Westward Look Wyndham Grand: A Tucson Oasis Awaits

Julie Diebolt Price Avatar
The entrance of the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa.

Eager to experience the Tucson area and Saguaro National Park, Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa was the first and most important stop on our journey into the Sonoran Desert.

Spring in the desert is a sight to behold. Every cactus was sporting a crown of vibrant, colorful flowers. Seeing the abundance of blooms and learning about life-sustaining plants was a welcome education at Westward Look Resort.

Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa hosted my husband and me. However, all opinions are my own.

History of Westward Look

In 1912, when Arizona became the 48th American state, William and Maria Watson purchased 172 acres of land on the Old Pueblo to build their dream home. Bordering the south-facing front range of the Santa Catalina Mountains, the Watsons built a sturdy, two-story, territorial-style home.

In 1920, a friend suggested that the Watsons build guest quarters for visitors to the city, which took about two hours to reach by carriage or car. They did just that. They built fifteen cottages and made it a dude ranch destination, the first of its kind.

By 1940, Tucson had nearly tripled in size, and ownership had passed to Robert H. Nason. When Nason’s son, Bob, assumed ownership and converted the property into a true resort hotel, it became known as Westward Look Resort in 1948.

In 1956, air-conditioning was added–a most important feature. That innovation allowed Westward Look to flourish. It drew Walt Disney, who filmed The Living Desert at Westward Look, and famous singer and entertainer Dean Martin. Another well-known commercial artist, Haddon Sundblom, was renowned for his Coca-Cola advertisements.

After the Nasons retired in 1968, the resort grew with the times. Meeting rooms were added, and tennis courts, pools, and other amenities improved the grounds. In 1984, the RKO theater group became owners and added 244 guest rooms, the Sonoran Ballroom, a rooftop terrace, and the Spa, as well as modernizing some facilities.

More than 100 years later, metropolitan Tucson embraces more than a million people. The Wyndham Group manages Westward Look and is committed to preserving the surrounding Sonoran Desert and offering guests sustainable, holistic, and serene experiences in the historical hacienda and resort–blending the old and the new.

The neat and large lobby of the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa.
Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa Lobby. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Upon Arrival

The circular driveway at the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa entrance deposits guests at the hacienda-style front entrance, filled with colorful pottery full of native plants. Vigas, the exposed wooden beams used in the traditional adobe architecture of the American Southwest, are heavy logs supporting the roof, as they did in the original construction.

A walk through the cool hallway filled with memorabilia brings you into the heart of Westward Look–the lobby and front desk. Cool in the summer and warm in the winter, the lobby uses elements from the earliest days with added modern amenities.

The “old house” hacienda living room is up the stairway from the lobby. The ceiling is composed of vigas and dried ocotillo branches.

Read More: Top Arizona Resorts for Fun in the Sun

Accommodations

Each of the 241 Southwestern-inspired guest rooms and suites offers thoughtful amenities, regional artwork, and private balconies so guests can enjoy the breathtaking views of the Sonoran Desert landscape.

The accommodations feature spacious rooms and this room type:

  • Posada Guest Rooms – 450 square feet, one king or two double beds.
  • Poolside Posada Guest Rooms are 450 square feet and have one king or two double beds overlooking the main pool deck.
  • Casita Jr. Suites are 650 square feet and have an open floor plan, private balcony or patio, skyline or desert view, and queen-size sleeper sofa.
  • Stargazer Spa Suites are 1,300 square feet and feature one bedroom, separate dining and sitting areas, two bathrooms, a private patio with outdoor hot tub, a scenic mountain view by day, and stargazing by night.

Hotel Amenities

The Westward Look Resort offers these amenities:

  • 100% Smoke-Free Hotel (non-smoking)
  • 24-hour Front Desk
  • ATM
  • Banquet Facilities
  • Bar
  • Breakfast Available
  • Bus/Truck parking
  • Business Center
  • Café
  • Concierge
  • Dry Cleaning Services
  • EV Charging
  • Early Check-in Available
  • Express Check-out
  • Fitness Center
  • Free WiFi
  • Hot Tub Onsite
  • Late Check-out Available
  • Laundry Services
  • Meeting Rooms
  • Onsite Parking – Fees May Apply
  • Free parking and self-parking
  • Pet Friendly
  • Pool – outdoor
  • RV Parking
  • Onsite Restaurant
  • Room Service
  • Spa
  • Tennis Courts
  • Valet Parking

Accessible amenities include routes from the Accessible Public Entrances at the Business Center, the pool, and venues serving food and drink. Wheelchair-accessible guest room doorways, the Spa, and many other amenities are also accessible. The staff is trained to serve guests with disabilities, and service animals are welcome.

Get  a tour of the Hacienda and Grounds of the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa with Raymundo O'Campo.
Hacienda and Grounds Tour With Raymundo O’Campo. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Tour of the Grounds

Guests can request a property tour, which Raymundo O’Campo, the Landscape Maintenance Manager, leads. Raymundo has been with Westward Look for 38 years. He is knowledgeable, entertaining, and well-loved by all the staff. The grounds are remarkable and well-tended.

Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa's entertaining and beloved Raymundo O'Campo.
Entertaining and beloved Raymundo O’Campo. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Labyrinth

Raymundo created The Man in the Maze labyrinth, fashioned after the Tohono O’odham symbol with Sonoran Desert stones. An elder of the Tohono O’odham blessed this moving meditation experience, consecrated as a sacred space in nature.

The Man in the Maze at Westward Look Wyndham Resort and Spa.
The Man in the Maze Labyrinth by Ramundo O’Campo. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

I arose early one morning to walk the labyrinth and commune with nature before the sun was high in the clear blue sky.

Chef’s Garden

The chefs harvest produce for the chefs’ tables from the Chef’s Garden. The Garden is a source of fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs incorporated into the Westward Look Resort’s culinary and beverage program. On the Grounds Tour with Raymundo O’Campo, he picked a ripe zucchini and was pleased that he could deliver it to the chef for the day’s meals.

During the evening of our Chef’s Dinner, I spied Chef Jay walking down to the Garden. He confessed that he went to the Garden to pick the flowers and fruit for our dessert, which he placed on the chocolate delight just before delivery to our table. A meal and service doesn’t get any better than that!

Fresh from the Chef’s Garden on Chocolate Dessert at the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa.
Fresh from the Chef’s Garden on Chocolate Dessert. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Weddings, Events, and Meetings

Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa offers 20,000 square feet of function space, meeting rooms, and outdoor venues. Experienced planners and event specialists can help you craft your perfect event.

The Palm and Terrace with Santa Catalina Mountains View at The Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa
The Palm and Terrace with Santa Catalina Mountains View. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Onsite Dining

From formal dining with craft cocktails, casual terrace dining with refreshing salads, and grab-and-go breakfasts to poolside taco events and room service, the delicious meals served at Westward Look Resort satisfy every taste.

Enjoy the prime rin dinner every Sunday at the Palm Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa.
Prime Rib Dinner Every Sunday at The Palm. Photo Credit: Julie Diebolt Price.

Executive Chef Ryan Jones, the boy originally from Wisconsin, fell in love 15 years ago with Southwest food and culture. Recently arrived at Westward Look Resort, Chef Ryan jumped in with both booted feet to deliver good food in a fun environment.

Until the 1970s, Westward Look Resort maintained a decidedly Western feel. The waitstaff wore cowboy hats and bolo ties, except for the chef, who wore his toque and white coat.

Today, only the chefs wear a cowboy hat and dark denim jackets. It was easy to see Chef Ryan and Chef Jay roaming the property and connecting with the guests. We felt like honored guests at the hacienda and the chefs (and other staffers) were our hosts.

Dining options include:

  • The Palm – fine dining
  • Oasis Pool Bar & Grill: Poolside treats and cool, refreshing drinks are available for walk-up, or have them delivered to the chaise lounge chairs or private cabanas on the weekends.
  • Monsoon Cafe: Convenient grab-and-go meals in the lobby for early mornings.
  • Room Service
The Oasis Pool Bar & Grill, Ping Pong, Games, and Courtyard at the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa.
The Oasis Pool Bar & Grill, Ping Pong, Games, and Courtyard. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

My Accommodations

Our Casita Junior Suite was spacious and had a fantastic view over the city, lawn, pool, and Chef’s Garden. I enjoyed sitting on the balcony, especially in the morning with the soft light and bunnies exploring the Garden. They obviously ignored the No Trespassing signs.

Casita Jr. Suite at Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa.
Casita Jr. Suite. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Tortoise link

I love it when hosts educate their guests with clever towel creations and a QR code for more information.

Scan the QR code to learn more about the Dessert Tortoise at Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa.
Desert Tortoise by QR Code. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Room Amenities

  • Hairdryer
  • Ironing board and iron
  • Laptop-sized safe
  • Sofa bed
  • Luxurious bathrobes
  • Toiletries
  • Plush bedding
  • Air conditioning
  • Artwork from the region

The Sonoran Spa

Westward Look opened the full-service resort spa in 1996. They used the floorboards and fireplace from one of the original guest cottages in the decor. They renamed the Sonoran Spa in 2004; it offered ayurvedic treatments, organic facials and skin care, and deep-body massage. The menu now includes:

  • Native botanicals
  • Warm stones
  • Cleansing muds
  • Therapeutic herbs inspired by the Native Americans from the region

Upon arrival, I jumped into the Wellness Garden Ritual. The Spa Director, Rachel, advised me to select herbs to include in the salt scrub. We went through the Garden and selected lavender, desert sage, and other fragrant plants.

Harvests plants for your farm-to-body treatment at the Sonoran Spa Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa.
Rachel, The Sonoran Spa Director, Harvests Plants for Author’s Farm-to-Body Treatment. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

She used a mortar and pestle to release the herbs’ healing compounds, then put them into a grinder to incorporate them with Dead Sea Salt, and finally blended the concoction with coconut oil. She delivered the concoction to my massage therapist, who applied the scrub and removed dead cells from my skin. This was followed by a rinse in the shower and a delightful one-hour massage.

To recover, I sat on the outside balcony with a view of the Catalina foothills and a refreshing glass of infused water, listening to the desert music of birds and breeze. I felt well-being and that my body and soul were nourished. It was the perfect start to a blissful weekend.

Go horseback with Catalina Riding Club during your stay at the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa.
Author on Horseback with Catalina Riding Club. Photo credit: Rose Lindley English

Horseback Riding

I hadn’t been on horseback for years, and I was afraid my bones would crack and I might fall off. I’m very short, and saddle stirrups have always been a problem. Rose Lindley English, the experienced horsewoman and owner, knew exactly how to fit the stirrups to my short legs.

Catalina Riding Club provides an excellent and educational ride through the Sonoran Desert surrounding Westward Look Resort. Rose photographed the group throughout the ride so we could concentrate on the experience.

A group on a horseback ride on Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa property.
Group Horseback Ride on Westward Look Resort Property. Photo credit: Rose Lindley English

Robert English, co-owner and Rose’s husband rode sweep at the back of our group, managed the horses in the corral, and helped with mounts and dismounts.

All levels of equestrians are welcome to explore 80 acres of pristine, private trails on the Westward Look Resort property on guided horseback rides.

Read More: Bucket List-Worthy Places to Visit in Arizona

Family pool at the Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort and Spa.
Family Pool. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

The Pools at Westward Look Resort

Three pools serve the guests at Westward Look Resort.

  • Adult pool—located off the Main Lobby building, this pool is open for guests 18 and older and features a poolside bar open on weekends. Chef Ryan hosted a taco event here on Sunday.
  • Family pool—centrally located to guest room buildings, this pool is open for guests of all ages to have fun and unwind.
  • Lap pool—located just off the spa building, is the dedicated pool for the fitness crowd.

Pet Policy

Westward Look Resort & Spa welcomes two pets (both cats and dogs) for an additional fee. There are grassy areas for pet relief and waste bags for your convenience.

Attractions Nearby

Tohono Chul

TripAdvisor rated the Tohono Chul, a botanical garden only five minutes away from Westward Look Resort, as one of Tucson’s top 20 of 487 things to do. Natural Sonoran Desert beauty, outdoor art installations, an art gallery with rotating shows, a highly rated restaurant, and kid’s programs make this a must-see destination when you visit Westward Look Resort.

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park is divided by the Tucson metropolis. The Tucson Mountain District on the west and the Rincon Mountain District to the east are about 30 miles apart. Visitor centers are located on both the East and West sides.

Activities in the park include hiking, guided programs, wilderness back-country camping, and driving the scenic loops. We enjoyed driving the loops because there were plenty of pullouts, and the cacti were in bloom.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Seniors can use their Golden Passport for free entry into the park. If you have a National Parks Passport, be sure to get the dated stamps from both East and West Visitor Centers.

Old Tucson

Located 25 minutes outside of downtown Tucson in Saguaro National Park West, Old Tucson is a family-friendly theme park and home to Western movie sets of Hollywood. From a live blacksmith demonstration, life-sized cow pie checkerboard, a jail (where I spent time in the lockup guarded by the sheriff!), and shootouts on Main Street, it’s a dusty desert town with limited food options.

Tucson Mall

The Tucson Mall is the largest shopping mall in Tucson, with over 170 stores on two levels. It’s about five miles from Westward Look Resort.

How To Get To Tucson

Drive

Interstate 10 runs east and west through the center of Tucson. You can drive across the southern part of the United States on I-10.

Tucson is a two-hour drive south of Phoenix and one hour north of Nogales on the Mexican border.

Fly

Tucson International Airport features major carriers and rental car agencies.

Train

The Amtrak Sunset Limited serves Tucson.

Climate in Tucson

Tucson enjoys a hot desert climate with golden summers and mild winters, making for pleasant days and nights year-round.

• Spring: High of 93, low of 45

• Summer: High of 102, low of 67

• Fall: High of 97, low of 44

• Winter: High of 71, low of 37

Final Thoughts

Westward Look Resort presents a haven for wellness enthusiasts seeking rejuvenation and relaxation. This organic wellness retreat offers a healthy lifestyle and connection to the Sonoran Desert. I look forward to my next visit.

Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa
245 E. Ina Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85704 USA
Phone Number 520-297-1151

Check-in is at 4 p.m.

Check-out time is 11 a.m.

Major credit cards accepted

Currency is USD

24-hour cancellation policy

Julie Diebolt Price is an award-winning professional photographer, educator, author, and travel writer. She writes about two things – photography and travel (along with a little food and beverage). Julie educates and mentors aspiring photographers. As a journalist who loves to travel, she creates memorable experiences and shares them with words and pictures.
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