Dream Catcher extraordinaire – the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, located in Chandler, is Arizona’s only Native American-owned GeoGreen-designated luxury resort. It has 500 culturally-themed rooms, 36 Troon Gold championship holes of golf, an equestrian center with 1,000 acres to ride, a casino, a world-class spa, and Kai, a nationally-recognized restaurant. Here are both recreational and inspirational experiences never before available in a resort setting.
The Sheraton Wild Horse Pass is a showcase of Pima and Maricopa tribal heritage. National Geographic Traveler Magazine named this property to its first ever “Stay List,” described as a celebration of the “150 Hotels You’ll Love” in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. In partnership with this magazine, the Tourism Industry Association of America recently awarded the Resort the TIA Odyssey Geotourism Award for Sustaining an Indigenous Culture and Community.
One of the Resort’s unique features is their Cultural Concierge. Rosie Rivera has recently been appointed to this position and it is a must that one connects with her to take a complimentary tour highlighting the history and culture of the Pima and Maricopa tribes that have inhabited central Arizona for more than 2,300 years. Her tour also interprets the significance of the many vibrant murals, pottery pieces, works of art and Native American stories found throughout the resort.
Aji Spa is a world unto itself. From the moment you enter, mosaic tiles depict the symbolism of the four directions: east for illumination, south for sandstorms that bring rain, west for the setting sun and north for the water of life. One of the signature treatments here is their Blue Coyote Wrap. Shane Bird, Spa Director, explains that this wrap is a metaphor for the spa as a whole – offering unique treatments and an environment where guests can free themselves from stress and return to a natural state of peace. Belen Stoneman is the Native American Healer for Aji Spa. In this role, she utilizes a sacred holistic approach to healing the mind, body and spirit through therapeutic massage.
Mind, body and spirit aligned – now let’s talk food. One of the nation’s most highly lauded restaurants, Kai is the first ever Native American restaurant to garner both the AAA Five-Diamond Award and Mobil Travel Guide’s Five-Star Award. Kai’s Michelin-trained Executive Chef, Michael O’Dowd has worked diligently to learn traditional recipes and presents them in a new setting, thus paying homage to the past while weaving a new culinary future for Native American-inspired cuisine.
After dining –a peaceful stroll. The Resort has recently completed a two and a half mile Interpretive Trail that runs alongside the property’s storied Gila River. More than fifty signs detailing the culture, history and plant life of this river community can be found along the trail. Many of the signs focus on the vegetation that’s of historical significance to the Pima and Maricopa people. The signs feature a picture of each plant and denote what it was used for and its significance to the Gila River People.
The Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa experience is one that blends a rich tableau of images and designs reflecting the beauty and mystery of the desert and its people. Belen Stoneman, this woman of Native American spirituality, says “The No.1 rule for me is that Creator God and the spirits do everything.” Here, indeed, everything is done with spirituality and authenticity. Dreams are caught in a web of stories that entertain, educate and inspire. Lasting memories are made.
If You Go: