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General Manager Michael McMahon Preparing the 250-room
 Dove Mountain Ritz-Carlton Near Tucson for Opening

By Shelley Shelton, The Arizona Daily Star, TucsonMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

August 20, 2009 - Don't let the fancy name and gatehouse fool you.

The public is welcome on the property of the new Dove Mountain Ritz-Carlton in Marana.

The company is putting the finishing touches on its 250-room hotel and still plans for it to be complete in October, said Michael McMahon, general manager of the property.

Despite rumors to the contrary, construction has been moving along on the resort, which is set to be the largest property in the company. It is also the Ritz-Carlton's 75th property, one of four the company is building despite the recession.

In fact, the recession likely has helped keep the resort's construction going, McMahon said, because there has been no shortage of materials or labor.

The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club opened earlier this year, just in time for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, which featured Tiger Woods' big return to the game after knee problems. At the same time, Cayton's restaurant opened in the golf club and has been brimming with lunch and dinner business ever since.

Now, McMahon and his staff are down to a week-by-week checklist of things to do until the entire building project is complete. A big challenge is staffing, with all the moving parts of various departments and divisions to oversee, he said.

"There's no shortage of talent in the marketplace to staff this resort," McMahon said. "You try to eat the apple one bite at a time. Or the elephant, I should say."

The resort will feature four themed restaurants, which local residents are welcome to enjoy any time, said Jennifer Pelczarski, a resort spokeswoman.

When it's complete, locals are also welcome to rent a room and check out the 235-foot water slide that will drop four stories in elevation, she said.

"It would be a shame if you couldn't share all this," she said during a tour of the property last week.

The resort plans to stay competitive with other nearby offerings during the summer months, McMahon said.

Meanwhile, it hopes to retain Ritz-Carlton clients who have stayed at properties in other cities, he said.

But gone is the stuffiness of the stereotypical grand hotel, Pelczarski noted.

You won't find red velvet carpet and drapes around here.

Instead, the hotel is using rock and wood from Arizona, with much of the furnishings and fixtures also coming from within the state.

A water and fire theme is prevalent throughout the property, from the spicy offerings of the yet-to-open Ignite restaurant and the fire pits scattered about, to the multiple swimming pools and prevalence of glass doors and walls.

"Tucson has a great sense of community," Pelczarski said, "which I think we're pulling through into what we're building up here."

Two       Years it took to build the resort

850        Acres that comprise the entire Dove Mountain Ritz-Carlton property

450         Total employees at full operation

44,000     Square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space

9,000        Square feet in the main Ritz-Carlton Ballroom

17,000      Square feet in the spa, indoor and outdoor treatment rooms and fitness center

250         Guest rooms and suites

27        Holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf

45,000    Square feet in the clubhouse

3,500      Bottles in the wine bar

What's ahead

Finishing touches scheduled for September:

--Ritz Kids and Teen Center

--Ignite Lounge & Bar

--Turquesa Latin Grill

--Meeting rooms

--Swimming pools and Jacuzzi


--Spa exterior area and fitness center

Opening date is slated for late fall.

--Contact reporter Shelley Shelton at 618-1921 or


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