There’s a reason Tuscon, Arizona, gets more than its fair share of destination weddings: eight months of great weather, outrageous sunsets, superb outdoor activities, and a rich spa culture. In 2016, UNESCO named it a City of Gastronomy (the first place in the U.S. to earn that designation). And did we mention breakfast tacos, prickly pear margaritas, and Sonoran hot dogs?
On a recent trip to the Old Pueblo, Destination W visited a dream of a wedding venue: Hacienda Del Sol, about 20 minutes from the center of town. For years it’s been luring couples (many of whom graduated from the nearby University of Arizona) with a combination of rugged scenery and deep-dish luxury. While images of cacti-studded cliffs and soaring hawks are romantic in a wild western way, they’re even more striking when viewed from a courtyard blooming with roses, hibiscus, geraniums, and lavender.
Home to heiresses and Hollywood
The boutique hotel started life as a girls’ prep school; soon after the 1932 Lindberg baby kidnapping, daughters of the Spaldings, Westinghouses, and Vanderbilts were sent here to be educated out of the public eye. That was followed by a stint as a guest ranch, during which Hollywood’s most famous pair of secret lovers—Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy—frequented the place. The Hacienda’s hallways are lined with historic photos, a fascinating glimpse into the past.
Today, wedding guests have the option of staying in eight historic rooms named for those former students, as well as the casita where Hepburn and Tracy rendezvoused. There are luxurious new options as well, in the form of 32 Catalina rooms (each big enough to accommodate a massage table, and then some) that blend rustic touches like sliding barn doors with Persian rugs and Mexican ceramics.
Feating on roasted pig and empanadas
Weddings here are like sunsets: No two are the same. There’s plenty of room for making a personal statement. Place bougainvillea wreaths around the fountains and saturate your tablescapes with succulents. Hire a flower-festooned donkey to tote tequila at the cocktail hour, or have the bartender blend barrel-aged Manhattans for the crowd. You can request that a whole pig be roasted on the Argentinian barbecue pit; choose a pure southwestern menu with flautas, empanadas, and Santa Maria tri tip steak; and bring out the breakfast burritos at midnight. And when it’s finally time to head to bed, you’ll find the skies are so clear, all you need is starlight to guide you home.