Biztucsonspring2016 hacienda

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Artful Blend of Historic Charm, Modern Amenities

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Hacienda Del Sol Unveils New Ballroom, Guest Rooms


Artful Blend of Historic Charm, Modern Amenities By Mary Minor Davis he last of the stone has been placed around the new ballroom, artwork T is installed and the Catalina rooms are

all furnished and hosting guests. The multi-million dollar expansion of the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort is complete. After years of planning and discussion, followed by nearly two years of design and construction, the historic boutique resort is putting the finishing touches on the first major development for the property in half a century. The recent expansion includes 32 additional guest rooms and suites, a new entryway, a retractable roof over the popular Terraza Garden & Patio Lounge for year-round dining, a new ballroom that can accommodate up to 300 people, a negative-edge pool with

outdoor bar, a commissary, administration building and landscaped walkways – plus more than $1 million in sculptures and artwork throughout the property. “This is an idea that has been years in the making,” said Michael McGrath, one of six partners who own the property. “The one thing we kept telling ourselves and all of the architects who brought us ideas was this – ‘the Hacienda is a very special place. Don’t foul it up. If you’re going to come in here and build on this, don’t ruin the ambiance of the Hacienda.’ ” Planning the expansion of the boutique hotel was not without its challenges, said Tom Firth, managing partner of the property. The partners met weekly for several years to be sure they would “get it right.” continued on page 74 >>>2016 > > > BizTucson 73 Spring

BizRESORT Hacienda Del Sol Expansion at a Glance By the Numbers Guest rooms – 32 new rooms and suites, 27 historic rooms Casa Luna Ballroom – 2,900 square feet, with 1,200 square feet of pre-function space and 1,100 square-foot patio. Pools and spas – Two of each Masonry – 4,000 tons of Coronado Brownstone recycled from a Willcox gold mine

Casa Luna Ballroom

Accommodates from 230 to 300 guests. Spectacular city views. Expansive patio. Hacienda Del Sol design elements throughout, including polished concrete in pre-function area, Talavera tile in restrooms, warm colors, designer sconces, chandeliers, room accents, mirrors. Fifteen foot ceilings, state-of-the-art technology, dual 11-foot screens, dedicated kitchen, dance floor, cloakroom.

Terraza Garden Patio & Lounge

Seats 150. All-weather patio features with retractable roof and sidewalls. Alfresco atmosphere with fire pit, stargazing, mountain views.

Sandy’s Vista

Accommodates 30 for cocktails, wine tasting or wedding ceremony. Intimate space with unsurpassed mountain views and sunsets. Adjacent to The Grill for dinner after cocktails.

Catalina Pool

Accommodates 100. Negative-edge pool with native stone surrounds. Outstanding sunset and Catalina mountain views. Prime location for small wedding ceremonies, photo opportunities. Outdoor bar and fire pit.

The Spa at Hacienda Del Sol

There are three spa studio rooms for massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. Open to the public. The new Catalina suites are designed to accommodate inroom spa treatments including massages and body treatments. Floor plans are larger, and six rooms on the lower level have mountain views and outdoor showers – perfect for a refreshing body wash after a spa treatment. 74 BizTucson


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From the day we bought the property we were committed to maintaining its historical integrity, while still trying to provide a first-class guest experience.

– Rick Fink, Partner Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort continued from page 73

“There were so many things that needed to be upgraded,” he said. “But how do you update an infrastructure that dates back to the 1920s and 1930s?” First a school for girls, then a Hollywood hideaway

The Hacienda, located on 34 acres in the Catalina foothills of northeast Tucson, was built in 1929 by Helen and John Murphey, who did much of the construction – everything from hand-crafting the fixtures to the unique carving on the beams done by Helen herself. Shortly after completion, it was operated as the Hacienda Del Sol School from 1930 to 1948. A college preparatory school for girls, famous families that attended included Pillsbury, Vanderbilt, Maxwell, Westinghouse and Spalding. In the late 1930s, well-known architect Josias Joesler was commissioned to rebuild several areas that were damaged by a fire. True to the historic style of the time, Joesler’s early work became the template and inspiration for all improvements that would take place at the Hacienda in future decades. In 1948, Hacienda Del Sol opened as a continued on page 76 >>>


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continued from page 74 guest ranch, attracting Hollywood types including Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn and John Wayne. The property fell from the limelight for a number of years, changing hands with various owners until it was purchased in 1995 by partners McGrath, Firth, Rick Fink, Mike Stilb, Jeff Timan and Paul Ginsburg.


Passionate local owners since 1995

“From the day we bought the property we were committed to maintaining its historical integrity, while still trying to provide a first-class guest experience,” Fink said. A primary goal for the expansion was to capitalize on the visual assets of the property. Timan said the site has spectacular city and mountain views, yet “as a school it was never really constructed 1930

Hacienda ranch built on 160 acres by Helen and John Murphey

Hacienda Del Sol School opens. A college preparatory school for about 30 girls, students included such names as Pillsbury, Vanderbilt, Maxwell and Westinghouse.

to take advantage of those views.” McGrath said the team spent a lot of time on tracking traffic flow, laying out how the new buildings would relate to one another, and establishing the view corridors. “We saw the opportunities to really showcase the best parts of the Hacienda, making it more accessible. We’d like to think it’s something Joesler would have done, had he had free reign,” Timan said.




Fire damaged part of the property. Renowned architect Josias Joesler was commissioned to rebuild. His protégé, Lewis Hall, would continue improvements to the property, keeping to Joesler’s original style.

Hacienda Del Sol opens its doors as a guest ranch, visited by celebrities including Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, John Wayne and Howard Hughes. The Casita Grande was a favorite hideaway for Tracy and Hepburn.

Timeline 76 BizTucson


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Hacienda Del Sol leadership from left – Jeff Timan, Robyn Kessler, Mike Stilb, Michael McGrath, Tom Firth and Rick Fink

The centerpiece of the expansion is the new 2,900-square-foot Casa Luna Ballroom. “It’s the crown jewel of the property,” Timan said. “There are extraordinary views of both the mountains and the city.” This showpiece will help Hacienda Del Sol attract larger business events, corporate retreats and weddings than it could previously. The 32 spacious new guest rooms and suites are clustered in six two-story build-

ings. The patios are generous and every room has a view. Custom furnishings were designed by Judy and Rene Tinsley and handcrafted by Antigua de Mexico from alderwood shipped from Oregon. Firth said the Tinsleys created the cohesive designs for both the new Catalina rooms and the remodeled historic rooms. Six rooms have outdoor showers. Josh Martin completed the extensive stone masonry work that connects the old and new sections of the property,


installing tons of Coronado Brownstone recycled from a gold mine in Willcox. Fine dining, robust wine list, music nightly

The partners also continue to create a first-class intimate guest experience. From the brand new or newly renovated guest rooms to the friendly well-trained staff, they focus on being the best place to stay in Tucson. continued on page 78 >>>





Tucson investors Rick Fink, Tom Firth, Mike McGrath, Paul Ginsberg, Mike Stilb and Jeff Timan purchase Hacienda Del Sol and commit to restore its historic glory.

The Grill is constructed and soon attracts the attention of Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines, as well as awards for its extensive wine list.

The first major renovation and restoration of the 30 guest rooms is completed.

Hacienda Del Sol completes a multi-million renovation, including the first new buildings in 50 years. This includes 30 new 500-square-foot guest rooms and a ballroom that accommodates up to 300 guests and offers state-ofthe-art technology along with spectacular views.


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continued from page 77

Hacienda Del Sol Guest Satisfaction Vern Taaffe, president and CEO of RPC, a dialysis firm, has booked his annual employee and customer appreciation event at the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort for

more than 12 years. In 2015, his group was one of the first to experience the new guest rooms built during the property’s expansion.

Our guests stayed in the new Catalina rooms and suites, and they were extremely pleased. They loved that the rooms retained the rustic Southwestern theme present in the historic resort. They were also thrilled with the spectacular views from the rooms, the room amenities, and the large room size.

– Vern Taaffe, President & CEO, RPC

We love Hacienda Del Sol. It’s an amazing property nestled in the foothills that has amazing food and atmosphere. With the addition of their new ballroom we have plenty of room to grow our event.

– Curtis Gunn, Chairman Desert Angels 78 BizTucson


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“People interact with the staff in a very personal way. It just changes the whole complexion of your time here. And the people who come here bring an experience to the staff as well,” Fink said. “A lot of flagship hotels have a certain room type,” said Stilb. “That’s not the way it is here. We’ve always wanted to have a sense of place, something that really showed the essence of what Tucson is about. I think we succeed in that.” The buildings are nestled on about six of the 34 acres, leaving vast vistas of gardens and mature desert vegetation. Fink said another prime asset of the property that continues to attract guests is The Grill, which year after year has received the AAA Four-Diamond rating and Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. “The Grill is one of the most sophisticated dining establishments in Tucson,” McGrath said. “The Terraza Garden & Patio Lounge offers an alternative to the more formal dining experience. A lot of locals like to come and enjoy our happy hours and other theme dining experiences.” The resort offers a variety of live music every night of the week. “We bring the community together through food, wine and music,” Firth said. Timan said he’s always bothered by the perception that the Hacienda is only for the high-end traveler. “We have a balance of affordable rooms and dining options – we want a widespread clientele.” In addition to the physical changes, the Hacienda is investing in its programs and services – including expanding its equestrian programs, which Firth said are great for team-building and the overall guest experience. The sunset and sunrise rides are especially popular. The resort also offers abundant art, a chef ’s table, an array of spa treatments, hiking trails and a gallery of historic Hacienda Del Sol photos. Local companies benefit

“We had the best team of contractors,” Firth said. “The moon, sun and stars were all aligned in our favor.” Most of the work was done by local companies, keeping the millions of dollars invested in the expansion here in Tucson. McGrath said none of it was possible without the support of the Bank of Tucson. “They really reached out and worked with us and allowed us to do it right,” he said. “They wanted to make a statement in the community by helping an iconic property in Tucson.”


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Respect for Dining

Attention to Detail Creates Exceptional Experience


By Mary Minor Davis “Respect” is the word that reflects the rants spanning from San Francisco to New York, Washington D.C. and Venwork that goes into creating an exceptional dining experience at Hacienda ice, Italy. Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort – whether “We have respect for the ingredients it is in The Grill or the Terraza Garden we use, the care we put into each dish, Patio & Lounge. the respect in how we treat those ingreThe Grill is a regular award-winner, dients, our appearance, our tools. We including the AAA respect everything Four Diamond about cooking, right Restaurant distincdown to how we dice tion. With more an onion,” he said. than 900 labels and “This passion tran6,000 bottles of scends to our guest wine, the Hacienda experience.” has earned “The Hacienda Del Sol’s Award of Ultimate culinary excellence Distinction” from also comes from the Wine Enthusiast unique dishes that Magazine and Yim creates, using “Best of Award of ingredients from the Excellence” from property’s extensive Wine Spectator organic vegetable for 18 consecutive and herb gardens, years. as well as selections Executive Chef from local purveyors Bruce Yim said and growers. The what makes dining same kitchen and at the Hacienda chefs prepare the so special is the recuisine for both resspect that he and taurants as well as the staff put in to weddings, corporate every aspect of creretreats and other ating the ultimate special events at the – Bruce Yim culinary experience resort. Executive Chef for guests. He’s One of the biggest Hacienda Del Sol honed his skills at changes in The Grill Guest Ranch Resort acclaimed restauthat Yim implement-

We respect everything about cooking, right down to how we dice an onion.

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ed when he took over as chef nearly four years ago was to develop an a la carte menu. Previously, The Grill offered a five-course dining experience. “We were known more as a special occasion restaurant, and we wanted to get away from that reputation and offer more choices,” he said. “You can still have that special, fine-dining experience – but not everyone can eat that much food or wants to spend three hours at dinner.” Pairing great food with great wine is a specialty of the Hacienda’s culinary and beverage team. John Kulikowski, Hacienda Del Sol’s director of wine and spirits, ensures the restaurant has a diverse wine and


Chef Alejandro Carranza in the organic garden

Signature Culinary Events at Hacienda Del Sol March

Zin, Blues and BBQ

July 4 cialty cocktail selection. He also works with Yim to develop special dining events, including the popular Travel the World wine dinners. “The culinary and sommelier teams determine exactly what we want to showcase in each course of an event,” Kulikowski said. “This can start with either the wine or the food. Then we discuss the key flavor profiles that we wish to pursue. “When pairing wines to food, we discuss what ingredients are in each dish, and what the theme of the dish is overall. Wine pairings are flexible because there are many directions you can go.”

Kulikowski said the Hacienda’s wine list is designed to “exceed the expectations of all of our guests. We aim to have the perfect wine for every occasion and every price point. We hope to offer guests both the comfort of having their favorite wines available, as well as the ability to experience truly unique and expressive wines if they wish to get out of their comfort zone.” “There’s really nothing like the Hacienda in Tucson,” Yim said. “It’s like walking in to another world. It’s an oasis with great food and great wine. What more can you ask for?”

Red, White and Brew


Argentina Heart & Soul


Travel the World Wine Dinners


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Hacienda Del Sol Showcases Regional Artists By Mary Minor Davis The expansion of Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort included the installation of more than $1 million in original art – including metal sculptures, paintings and glasswork. The vision behind this part of the project comes from Jeff Timan, an artist in his own right and one of the six partners of this historic boutique resort in the Catalina foothills. Timan also oversees the resort’s landscape planning and organic chef ’s garden. “The Hacienda Del Sol is proud to be the home of many pieces of fine sculpture by several different artists,” he said. “We are always looking to expand our artistic reach, both in painting and sculpture, especially through local and regional artists.” The Hacienda currently exhibits the creations of seven sculptors, most having multiple pieces on display. Timan offered the following guide to the newly installed artwork at the Hacienda Del Sol. 1. “Shaman’s Totem” by Rigsby Federick 2. “Sunflower” by Jeff Timan 3. “Ocotillo” by Jeff Timan


4. “Bull” by Carlos Carulo 5. “Mia” by Art Neptune 6. “3 Forms” by Carlos Carulo 7. “City of Holes” by Art Neptune 8. “Tornado in My Home” by Steven Derks 84 BizTucson


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• There are five pieces by the internationally known Baton Rouge stylist and artist Rigsby Frederick. One – “Shaman’s Totem” – is prominent on the north walkway of the resort. The 15-foot high sculpture is distinguished by the shaman’s horns at the top. ( • There are two pieces by Santa Fe artist Carlos Carulo, including “Bull,” a large steel sculpture that dominates the outdoor Terraza dining area from the east. Carulo has a piece called “3 Forms” in the Murphey Dining Room. “Though a fine sculptor, Carlos is better known as a painter, and he currently has four paintings on display in The Grill,” Timan said. ( • Steven Derks, “a prolific and much appreciated Tucson sculptor and painter,” has seven pieces at the Hacienda, including one in the library. Others are spread throughout the gardens, including his “A Promise of Things to Come,” a steel sculpture on the north walkway. (www.stevenderks. com) • Spencer K. Edgerton created a bronze masterpiece called “Large Devil’s Claw” that graces the front entrance. It is an oversized reproduction of an anatomically correct devil’s claw, an Arizona botanical marvel. ( • Zak Timan, “a very unique glass artist,” according to his father Jeff, has two pieces in The Grill, including “Bugsby’s Bouquet” and “Study for Wonder.” ( • Jeff Timan himself has five garden sculptures at the hotel. They include the Sentinels, a grouping of three abstract pieces located just south of the new swimming pool. Timan also has two botanical pieces at the hotel – “Sunflower” and “Ocotillo” – located near the swimming pool. • Local artist Art Neptune loaned eight sculptures to the resort including “City of Holes,” a grouping of six steel tubes from 3-12 feet tall, placed in the east courtyard.


The public is welcome to tour the resort’s art displays.




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This small rabbit sculpture made its way from Guanajuato, Mexico via the Velasquez brothers. The family heirloom was passed on to the brothers from their grandfather and then permanently placed at the new Catalina pool. The brothers played an intergral role in the crafting of the rock walls and landscaping throughout the property.

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BizRESORT Local Companies Hired for Multi-Million Dollar Expansion The multi-million dollar expansion of Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort was overseen by local managing partners who are passionate about the historic resort and committed to the local community. As a result, “most of the money for this expansion stayed here in Tucson,” said Tom Firth, managing partner. The local talent included these companies:

• Achilles Air Conditioning Systems • Antigua de Mexico • Bank of Tucson • Beach-Fleischman • Border/Marvel Building and Masonry Supply • Chestnut Building & Design • Cimarron Circle Construction • Darling Geomatics • Eglin+Bresler Architects

• Gannon Utility Consulting • Golden Brush Painting • Martin Hardworks

• Mesch Clark Rothschild • Preferred Hotels & Resorts • The Clements Agency • Tucson Electric Power • W.E. O’Neil

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• M.A.S. Real Estate Management

We had the best team of contractors.

– Tom Firth Managing Partner Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort

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