Boomer birthdays. Do you celebrate or dread the arrival of another year tacked onto an already booming age? What’s a baby boomer to do? I’m all for celebrating them, it sure beats the alternative. Last week, one of those really big boomer birthdays happened to me. You know, one with a big zero at the end. Rather than moan and groan, I decided to celebrate by becoming a tourist in my own backyard at Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain. Of course I invited Alan to travel along for the fun.
Baby boomers will find the luxurious Tucson resort secluded in the Tortolita Mountains, behind a manned security gate. As Alan pulled the car beside the guardhouse, a security guard gave a friendly hello, introducing us to the famed Ritz-Carlton personal service. The friendliness and genuine interest in helping us enjoy our stay was repeated with every interaction that we had with a member of the Ritz-Carlton staff.
Have you ever had a resort property speak to you? That’s how Alan and I feel about Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain. Maybe it’s the dramatic desert setting or the extensive use of natural materials like flagstone, copper, leather and Arizona minerals in the interior spaces. Perhaps it’s the outdoor patios with inviting seating areas that include fire-pits. The combination of understated elegance with the gorgeous setting is one powerful attraction for us. Rather than a pretentious resort, Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain celebrates its natural surroundings with an understated, yet classy elegance.
Deluxe guestrooms are large, 450 – 511 square feet. And I’d love to bring that bathroom with glassed-in shower and deep soaking tub back to my house. Every light switch included a dimmer, just one of the many special touches that a baby boomer will appreciate. A king-sized feather bed with down comforter provided a peaceful night’s sleep while comfortable seating on the balcony made the perfect spot for enjoying our morning coffee.
Before dinner, Alan and I toasted my boomer birthday over prickly pear margaritas on the patio at Ignite. As we watched the sun set in Wild Burro Canyon, a Native American flutist serenaded Ritz-Carlton guests from a rock outcropping across the canyon. The soothing notes reverberated through the hills in a melodious tribute to the Tohono O’odham who called the Tortolita Mountains home until around 1450 A.D.
But my boomer birthday celebration wasn’t over yet. Dinner waited at CORE Kitchen and Wine Bar, Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain’s signature restaurant. Although CORE features six dining venues, the restaurant’s design encourages a relaxed and quite atmosphere that Alan and I find appealing. No shouting over the crowd at dinner here. Chef Joel Harrington presides over an American menu with southwestern touches focusing on regional sustainable cuisine using local growers.
I ordered the wild Atlantic Salmon over blue crab risotto with stinging nettle-white shrimp sauté. Alan chose Alaskan Halibut with green chili yams and crispy mesquite noodles. When Chef Harrington stopped by our table, as he does with all dinner guests, we gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to our meal. But the boomer birthday celebration wasn’t over until I blew out the candle that topped a decadent chocolate birthday cake.
Of course the next morning, Alan and I should have taken advantage of the 6:00 a.m. 1-hour guided hike into Wild Burro Canyon. Instead, we slept in before sipping coffee on the balcony as the sun warmed our faces. Later, we returned to CORE where breakfast on the patio included the best breakfast burrito I’ve ever tasted.
Alan and I aren’t waiting for a special boomer occasion to bring us back to Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain. We’re planning another visit for drinks and a light dinner on the patio at Ignite. And this summer might just be the time I take a day off from blogging and treat my baby boomer body to a day at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain spa.
Do you like playing tourist in your hometown? Where would you celebrate a boomer birthday? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email to ask a question or share your experience.