La Sonora Spa at Tanque Verde Ranch

14301 East Speedway
Tucson, AZ 85748

After a scenic but hot horseback ride under a September heat advisory in Saguaro National Park, I wanted to cancel my body treatment scheduled at La Sonora Spa at Tanque Verde Ranch. The thought of being swaddled in human-sized Saran wrap following a two-hour trot on a sweaty 1,000 pound horse through dense saguaros and prickly pears made me want to jump right back in the saddle. Plus, I wondered what weathered wranglers could possibly know about pampering.

Out of respect for my hosts and aching back (side), however, I kept my appointment. And just like all Zen cowgirl lessons learned at this historic working ranch and four-star resort 20 minutes east of Tucson, I realized that you have to lose control—in this case give up the reins to a giant piece of plastic—to find some blissful balance.

La Sonora Spa is conveniently located in the middle of the property and includes a small lobby with lockers, a changing bathroom with one shower, fitness room, sauna, and an indoor pool and hot tub that has views of the Sonoran desert. The cowboy chic facility is quaint but it’s not a space for lounging around in your spa robe all day while sipping herbal tea. The plus-side is that with only three treatment rooms, there’s not a lot of staff hustle and bustle, or hallway chatter (two of my spa-going pet peeves) to disrupt your service.

And Page, my spa therapist and experienced horse person, understood what this cowgirl needed after a long, dusty day on the trail. In fact, La Sonora’s lineup of high-end body scrubs, wraps, facials and massages are designed to offset the drying effects of the desert. The treatments incorporate locally grown and hand-picked fruits, herbs and flowers as well as products from the Hungarian-based Eminence Handmade Organic Skin Care line.

I chose the antioxidant-rich Blueberry Bliss treatment, a hydrating and slimming wrap that promised to tone, tighten and repair my skin. Page first applied raw sugar cane scrub infused with blueberry to my entire body, which didn’t have much of a scent but I could tell I was getting the gentle exfoliation of a lifetime. She next covered me in a blueberry soy yogurt slimming cream and then carefully wrapped me cocoon-style in a plastic wrap alternating with warm towels to hold in the moisture.

Though I experienced a temporary moment of panic about spending 20 minutes sealed in a heated “smoothie” blanket with little wiggle room, I quickly relaxed and started to feel my sun-kissed exterior soak up the naturally moisturizing ingredients as my mind drifted into a state of cooling calm.

After Page returned to the room it was time to set me free of my emollient swath for the next peaceful phase of the treatment, a light massage done with a whipped blueberry soy soufflé. I’ll never look at blueberries the same way again—I was in organic fruit relaxation heaven.

And my concern about expertise of the spa staff at Tanque Verde Ranch? Besides horses, they know a thing or two about physical and mental well-being. I’m not sure I weighed any less but the combo skin repair treatment and massage (choose from 80 or 120 minutes) was professional and reviving—the perfect post-saddle choice for my sore pride and dehydrated body. My recommendation: Gallup, don’t trot, to La Sonora Spa at Tanque Verde Ranch.

Tanque Verde Ranch is located at 14301 East Speedway in Tucson, Arizona. For more info, visit or call 800.234.3833.

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