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“Relaxing, Tranquil, Beautiful, Quiet, Best in Tucson” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa

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JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa
Ranked #9 of 128 Hotels in Tucson
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Mesa, Arizona
Level Contributor
111 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“Relaxing, Tranquil, Beautiful, Quiet, Best in Tucson”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 August 2010

100820 JW Marriott Starr Pass

We came down to JW’s Starr Pass from Phoenix (100+ miles) for a short weekend from Friday evening 20 May to Monday morning. We paid $82 per night with a military discount. We were here once before in October 2007. Since that time we have visited a couple other resorts in Tucson such as the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Sep 08, and Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort in May of this year. We have visited others in Tucson prior to 2007 as well. We have enjoyed the other resorts very well, but without question we both like the Starr Pass much better because of its quiet location, stunning views, superior comfort, resort atmosphere/feel and amenities. When we speak of the location, we are talking about the beautiful desert location and not the city of South Tucson to which it is adjacent and which is older and not so attractive as the parts of Tucson where the other 2 resorts are located. The El Conquistador is in a very beautiful desert location too, but not as good as the Starr Pass.

The layout of the resort is excellent and beautiful. However, if your room is on the other side of the main reception area, then prepare to walk. Our room, 4109, directly across from the life guard station at the top of the pool slide, was just a hair short of 1/3 mile from the parking area. If you use the valet service this is not an issue. We rarely do as we are value oriented it seems unreasonably costly. But if it was ever worthwhile to pay for the valet service, this may be it if you are in the west wing.

The rooms was very nice. Large comfortable bed in which we slept well – which does not always happen in even the nicest resorts because our bed at home is perfect. Nice sitting chair and ottoman, nice table and chairs, though not very comfortable for long periods. Nice sitting area on the balcony. More like standing area if you want to see the view. The 27 inch TV was sub-par, though it did extend out of the cabinet to allow for decent viewing. The bathroom was beautiful and very clean. Besides the TV the only significant criticism is the lack of drawers.

We woke up early on Saturday at 5:30am after a good nights sleep to make it to the free guided hike available every morning at 6am and on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. It is 1 hour and only about 1 mile at a slow pace while the guide gives you information about the desert and the area. Our guide Randy was great and made our hike very enjoyable and informative. If you have the time, we definitely recommend it. They also have biking tours which we did not have time for. WEAR A HAT AND/OR SUNSCREEN. If it is during the monsoon season like it was for us, bring something to swing at the gnats. They were a slight annoyance when we were not moving. They have some wonderful hiking trails going back in the beautiful desert hills. We recommend taking a hike or two on your own when the spirit moves you. It is just beautiful. If you are not from Tucson and/or not familiar with the wide variety of plants and wildlife here in the Sonoran desert, then this is an absolute must do.
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At 7:30am we went down to the Signature Grill for breakfast. Our server was great! We split the Shredded Chicken Omelet with Fresh Vegetables, Egg Whites, Pico de Gallo and Cilantro ($14). It was superb for a “healthy” breakfast. We also split the house made Muesli & Almond Granola Parfait served with seasonal berries ($8). This was also very good, though for us it was a bit of a disappointment. The last time we were here it was only $5, much larger, no muesli but just granola and it had a perfect mix of granola and various nuts/seeds. And when we say perfect, we mean it WAS perfect. At $5 it was an unbelievable bargain considering general resort fare. We don’t mind paying $8 three years later to get the same thing, but we were disappointed to get significantly less in both quality and quantity. Nonetheless, it was still very good. While it is expensive to eat at resorts and we do so sparingly, the beauty, good food and atmosphere (and long trip to do otherwise) make it very worthwhile to enjoy your meals here.

At 11am we went down to the spa for a yoga class. This class and other fitness classes are complimentary if you pay the $15 daily fee for spa use. Considering prices in general at a 5-star resort, it is a bargain. I highly recommend it if you are going to be doing any exercise here or for general relaxation.

We paid the $15 fee and after the info spiel went down stairs to the fitness class room. The whole wall facing the beautiful Sonoran desert is a glass window. The class consisted of myself and my wife who have never done even a minute of Yoga in our lives, and another woman our age. Our instructor Karen was very nice and helpful. She kept the session going at a good pace with good encouragement and assistance. If you have an hour to burn or if you have never done yoga this is an excellent no pressure opportunity.

After the yoga we were too tired/relaxed to do the mini work-out we had intended to do and so after descending down the stairs again to the next level where the gym is, we each headed to the separate men and women’s sauna/shower/whirlpool. The person in the sauna had it so hot that I had to open the door when he left. It is very spacious and very clean. The whirlpool was not very hot at all, but warm enough to relax me – and with excellent jets. The shower area is very beautiful and clean. They have lockers in which you set the combo and then turn the dial. In order to turn it back you have to remember the 4 numbers. If you wear glasses, bring them so you can set the combo. Or you can depend on luck to open it again like I did. My wife said the women’s sauna did not have any sauna controls that she could see. The men’s did for sure. They have quality shampoo, conditioner & body gel in the showers. Each locker has a robe, large towel and 2 regular towels. They also have some sandals in a small bin. There was only 1 pair remaining when I left.

They have iced water and tea in a large central reception sitting/area. The also had a dozen or more large canisters of dried fragrant flowers/plants on a large table by the wall from which you could obtain small amounts to put in a sache that they provide. Very nice touch. The also have a lap pool with salt water which we did not have time to try. The only negative about the spa is that if you are as relaxed and/or tired as we were, you have a couple flights of stairs to ascend before heading towards your room.

After being out and about in Tucson, we returned in the early evening in time for a lightning, thunder and wind show which is the norm during August.

On Sunday morning at 8am, we decided take another hike on our own behind the resort in the Sonoran hills. It was only about 2.25 miles/1 hour+ from our room and back. We took the trail up over the hill. Generally, you do not want to get started any later than 8am during May-Sep or you may be uncomfortably hot before you finish - IF the sun is out. During the monsoons (August down-pours) and again normally in April this area greens up very beautifully.

Very Important Note: IF YOU LIKE KETTLE CORN (and even if you don’t) and IF you are able to get on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, stopping by the Base Exchange for some Kettle Corn is an absolute must do. My wife really likes it, but I have never cared for it much - until last year when we first tried this. Immediately adjacent to exchange entrance is a kiosk where Steve, a very cool and very kind person, sells this special version. He explains that he uses mushroom popcorn which pops up very light and airy as opposed to butterfly popcorn. There is no sugar coating that we can discern, but just a light, sweet and very delicious Kettle Corn flavor. Once I start eating it, I can’t stop. Neither of us have ever tasted better, bar none, not even close. He also sells perfectly cooked nuts too.

On Sunday at 5:30 we went down to the Primo restaurant for happy hour. Cocktails and wine were $5, beer $3 and appetizers $4 off. We ordered the FRITTER DEL GIORNO ($10-4=6) which for the day was corn fritters with quarter inch pieces of shrimp. They came with an Aioli dip which, in this case, was a zesty garlic mayo dip with red peppers. Since I do not eat spicy, I also ordered the straight garlic version. The fritters & aioli’s were excellent. If you are going to eat any bread, hold onto the remaining aioli since you are given much more than you need. We ordered Margherita Pizza for ($15-4=11) which was very decent. It had a couple large patches of mozzarella, but we much prefer grated mozzarella for an even taste as opposed to a pretty look. The crust was delicious dipped in the aioli. The atmosphere was very relaxing sitting by the windows while watching the sun disappear.

After dark we came back down to the central social area to relax and listen to a gentleman play a Spanish guitar while my wife read and I begin typing this review. After an hour of the very beautiful, melodic serenade, we moved outside on the patio in the dark with lighted candles and continued our occupations while overlooking the lights of Tucson. It was beautifully relaxing. At about 10pm we changed into our swimsuits and dipped into the outdoor Jacuzzi in the dark by the edge of the pool area. My wife says the Jacuzzi in the women’s spa was warmer, while I felt this was much warmer than the one in the Men’s spa. After 25-30min we went upstairs, showered, and melted into bed.

At 8am on Monday we both went down to the gym. We both liked their REEBOK weight equipment very much and had a great work out. They had 3 Precore ellipticals (wife’s favorite), 3 recumbent bikes, and 5 or six treadmills all with TV screens and headphone connections. We both used an elliptical and a treadmill. We had minor sound issues with 3 out of 4 of these. We saw a total of only 3 other people in the gym while there. They had water of course and each piece of equipment had a towel placed on it. Like the exercise room, they all faced out towards the beautiful Sonoran desert through huge windows. The also had a large assortment of dumbbells. HOWEVER, the dumbbells went from 2, 3, 5 lbs and then jumped to 10, 12 on up etc. 6 & 8 lb weights are very standard for many women and some men. There were no unfilled slots for weights so they were not missing though we looked anyway because my wife uses 8’s and we could not believe that they could be so fundamentally ignorant as to not have 6 & 8 lb dumbbells.

We checked out just before 11am during which they had to correct 2 errors:

MOVIES: They had an great variety and current selection available. However, they do not warn you that you have 24 hours to watch the movie – which is probably not a frequent occurrence. They immediately and cheerfully corrected it almost before I had even finished explaining what happened.

INTERNET: The internet service runs from 12noon to 12noon. It is not supposed to double charge you if you start at 9:30am like we did and then have to sign in again at 12noon. Though it specifically tells you it is charging you. It did not do that the first day, but it did charge us the 2nd day. Again, they quickly and cheerfully refunded the extra charge without any need to explain further. And by golly they should! I criticize this hotel and every hotel I stay in that gouges on internet service (all resorts). At home we pay a retail price of $65 including tax for T1 access and upon which internet companies make a decent profit. The monthly rate for Starr Pass would be $423.90 based on 30 days times the daily rate of $12.95 + $1.18 tax. Most people, including myself, would call that GOUGING in capital letters. It is offensive and therefore it upsets me every time. Average hotels often include internet for free. Fortunately, my wife hooked us up with an internet free-trial access through our phones on the 2nd day.

They need to improve their website with more detailed information.

Nonetheless, we love this place and we will certainly come down again any chance we get for a weekend or longer.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank clevel60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
31 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2010

There isn't much else I can say that others haven't already said. My wife and I chose to celebrate our 15 anniversary here and were very glad we did. We arrived on a Saturday and it was very busy and a little crazy as other reviewers have alluded to. Come Sunday at 3 pm, though, the crowd thinned out and we enjoyed relative tranquility for the next four days. Parking is free if you want it to be and the walk to the garage can be done completely indoors if you know what you're doing.

The Marriott property developers have incredible vision! Who could imagine such a beautiful place buried so far back in a desert canyon? The views are incredible here, especially at dawn and dusk. My one dining tip is to catch the free shuttle down to the resort owned Catalina restaurant at the golf course clubhouse for BBQ, steaks and deserts you will compare all others to. You have to try the ribs! To save some money on food, we loaded up on snacks and bottled water at a Walgreens near the airport, which by the way is only about a 20 minute drive.
Places you should see while in Tucson: San Xavier Mission, Biosphere2, Old Tucson, Desert Museum. All very cool!

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank campfiar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
east coast
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2010

Under staffed during the August month, but waiter Curtis made up for it all!! Service was slow on the deck due to under staffing, but he went above and beyond to make sure we had an exceptional experience (unlike the other pissed off wait staff who were taking out being super busy and getting tons of tips, btw, on us!!!). Curtis did everything and anything he could to make our dinner exceptional. Pleasant, cordial, funny, helpful....any customer service need, he scored an A++++! And all with a smile. Starr Pass, you have a gem in
Curtis.You should pay him to give lessons in customer service to the rest of your wait staff.

Kay Kelly

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank buggylove
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beaufort, South Carolina
Level Contributor
265 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 145 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 August 2010

We decided on a short weekend get-away to Tucson for our anniversary and selected this as our property of choice.

In comparison to other resorts we have stayed at - we found the property to be a bit sterile in design and ambiance, but the service and room we were given more than made up for this - and we had a very pleasant stay!

Outstanding service from all personnel - great dining experience at Primo restaurant, and thoroughly enjoyed our evening under the stars, sipping wine and visiting with other guests.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Luv2Dine55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tustin, California
Level Contributor
77 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 August 2010

I don't know if they were running summer specials or what, but the place was overcrowded so that you couldn't get a seat on the patio for most of the evening. Service at the restaurants was spotty, perhaps because of the crowds. It did have a fun lazy river swimming pool in addition to the regular pool, but both were packed with people.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Gwen88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tucson, Arizona
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 2010

If you want a weekend get-away this summer, don't let the handsome childless romantic couple from the Starr Pass website photos fool you. I work with kids and was surprised to be greeted at the checkin desk with a big banner promoting "Summer Nickelodean Family weekends". It was a surprise as I had specifically called the local number to find out if there were any events going on that weekend (4th of July) and was told "No, nothing in particular." (In retrospect, Starr Pass must bump overflow calls to an off-site call center.)
I had been seeking a quiet romantic resort experience and could have easily found that at one of the many other Tucson resorts. Unfortunately, I wasted my time here.
Back to check in at 4pm Sunday: the clerk said this is their busiest weekend all year, took our bags and sent us to the bar to chill until the room was ready(~40 minutes). The bar was 5-6 deep as shirtless men with neck tattoos were buying rounds to take out to the packed main pool and patio. An empty lap pool was visible behind a locked gate and was accesable only via the spa that was due to open at 5pm. We got drinks and sat down to people watch. It was like seeing the Arizona version of the Clampetts of Beverly Hillbillys. Folks were there to either stuff a family reunion in, get drunk or both. People were walking in from the parking lots in bathing suits with their the only luggage a pool towel, kids and wheelie coolers dragging from each hand. I regretted not bringing a camera. When our room was finally ready, we were handed plastic tab bracelets at checkin "to verify that you are guests " when entering the pool. The room was spacious and we changed into suits to checkout the quieter spa pool. 5:15pm and the spa doors are still locked though I can see employees on the other side of the glass. They ignore us. We go down to the "river pool" and the slight current is nice to dip toes into but the empty cups and aluminum beer bottles tossed onto the landscape rock make me think that those drinkers have been too lazy to leave the pool for a restroom. We decide not to swim.
Back to change up and find dinner. Catalina Barbeque looks good so we try it and the food is excellent. Good smoke, good sauce, & great cornbread. We take the shuttle back to the main building and the road is lined with parked cars. Looks like every guest has a friend or two coming to visit for the party. I was expecting City of Tucson fireworks but the resort itself also paid for and set off fireworks right before the COT ones. The resort is at the end of a road on the West side and is built to curve into a rock wall, the good views looking to the East and giving a view of the golf course & Tucson.
After the show is over we got to over hear all the drunken hallway conversations and goodnights until 2 or 3 am. That impressive-looking marble tile in the lobby bounces sound pretty far into the hallways.
I wake up early the next day and was happy to find the Starbucks already open. I take my coffee onto the East patio to enjoy sunrise and -finally- some quiet. Up over the golf course hill whines a greens grooming vehicle with the same pitch as a dental drill. I go back to the room to pack: we need to get home to relax.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank rbutcher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JWStarrPass, sales coordinator at JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa, responded to this review, 17 August 2010
I apologize for your disappointing experience at Starr Pass. We are making significant changes for future holiday weekends to avoid the issues you experienced. That is definitely not a typical weekend here at the resort, and I invite you to join us on a non-holiday weekend for a relaxing, romantic experience. Again, I apologize for the issues you encountered and hope you will return and give us an opportunity to show you the amazing service Starr Pass is known for.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lynchburg, Virginia
Level Contributor
34 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2010

My wife stayed here as part of the Up With People reunion. We found the Marriott Starr Pass to be quite excellent in almost every way. Our room was large, relaxing, and well appointed. We found the staff to be very courteous and helpful. We made use of the facilities--large patio for gatherings, multiple swimming pools, and the hiking and biking trails.

All in all, we had a wonderful time at the JW Marriott Starr Pass and would easily go back again.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank HeelDawg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa

Property: JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa
Address: 3800 W Starr Pass Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85745-5115
Region: United States > Arizona > Tucson
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Tucson
#4 Green Hotel in Tucson
#4 Spa Hotel in Tucson
#4 Business Hotel in Tucson
#5 Family Hotel in Tucson
#6 Luxury Hotel in Tucson
#8 Romantic Hotel in Tucson
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa 4.5*
Number of rooms: 575
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
JW Marriott Starr Pass Tucson Resort & Spa blends seamlessly into its tranquil yet animated mountaintop setting, as natural as the surrounding desert itself. Our resort in Tucson merges surpassing luxury and personal service with ample family-friendly recreation, an incredible array of dining options, three nine-hole desert golf courses, entertaining traditions, free Wi-Fi in the lobby and patio, plus supreme indulgences such as our Hashani Spa. Complementing the natural surroundings, our fabulous array of multi-level swimming pools, waterslides, lazy rivers, and dancing fountains are fun for all ages. With spectacular views, exciting activities for the entire family, and a landscape laced with nature trails throughout for hiking and biking, you'll make memories that will last a lifetime. Immerse yourself in our AAA Four-Diamond resort. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Jw Marriott Starr Pass Hotel Tucson
Jw Marriott Starr Pass Resort And Spa
JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa Arizona
Marriott Starr Pass Hotel
Marriott Tucson
Tucson Marriott

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