A Unique Homes ON LOCATION Special Report

By Camilla McLaughlin

When Unique Homes visited the Residences at the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain, just north of Tucson, last week, preparations for the holidays were full on. Outside, workers were busy installing lights and decorations to ready a 37-foot spruce in advance of Saturday’s official tree lighting. Inside, holiday cheer was very much in evidence, but the showstopper was a life-sized gingerbread house “tucked” into a corner of the resort’s lobby. Decked out with a working fireplace and table for six, made exclusively for the house, it is an instant memory maker for diners large and small. Literally the stuff sweet dreams and visions of sugar plums are made of, this delectable abode required 400 pounds of honey, 856 pounds of sugar, 350 pounds of flour, 100 pounds of ginger powder, 50 pounds of cinnamon, 250 eggs and 10 pounds of nutmeg. According to the resort, it is expected to make an appearance on the Today show this week.

Near both Tucson and Phoenix in the high Sonoran Desert, the resort is nestled in the foothills of the Tortolita Mountains and offers miles of hiking as well as 29-holes at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain, the former home of the annual World Golf Championships-Accuenture Match Play Championship. The spirit of the land and legacy of the Hohokam Indians is woven into the experience here. Every evening, a ranger gives a short talk on this heritage in a gathering on a patio, while a Native American flutist on a nearby hill plays traditional refrains to celebrate and honor the end of the day. On the last night of our visit, those last notes seemed to hover over the resort for a few extra seconds and the glow of numerous fire bowls and the tree made the setting even more magical. It was a bittersweet ending to an idyllic interval.