TUCSON, AZ--(Marketwire - Jul 31, 2012) - The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain has created a new group activities offering which moves beyond the traditional to present a roster of colorful, uniquely authentic new Southwestern event options. The luxury resort's recently-launched initiative is turning meeting and teambuilding participants into cattle wranglers, geo-cachers, four-wheel navigators, guacamole blenders and cowboy explorers. In many cases, the enhanced group activities experience also carries a charity component, including a popular option which lets groups compete to build desert mountain bikes and then donate them to the young residents of a nearby children's home.
The Arizona high-desert location of The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain lends itself to the creative new group activities format. The 850-acre property is home to a lush and visually stunning Saguaro cactus forest, dotted by miles of marked hiking and biking trails. Group cultural opportunities are unparalleled, as Hohokam petroglyphs and remnants of a vibrant early Native American culture are located directly on the grounds of the resort as well as in nearby historic settings. The fun of the region's still-booming cowboy lifestyle invites ranch-adventure participation by meeting attendees, while indoors, the resort's kitchens and bars beckon with Southwest food and beverage competitions and classes. The Ritz-Carlton Spa and The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain have also introduced a series of compelling new group options, all highlighted by a spectacularly scenic sense of place. Choices include the lively and popular night-time Glow Golf, as well as a serenely peaceful outdoor Yoga Breakfast.
Situated between Phoenix/Scottsdale and Tucson, with ready access from the international airports serving both of those cities, the 253-room luxury Arizona resort is offering the following as highlights of its new Southwestern group activities and teambuilding menu:
Event members experience a journey into the magnificent Tortolita Mountains and explore areas which the Hohokam Indians inhabited thousands of years ago. Experienced guides lead guests along National Geographic-mapped desert trails and provide outdoor refreshments as well as colorful commentary throughout. Options exist for attendees to voyage on foot or via four-wheel drive.
Margarita Mixing Class
The adopted cocktail of Arizona is the Margarita, and this activity incorporates Margaritas using the freshest flavors of the Sonoran Desert. Guests learn the difference between styles of tequila, which are harvested from the blue agave, and the importance and ease of using fresh juices to make the perfect Margarita. Guests will learn to make the classic Margarita, along with fruity variations of the traditional Margarita on the rocks.
Geo-Caching is a high-tech treasure-hunting game played throughout the world by electronically-assisted adventure-seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is for teams to search outdoors and locate hidden containers, called caches, sharing their experiences afterward either online or in a group gathering. Geo-caching offers a strong sense of shared community and support for the environment, and the coveted "finds" in this desert treasure hunt are located in such locations as cactus bases, arroyos and desert mesquite tree trunks.
Glow Golf pairs attendees with resort golf pros in a fun evening of glow putting and chipping challenges for novice and experienced golfers alike. Playing on an expansive putting green illuminated by the glow of custom-created putting holes complete with natural hazards, guests use glow golf balls to navigate the lighted holes, and even chip from a driving range towards a flag outlined in glow attire.
Group Ranch Adventures
Groups can experience the authentic cowboy spirit of the Old West offered by The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain in conjunction with The White Stallion Ranch, a century-old working cattle ranch. Guests enjoy daily or sunset horseback, trail and hayrides, and they can also take part in live cattle penning or the Saturday Rodeo -- a 60-year tradition narrated with an eye to the history and tradition of ranching and rodeo in the Southwest. Back at the ranch or underneath the stars, participants then dust off their boots, enjoy hearty cowboy grub, and witness the ever-changing hues of a brilliant mountain sunset.
Surrounded by majestic mountains, magnificent and rare Saguaro cactus and fresh desert air, guests begin the day with a centering yoga class, led by one of the resort's certified yoga instructors. In the class, the focus is on stretching, mental relaxation and overall wellness, and a special enhancement is a follow-up, spa-inspired healthy continental breakfast served in a private location exclusively for group guests.
Chili, Salsa and Guacamole Challenges
Adorned in aprons, group teams battle it out in a race against the clock to design, create, and present two different creations chosen from Chili, Salsa or Guacamole dishes. This event pairs well with a dinner reception to follow or as a fun afternoon activity. Guests also enjoy the addition of a Margarita Bar to this friendly competition.
Participants will enjoy a visual journey thousands of miles into clear night skies, as knowledgeable astronomers lead a group stargazing session using high-powered telescopes. Considered the astronomy capital of the world, Tucson offers up expansive skies in which to view constellations, planets, stars and the moon. A delicious addition to this activity is a "Stargazing Dessert" station, filled with sky-inspired treats such as Black Hole Brownies, Lemon Moon Pies, Milky Way Cupcakes, Super Nova Chocolate Chip Cookies, Solar Flare Citrus Berry Parfaits and Cosmic Rice Krispies.
Aventura Pool Party
Since its introduction in 2011, the Aventura Pool Party offering has become a favorite among event planners, in part because of it visually stunning setting. This group pool party can take place as a daytime "recess" or as a casually sophisticated dinner gathering and includes access to private cabanas, surrounding grassy areas, a 235-foot water slide and splash pad, grass volleyball, flat screen televisions, fire pit cocktails and culinary options ranging from an afternoon ice cream station to evening taco bars and barbecues. Especially ideal for corporate branding, the mountainside overlooking the pool can be lit-up at night with a company's logo emblazoned across its dramatic incline.
Wine Blending Class
Many of the best wines in the world are blends of individual varietals, and participants learn how to distinguish the characteristics of red varietals and how they can be blended to create a better, more complex wine. By the end of the class, guests will be able to create their own signature wine blends to impress friends and family, enjoying their creations by the fire pit while listening to the haunting evening refrain of a Native American flautist.
Dining under the Stars/Splash Dining
A unique desert experience, Dining under the Stars, or "Splash Dining," presents a group dinner in the middle of an infinity-edge pool surrounded by the changing ambient colors of fiber-optic lighting. The uniquely refreshing evening sees the legs of tables, chairs, diners, chefs and servers immersed in the cool, shallow waters of the resort's Aventura pool -- a first for nearly everyone. The experience can be enhanced by special touches such as a solo guitarist, private telescope and dedicated astronomer, or a S'mores station set-up poolside.
Farm-to-Table Cooking Class
Resort chefs provide guests with the tips, tools and training to prepare a regionally-inspired group meal, with custom logos able to be placed on participants' aprons. A unique addition is a visit to the local organic farm where many of the resort's vegetables and herbs are grown. Guests have the opportunity to take a tour of the farm and speak directly to the farmer, learning first-hand what it takes to get a fresh ingredient from seed to table.
With more than 44,000 square-feet of indoor and outdoor function space, The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain caters to group meetings and special events with a variety of spaces to choose from, including three ballrooms of 9,000, 5,000, and 2,100 square feet and five individual meeting rooms. Numerous outdoor meeting spaces feature lush lawns and/or dramatic desert surroundings, complemented by an award-winning destination spa and fitness center able to accommodate myriad indoor and outdoor group activities. Added event locations include multiple swimming pools -- one with a central tanning island, championship golf, a spectacular golf clubhouse with numerous event settings, multiple indoor and outdoor restaurants which can combine to host a group Progressive Dining Experience, and exclusive group access to the nearby White Stallion Ranch. Additional gathering options are available via the golf club's CORPRAGolf Academy, home to a variety of group golf clinics and corporate outings.
Group inquiries may be directed to the luxury resort at (520) 572-3000 or http://ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/DoveMountain/Default.htm.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. of Chevy Chase, Md., currently operates 79 hotels in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean. More than 30 hotel and residential projects are under development around the globe. The Ritz-Carlton is the only service company to have twice earned the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award which recognizes outstanding customer service. For more information or reservations, contact a travel professional, call toll-free in the U.S. 1-800-241-3333, or visit the company website at www.ritzcarlton.com. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR)