Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa Culture Tour
The Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa is owned by the Gila River Indian Community. It is the only Native American-owned luxury resort in Arizona and has a staff member who is designated the Cultural Concierge for the resort. From the guest rooms to the Aji Spa, from the restaurants to the lobby ceilings and floors, every aspect of the resort was carefully designed to reflect the heritage and spirit of the area's native people, the Pima and Maricopa tribes. Even the nearby Whirlwind Golf Course, also owned by the Gila River Indian Community, names each of its 18 holes after a significant landmark or legend of the local tribes, and reflects their heritage in the architecture, art, and landscaping.
The Cultural Tour is offered to the guests of the resort and is also open to the public. There is no charge for the tour, but reservations are required. A typical group might include between 10 and 20 people. Larger groups may make special arrangements for a guided tour.
Ten Things to Know About the Tour
Before you sign up to take the Culture Tour at the Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa on the Gila River Indian Community near Chandler, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- This is a guided tour.
- The tour lasts for about one hour.
- The tour involves walking and standing; there are no breaks.
- This tour is inside the resort, so weather/heat is not an issue.
- This tour is not designed for young children; there are no activities for them.
- Photography is allowed during the tour and inside the resort.
- Wheelchairs and walkers are fine. The tour takes place on two levels in the main part of the resort and there is an elevator.
- Resort casual attire is appropriate. Wear comfortable shoes.
- After taking this tour, you'll have an enhanced knowledge and respect for the effort expended in creating this unique destination that showcases the history and lives of the Pimas and Maricopas.
- Although it isn't a part of this tour, while you are visiting the resort you can take a boat ride on the 2.5-mile replica of the Gila River. It makes stops at the Wild Horse Pass Casino and the Whirlwind Golf Course. There is also an Interpretive Trail Walk and a shorter River Walk Trail.
Ten Things You Will Learn on Your Tour
There is so much to learn on the Culture Tour! Not every tour is exactly the same. While the Cultural Concierge leading the tour has a basic outline, if the group has a keen interest in a particular aspect of the history and culture of the Pimas and Maricopas and their relationship to the resort, just ask and it will be covered.
Without divulging too much of the tour here, I can tell you that on the Culture Tour you will most likely hear about...
- how the Pimas and Maricopas came to become allies historically, and how they recently came together with this resort project
- the history of the relationship between the Pimas and the Gila River.
- the story of the wild horses for which the resort is named.
- the relationship of the Gila River Indian Community elders and the hotel management company.
- why the main doors face a certain direction.
- how the artwork and displays are consistent with the heritage and culture of the two tribes.
- many resort design features that were carefully selected to embody and represent Pima and Maricopa beliefs.
- how the restaurant utilizes and supports the local farming community.
- why there are no palm trees at the resort.
- the advancements made by and the challenges facing the Gila River Indian Community.
Location, Admission, and Schedule
The Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa Culture Tour Takes place at the main building of the resort.
Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa
5594 West Wild Horse Pass Boulevard
Chandler, Arizona 85226
Admission: The Cultural Tour is free, but reservations are required. There is no regular schedule for the tour; call and find out when the next tour is scheduled.
All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.