First, a Short History
The historic Tubac Golf Resort and Spa holds a unique place in history. Designated as a Historic Hotel of America, the resort is located on the historic 500-acre Otero Ranch. In 1787 the King of Spain granted a house and four lots to Don Toribio de Otero. In 1853, the area became part of the United States through the Gadsden Purchase. In 1870 Toribio Otero’s grandson, Sabino, started to build up cattle herds to supply the local garrisons. The ranch went on to become the most extensive cattle empire in Arizona. Eventually, the ranch was sold several times. In 1959, a group of businessmen acquired Otero Ranch. Bing Crosby was the Chairman of the Board. Under his direction, the Tubac Golf Resort began operations. The resort still has several heads of cattle grazing on the property as a tribute to the Otero family and the great cattle ranch that once operated there.
The ranch and the historic buildings are an excellent example of Spanish Colonial architecture. The resort has been renovated with guest haciendas added. (Check out my post that includes room tours and video of the resort here. )
The style of the newer buildings blends perfectly with the historic buildings. Stone and timber construction give a unique and authentic look to the new buildings.
Winding brick pathways among the lush manicured grounds connect the different buildings and guest room areas of the resort.
The stunning grounds, with a picturesque view of the Santa Rita Mountains, provide a gorgeous setting for weddings, meetings, and corporate retreats. The resort is also perfect for a relaxing, luxurious golf/spa vacation for couples.
Stables Ranch Grille, the on-property restaurant is housed in the building that was the horse stables. The stone floor in the restaurant is the original floor of the stable area where the horses were housed.
Silos from the long-ago era when the resort was a working ranch still stand on the property.
The original, historic Otero house is available for guest stays.
Wedding bells in your future? Are your children getting married soon? If so, you should visit the 18th-century mission-style chapel located in the heart of the resort. My sons aren’t at this stage in their lives yet, but if/when they’re considering a wedding I’ll definitely steer them towards this location. The chapel seats 200 people and the resort has 100 guest rooms — perfect as an intimate wedding venue. Wedding photos taken on the chapel patio in front of the large wooden doors are spectacular.
Is golf your game? The 27-hole mature, championship golf course welcomes players of all ability levels. The well-stocked golf shop is open daily. Cart rental and preferred tee-times are available for resort guests.
The driving range is located next to the Cantina. La Cantina is a convenient spot to grab a quick breakfast burrito or light lunch before or after your round of golf.
Several key scenes from the 1996 movie Tin Cup starring Kevin Costner and Rene Russo were filmed here at the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa.
Tin Cup Hole: Ranch #3 “Break all the clubs in the bag.” In this scene at this specific tee, Kevin Costner, playing Roy McAvoy, is trying to qualify for the US Open. He asks his caddy, played by Cheech Marin, for his driver. Marin refuses and advises a safer play. They argue, and Marin breaks the driver in half. They continue arguing and Costner proceeds to break every other club in his bag — except for the 7-iron which he uses for the rest of the round.
Tin Cup Hole: Rancho #4 This hole was the setting for the scene in the movie where Kevin Costner was caddying for Don Johnson. Johnson wanted to lay up with a 7-iron. Costner said he could make the shot without laying up and that’s when the other pro golfers begin betting on whether or not he could do it. There’s a plaque on the ground if you want to try your shot from the same location.
Relax by the Pool
Need to cool down? Like to swim for exercise? Want to relax sore muscles in a hot tub? The pools at the resort have you covered. Two heated, full-size pools including a long lap pool are available for guest use.
I was happy to see that the entire pool area is ringed by shade cabanas that are available for guests at no extra charge. Of course, if you want to work on your tan, there are plenty of lounge chairs in the sun too.
The resort has bikes available to rent by the hour or by the day. One evening at sunset, we checked out two cruiser bikes and rode around the resort grounds. At the back of the resort, we rode through the golf club residential area then continued on through another neighborhood for a couple of miles.
All the way, we only encountered one car and one loose horse. It was a very peaceful sunset ride and so refreshing to not need to be overly concerned about maneuvering around cars and other obstacles.
Need to rejuvenate after a long round of golf? Do you prefer to relax more than play golf? A luxurious treatment at the full-service Spa is perfect. We ended our stay at the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa with 80-minute spa treatments for each of us. The spa experience began with a friendly greeting at the spa desk. We were shown to the locker rooms and given a keyed locker for our belongings. The locker room was a beautiful display of polished mesquite wood. Both the lockers and the benches in the locker room were made of mesquite.
Inside our lockers, we found soft, comfortable robes and slide sandals to wear in the spa. After undressing and donning the robes, we met back in the quiet relaxation room. There, soft music and comfortable chairs set the tone for the bliss to come. I chose the Turquoise Sage Body Polish. First, my therapist scrubbed my skin with desert salts and jojoba oil scented with sage, mint, and lavender essential oils. Next, a Vichy shower treatment washed away the product which was followed by a manual skin exfoliation. If you’re not familiar with the Vichy shower, picture a shower with seven nozzles spraying all over the full length of your body while you’re lying on a bed! So decadent.
The therapist carefully and strategically uses towel draping to preserve modesty during the treatment. The treatment finished with a moisturizing drench of jojoba body butter that was massaged into my skin using Swedish massage techniques. This treatment was 80 minutes of pure bliss. At the end of the treatment, I was utterly relaxed, and my skin never felt softer. After dressing in the robe, I was led back to the relaxation room for water or tea. Connected to the relaxation room is a small outside patio with a jacuzzi tub for the use of spa guests.
Once again inside the locker room, I showered and enjoyed the fully stocked amenities: shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body wash and shave cream are all supplied in the shower. In the locker room, there’s mouthwash, deodorant, hair spray, brushes, combs, blow dryer and curling irons available for use. The locker room is also the location of the dry sauna and the steam room.
Pro tip: Guests of the resort may use the steam room and sauna facilities while at the resort, even without a scheduled spa service!
My husband selected the Sports Massage. This used arnica, sage, and lavender oils with a combination of stretches, compressions, and deep tissue work. He also felt that this was the best massage treatment he’s ever experienced.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa. In addition to the fun activities on property at the resort, there are many interesting activities in the area. To book a room, play golf, or enjoy spa services at the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa visit their website.
Thank you to Tubac Golf Resort and Spa for hosting us for this stay. All opinions are my own.
Do you enjoy staying at historic hotels? Let me know in the comments.
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