Diamond Resorts Rancho Mañana Resort is just north of Phoenix, Arizona.
Traveling to Phoenix, you are setting yourself in Sun Valley and granting you and your guests access to some of the most amazing locations to visit in the world. This desert location not only gives you access to the Grand Canyon, but you also get access to an amazing variety of natural sites, museums, and the best of outdoor fun.
During this blog about my trip, I will share my experience not only at this great resort but also visiting some of the most popular sites in the Phoenix area. Get ready to join me on an adventure in nature with great restaurants, hiking, and even the impressive native culture.
Video by Living in Arizona Now
Day One Travel & Arrival Diamond Resorts Rancho Mañana Resort
Any trip to Arizona for me starts with a flight. Since this resort is so close to Phoenix, it makes everything very easy. The flight to Phoenix was nice and uneventful. Luckily, as a large guy, I was able to get a seat in the emergency row that gives you tons of extra legroom.
Cave Creek is 39 miles from the airport at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The airport is fairly large and as an international airport, the layout and design is easy to navigate. After arriving, I picked up my rental car. There was a modest issue, and they upgraded me to a better car for free, so I am not complaining.
As I drive towards the resort, check out the recent reviews I read before booking this resort. I am excited.
Love, Tonto Grill at Rancho Manana. The outdoor dining patio has beautiful views of its golf course. The service is exceptional, and the food is amazing. I love the crab cakes, Compressed Salad, and Tacos….to be honest, I have enjoyed everything I’ve tried. The atmosphere makes this restaurant a special occasion place, but everyday dining always works for me too.
The beauty of the Sonoran desert, and the spectacularly maintained grounds. The surprisingly very well-appointed casitas are hidden inside the walls of several well-placed and otherwise non-descript condominium-styled buildings.
– We liked everything. It was marvelous. So marvelous that we overlooked the internet being out on our first day. The Cave Creek area is truly authentic.
Visited Tonto Grill is located on this property. Such a beautiful setting & great food. Be sure to sit on the patio overlooking the golf course and, if you’re lucky, some desert wildlife might just saunter by!
Beautiful place! Peaceful and Serene. I highly recommend staying at this place. Ask for the two bed – two baths if available. This room can accommodate 6-8 people. If you know your company well. Tonto Bar & Grill is a great try. Sit on the patio to see the desert views and a nice golf course.
That was the most BEAUTIFUL room I’ve ever stayed in! My family and I were so impressed. We kept saying how we’d love to live there. It felt like home and better! The team at Rancho Mañana treated me like a VIP and was excited about me seeing the room. Love when the workers stand by their product!
Our casita was much more than we bargained for during this impromptu trip to the Phoenix area. The price was great; the bed was comfy & the staff was very helpful & friendly. I loved having a washer/dryer in the space.
Everything about this place is perfect from the moment you check-in. The staff are extremely kind and friendly; the amenities are very nice (pool, hot tub), the casitas are gorgeous, well-equipped with literally anything you could need, and immaculately clean. I’d go as far to say, as this is one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed at and I have traveled all around the world. I cannot wait to come back!
When we arrive at this establishment, we noticed how clean the place was. I gave the specialty a lot of credit for obtaining maintenance on the property, vegetation, and overall environment. Friendly staff is courteous and willing to help with your needs. Highly recommend staying at this facility next time you’re in the valley!
As I arrived at the resort, I quickly understood the reviews. This place deserves some kind of award. Especially whomever their gardener or landscape designer is. They just did and continued to do a perfect job on the outdoor appearance at this resort. I mean, the lush vegetation and how it fits into the local landscape is impressive. It is all desert, but it felt like you were visiting a resort in Hawaii from how perfect everything was.
Checking in with the staff was wonderful as well. After you have been flying and driving, a smiling friendly, face sure helps your mood.
I had booked a 2 bedroom with a mountain view and oh wow I am glad I did. Here, the views are peaceful and set you at ease. Man, the inside of these villas is just amazing. I did not know that I liked the Southwest Style this much until seeing it done perfectly in this villa. The kitchen tile and counters seemed to blend somehow in a mysteriously wonderful way that I can’t describe. Honestly, I have never been inspired or touched by the look of a small kitchenette before. This was just perfect. The combination of stone, tile, and wood was just top-notch. Functional and visually appealing at the same time. Full disclosure I am in the process of purchasing a condo on a beach (working on it) I will probably do this in that kitchen, it is that nice.
The adobe fireplace also seemed special and I can’t really understand why I like it so much.
After unloading my bags and getting things set up for me in the space. I went to check out the resort. This is a smaller resort than some, but the attention to detail shows everywhere. The pool causes the water to look tourmaline in color and it is amazing. Seeing the water made me think of Ponce de Leon and his Fountain of Youth. I did not expect to take a dip and wind back my age in reality, but mentally I knew it would happen for a least a while.
The next stop is the onsite Tonto Bar & Grill for some dinner. This restaurant is on the grounds of the resort and has great views of the golf course. It is very popular so if you want to go for dinner, call and make reservations when available.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- Ice Maker
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Free WiFi
- Outdoor Pools
- Business Center
- On-Site Restaurants
Day Two Golf
When you stay at a resort on its own custom golf course, you just have to play. While not my plan for the entire day, it was a great start to the day. The local pro even helped me find a few people who welcomed the 4th player. My handicap is handicapped, so I am not someone to grab to play with for large wagers. But it is a fairly new sport for me and I do enjoy it. Though I am just as happy at mini-golf or Top Flight, to be honest. This course looks great and plays fast, which I do like.
Now, since I am newer to golf, let me share with you some recent player reviews of this great course.
Recent Golf Reviews
Beautiful course with lots of challenges. Some blind shots on the back nine. Lots of accommodations and unlike other courses, these one’s amenities and snacks are not outrageous.
Gorgeous setting, incredibly accommodating staff, and grounds in beautiful condition. Loved the frequent change in elevation. The course is challenging for newer golfers, but you’ll likely be too wowed by the scenery to mind. Dinner on the deck of the adjacent restaurant was a delightful way to end a perfect afternoon with friends—good food, and lovely views. (I’ll 2d another poster’s suggestion to order the ‘3 sisters’ appetizer.)
Played this course on the first day of a 3 day bachelor party/golf weekend in Scottsdale. As a first-timer to the area, I was in no way left disappointed by my first AZ golf experience. It’s a short, fun course with a lot of interesting holes and the scenery you get as the course winds through the desert hills is fantastic. The course was in great shape, not the level (or price) of TPC which we also played, but definitely adequate for an avid golfer from Western PA. I’d absolutely consider playing here again in the future.
One of the most panoramic courses in the entire valley. Not long at just over 6000 yards from tips, but most holes require precise approach shots. All staff is very attentive. Have always had the most enjoyable outings here. And then a 5-star bar and restaurant after the round.
This is a beautiful golf course. Spectacular views of the desert and the surrounding city. The course is well maintained. Lots of fun holes. A little slow, but that might have been due to a frost delay. If they can perfect that pace of play, it’s easily five stars and worth the price!
I must agree with most of those reviews. Especially the notes on the great appearance of the course and kind staff. Mine was an excellent experience playing here and starting the day off with a positive outing before the heat of the day started to climb.
After my round of golf, I took my fellow golfers for a few early drinks on me just to say thank you for letting me join their game and make new friends. I tell you, after only about 2 years of playing golf, the people you meet are still your favorite part.
With golf and a few day’s drinks down, I wanted to head out and see more of the area. Since it was early in the day, none of our group had any over 2 drinks and I had to twist some arms at that.
It was still early in the day, so I went on a bit of a drive to the Petrified Forest National Park. Famed for its amazing scenery, Petrified Forest National Park can be found in eastern Arizona near to the New Mexico border. Founded in 1906, the park preserves the remarkable remains of the ancient trees and logs, after which it is named. Now, for many, this might be the only thing they do for a day from the resort because the drive is a little over 3 hours in each direction. However, when I am ready, I like to drive. Though with current gas prices, I understand why some may not like it as much. But when you have once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to see these amazing places, you just kind of fill up and stop worrying about it.
Dating back scarcely believable 225 million years, the kaleidoscopic colors of the petrified trees are bewitchingly beautiful, particularly when they shimmer in the sun. While they are the park’s standout sight, there are also the beguiling badlands, home to incredible archaeological sites and pretty petroglyphs.
At the Painted Desert Visitor Center and Rainbow Forest Museum, visitors can learn about the area’s interesting history, geology, and nature. Nature lovers should only miss this one if they have time to visit just one natural location and choose the Grand Canyon instead. This is a strong second, however, and most nature lovers will really enjoy this location.
Day Three The Grand Canyon and Havasu Falls
There is likely no other natural site that receives as many visits as the Grand Canyon. The scale of it is just amazing.
Grand Canyon. Renowned throughout the world, the Grand Canyon is awe-inspiring to visit and the beautiful panoramas are simply breathtaking. Gigantic and scale, the views from the edge of the canyon are incredible. As you look out over the rock face dropping away below you and the dramatic vista stretches towards the horizon. The arid and desolate terrain is peaceful yet picturesque and, indeed, a powerful place to explore.
A simply incredible place, the Grand Canyon is undoubtedly the highlight of what Arizona has to offer. The Grand Canyon is a natural wonder that is simply incredible. It is a peaceful and picturesque place that is a powerful attraction for visitors. The canyon is an incredible place to explore and is definitely a highlight of what Arizona has to offer.
Starting and Grand Canyon first was my plan because I thought as the day got hotter, I could move to the falls and escape some of the heat. It was hard to leave the Grand, however. As you look at its depths, it draws you in. Had it not been for the heat, I would not have likely moved. I know until you have seen it you are thinking, but you just looked at a giant hole in the ground. But it is more than that. It is like looking at the stars on a clear night. The size and scale are so dramatic that it gives you the sense of just how long this has been here, and that it will be a site for many generations to come.
I will never forget the scene from Vacation where Clark (the lead character that loved all things touristy) stood by the Grand Canyon but because of a plot twist in the movie, he wanted to leave as soon as you get there. In real life, that would never happen because the view is just amazing.
Next, I moved to the falls and they are flat-out amazing too. Not the scale of the Grand Canyon but lovely and a site where you can understand the native people’s connection to this amazing site. As a place of healing, and spiritual significance. You must have reservations to enter the area because it is a reservation with no pun directly intended. Now at the time, remember I am not a great hiker and this is a long hike and the heat can be very hot in the summer. So I wimped out and pulled out my wallet. You can get a helicopter flight into the falls with a reservation and the flight is $85 per person each way. You also can not do a solo flight at that price. This meant during my planning phase for this I had to try to find other people who had reservations who were up for the helicopter ride in and out.
If you can’t arrange the copter ride, plan on a long hot walk most of the year, especially in summer, and carry at least 1 gallon of water with you. Given the distance, I would book a stay at the lodge and stay for the night with the air conditioner in-between trips.
Those who are very fit and healthy may want to hike and camp in the area. Just be aware of scorpions and snakes.
These two sites and both helicopter rides in one day this was amazing. As I drove back to the resort to rest for the night before moving to my next resort, I was humbled by this opportunity.
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