Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A boutique hotel with gorgeous grounds, historic charm, and lovely amenities
Among upscale resorts in Tucson, the Arizona Inn offers a unique combination of history, excellent service, and beauty that makes for an “Old Arizona” vibe. Created in 1930 by the state’s first congresswoman, Isabella Greenway, the boutique hotel began as an oasis on the outskirts of Tucson where travelers could enjoy luxuries like a swimming pool and a cold beverage. Fast forward 80 years and the Arizona Inn retains its oasis-like feel by offering a peaceful, high-end experience in the middle of bustling Tucson.
The Greenway family has owned the hotel throughout its life, consistently maintaining a homey, informal feel here that is a rarity at upscale resorts. Once inside the small lobby, the old-timey charm is evident, from the aged wood furniture to the Native American handicrafts. Arched doorways lead to various rooms, including the gorgeous library, the ornate Audubon Bar, and the acclaimed Dining Room restaurant, where free donuts and coffee are served in the mornings.
Outside, the grounds are lushly draped in flower beds, lawns, mature trees, vines, and a cacti garden featuring native species. Guests can play ping-pong under a hut or croquet on a lawn if they wish, and there’s also a pair of clay tennis courts. A short walk past palm trees and pink casitas leads to the 60-foot-long pool set amid the original 1930s-era layout that includes rows of yellow lounge chairs with a retro look. In the warmer months, a free ice cream social is held in the evenings beside the pool.
In midtown Tucson, one mile from the University of Arizona
The Arizona Inn is located in a historic neighborhood in central Tucson, about one mile from the University of Arizona. Guests can walk the neighborhood, but there are no restaurants or shops immediately nearby. No shuttle service is offered.
Tucson is the second-biggest city in Arizona and perhaps its most culturally rich. Though officially founded in 1776, Tucson was first settled in the late 1600s by Spanish missionaries (most notably at the beautiful Mission San Xavier del Bac, the region's most iconic structure), and 4000 years earlier by Hohokam Indians. It is said to be one of the longest continuously-inhabited cities in the USA, known since its inception as the "Old Pueblo."
Sitting at 2,400 feet in a broad valley between five different mountain ranges, Tucson enjoys on average 350 sunny days per year and an arid climate that produces one of the most diverse desert environments in the world. The Sonoran Desert features the stately saguaro cactus, which is celebrated at Saguaro National Park on the city's outskirts, and many other varieties of cacti and unique wildlife including a few notable desert dwellers, such as rattlesnakes, Gila Monsters, and Giant Desert Hairy Scorpions. There was even a 2009 sighting of a rare jaguar. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has wildlife and flora on display, and is the best place to learn more.
With all that sunshine, Tucson is an outdoor lover's paradise. Scores of golf courses dot the city. Hiking possibilities are limitless and year-round in the Santa Catalina and Santa Rita Mountains nearby, with Sabino Canyon Recreation Area being a local favorite. Mountain bikers come to Tucson by the thousands for the miles of single-track trails in the desert. Bird-watchers can explore some of the richest avian populations in North America in nearby secluded canyons. And there's even a ski area among fir and pine trees atop Mt. Lemmon, which has an elevation of more than 9,000 feet.
Tucson's Hispanic community is woven into the fabric of everyday life in the city, and is reflected in the Mexican restaurants, the Spanish place names, and the arts and culture that play a large part in forming Tucson's identity. The arts abound in Tucson in dozens of galleries, such as the Etherton Gallery or DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun (celebrating the work of Tucson artist Ted DeGrazia). The University of Arizona houses the Creative Center for Photography, the nation's largest repository of photographs by notable artists such as Ansel Adams and W. Eugene Smith.
As a desert city, Tucson gets hot in the summertime with temps ranging in the 100s from May to mid-September. Winter is the busy season, when many visitors succumb to the temptations of 75-degree days and pleasant evenings around a fireplace. Summers can be enjoyable too, by sticking close to a pool or indulging in shopping -- just remember to pack extra water and avoid exertion in the midday sun. Locals might suggest taking a siesta -- "nap" in Spanish -- during midday hours.
It's important to realize that freeways are nonexistent in Tucson, save for I-10. Driving times can vary depending on time of day, as rush hour creates a twice-daily snarl on surface streets.
The Arizona Inn’s buildings are scattered across 14 acres, some of which house several rooms, and others that function as casitas (stand-alone rooms). The pink exteriors give way to cool, white interiors that feature antique, dark wood furniture, sleigh-style beds, vintage artwork dating to the 1930s, and modern features such as flat-screen TVs and iPod docks. The beds are comfortable, as are the sofas and armchairs. Bathrooms feature white marble countertops and white tile floors and walls.
Some guests have complained of ants in the rooms during warmer months.
Renowned Dining Room restaurant offers acclaimed menu and elegant setting
The upscale Arizona Inn is one of the swankiest and most beloved boutique resorts in town. It is a historic property that retains its 1930s charm -- highlighted by antique-laden casitas and the elegant Dining Room -- while offering modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs and iPod docks. The hotel is centrally located in midtown Tucson, yet beautifully manicured grounds with tennis courts and a pool create a feeling of peaceful seclusion. The Hacienda Del Sol offers similar amenities at a slightly lower price point.