The resort boasts some of the best golfing in Arizona, but to a family on vacation, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Upon arrival you realize that you and your family will be treated like royalty. The hotel itself is beautiful, with numerous cactus gardens, a fragrance garden (with over 500 different rose bushes), and an abundance of desert wildlife. I especially like the gamble quails that scurry about foraging for food all the while looking like tiny Picasso sculptures. The kids have plenty to keep them occupied as well, from the giant slide pool to fishing for blue gills in the lagoon. The nice thing is that the kid’s club is for all ages, which gives mom and dad all day to relax if they so desire. After wearing each other out in the pool, fishing, or playing basketball or table tennis, they can spend their afternoons in the game room, complete with an entertainment center. And although I don’t play tennis, I would venture to say that the tennis facilities are every bit as good as the golf if that is your sport.
The restaurants are terrific. La Hacienda was my favorite. An upscale Mexican food oasis with a decent wine list and a good margarita, the restaurant is perfect for all ages. The lamb was outstanding. For a night out without the munchkins, Marquesa is the spot. It is a fine-dining experience; they expect collared shirts and no shorts, but otherwise it’s everything one would expect. If steak or lobster is what you’re craving, then the grill at the clubhouse is the ticket. Obviously, the TPC tournament meant that they had to have an accomplished grill chef, and they have achieved their goal. The aged rib-eye was almost as good as at Bob’s Steak and Chop House in Dallas, and that is saying a lot. The one thing that there isn’t much of is nightlife (except during the Phoenix Open). We actually went downtown to a place called Sugar Daddy’s. A dive for all ages with live bands and pool tables, it’s a good time - just take a cab.
Some of the more adventurous may want to go on a hot-air balloon ride. We decided that the kids weren’t going to let that happen, so instead we did a horseback ride through the Tonto National Forest. It was truly spectacular. We saw everything from Chuckwallas to Javelina. We also went up to Carefree, which is just minutes north, and enjoyed an arts and wine festival. For old-times sake, we had lunch at Boulders, which is another great resort I need to write about.