When the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain invited me and my colleague, Andrea Zimmerman, to visit their resort in Marana, AZ, we didn’t have to think twice. But when they told us about their kid-friendly features, we were perplexed to say the least. The Ritz-Carlton is synonymous with luxury (one night costs at least $300). It’s the hotel that inspired the Irving Berlin song “Puttin’ on the Ritz” — “If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to/Why don’t you go where fashion sits/Puttin’ on the ritz.” It’s not exactly synonymous with a Disney cruise. And with all the hubbub surrounding “brat bans” these days, it’s hard to imagine that a 5-star resort would open their doors to children in such a way as to compel a family to book a trip there. We certainly had to go see for ourselves. It was for the children, of course.
Driving up to the resort, located in the high Sonoran Desert in the foothills of the Tortolita Mountains, we were enamored by all the natural beauty. The view alone took our blood pressure down a considerable amount before we even stepped out of the car. The area, as we later found out, was first inhabited by the Hohokam indians around 300 BC, and evidence of their existence is visible throughout the resort on what are known as petroglyphs — drawings carved into rocks. We also drove by the Jack Nicklaus designed, 27-hole golf course (and the home of the WGC-Accenture World Match Play Championship) and the spa located off to the side of the hotel. No kids, no problem. But oh, of course this was all about the children, so where do they fit in to the equation? Here’s a deeper look at all the ways the Ritz-Carlton has welcomed little guests.