists the Maiden Pools hike as difficult at 5.6 miles in and out and 1350+ feet of elevation gain. DW and I are 60+ and we thought the Maiden Pools hike was challenging but fun and the view at the top is spectacular. We loved hiking in Saguaro N.P. in February. The scenery is magnificent and the temperatures perfect.

Anonymous

Did you know ahead of time that your breakfast tip would not be reimbursed?

Stephen Dedalus

We stayed at the Loews about a week ago and had a good experience. I agree that Loews isn’t a luxruious property, but that is reflected in the nightly rate which is often between $200-$300, and therefore is a great use of the AmEx FHR $200 credit. Great value. I thought the grounds were very nice, and the food was reasonably good (just not great). The pool area is a bit lacklusture, however.

Just a Note

We were in Tucson a couple of weeks ago, and stayed at both the Loews and the Ritz, using the FHR discount at each. On the surface they are both nice properties, but the Ritz was by far the better property, even though it cost $200 or so more out of pocket.

It looks from your view like you are closer to the center of the property, while we were well down one of the wings of one side and down a level and it took a good hike to get there, and there is just no easy way to do it. Really strange.

The good news is that it had a nice view. And that tub was definitely gigantic!

Mark R.

Greg, while you were in Tucson I hope you got to visit the Pima Air Museum & airplane graveyard, the Kitt Peak Observatory & the commercial airline graveyard just north of Tucson.

Cavedweller

Double WOW place. My buddy’s dad lived there he pasted before I could go ..I flew on 2 B-29’s ($600 each) I think both came from there..