The Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa is a 500 room resort built near Gila River Indian Community land in the Sonoran Desert. The hotel is a four star, AAA rated resort. It is a beautiful property with many amenities that make it a worthwhile place to visit if you have any reason to go to the Chandler Arizona area. It’s located 11 miles from the Phoenix airport, so you can be there in 20 minutes.
In addition to being situated near two golf courses and an equestrian center where you can take horse back riding lessons, the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass has a four-pool complex complete with a 110-foot water slide and two hot tubs. If you enjoy gambling, the Wild Horse Pass Casino is right down the road. The resort, which was built in 2002, is located on a very nice stretch of land that feels like it is somewhat removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In reality, the freeway is less than a five minute drive away, and it is surrounded by large cities, but this just attests to the serenity of the place.
There is a beautiful mountain vista in the distance, just beyond the pools and one of the nearby golf courses, which is a great place to catch the sunset. You can find a fire pit right behind the main downstairs eating/bar area that gets fired up at night. You can have a snack and a glass of wine, talk to people, and relax under the stars.
Another cool thing about the resort is the river that flows through the property. It is a recreation of the original Gila river. You can take a short boat ride from the hotel to Rawhide, a small “Western-themed” town that looks like a set from a Western movie. You can get a drink or a meal at the saloon in the small frontier town and it’s a great place to take the kids. The saloon does not believe in shot glasses, so margaritas are very strong, which is a good thing!
The staff was very nice and responsive when I visited the resort for several days. I asked for a change of room because I wasn’t satisfied with the first room they put me in. It was on the first floor to the rear of the property facing the parking lot. The moved me to the second story with a pool view. I was pleased with this room. The servers working in the restaurants were also very nice and made the dining experiences very enjoyable, not to mention delicious. The staff made a sincere effort to make us comfortable. In the restaurant Ko’Sin, which is a good place to get lunch, dinner, or even the breakfast buffet, the waiters were very friendly and got to know us by the end of our trip. The staff was friendly and helpful. This is a good segue into talking about the restaurants at the hotel.
The Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort has two very good restaurants, in addition to a coffee bar and liquor bar area where you can find finger foods and sandwiches. The one mentioned above, Ko’Sin, is probably the best place to eat lunch. A fusion of American and Southwesten Cuisine, Ko’Sin has a medium sized menu ranging from pastas to sandwiches to salads and soups. One standout item on the menu is the Sangria Chicken Sandwich, which has a distinct sangria based taste with the addition of southwestern style salsa and guacamole. It was about $14 at the time and was well worth it. Truth be told, you could split the sandwich between two people or save the second half for a pre-dinner snack, it was that large. At Ko’Sin, you can eat on the outdoor patio and there is an additional eating area in the pool bar area, where you can order drinks and food.
The resort also hosts one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the area: Kai. Reservations are recommended, there is a dress code (no jeans allowed), and prices start at around $50.
Who Would Want to Visit the Wild Horse Pass Resort
The Wild Horse Pass resort is a great place for a leisurely vacation. If you are looking for a “get away,” this may be a good place to choose as it is a destination resort with all the amenities you may need on property or nearby. The hotel has 500 rooms with designs inspired by the Pima and Maricopa Indians. If you choose to book a room at this hotel, make sure to ask for a room with a mountain or golf course view. I also prefer not to be on the first floor–the balconies are more private on higher levels. Plus, you may get a better vantage point of the beautiful surroundings in a second or third floor room. The room rates are not cheap, starting at somewhere around $200 to $250, but you may be able to find better rates depending on when you want to visit.
If you are someone who organizes trips or conferences, the resort is amenable to this kind of thing. There are conference halls for meetings and you may be able to get a good group rate on lodging. The resort is a very serene and relaxing environment and probably a good fit for groups of people to meet.
Things to Do
If golf is your thing, then this is a good place for you as there are two golf courses on the property. You can play tennis or just relax by the pool and jump on the 110 foot water slide. There is an equestrian center where you can take a horse back ride or lessons. An hour ride sets you back $65 per person (or $85 if you want a private ride) so it’s not cheap. This was an experience, but I don’t know if I would do it again. The ride got a little monotonous toward the end (flat desert) and I wasn’t that impressed with the route we took. There are wild horses roaming the nearby land, but we didn’t get to see any.
Definitely take the 20 minute boat ride to Rawhide, especially if you have kids. You can spend an hour or two in the one-lane town looking at shops, getting snacks, or even a margarita boot at the wooden shack (you can tell the kids it’s lemonade). There is also a wild west show and a small train for the kids to ride. If you’re the gaming type, you can check out the Gila River Casino, which is near the resort. Old Town Scottsdale is a half hour to an hour away via the freeway. There’s a Hertz rent-a-car in the lobby of the resort if you want to have a car during your stay.
When Should You Go
If you are planning to stay at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, then you need to know that the summer heat in the Arizona desert can be brutal. June, July, and August can easily be in the high 90s and up. The fall is the optimal time to visit the area because it is when you get the most temperate climate. 80 degrees in the day and 55 degrees at night is almost perfect in that setting.
If you have the money, the vacation time, or an excuse to travel to the Chandler, Arizona area, look into this resort. I was lucky because I went with someone who had a conference at the hotel. Otherwise, I probably would never have visited this very cool vacation destination.