Gold Canyon Golf Resort is a Peaceful Getaway Nestled at the Foot of Dinosaur Mountain
I anxiously awaited my stay at Gold Canyon Golf Resort, and not just because there are fantastic views. It’s a place to get away from it all and it’s just a short drive from town, making it wonderfully convenient! Gold Canyon Golf Resort is located in Gold Canyon, about 7 minutes past Apache Junction. The gorgeous property features pristine desert vistas, the Dinosaur Mountain and Sidewinder Golf Courses, Kokopelli’s Restaurant, the Bar & Grille, The Ledge at Dinosaur Mountain, a signature Aveda spa, a plethora of event and meeting space, hiking trails and a sparkling pool and spa. The property boasts a slight elevation and is a great place to enjoy a gorgeous desert sunset while enjoying cocktails or dinner.
The resort features 600 acres with 90 generously sized casitas, including several units that are available as timeshares. The casita rooms are positioned along the natural hilly landscape, making for a picturesque and beautiful resort layout. Desert wildlife can be seen at different times of the day and into the evening including quail, bobcat, rabbits and coyotes. If you are quiet and an early riser, you might even catch a glimpse of the local deer community that travels across the property in the morning.
Rooms available include patio casitas, deluxe patio casitas, inwhirl spa casitas and superior inwhirl casitas. My room was the inwhirl spa casita situated at a higher elevation on the property, and the sunset view from my private patio was gorgeous. The room features include a four poster king-sized bed, a dining table for two, a fireplace, a huge in-room whirlpool bathtub, tasteful Southwestern style furniture and accessories, plush bathrobes, a coffeemaker and Aveda brand toiletries, which are also available for purchase in the spa.
Much forethought must have gone into the landscaping around the casitas. Native desert plants and bushes abound in a thoughtfully laid out landscape that reflects the rich botany of Arizona. There is so much to see and explore stepping right outside, including a few hiking trails that will take you up and around the property. Be on the lookout for the quail families that duck and bob their way around the resort, too. I could have spent hours watching them run about the resort landscape.
The spacious living area of the inwhirl spa casita is very open and inviting and provided plenty of room for me to both relax and do a little work. The private patio is such a beautiful asset to the casita. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a sunset cocktail or a delicious meal brought in from room service. What really struck me most was the wide open space of the casita and the complete peace and quiet of the room itself and the property in general.
The added convenience of speedy in-room Wi-Fi also made working from my room very easy. As I discovered, a majority of the Kokopelli’s restaurant menu is available to be delivered to the casitas with just one phone call! When it came time to go dine at the property’s Kokopelli’s Restaurant, I just made a quick call to the front desk and a golf cart was sent to my casita to whisk me away to the most delicious spot on the property!
Kokopelli’s is the signature onsite restaurant at Gold Canyon Gold Resort. The menu includes something for everyone, and some unique stand-out entrees, too. A few of the tasty appetizers include the jumbo shrimp cocktail, bang-bang shrimp, bruschetta, chicken tortilla soup and the ahi crudo. If you’re in the mood for something that will dazzle all your taste buds, the ahi crudo includes seared, sashimi-grade tuna, arugula, black sesame seeds, capers and crispy Chinese noodles, drizzled with a refreshing citrus vinaigrette.
I chose a beet and goat cheese salad before starting in on my meal. As I was being served, I was told that Kokobelli’s roasts its own beets and makes its own candied pecans. I loved the attention to that kind of food quality detail! The unique flavor combination of creamy goat cheese, candied pecans, mixed field greens and smoked beets kissed with a tangy balsamic and olive oil dressing was a delightful salad that made it an excellent prelude to my entrée. Other outstanding salads include the bang-bang shrimp Caesar, the beef tenderloin salad and a point of pride at Kokopelli’s – the Kokopelli berry gorgonzola salad. This salad could certainly be a meal all by itself, as it includes a spring mix of greens, fresh strawberries, candied bacon, roasted beets, pecans, gorgonzola and raspberry vinaigrette. It is also available with pesto chicken.
Next, came the entrees. I chose the pork osso bucco that boasted a massive cut of pork, set atop a bed of mashed potatoes and served with a side of al dente broccolini. The way that the pork is perfectly cooked, some of the bone marrow naturally cooks out compliment the crimini mushroom marsala sauce. One of the best things about this dish is that each flavor shines through on its own and is not overpowered by the marsala sauce. The entrée is huge, so you might be taking some of this dish home with you!
My guest at dinner chose to take a walk on the “wild side” and indulged in the elk tenderloin. Gorgeously prepared, the elk medallions were carefully splayed over mashed potatoes and were also complimented with broccolini. The elk did not impart a “gamey” flavor, but a pleasurable taste more like a robust beef, and was incredibly tender. Served medium-rare, this is a wonderful departure from the usual and is sure to please anyone who appreciates a good cut of meat. Elk is not something you can find just anywhere and it is an exceptional entree at Kokopelli’s. Other entrees available include lobster tail, Alaskan halibut, prime New York strip, jumbo scallops, meatball marinara, Hawaiian pork belly burger, the very popular mahi tacos and so much more. Executive Chef Sergio Perez typically rotates the menu slightly twice per year to reflect the changing season. A special mention to the Chef Perez, too, for incorporating such a pleasing variety of entrees on the Kokopelli’s menu.
Dessert included many yummy choices, but we were feeling the anticipation of the holiday and chose the pumpkin and cranberry bread topped with a thick vanilla frosting. All that was missing was some winter snow! It was an outstanding dessert. If you are coming to the resort to golf or to grab a less formal bite to eat, the Bar and Grill is also a fun and busy spot to visit with friends, enjoy cocktails and a quality meal. A good bit of the Kokopelli’s menu is also available for room service to the casitas.
Aveda Signature Spa
The spa at Gold Canyon Golf Resort is a must-visit. Whether you are a Valley resident or staying at the resort from out of town, you won’t want to miss the signature Aveda spa that offers a wide variety of services. The beautiful spa is nestled up against the mountains and is a quiet respite that is a welcome and unique departure from any other spa, due to its unique surroundings and interior design that reflects the peaceful surroundings of Dinosaur Mountain. Another bonus of the Aveda spa is that it offers a full scope of beauty and spa services, including hair, nail and make-up services, Aveda skincare, waxing, various massage modalities, body wraps, reflexology and Thai foot massage.
On the date of my visit to the spa, I was greeted with a warm cup of Aveda organic herbal tea. The delicious and relaxing combination of licorice, peppermint, sweet fennel and basil made the tea an instant favorite of mine, and I was happy to discover I could purchase the tea right in the spa! I opted for the 60-minute Elemental Nature Facial that included a bit of aromatherapy, a variety of Aveda products, the use of a calming, warm steam and a relaxing scalp massage. One particular item I loved that I discovered during my facial was the Aveda Tulasara firming concentrate. It has been a beautiful compliment to my regular skin care routine. As a beautiful bonus, the Aveda line is ayurvedic – a holistic and balanced approach to skin care that draws together wellness of the mind, body and spirit. You will certainly fall in love with the Aveda line and conveniently, you can select what you like to take home and further enjoy their benefits.
There are a handful of treatment rooms, and each is peaceful, relaxing and designed to really take you out of the hustle and bustle of your regular daily routine. There is even a beautiful room that is perfect for couples or a girlfriend’s day at the spa! The room is cleverly constructed with the inclusion of large stones, giving a setting that is ultimately relaxing and presented in a natural way.
There are many points of pride at Gold Canyon Golf Resort, but the crown jewel that attracts people from all over the globe is the world class golf experience. The resort boasts two courses – Dinosaur Mountain and Sidewinder. The Dinosaur Mountain course traverses up and over the mountain to the fifth tee and changes elevation throughout the entire 18-holes of golf.
Visually, Dinosaur Mountain is one of the most gorgeous courses in all of Arizona. Every hole provides unique and beautiful views of Dinosaur Mountain, the Superstition Mountains and the Valley off in the distance. The layout of the Dinosaur Mountain features many elevated tee boxes and is a more challenging course.The meticulously maintained fairways are beautiful year-round, and the course is open to the public and also available for private membership. Currently, dedicated Dinosaur Mountain golf course members number more than 200 avid golfers.
The pace of play was steady and active and staffers along the course are always helpful. Another fun asset of the Dinosaur Mountain course is the fairway “snack bar” which features full-on grill action by one of the friendliest and engaging chefs you’ll ever meet! Chef James was really cookin’! If you’re just starting out, or wanting to brush up on your golf game or techniques, be sure to check with the pro shop for lessons from a golf professional!
The wonderful staff at Gold Canyon Golf Resort frequently holds golf tournaments including the wildly popular 4th Annual Apache Junction Food Bank Challenge, which has emerged as a preeminent fundraiser for the East Valley food bank. The next tournament will benefit the Good Shepherd Healing Ministries Horse Rescue on Saturday December 10, 2016 (8 a.m. registration, 10:30 a.m. shotgun start on Sidewinder 4 person scramble). The $99 per person entry fee includes golf, lunch and prizes. Click HERE to enter or call Carol Hill to sign up (724) 316-7041 or email [email protected]
Gold Canyon Golf Resort is located at 6100 S. Kings Ranch Rd., Gold Canyon, AZ. Visit www.gcgr.com or call (480) 982-9090.