Destination: The Sonoran is one of North America’s largest deserts and stretches from Baja California to the southern-most tips of Arizona. Famed for the cowboy culture and a rich Native American heritage the Arizona part of the desert is typified by long stretches of sub-tropical sands with nothing but the occasional cactus to interrupt the view. The protected status means hundreds of native plants, animals and birds are allowed to thrive despite the tough conditions. Best seen from horseback or a private hot air balloon the Sonoran Desert is one of the must-visit locations for lovers of Americana. The beauty has attracted developers and Dove Mountain is considered to be among the most coveted areas. It includes 6,200 acres of foothills, canyons and mountainside facilities just north of Tuscon, Arizona. Where to stay:
The jewel of the development is The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain hotel. Designed in a South Western style with strong Native American references the hotel is the poshest of Tuscon’s many golf resorts. There are two Jack Nicklaus-designed courses and an annual competiton attracting the very best players in the world but the hotel cannot be merely pigeon-holed as a golf resort. That would not take into account the family ranching activities with authentic cowboy activities, superior hiking trails and the impressive spa. All set against the backdrop of the Tortolita Mountains.