Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
An aging hotel with a big heated pool, a shady courtyard, and standard Radisson rooms
The Radisson Suites Tucson enjoyed its heyday in the 1980s, and the design and layout of the hotel harkens back to that era. The interiors and public spaces have benefitted from updates through the years, but there are still some signs of wear and tear.
Rooms are typical for a Radisson, with generic modern decor, Sleep Number beds, and a neutral color scheme. Some issues such as old bathroom sink counters and showers are gradually being replaced. The rooms are big, and have microwaves and mini-fridges to help travelers save money on food.
For a 300-room property, the lobby is tiny and may be crowded during check in times. The business center, however, was renovated in 2011 and features lots of space and a door to ensure quiet. Outside, the large pool is surrounded by a shady, attractively landscaped courtyard with a Jacuzzi and several fire pits.
Breeze Patio Bar and Grill and the Breeze Lounge offer outdoor seating in the courtyard, as well as flat-screen TVs inside for watching sports. Hallways lead away from the pool toward the rooms, which are accessed via outside entrances.
In central Tucson, a 10-minute drive east of downtown
The Radisson Suites Tucson is located in east Tucson off Speedway Blvd., a major thoroughfare. Several restaurants are within walking distance, and self-parking is free. Free shuttle service is offered within a three-mile radius.
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.
Big suites with separate living rooms, two TVs, microwaves, and mini-fridges
The Radisson Suites Tucson has 300 rooms, most of which are suites featuring separate living rooms, two TVs (usually flat-screens, though there are some lingering tube TVs), mini-fridges, and microwaves. The generic decor is typical of a Radisson, but some elements may be outdated -- there are popcorn ceilings, and certain bathrooms still need to be renovated. All rooms are accessed by exterior entrances. Many rooms have Sleep Number beds with adjustable firmness.
A heated pool and Jacuzzi in a big shady courtyard
Breeze Patio Bar and Grill serving three meals a day, plus Breeze Lounge for drinks and bar food
The mid-range Radisson Suites Tucson is an aging hotel that nevertheless continues to offer solid value. It has big rooms, a large, attractive pool, and big landscaped courtyard. Rooms are what you'd expect from a budget property, with generic decor and some lingering old tube TVs -- but they do come with Radisson's Sleep Number beds, as well as microwaves and mini-fridges. Plus, most have separate living rooms and balconies. It's definitely worth comparing rates with the more upscale Westward Look Resort, which offers modern rooms, a gorgeous natural setting, and an impressive roster of activities.