LOEWS' VENTANA CANYON RESORT- Tuscon's Masterpiece of Environmental Architecture
by Kaya Morgan
Designed to appear as if it had been dropped into the desert from above, then nestled against the dramatic backdrop of the Catalina Mountains, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort is the perfect blending of environment, nature and luxury. With 398 rooms and suites ranging from 450 to almost 4300 square feet on 93 acres, it is a serene jewel in the ever changing Sonoran desert. Mountains and architecture glow as one in the crisp air at 3,013 feet, creating a uniquely breathtaking sight at sunrise and sunset.
Described as the "best in the West for its spectacular views and supreme, beautifully presented American fare, defying all expectations," by Zagat, and called the "First environmentally-conceived resort in North America," by Architectural Digest, the resort truly combines spectacular panoramic views and quiet solitude with the ultimate escape for golf, swimming, spa and some of the finest dining in the southwest.
The wonderful diversity of activities provide a variety of adventure packages ranging from the slow, almost relaxing Archeological explorations, bird watching, jeep tours or hot air ballooning to overnight camping trips or the more extreme activities of mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding into the 1.8 million-acre Coronado National Forest and guided treks deep into the canyon.
Considered one of the world's greatest golf resorts with two 18-hole PGA championship golf courses just steps from the lobby, a jogging track, gym and eight lighted tennis courts including a world-class spa offering everything from facials and body treatments to yoga and massage, there is clearly a multitude of ways to enjoy your waking hours.
Tuscon also presents scores of irresistible attractions nearby with tours to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum or a Mexican lunch in a historic Barrio to abundant shopping or browsing through the many shops, boutiques and art galleries the city is so famous for. Having so many adventures to chose from has made the Resort the definitive destination for a host of celebrities from Tom Cruise, Sharon Stone, Will Smith, Rene Russo, Cher, and Clint Eastwood to Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Bill Gates and Prince Andrew of Great Britain just to name a very few. You are just as likely to run into a famous face as one you've never met simply because the quality of this resort attracts a clientele used to receiving the very best. And, Ventana doesn't disappoint them.
However, the spectacular views are not limited to the outdoors, as the shifting color schemes of sand, rock and sky at sunset, evoke the most comfortable feeling of being close to mother earth from anywhere in the resort. The lobby's Cascade Lounge further brings the magnificent outdoors inside with a two-story glass wall overlooking the pool and mountains where the light from the verdigris copper chandeliers dims automatically in deference to the spectacular approaching sunset where you may leisurely enjoy cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and traditional English afternoon tea.
Rooms continue to bring the serenity of the desert indoors, with beautifully appointed earth-toned, washed-oak furniture, original works of art and soft lighting including parlor-style seating and spacious spa-like tubs with every conceivable amenity even 24-hour room service and private balconies to enjoy the incredible mountain vistas.
Ready for five-star dining? The Ventana Room would be your number one choice. There tuxedoed waiters serve gourmet American cuisine on the finest china while pouring wine into exquisite crystal goblets and all the while a harpist serenades. Cushy chairs, dramatic lighting and impeccable service all enhance a rarified, celestial ambiance. Perched on the second story, all the tables face the glittering skyline of Tuscon by night and the resort's own 80-foot waterfall by day.
Under the leadership of Executive Chef, Jeffrey Russell, the Ventana Room has become renowned for its spectacular cuisine and stellar service. Russell has always had a flair for creative presentations that are more like sculptured pieces of art, so artistically impressive it can be difficult to eat them.
Russell found his calling while working under two-times Olympic culinary captain, Chef Gehard Schmidt at the Gateway Inn in Lennox, Massachusetts. After attending The Culinary Institute of America, he found an opening as sous chef at Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires where he perfected his ability to develop nutritionally balanced dishes for the spa tasting menu. Prior to the Ventana Room, Russell worked for the Hilton at Short Hills and Rosemary and Sage in New Jersey until he accepted the position of sous chef at the Phoenician Resort where he had full responsibility for the Terrace Dining Room kitchen.
Chef Russell offers two tasting menus in addition to his seasonal à la carte offerings. The Ventana Room has built a reputation for its impressive treatment of game meats. Changing menus list gourmet selections such as grilled tournedo of Norwegian salmon and dry-aged prime black angus sirloin. He believes that searching for the best and freshest ingredients results in the most exquisite cuisine. The menu begins with appetizers such as Warm Vidalia Onion Tartlet, Petrossian Caviar, Trio of Foie Gras Sautéed, Terrine, and Baked Custard served with Grilled Organic Peaches and 100 yr. Old Balsamic Vinegar; and entrees of Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass or Grilled Hawaiian Ono, Roasted Organic Veal Tenderloin wrapped in Applewood Smoked Bacon with Grilled Balsamic Vegetable Ratatouille, Mixed Grill of Game - Buffalo Tenderloin, Venison Osso Buco and Wild Boar Chop with Roasted Garlic Spaëtzle and Thyme Game Jus; with taste-tempting desserts of Crème Bulee with Raspberries, Cherry Tart with Toasted Pistachio Ice Cream or Pecan Turtle Torte.
It would be almost impossible to go wrong at this world-class resort. But, make your reservations well in advance as peak seasons can be quite busy. No doubt, you will be returning again and again.
Seared Chilean Black Sea Bass
with Apricot Glaze and Lobster Mashed Potatoes
20 oz. bass fillets
8 oz. lobster meat
4 T. brandy
1 T. soy sauce
1 t. ginger
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 T. butter
4 oz. micro tot soi
Peel and boil potatoes. Mash with cream and butter and set aside. Poach apricots in brandy, ginger and water until tender. Puree the apricots. This is your glaze.
Sear bass on high heat, flip over and brush with glaze and finish in a 350° oven for 8 min. Sauté lobster in whole butter, fold into potatoes. Place potatoes in the center of the plate, and then the bass on top of the potatoes. Top with tot soi.
2 T. soy sauce
1 t. sesame oil
1 T. rice wine vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
Mix together the ingredients for the soy vinaigrette. Toss tot soi in vinaigrette.
For more information, contact 800.234.5117 or at www.loews.com
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