Tucson Golf Stay & Play Review - Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa


Waterfall at the pool at the Westin La PalomaGolf course hole at Westin La Paloma Resort TucsonSuite at Westin La Paloma

If you're looking for one of the best Tucson golf resorts and golf stay and play packages for a Tucson golfing vacation, then you need to check out the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa. The Westin La Paloma Resort has 27 holes of fantastic golf, an outstanding pool area, good accommodations, excellent food, and first class service - all of that is hard to beat. Plus it sits on a bluff on 250 acres in the high Sonoran Desert foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains and offers majestic picturesque mountain, desert and golf course views amidst intriguing desert landscape and wildlife. So what are you waiting for, call and book a room and tee time, round up some friends or family, pack the bags, stuff your golf bag with some new balls (you'll need a few extras), and hit the road.

Westin La Paloma Golf Courses

Let's start with the golf courses which are one of the first things you'll notice as you drive up the hill and into the majestic entrance to the Westin La Paloma Resort. The Resort is home to three Jack Nicklaus signature nine hole courses that play through a lush desert environment and each course has it's own unique personality and characteristics. But common to all three is a fantastic club with a well stocked pro shop, good bar and restaurant with a patio overlooking the course, first class service, very good practice facilities, and excellent conditions. And maybe best of all is the scenic beauty and amazing views of the desert washes, saguaro-covered hillsides, Resort, and the towering Santa Catalina Mountains. Plus it's not uncommon to see lots of desert wildlife - coyotes, bobcats or roadrunners – crossing the greens and fairways. Troon manages the courses and from our perspective, they are one of the best with an outstanding portfolio of upscale, fun, and beautiful courses.

Canyon Course

True to it's name, the Canyon Course features dramatic canyons, deep valleys, and contoured greens that have been sculptured into the natural hills. It is the most dramatic of the three, with a number of elevated tee boxes and forced carries. From our perspective, the Canyon Course at the Westin La Paloma is the "beauty and the beast" - it's the most beautiful but it's also the most challenging of the three courses. You'll need to manage dramatic elevation changes of up to 100 feet, forced carries over canyons and valleys, complex greens with multiple tiers and plenty of slope, contoured fairways, and treacherous steep and deep bunkers. If you like a challenge, play the Canyon and Ridge combo which has a slope of 129 to 151 - you best pick the right set of tee boxes and bring your "A" game. Read our review of the Canyon Course.

Westin La Paloma Canyon CourseA fun hole at Westin La Paloma Canyon CourseWestin La Paloma Resort sitting on the bluff overlooking Canyon course

Hill Course

The Hill Course at the Westin La Paloma offers scenic shots of the Santa Catalina Mountains as it twists and turns over the hills and valleys. The Hills Course is regarded as the easiest of the three nines, but it is no walk in the park. The fairways are generous but you'll need accuracy off the tee box and course management to position you to avoid the forced carries to the greens. The "Golden Bear" redesigned the Hill Course bunkers a nd greens in 2009, modernizing them with plenty of slope, undulation, and tiers - practice your sand shots and putting before you head out. The final hole of the Hill Course will test any golfer with its deep valley leading to a small green guarded by grassy hollows. Watch out for the tall saguaros waiting to catch your shots - and don't even think about trying to retrieve your ball. Read our review of the Hill Course to learn more.

Mountains provide a scenic backdrop on the Hills CourseTwo large Saguros guarding the green on the Hills CourseWatch out for the bunkers on the Hills Course

Ridge Course

The Ridge Course is both very fun and very demanding with deep canyons, the longest yardage, elevation changes, native vegetation that will devour your ball, mounds and hollows, tricky doglegs, elevation changes, heavily contoured greens, and treacherous steep and deep bunkers you'll need a ladder to get out of. You'll love the fourth hole which is regarded as La Paloma's most scenic par 3 - from an elevated tee it plays across the edge of a 40 foot deep canyon to a challenging green. Bring your "A" game and your camera when you play the Ridge Course at the Westin La Paloma because this nine has some very dramatic views of the surrounding mountains and the Tucson valley. Read our review of the Ridge Course.

Fun hole at the Ridge Course at Westin La PalomaRidge Course at Westin La PalomaWatch out for the bunkers at the Ridge Course

All of that is some of the reasons why these three unique and distinctive courses have won several awards, some of which include:

  • One of Golf Digest magazine's "Top 75 Resort Courses" in the United States and "Top 10" courses in Arizona

  • A Silver Medal Award from GOLF MAGAZINE as one of the country’s finest courses

  • Named among "America's Best" by readers of Golfweek magazine

  • Selected by The Golf Resort Guide as one of the "Top 25" courses in the U.S. and Mexico

  • Recognized by Golf For Women magazine as one of the country's top 100 women-friendly golf courses

  • Pro shop ranked among the "Top 100 Best Golf Shops" in the country by Golf Shop Operations, the prestigious trade publication

Westin La Paloma Resort Amenities

Pool area at Westin La Paloma ResortAfter playing all that golf, stop by the Westin Spa to work out the kinks and get ready for another 18. The Red Door Spa by Elizabeth Arden offers everything that you would expect of an upscale spa. You can choose from facial treatments, a wide variety of massages to restore balance to both mind and body, nail/hair/wax/makeup treatments, gentlemen only services, and a assortment of packages that include pampering and relaxation services.

Besides the golf courses, our favorite at the Westin La Paloma was the pool area - wow, it is impressive. We could have spent an entire afternoon sipping margaritas at the swim up bar, relaxing in the comfortable lounge chairs, and alternating dipping in the pool and spas, but a golf cart had our name on it and was anxiously waiting for us to take it for a ride. At the pool area there is:

  • a huge main pool with a swim up bar
  • 177 foot water slide
  • kiddie pool
  • small pool with a waterfall
  • adults only pool
  • four spas including a cool water spa
  • Sabino's Pool Bar & Grill which serves great frozen margaritas and more plus some scrumptious food - burgers, salads, sandwiches, and lots of other good stuff
  • crochet field

Slide at the Westin La Paloma poolPool area with the mountains in the backgroundWaterfall into the spa

Some of the other amenities you can enjoy during your stay include:Tennis courts

  • Retail shops with a wide variety of things for you to spend your money on
  • Floral shop - after four hours on the course, not a bad place to stop to make amends to a non golfing partner
  • a Business Center if you absolutely can't avoid working
  • Tennis and Heath Center which includes:
    • 10 tennis courts, 4 of which are clay
    • racquetball courts
    • steam room
    • pool, lap lanes, hot tub, and kiddie pool
    • Courtside Deli with hot and cold sandwiches
    • cardio and 2 well equipped fitness rooms plus regularly scheduled fitness classes (yoga, pilates, zumba, full body strength, boot camps, and lots more)

For the little ones, they will love the Westin Kids Discovery Room & Kids Club which offers fun activities and programs for guests aged 6 months to 12. Some of what they get to enjoy includes: coloring, movies, foam crafts, story time, Wii games, puzzles, an outdoor play area, stencil and stamp art.

Dining at the Westin La Paloma Resort

Appetizers at the Westin La PalomaIf you like fine dining and French inspired cuisine, then you need to visit Janos and let Chef Janos Wilder create some of his specialties for you. We didn't have time to eat here but we did peruse the mouth watering menu with appetizers (apple and walnut relleno, Ahi coconut and ginger ceviche, rabbit fricassee), soups (apple parsnip or lobster bisque), and several main courses (orange glazed duck breast, apple and soy marinated pork rib chop, diver sea scallops, ancho braised short ribs, and more). Janos also offers a Prix Fixe with or without wine parings that includes soup, entree, and desert. You'll need to spend some time running or at the fitness center after dining here. Janos is a James Beard award winning restaurant.

During our visit, we were also sorry that we didn't get to sample the interesting mix of entrees at JBar, for Great meal at the Westinexample: crispy calamari, Yucatan Style Plantation Crusted Chicken, Pato En Mole (leg of duck with mole rojo), grilled trout wrapped in banana leaf, and more.

The great room of the lobby dining area serves breakfast lunch and dinner. Better yet is the option to enjoy your meal on the scenic outdoor terrace overlooking the pool complex and the mountains in the background. Speaking of the pool, you can also get some good food at the Sabino's Poolside Bar & Grill and enjoy it at a poolside table or at the swim up bar. We enjoyed a very good meal with excellent service in the great room and had a hard time choosing which of several salads to start with, agonized over our entrees (some of which included cashew crusted lamb rack, mediterranean herbed pork chop milanese, gorgonzola crusted beef tenderloin, three cheese totolo with prawns, and more), and couldn't finish our fresh wild berry cobbler and tiramisu! We waddled all the way back to our room and were asleep in our "heavenly bed" within a couple minutes. I did have nightmares over losing 6 golf balls, getting stuck by cacti, and three putting several greens - all of which came true!

In addition to all of this, there is the Courtside Deli, Espresso Cafe, and the La Paloma Country Club Patio at the Country Club clubhouse.

The lobby lounge is a perfect place to wind down after a fun day of golf.

Westin La Paloma Resort Accommodations

Suite at the Westin La Paloma487 guest rooms including 25 suites all with the Westin's signature "Heavenly Bed" and "Heavenly Bath" - if you've never slept in a Westin "Heavenly Bed" then you have never experienced a truly comfortable night sleep! Our room was beautifully decorated, open and airy with warm golden tones, a tiled entry, crown molding, and cherry-wood furnishings. The rooms and suites also have double sink vanity, separate tub and shower, private terrace or balcony, refreshment center with Starbucks coffee, three telephones with voicemail, refreshment center, wet bar, in-room safe, and wireless high speed internet.

We had a room overlooking the 9th hole of the Canyon Course, the mountains, and more - fantastic! I had a hard time getting my wife to stop drinking her coffee and enjoying the view and get ready for golf.

Bottom line: The Westin La Paloma Resort is about as good as it gets for a Tucson golf vacation or stay and play - three excellent courses that are fun, challenging, scenic, and in near perfect condition; top notch service; good accommodations; resort style amenities; and great food.

After you have mastered the three courses at the Westin La Paloma, you might consider playing some of the other best golf courses in Tucson - read our reviews of the Best Tucson Golf Courses.

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