Historic Hotels in Tucson

by Cicely A. Richard
Downtown Tucson

Downtown Tucson

tucson civic center image by Richard Paul from Fotolia.com

The influence of Native Americans, Spanish explorers, Mexican settlers, ranchers and cowboys appears in Tucson's historic structures. Many of its historic hotels date back to the 1800s, when cattle and horses roamed Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Several hotels, including Hotel Congress downtown, are listed as national historic landmarks. Owners and innkeepers work hard to maintain original architecture and antique furnishings. Guests sleep under the same roofs as historic figures.

Downtown Hotels

The Hotel Congress has been a historic landmark since 1919 and is listed on the National Historic Register. In 1934, John Dillinger and his gang hid in this hotel before their eventual capture in a home a few blocks away. The hotel has pictures of Dillinger in the lobby, including his mug shot. The lobby also features a switchboard and old-fashioned phone booths. Its restaurant has booth seating and thousands of pennies underneath lacquer flooring. The outdoor courtyard hosts concerts and events. Its 40 rooms have vintage radios, switchboard connections and wireless Internet access. The rooms don’t have televisions. The Arizona Inn is a contrast from the metropolitan atmosphere of downtown, boasting 14 acres of gardens, flowers and fountains. Founded in 1930 by Isabella Greenway, the hotel contains original handcrafted furniture. Recreational facilities include tennis courts and an outdoor heated pool. Guest rooms have flat-screen televisions with DVD players.

Historic Hotels of America

Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort sits on a 34-acre property on the Santa Catalina Mountains foothills. Constructed in 1929, this historic resort features Spanish and Moorish architecture with arched doorways and adobe-style buildings. The hotel started as a girl’s ranch school for wealthy families but was transformed into a vacation resort in 1948. The resort has a landscaped garden with cactus plants and desert flowers. It has horseback riding stables and a gift shop. Casita-style accommodations have televisions with DVD players and Internet access. Tanque Verde Ranch Resort is between the Saguaro National Park and the Coronado National Forest in the Rincon Mountains. Emilio Carrillo purchased the land in 1868, starting a ranch he named La Cebadilla. Rancher Jim Converse inherited the land after Carrillo’s death and renamed it Tanque Verde, which means “green pool” in Spanish. He invited guests who wanted to participate in roundups. Brownie Cote expanded the resort when he purchased it in 1957. It now offers children’s program like horseback riding, tennis, games, and arts and crafts. Select accommodations have fireplaces. Both hotels are part of Historic Hotels of America, which is a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Bed and Breakfasts

The Royal Elizabeth Bed & Breakfast Inn is an 1878 Victorian mansion in downtown Tucson’s Presidio neighborhood. The home features original woodworking, glass skylights and antique furniture, as well as a parlor fireplace. The property has a historic carriage house, barn and outdoor kitchen. On-site amenities include complimentary snacks and drinks in the parlor, a heated pool and concierge service. Guest rooms contain period furniture and offer high-speed Internet access and satellite television. Catalina Park Inn Bed & Breakfast is in a residential neighborhood, just one mile west of the University of Arizona. The 1927 facility is across the street from a public park and within walking distance from Fourth Avenue, a historic neighborhood boasting restaurants and shops dating back to the 1920s. The home has a courtyard landscaped with desert plants. Guest rooms have original artwork, private bathrooms and televisions with DVD players.

Vacation Planner

The Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau website offers "myTuscon Planner." This free online tool lets visitors plan their vacations, including selecting hotels, adding attractions, printing maps and organizing itineraries. The website also provides tools to make online hotel reservations and check for vacancies.

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Photo Credits

  • tucson civic center image by Richard Paul from Fotolia.com