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Spotlight on Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort

Around a crackling patio campfire at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa, we listened as a Native American storyteller wove tales and played haunting melodies on the flute. In the distance, the Sierra Estrella Mountains framed the vast acreage of the Pima Indian Reservation.

Wild horses still roam there, more than 1,500 of them. The Pima people continue to farm the soil as they have done for centuries. And that night, we drank in their culture as guests on the reservation.

It only took a few minutes to get there from Phoenix. But on the 376,000-acre resort, the city felt like a world away. Through an unusual partnership with the Pima and Maricopa Indian tribes, tribal elders have been intimately involved in every decision, from the symbolic circular design at each entrance to artwork on the bed pillows. The spa’s treatments are based on Native American legends.

“Kai, our resort’s fine-dining restaurant, tells the story of the Pima and Maricopa communities through food and sense of place,” said director of public relations and marketing communications Stephanie Sanstead. “Kai is one of only 24 U.S. restaurants and the only Native American-owned or -operated property to achieve Forbes five-star and AAA five-diamond status.”

Elizabeth Hey

Elizabeth Hey is a member of Midwest Travel Journalists Association and has received numerous awards for her writing and photography. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @travelbyfork.