Wild Horse Pass Resort is a surprising desert oasis

You may just think you know the places to stay in the Phoenix area. But if like me, you checked out the upscale resorts in Scottsdale and north past Cave Creek, you probably missed Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa on the outskirts of Phoenix.

“Skek Thash.” That is Pima for Good Day. You are in the Gila River Indian Community of the Pimas and Maricopas tribes.

Murals over the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort's Grand Staircase are done by a Native American artist

Murals over the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort's Grand Staircase are done by a Native American artist

You know you have come to a special place as you drive up to this Native American oasis. Tribal words and designs greet guests in the lobby’s entrance and a circle of Native murals tower overhead.

The resort, not to be confused with a nearby casino and hotel combo of the same name, was built and is operated by the Sheraton hotel chain but with guidance from the tribal elders and with most of the profits going to the tribes.

Look at the symbols etched into rocks in the lobby. They are copied from drawings found on boulders in the nearby mountains. Indeed, Native American symbols and artworks decorate the walls throughout the resort. And Ginger Sunbird Martin, the resort’s cultural concierge, is delighted to explain the symbolism and the architecture.

Relax by the pool or walk the trails. Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort is a desert oasis

Relax by the pool or walk the trails. Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort is a desert oasis

After unpacking, relax by the pool with its calming view of the South Mountains and the fairways of the Whirlwind Golf Club. Tee times are best arranged ahead of time. The Golf Club also is home to the Bird Golf Academy.

Explore the resort’s trails next to the golf courses or take a complimentary boat ride to Rawhide, a “Wild West” style park with authentic Native American memorabilia.

Sign up for a treatment at the resort’s Aji Spa. Even better, arrange for a spa treatment ahead of time so you can get the service you want at the time you want. Aji is very popular.

Take a boat ride up a recreated Gila River segment to the Rawhide Wild West outpost

Take a boat ride up a recreated Gila River segment to the Rawhide Wild West outpost

Dine informally on the fine fusion of Southwestern and American bistro cuisine in Ko’Sin (Pima for “kitchen”) Restaurant.

However, for an extraordinary dining experience include a dinner in the resort’s Kai (“seed’) Restaurant. The area’s only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star restaurant, Kai is Executive Chef Michael O’Dowd’s tribute to Native cuisine and local ingredients. The presentations are so good you will want to photograph and tweet them.

Chocolate Three Ways as a Mole Mousse Tower, Chocolate Espresso Buttermilk Cake and Ibarra Chocolate Shake make a perfect ending to a perfect meal at Kai

Chocolate Three Ways as a Mole Mousse Tower, Chocolate Espresso Buttermilk Cake and Ibarra Chocolate Shake make a perfect ending to a perfect meal at Kai

Just check the sunset over the South Mountains before dinner. You will want to capture and tweet that, too. When you leave, you will want to say “Move Sape” (Pima for Thank You).

BTW there really are wild horses in the area.

Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, 5594 W. Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler, Ariz., 85226, 602-225-0100 and 800-325-3535

Share

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.