Calgary Herald Online, February 2014

In Love with the Dove Mountain

When Sherry Hewitt took her husband Hal on a day trip while they were visiting Arizona, she was sure to keep her lips sealed about where they were headed.

Sherry had heard about a new development called The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz., and wanted to take a closer look. The only thing was, she knew it would take some convincing to get Hal to join her.

“Go look at properties? No, I don’t think so,” Hal says, laughing. So Sherry kept that little detail to herself and Hal was happy she did. “I hijacked him,” recalls Sherry.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Dove Mountain includes 300 home sites just down the road from a Ritz-Carlton hotel. Homeowners get full access to the hotel’s amenities, including the spa, room service, landscaping, housekeeping and concierge.

The Hewitts are a Calgary couple in their 60s and the first buyers at the development. Hal’s in the oil industry and Sherry once owned an advertising agency, but is now retired. “As we were going up the hill, we were both getting more enamoured,” says Sherry about their first drive to the project, nestled in the high Sonoran Desert.

This area is famous for its natural beauty and lush vegetation. Their drive was just as the sun was setting and everything was in full bloom, adds Sherry.

“It’s about a 10-minute drive up the hill and it’s one of these things where it’s our happy place,” says Hal.

“I don’t want to get mushy about this, but it does feel like you’re in a different world.” At the site, the Hewitts got their first look at the home options in a 5,000-square-foot show home.

But home plans are offered in a wide range of sizes, including everything from 1,700 to 6,000 square feet.

They’re priced from $800,000 to $3 million, but most are in the $1-million to $2-million range.

“Our project is in an authentic southwest design,” says David Mehl, president of Cottonwood Properties, developer of the project.

“(They have) major windows that open to create an indooroutdoor living environment.” He says this includes spacious patios and yards. “You have the most amazing views of the entire valley to the northwest and south,” Sherry says.

“You have to pull up a chair and spend an hour watching the sunset because they are just unbelievable.”

Inside the show home, Sherry and Hal were quickly sold.

“I was ready to move in,” says Sherry. That’s when they learned they would have access to all the services at the hotel itself.

When the Hewitts moved in, they threw a housewarming party. But they had the hotel cater it, so the couple didn’t have to lift a finger.

“We had just been shopping and we were driving up the hill and I looked at Sherry and said, ‘this is the coolest thing because we’re hosting a party but it feels like we’re going to a party,'” says Hal.

“We just showed up like we were guests.”

When the Hewitts are visiting their second home, they don’t just sit around.

They enjoy staying active and have made use of the area’s world-class hiking trails.

Hal says their home is about two blocks from the head of a trail that stretches for more than 30 kilometres.

There’s also a scenic, 27-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course where the Tortolita Mountains take centre stage.

“We have biking and walking in addition to the hiking, which is really terrific,” says Mehl. “Nearly anything someone would want to do outdoors, we really have it and have it in an excellent fashion.”

jskapin@calgaryherald Twitt


PROJECT: The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain.

DEVELOPER: Cottonwood Properties and Greenbrier Southwest Corporation

PRICES: Homes start at $800,000 US.

Area: Northwest of Tucson, Ariz.

BUYERS: Sherry and Hal Hewitt are in their early 60s. Sherry is retired and once owned an advertising agency and Hal is in the oil industry. The couple has visited Arizona for many years and bought a home at The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. They give top marks to the area’s natural beauty and like that they can use the services and amenities at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, such as room service. They’re avid hikers and spend days exploring the scenic nearby trails in the Arizona sunshine.

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