JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa
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Travel Blogs from Tucson
We wanted more time with family and friends in Tucson. One more round of thinning out stuff we don't need, picking up a few things we do, and getting Bertha ready to head east. It's been great to have time with the family and long talks. Oh and Julie learned how to shoot a rifle and a hand gun including a bit of self defense lessons too. Colin said it' a bit like his EMT. Good skills to have but you hope you never have to use them.
... was that there is almost an entire city of homeless people living under the city of Las Vegas. The building industry crashed not so long ago in this area and families had lost everything. What they then do is at night, they dress up and come to the hotels in the hope of finding machines that perhaps still have credit on them. This is very possible because I was on a 30c betting machine and I only had 25c at the end and was going to just walk away but instead I ...
I will end the blog in Tucson. The trailer is unpacked and we're settling in to Donna and Bob's house for the winter. We're definitely going to enjoy the weather here and getting outside without putting on long underwear, coats, and hats. I won't miss driving on ice and snow. Our plan right now is to stay until the end of March. The jury is still out as to whether or not we want to move out of Alaska. Maybe we will just be Snowbirds. Total miles driven since we left Anchorage: ...
There is so much to catch up on even though it's only been a few days- better grab your hot drinks now and settle in!
Selina and I went on the most amazing shopping trip down one side of one street just by campus and got SO MUCH STUFF! I spent about $215 by my rough calculations and got 2 new tops (one silk and one a kind of chiffon) cute white shorts, a gorgeous dress, UofA postcards (think I've lost them already though ha ha) and the ...
... shopping. I am going to keep an ongoing list of all the stuff I lose and take it as either a sign that I am a complete clutz or that I am so above material things that they do not matter to me (um...yea working on this).
Ok, enough for now. I am getting ready to land in LA for my layover where I am meeting a friend for dinner. First flight.....complete!
How has this resort rated in the past?
- Swimming pool
- Room service
- Business Services
- Fitness/Health center
Historical Traveler Reviews JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa Tucson
Not Ready For Prime Time
The lobby and pool area of this new, attractive hotel have a great view of the Tucson area and surrounding desert landscape. But if you are a leisure traveler, don't stay here unless you want to feel like you have crashed someone's business meeting or social event. The guest rooms are well decorated in Western motif and a little larger than usual for a Marriott, but the front desk staff (who apparently are forced to wear those kitchey cowboy outfits) lack detailed knowledge of particular guest room locations and layouts. Also, as one bewildered front desk attendant admitted, the hotel's "in-house" reservationists are located off-site, and most of them have never actually seen the property. The mandatory valet parking and $17 per day fee, which a chilly assistant manager refused to waive despite the $250+ we paid for our room, is outrageous! One good point -- the concierge desk is friendly and capable.
A great place to stay if you are new to Tucson
We returned to Tucson for a conference in March. We lived inTucson for 4 years and new the area well but had never been out to Starr Pass. The Resort is situated in a beautiful area of town with the mountains out the back door. There are a few good desert hikes nearby for those looking for something other than lounging by the pool. The rooms are larger than normal hotel rooms and furnished better with the exception of lack of drawer space to unpack. The television armoire offers several drawers but not enough for more than a few days of clothes. You really need to request a room with a view of the pool because if you face the other way you get the parking area or lobby area which is not what you are paying for.
The service was generally good, the food is average.
If you are planning on seeing the sights of the town then this location may be a little too far out as most of the activities are more central in Tucson or north in the foothills. If you are coming for a conference then this is a good location. The pool has ample space and never seemed too crowded.
If you are looking for locations more central to the city then I would suggest Lowes's Ventana Canyon or the Westin. If you are looking for the best rooms for the money then I would suggest the Omni Tucson National, which has great mountain views, good golfing, and much larger rooms.
All in all it was a nice stay, the resort has more to do to be ready with the opening of the Italian restaurant and some landscaping. The overhead airplane noise was not a bother and could not be heard from our room.
If money is no object then by all means stay at Canyon Ranch!!
Loved the hotel, but not for kids
We stayed at the JW Marriott Starr Pass from March 18 - 20. This was a gorgeous hotel and the service was fantastic even thought they are still a bit unorganized. We went for a quick weekend getawy with our 2 children ages 19mos and 4 years old. This hotel is definately not Kid friendly. They have a splash section for the kids by the pool and lots of grounds, but the dining was a nightmare. We had to eat out almost everyday we were there or order room service because they didn't have any dining for the young ones. Also, the valet parking was a NIGHTMARE. Make sure that you call down to the front desk about 15 - 20 minutes from when you need to leave otherwise you will be waiting that long if you just walk up. There is no self parking, so be prepared to spend 15.00 a day plus tips. The rooms I thought were on the small size, but very tastefully decorated. I must disagree with the other review that the bathrooms were small. Our bathroom had a seperate tub and shower and were quite roomy. The bathroom was marble with a large vanity area - very nice. I would recommend this hotel to couples that do not have children under the age of 12. I will go back again, but this time maybe for a weekend getaway with my husband only.
Not as expected
Stayed for four nights in March and seriously question why Marriott gave this their coveted JW identification.
There simply is no comparison to the JWMarriott Springs Resort in Palm Desert with its waterways and great restaurants or with the JWMarriott Resort in Las vegas in Summerlin with all of its beautiful grounds, architecture,restaurants and casino.
The setting is spectacular, the rooms are very comfortable, spacious and quiet. The staff are helpful, friendly and perhaps a little too much so as whenever you pass by the front dask their greetings and offers to help are somewhat overdone. The pool is heated to just the right temp. and a nice touch is the ice water they bring to your chair and continue to fill up while you are there.
There was only a single restaurant open with an Italian soon to follow. We found the menu to be limited and the food only so so. The best item was the hamburger. It is quite a drive into the city to go for dinner and then there is the bother of having to retreive your car from the valet parking and then another tip.
This resort? seems to be geared toward the convention business and no doubt wii be succesful to that end.
Great potential - still needs work.
We and some friends recently stayed (mid-February) for 4 nights at the Marriott Starr Pass. While we could see the possibilities of the resort being an absolutely spectacular experience in the future, it is not there yet -- and still has a ways to go.
The resort is located about 5 miles west of the heart of Tucson. As we got off I-10 and drove the local road (Starr Pass) to the hotel, you go through neighborhoods where you find yourself wondering exactly what you've gotten yourself into. However, after about 3-4 miles, you enter the Starr Pass area, which includes many nice developments, the golf course and, at the end of the road, the Marriott. Note: don't follow the many little signs in this area to "registration" etc. Those are for something else. Just keep going up the road. You will know when you see the resort because it is right in front of you. You actually keep following the road and that brings you to the "back" of the resort, where the actual entrance to the lobby is.
When we were there in mid-Feb. (about 3 weeks after it opened), the hotel was generally finished, but there were some areas that needed substantial work (see below). It is an impressive resort on the whole and the lobby is wonderful and has an amazing view, with a 3-story wall of windows facing the pools, golf course, desert mountains and the city of Tucson in the distance. The lobby itself is truly beautiful and nicely furnished, with soaring ceilings, stone floors, nice staircases, etc... It has the feeling of a mix between a Southwestern motif and a lodge - with huge wood log/beams across the ceiling (though one wonders if they are actually really supporting the ceiling or if they are just for show).
The rooms are much nicer than regular Marriott rooms, but still fairly standard luxury/business hotel rooms. Nothing to get too excited about but not a disappointment either. They are larger than your normal hotel room. Our rooms had a "Romeo/Juliet" "balcony", i.e., a sliding door for the window (but no actual balcony). Other, presumably more expensive, rooms had actual balconies and sitting areas. The bathrooms were beautiful, with marble everywhere. There is a glass enclosed shower. The showerhead/shower was one of the highlights of the trip for many of us. It is amazingly powerful and refreshing. There is also a separate bath tub. We also note the earlier reviewer's complaint about the bathroom doors. Rather than a normal door, it is a nicely appointed wooden sliding door. I think the conclusion our party came to was that if, as we were, one was on vacation with your spouse (who you are, hopefully, extremely comfortable with), it is not an issue. On the other hand, if you are vacationing on a romantic weekend with your significant other or somebody you are trying to impress, the noises and smells that can emanate all too easily from the bathroom because of this setup may pose a greater issue.
The rooms facing the pools have an amazing view. The rooms facing the other side have a fairly poor view of a desert hill, with some having a view of a parking lot. One of our rooms (the room in the conference room wing) faced the parking lot, where trucks would loudly unload their goods...not exactly a peaceful, relaxing time.
Outside of the lobby is a beautiful terraced area. Two levels are sitting areas, where you can lie in the sun during the day and also hang out at night, as these areas have fire pits, fireplaces, etc. to keep you warm. Our group did that several nights and thoroughly enjoyed it. At the bottom of this area is the pool area. There are several pools, none of which is huge and all of which are shallow - really more for playing than serious swimming. Two are essentially connected - one is of the infinity type slightly above the other. There is also one (maybe two?) small jacuzzis...surprisingly small and few for a resort of this size. There is also a water play area of kids with water spraying out of the ground. There is also a lap pool in the spa, which I believe was unavailable to hotel guests unless they use (and pay for) the spa. Against the backdrop of the hotel and the mountains, and with the blue-canopied umbrellas, this area was fairly nice. While the size was more than sufficient (i.e., not crowded) when we were there, I think that may have been because the days were partly/mostly cloudy. I wonder if it would become too crowded on sunny days during peak season. We also noticed the planes flying overhead (as another poster had noted), though it was not so loud or so frequent as to really annoy us.
The resort claims to have several "restaurants"
*The main restaurant is the "Signature Grill", serving American and Southwestern food, which is open for all meals. It has a great, if standard, breakfast buffet ($17.95 for the full buffet; $12.95 for the healthier lighter version). Its dinner menu is varied (entrees around $30) and also includes less expensive choices (club sandwiches, gourmet pizza, etc. - around $10-12). We were very satisfied with our dinner and breakfast here.
*The poolside "restaurant" is Plunge. Lying by the pool, servers also come by often to see if you want to order anything - small finger food or drinks, which was nice. They are courteous and non-intrusive.
*The lobby bar is "Salud", which can be quite active in the late afternoon/early evening, especially with the conference crowd.
*The spa has a healthy restaurant called "Blossom"; we did not try it.
*There is a Starbucks in the lower lobby as well. We enjoyed having it there and it is in an unintrusive corner of the lower level of the lobby.
*The hotel is scheduled to have an Italian restaurant as well; it was not open when we were there.
*The hotel also advertises another restaurant, a steakhouse (can't remember the name), which is actually located at the golf course's clubhouse. We went there for lunch and it was well worth the trip. Good food (try the sweet potato fries) and very affordably priced.
***As you can see, the food selection is fairly limited (for true "restaurants" vs. casual eating), if your intention is to simply spend all your time at the resort. There is only one real restaurant, the Signature Grill, at the moment. Hopefully, the opening of the Italian restaurant will provide more options. We ventured into Tucson several nights for dinner and there is a wide variety of choices in the city. We loved a restaurant called Vivace (try the Pork Sorrentino - actually, everything people in our group had was excellent), though it is a little far from the resort.
Great on one hand, but...
Basically, the theme of our visit was that there were many little items when, taken together, made our visit simply "so-so," rather than what we felt a "JW" Marriott should be. For example:
**Prior to arriving, we had specifically called the hotel to inquire as to whether there was a parking fee. We were specifically told that, though there was a valet charge for visitors (e.g., for the day spa or for golfers, day conventioneers, etc.), there would not be a charge for hotel guests. As we pulled up to the hotel, we were stopped and told that there would be at $15/night charge. As you can imagine, there is not much you can do at that point, since one has already rented a car by then. One has to wonder why the hotel needs to charge $15/night when the resort is in the middle of nowhere. $15/night may be acceptable in a city, but 5 miles out of Tucson? Nonetheless, if we had been told this in advance, we would not have felt so cheated by this.
**As our group had 3 separate rooms, we specifically asked for three rooms together. We made this request multiple times over the phone prior to arriving, and also at the front desk when we did arrive. The hotel, despite all this, was unable to provide connecting rooms for 2 rooms as we had asked for (which we could understand), though it did arrange for 2 adjacent (but not adjoining) rooms. Worse, though, was the fact that, despite the staff's claims that our third room was close by ("just down the hall"), it was literally a 10-minute walk (taking 2 different banks of elevators) from the other 2 rooms. The resort is huge and some buildings are quite inaccessible to others. To get to this room, you had to take the elevator down to the main level, walk across an outdoor "bridge" between 2 building, walk through an entire building, take the elevator upstairs and walk to the end of another building. Not exactly close by, as we were assured of at check-in.
**Though 2 of our rooms had specifically requested cribs for their children, they were not ready upon our check-in (even Residence Inns that we've been to have been able to do this)
**The staff had very little clue as to what was where at the resort. The resort had no map of the facilities to provide for the guests, aside from a useless, very general map. The map did not show restaurants, the exercise room, stores, pools, etc. that is standard for any hotel. One day for lunch, we decided to go to a steakhouse that was specifically advertised by the hotel in a flyer placed on our beds the night before. When we asked a staff member where it was, he told us it was off the hotel lobby. Turns out he wasn't even close. It was actually at the golf course clubhouse, which required a shuttle ride to. Also, when we were there, we were never able to find the exercise facilities.
**The service overall was spotty. At points, it was superb. At other times however, it was poor. For example, the hotel has a trillion young men providing valet service. Sometimes, they are excellent, opening your doors, going above and beyond in helping with your luggage, etc. Other times, despite there being at least a half dozen valets standing there, they simply ignored you - did not help at all...with no one opening the door for you even if you had stuff. (Sidebar: I'd rather have the valets/doormen actually help us in being more attentive rather than having some of them "polish" our car -- a rental minivan at that -- with a spray bottle.) Also, while Marriott has trained their staff to say the proper things to guests (upon arriving, "welcome back" "hope you had a great day" etc.), you got the sense that it was simply rehearsed and unnatural - somewhat awkward for the guests. Hopefully, the staff will become better and more natural over time. Also, the hotel offered a turndown service. However, some days the maids did the turndown, and other days it did not. We could not figure out why that was.
**The spa was simply not ready for guests. The entrance was still being constructed, with a beautiful orange extension cord running over the desk of the receptionist's area; a number of the showers in the spa did not work when we were there. However, those of us that utilized the spa felt the actual spa services were excellent and refreshing.
**One little thing that annoyed the heck out of me was that the "paint" in the bathrooms (both in the rooms and lobbies) was not paint at all but wallpaper....felt cheap, with some edges dog-eared or coming off. While from a distance it looked great, but up close I though to myself why Marriott hadn't spent the extra money to give it the real deal....
To sum up, this resort has the potential to the AWESOME, but really isn't there yet. It is beautiful, and has beautiful views; the facilities - when completed - should be great. But, many things need to be improved to reach that level.
Stayed at the hotel from 3/3/05 - 3/9/05 for a conference. They are definitely becoming organized. Service was great, catering was excellent, and the rooms are very comfortable. Not to miss are the fire pits on the patio.
A brand new resort with breathtaking views of Tucson valley. We had a pool view room with a balcony, that looked out over the city lights at night. I have no idea what the views are from the other side of the hotel, but where we were was incredible. The food from room service was wonderful, as was the service itself. The only thing negative I can say was that the room was just average, and I didn't think, worth the normal price. We were there on a lower group rate for a convention. The bathroom was relatively small, and not too impressive. And I am generally anti-Southwestern decor, which the entire resort was done in. I loved the layout of the hotel, and it was very reminiscent of the Hyatt Regency Lake Las Vegas, though a little more Spartan in comfiness and decor. The Starbuck's in the hotel was handy, but there was no shop for sundries or reading material. The retail shops were supposed to open the day we left, so I never got to see them. The other thing I had a hard time with was the TV, as far as the menu and saving movies. It forced you to watch whatever you had saved by repeatedly going back to it whether you wanted to watch regular TV or not. It also had a habit of switching to the hotel info station when you tried to change channels. At the end of our stay we had a mistaken $320 spa charge on our bill, which was not ours, and they took care of right away. I heard the spa is incredible, though I didn't get there myself. I would recommend this hotel to anyone who has never been to Arizona before; it would be quite novel to them. We live in Phoenix, and are inundated with the whole Southwest thing, so any other theme would have been welcome. One more thing..... when you are driving in, make sure to drive to the very very end of the road to the hotel. The signage on the roads for checking in is very deceptive, and everyone I talked to had gone to the wrong place to register, including myself. Then there was a very long line at the valet, and no self-parking (mandatory$15 per night parking fee).
Great progress, nice place!
We stayed at the Marriott Starr Pass this past weekend for the Tucson Gem and Mineral show. I was very apprehensive after reading the reviews. Marriott has made tremendous progress. I didn't see one bulldozer and things were very much in place on our visit this weekend. The bar, main restaurant and Starbucks are open on the main property with fairly standard Marriott fare; the club house based steak house is open nearby which we did not visit; the spa is open as is the on property workout room. All very nicely equiped. This is a very nicely done property and very much ready for customers. They are overstaffed (staff needs more seasoning, but everyone is trying really hard which makes all the difference) and very accomodating. The level 2 deck is a really beautiful setting for early morning paper reading or late day bar service, pool is very nice and I didn't really notice the plane traffic others commented on. Golf course is nearby. All in all, very nice setting and ready for business. Ask for a balcony room; ours wasn't but it never occured to me to ask.
Our room was very nice, but small. This property is clearly targeting the convention market which was already very much in swing. It is not the Boulders or a Four Seasons, but if you are in Tucson and want a very nice place to stay in a beautiful setting - this is the place.
One final comment on location - Starr Pass is about a 7-10 minute drive from Downtown Tucson and I-10. Tucson is small and accessible and we were happy to be in a more scenic setting - don't let the distance bother you. Takes less than 10 minutes to and from Downtown.
Just not ready
Just returned from 4 nights at the Marriott. My wife had business in town and needed to be close to the Convention Center. Before we checked out of another hotel in the area, we drove by here just to make sure it was open. Let's put it this way....Marriott should have waited another few weeks. There is still landscape work being done with bulldozers, the spa is not open yet and all the restaurants are not fully operational.
However, our room was fantastic and every single employee here is doing whatever they can to make the stay better.
After 4 nights at the Loew's Ventana Canyon, this place was at least trying to make you feel comfortable.
Would I go back? Not until all is finished. Plus, its a long drive to anywhere from here and the jets do make some noise all day long.
Maybe next time at La Paloma?
Not ready to open. . .
We stayed at the new Starr Pass Marriott as part of a convention my husband was attending 1/26 - 1/30 2005. The hotel had partially opened two days before our arrival, and in my opinion, they should have waited. All day we listened to construction noise inside and earthmovers outside. Also the hotel is located right in the flight path of the landing strip of the airport so there are jets flying over constantly as well as fighter jets and hueys from the nearby Air Force Base. Not very relaxing when you are sitting by the pool trying to read a book. The 1st morning our shower did not drain and only was fixed after 3 calls and 14 hours. There was sheetrock dust on the carpet from the curtain rods being installed that was not cleaned up during our stay. The hotel amenities list states that every room has a jetted tub. Ours did not and neither did several other guests. The sliding mission style bathroom doors offer absolutely no privacy. You can hear everything that goes on in the bathroom. The door does not lock and it does not seal, you can see an inch wide space all the way around it. Turn up the TV if you're going to make noise in the bathroom. Only two of the restaurants were open (one of them poolside so did not open till lunch) and trying to get 250+ people through breakfast and lunch in an hour's time was nearly impossible, even with the buffets. The food was slightly above average but not worth the expense. It was difficult locating some of the areas such as the gym and walking trail as there was not a map of the hotel in the rooms and this hotel is HUGE. Also, this hotel is about 15 minutes from Tucson and they do not provide a shuttle in, you either have to rent a car or hire a cab. So if you do not plan on hanging out at the hotel or golfing at the resort course, it is quite inconvenient. They do however, provide a shuttle to the Starr Pass golf course which is a very nice course. Maybe in another year or so Starr Pass Marriott will be worth the expensive price of the rooms, but right now, I would not return.