To describe this place using words would never do it justice. It’s a place that needs to be experienced. Amazing, beautiful, captivating, charming, and enchanting, just can’t capture the spirit of this historic picturesque hacienda nestled in the Santa Cruz valley framed by the stunning Santa Rita mountains.
No wonder John Wayne and friends hid out here time and again. From the moment you drive through the entrance gate and mosey along the dirt road, passing a few grazing cows and horses, continuing up and down a hill passing the adorable Jeep garden to the house, you know you are about to have an unforgettable experience. Nisa and Jeff are like meeting your long lost family you couldn’t possibly have lived without. They have that special gift of creating an inviting place where every guest feels like they are not visiting, but coming home to their very own hacienda, even if just for a few nights.
Their love and knowledge of the history of the hacienda, and surrounding area, is evident with their stories of the people that called it home. The one of a kind artwork, murals that cover the courtyard walls done by the famous Mexican artist and bullfighter, Salvador Corona, transport you to another time. The views from the back patio at sunset are breathtaking, especially when you’re sipping the delicious wine Nisa and Jeff pour you every night at happy hour. After sunset the stars take over the night sky winking and glimmering at you in a dazzling show of light. And if that’s not enough, there is breakfast the next morning. Breakfast alone is worth the trip.
The rooms, beautifully furnished with different themes, are cozy and comfortable. We stayed in the John Wayne room where echos of his time here are preserved in photos, books, and western decor. A side patio looks out over the blue water pool inlaid in mosaic tile surrounded by a garden like setting. What a treat to enjoy our morning coffee in the enclosed courtyard where the historic murals, trees, vines, and flowers capture the morning sun while listening to the myriad of chirps and musical trills of the many species of birds who call this home. There are other quiet and lovely patio areas where you can be alone if desired, or shared with a few family members or friends.
We could have just stayed at the hacienda the whole time and have been happy, but there is so much to see and do around the scenic Santa Cruz valley you will not be bored. Venture out and take in the historical Tumacacori Mission. There is shopping in the nearby artsy town of Tubac, and more shopping in colorful Nogales Mexico. You can plan a day trip through beautiful Patagonia to the spectacular Kartchner Caverns, and follow it with a tour of the Sonoita Elgin wine region. And that’s just scratching the surface.
With the ambiance, scenery and delicious breakfast, the only thing that puts a damper on the whole experience is the foreboding knowledge that soon you’ll have to head back to the outside world. My friends and I have been to many beautiful places around the world, but there is something inherently special about this place. Maybe it’s the long history of the hacienda that dates back well into the 1800’s, maybe it’s the unspoiled scenic beauty of the mountains and surrounding valley, or the owners Nisa and Jeff who pour their heart and soul into this place. Who can say? What we know for sure is, we will be back time and again, just like John Wayne.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC