Escape To Dove Mountain

IMG_8201-2I have been a fan of hotels ever since I was a little boy. I remember staying at a hotel by Disneyland in California thinking it was indeed the most magical place. You don’t have to make your bed and you get food delivered to your room. Sounded like a slam dunk to me.

The older I grew in my years, the more luxurious my taste in hotels grew. I am humble to say that I’ve had a great life when it’s come to traveling. From the Four Seasons to the Peninsula, I have laid my head on some of the coziest and finest hotel bed pillows.

One place five star hotel I still had to check off my bucket list was The Ritz Carlton. “The Ritz” name grew to popularity with a  strong reputation  in the hotel industry as the “king of hoteliers and hotelier to kings.” Did you know the very first US Ritz opened in 1911 off 46th Street and Madison which was than followed by my hometown of Philly in 1913 (on Broad and Walnut Street).

The ritzy hotel empire has grown to over 29 countries and counting. So, I guess you can say I have many places to visit in the years to come. One hot spot and I mean – – HOT, I wanted to really experience was The Ritz Carlton at Dove Mountain. For me, it was a random choice for a weekend getaway as the property is located outside of Tucson, Arizona in a town called Marana. The Dove Mountain Community is a huge 800 acre community where the 253 room resort and spa sits. For all your golf fanatics, you would totally appreciate the  Jack Nicklaus Signature courses. It has a very casual vibe yet sophisticated  architectural the blends into the Arizona southwest.

I am one of those dudes that goes on Trip Advisor and checks out the real pictures of hotel rooms and amenities from actual guests. I’m all about an honest review and a star rating. The Ritz Carlton at Dove Mountain was rated one of the highest resorts in all of Arizona. It also raked up a ton of awards from Travel & Leisure Magazine and Conde Naste. I could not wait to get my weekend booked!

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From the Phoenix area, it is about an hour and half (maybe shorter if my fiancé was to drive you) to the grand entrance of The Ritz at Dove Mountain. The drive down you could do with your eyes closed, as it is nothing but open roads and dry desert as far as the eye can see.

FullSizeRenderBut, thankfully after a turn off Tangerine Rd, you start to see the sign you’ve been waiting for!

THE DOVE VALLEY COMMUNITY ENTRANCE.

FullSizeRender-2At first I was not sure what to expect, the long drive up was sprinkled with residential homes, some spiratic large custom beauties, but mostly desert landscape at its finest. As you followed the signs through the windy roads around around the last circle, you are presented again with the very monument you want to see…

FullSizeRender-3As you continue another short drive up the mountain, you start to see glimpses of the unique Arizona-esque architecture. Paining a color that that blends beautifully into the surrounding mountains but pops just enough to know it is the to serve and welcome you.

maxresdefaultAt first, the tall building reminded me of a Disney-inspired resort tucked into the most breathtaking mountain landscape But, as we pulled up to the valet that Ritz Carlton customer experience charm kicked right in. If you have not heard, The Ritz is known for their top-notch, “we are here to please” service.

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That is exactly what we got when you walked through the grand lobby that really captures you at first sight. The tall glass windows framing out the most stunning desert views with a glimpse of a sparkling oasis in the distance.

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FullSizeRender-5Did I happen to mentioned they have an amaze-ball coffee bar?

offee

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FullSizeRenderSo, after a quick caffeine fix we went to check out one of the most important parts!

OUR ROOM!!

The Ritz at Dove Mountain has a variety of rooms, suites and bungalows to choose from so we opted for the Mountain View Room.

I am all about a mountain looking right into my window – and, that is JUST what we got!

Can I get an “AMMMMEEENNNN” for privacy.

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IMG_8043IMG_8044IMG_8047IMG_8046Now, the room at first sight is not going to blow your socks away if you are use to blingy-New York-modern styled boutique resorts. However, the bed was not too soft, not too firm and the patio out side definitely had a “WOW” factor in regards to its picturesque view. My favorite part was seeing this furry fella at our door stop. I guess he wanted to say hello and welcome us to his part of the world. Mr Bunny sat out there for a good 30 minutes, just chillin like a villain.

IMG_8059Wild life at The Ritz Dove Mountain is nothing unusual. It is something guests should actually get use to when they visit the property!

I mean let’s face it. We are in the middle of the desert! Surrounded by absolutely nothing. You better get use to seeing some desert critters while on a hike or out for a bike ride.

tumblr_n3iw54pGNq1s8n76bo1_500I even got to conque my biggest fear – – holding a snake!!

The look on my face says it all.

13402294_144828522592256_590630049_nEEEEeeekkkkk!!!

It was not that bad though and the very kind ranger was an all star when it came to making us feel comfortable. And by us, I’m talking about me and the group of six year old girls gathered around me.

But, don’t get alarmed – this snake was harmless. The Ritz really does know how to do it right when it comes to adding that extra something “special” to guest experience. They even have a resident tortious name “Rocky!”

CTtdIYNUcAAHn4y How can you not love this guy?!

After some creepy crawly petting zoo style fun, Nick and I made our way to one of the main pools (yep, there are a few on the property – including a water slide!!)

water_slideMake sure you order the lemonade lavender vodka cocktail. So refreshing.

FullSizeRender-3 IMG_8203 IMG_8098 FullSizeRender-5As the night started to cool down, we made our way back to our room for some grub. I give the room service team an A+ because they could not have been any nicer and they give you the exact minutes over the phone when your food would be delivered.

Take a peak at the spaghetti bolognese we ordered (hey, we are two Italian dudes – we cold not help ourselves!).

For the record it was perfect. One of the best things to order on their menu.

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And, look at this sweet hand written card! Now, that is what I’m talkin about.

The Ritz nails it when it comes to making their guest feels extra special.

FullSizeRender-7After a long nap and some in-room relaxation ((and fun!!))….

egoG404We were ready for a late night dinner round 2.

Don’t judge us – we are on vacation.

giphyWe clearly have no shame in our game.

Nope.

None.

This round we went for the tortilla soup, cheese quesadillas…oh, and did I mention the hod fudge sundaes?

in room FullSizeRender-11 FullSizeRender-13 FullSizeRender-9The tortilla soup was incredibly unique and worth every bite, same goes for the sundae. I am not sure what was in that cold concoction but it was a chocolatey smooth delight with an extra kick at the end.

After our last bite, we ended up in a heat and food coma.

rawThe next day, we woke up to the sunshine beaming against the rocky mountains and the eagerness in our belly’s to go on a bike ride!

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That even met passing up this bad ass looking breakfast buffet. How could I say no to pancakes!!!

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So, we decided to work off the bricks of food we devoured in our stomachs the night before and go for a much needed cruise around the area. The Ritz provides free bikes and helmets for the whole family! You can stick to an easy ride down a street or get your mountain man bike ride-on through the hilly trails.

We voted for the sleek (pre-school) ride down the street.

Side note: It was 110 degrees outside.

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nike IMG_8196 FullSizeRender-18It sure was pretty and the exercise was definitely needed but nothing sounded more enticing than shaking it up at The Ritz’s world renowned spa.

Ru-Paul-gif-13The spa was something I had been looking forward to all day.

The Ritz spa itself is a completely separate building with a his and her side, a ton of treatment rooms, lovely smelling products and a private pool and hot tub area for JUST spa guests.

FullSizeRender-20 FullSizeRender-21 FullSizeRender-19 IMG_8202It was like a private oasis – worth every penny.

Can you say no kids??!

Nick chose a deep hydrating facial which he raved about!

I had a massage which was just ok.

I’ve had MUCH better.

l9S617VHowever, the overall envious, first class customer service and one of a kind landscaping made our trip so very special. We would definitely recommend The Ritz at Dove Mountain to anyone looking for a luxury, lodge-like, private, sophisticated, and PEACEFUL getaway.

Besides, we may just add this hidden gem to our potential wedding location list!

Not too shabby of a place to say “I DO!!”

FullSizeRender-7I leave you with this – you will love how the staff pays attention to detail and how remote you feel when you are at the resort. It is like a whole other world to escape from everyday life.

It is clean, well maintained and a secret summer getaway that you must take advantage of!

tumblr_nx8qkivgmT1sy2geto1_500Click on this link to book your room at The Ritz!!

http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/arizona/dove-mountain

xo

The Other Hubby

Over The Moon

This month’s full moon came the closest to Earth that it has been since 1948

Make sure to take a few moments to look outside and enjoy the magic.

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The Other Hubby

World Kindness Day

The more conscious a person is on a daily basis about making more thoughtful decisions, and how they act and engage in a kinder, more giving, more humane and more compassionate fashion, the more fulfilling life will feel for them.

– Matt Jacobi

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Onward & Upward!

God Bless America.

I love this country.

matt-jacobixo

The Other Hubby

Go Vote!

It is time to get serious.

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The Other Hubby

Happy Birthday Maria Shriver

I would like to take a moment to wish Maria Shriver a very happy birthday!

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to use my voice to ignite positivity into the world.

You are one of a kind and I am so very grateful.

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Matt Jacobi 

Seeing Ageism and Sexism Through The Prism Of Madonna

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Lover her or hate her, you have to agree that Madonna works really hard, is a savvy businesswoman and very good at making a public statement. Let’s put her talent of performing and creating a dazzling show aside for a moment and break down how the Material Girl has kept her name a buzz throughout pop culture history for the past 30 years, and why you should take a moment to think about it.

Through decades of publicity stunts, magazine covers and now online chatter, Madonna continues to create a sense of controversy, but also what I believe to be an important discussion for our society, especially for women.

With her recently released new album, Rebel Heart, Madge is still holding the throne of being the queen at making waves in the press and causing people to roll their eyes (I’ll get to that in a minute). Whether she is flashing her bum on the red carpet, posing topless or falling backwards at The Brit Awards, Madonna’s actions continue to be in the headlines. If you sit back and look at the bigger picture though, there is always a message behind what she does and says, including her oh-so famous provocative ways.

Yes, her goal is to sell music (that is a given), but she is also driven to make a statement of some kind to stir up conversation and make people think. Such statements at times, like kissing Britney Spears on stage or releasing her Sex book, may seem unnecessary to some people at first, but in the end, Madonna is doing these things to open up the minds of the current time.

Today, seeing two women kiss on television is not that big of deal and being naked or showing skin in the media is practically everywhere. I’m not giving Madonna all the credit in completely revolutionizing the freedom of self-expression, but she certainly has played a big part with just using her own music platform. I believe that is her main focus, and it is something courageous for a person to do. Madonna is always on a mission to revolutionize the way people think. She encourages rebelling against what is considered to be “wrong.” She may come off as the loudest, raunchiest and most daring at times, but if you zero in on what she is trying to communicate, then her actions should take less of the spotlight and her message should take the center stage.

What has my mind ticking is the opinionated backlash she (still) gets, especially on social media, for being “too old” to be doing what she does. Not one to keep quiet, Madonna has gone on the defense in recent interviews expressing that she is a victim of ageism and sexism. So, I have to ask, are Madonna’s current provocative ways “not appropriate” for the masses just because she is fifty-six years old? Is it ageism at its best?

I think, yes! When Britney, Beyoncé and Gaga are up on stage gyrating, nobody makes a big stink about it, so why is society so hung up on bashing Madonna? Why is there an expiration date for women and their expression of sexuality?

Madonna is also a mother, in impeccable shape, employs many people and has achieved success on many different levels. You would think her drive, talent and healthy physique would be an inspiration. Sure, she can upset people and goes to the extreme in many cases to make a point, but her motive is to get people to create conversation. That is a success all on its own. The more interaction she creates and the more thought provoking she is, the more awareness is in the air. That awakens our minds.

Madonna has also been a strong supporter for human rights, equality and numerous charities for decades. That is inspiring to me and those are qualities of somebody with compassion and wanting to make a change.

So, here we are in 2015 and Madonna is still being hated on. It does not make a whole lot of sense to me. She has paved the way for so many young artists and contributed to shifting and bending the norms of society. If the way she went about it was too much for some people, I can understand that, but perhaps the focus should be directed towards her positive intentions and forward thinking.

I don’t want to convince people to be Madonna fans because that is not what is important. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion (especially with music). But I do think all the negative words being said about her are overly harsh, and there is a disconnect between how she is viewed and the points she has made.

Society can be so strict about women wanting to express themselves, whether it is through artistic expression, fashion or music. The judgment meter has always been sky-high when it comes to women being bold in history. So I have to again ask. What type of message do you want to give your daughters: to stay quiet, not express what they think, not stand up for themselves and that when a woman reaches a certain age, she must dial down her creative thoughts? That just sounds so backwards to me.

Thank you for reading.

Matt Jacobi (Your Other Hubby)

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