My favorite is the Desert Ridge, nice new hotel with great landscaping. Camelback and Buttes are both nice. The difference is that the Buttes is closer to the Airport and Downtown, whereas the Camelback is in a more secluded location right next to the Camelback mountains. In addition, the Buttes and Desert Ridge are multi-floor hotels, whereas the Camelback have two story multi-building casitas.
Another AZ Spa and Resort to consider is the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa. Was on business throughout Tucson and this IS the place to stay-bar none.
Lazy river, suites, outside courts, golf course, you name it, it is there. BTW, I was there early to mid Dec. I hope to be back shortly.
In my humble opinion, I did not care for the Camelback Inn. My friend and I stayed there the weekend after Christmas two weeks ago and we both agreed the renovations to the lobby, restaurant, and bar were very well done, but the rooms are more on the level of Best Western - very sad for a JW and certainly not worth the price paid. In fact we were so unimpressed we cancelled our spa appointments and went to The Boulders in Cave Creek.
We believe the JW Marriott at Desert Ridge is far superior and much more worth the money.
I live in Phoenix. I "stay-cation" in Phoenix. I "spa-cation" in Phoenix and Tucson!
All 4 JW Marriott's in Arizona are lovely -- it ALL DEPENDS on what you want to do (or not do) while at the hotel/resort/spa.
The Camelback Inn (CI) is the Grand Dame of all Marriott's -- being Bill Marriott's favorite property where he spends his birthday and Easter with his family. Yes, the rooms are a bit "kitchy" but you will not find beds like that at the Best Western! This is a resort for adults who enjoy the finer things in life -- great food, music, golf, and a wonderful spa. CI has a "spiritual" vibe about it -- seeming to fit more into its surroundings while still having gorgeous desert landscaping. It's quiet and feels somewhat secluded -- yet, you can be anywhere in Phoenix or Scottsdale or even, Tempe, in a matter of minutes with all kinds of restaurants, hiking, zoo, botanical garden, night life, baseball, basketball, etc, etc...OR you can "check out" of the real world and never leave the resort...Ahhh, that would be my choice!
Desert Ridge (DR) -- opened in 2002 and is a bit more family oriented than CI. The pools are definitely there for the kids, although many adults enjoy too! Personally, I prefer to use the pool at the spa -- for the sereness. DR is huge, sprawling, beautiful, lively -- yet the rooms are very quiet. The spa is fantastic -- worth every penny. The food and the golf are great. There's a shopping district you can walk to, or not.
I LOVE both Camelback Inn and Desert Ridge -- for very different reasons.
We are going to Starr Pass in Tucson, this weekend! And I have not stayed at The Buttes in years (before it was a Marriott property) -- and did not leave with a good memory of the place... (horrible room -- felt like a basement and smelled like mildew) Personally, I consider it more of just a hotel than a resort -- and may give a try again -- one of these days!
Let us know where you ended up going and how you liked it!