Hotel McCoy

Jessi Moreno-Rosas’ artwork adorns the wall in one of the guest rooms at Hotel McCoy.

Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2022 and updated in 2023.

So, you find yourself in Tucson.

Maybe you're visiting for the holidays, maybe a wedding. Maybe you actually call Tucson home and are just looking to take a staycation, escaping into the comfort of a hotel bed.

How do you pick where to stay? Here are some uniquely Tucson options.

A little bit artsy 

Sisters Isabella Castillo, 12, left, and Jotina, 15, play a game while swimming in the pool at The Tuxon, a 112-room boutique hotel on the west side of Interstate 10 between Congress and 22nd Street.

Hotel McCoy calls itself Tucson's art hotel, a name that doesn't come without reason. There are nearly 70 murals around the hotel, both inside and out, and the rooms themselves are named after local artists. You can buy artwork off the walls and there's even a cactus-themed vending machine. It's not uncommon for the hotel to host open mic nights, craft workshops or live music by the pool. Learn more here.

Literally down the street is The Tuxon, also clad with a couple murals by Tucson's greats (lookin' at you, Joe Pagac and Jessica Gonzales). There's a pool bar and a restaurant with tasty food. The hotel often hosts Tipsy Picassos paint classes and outdoor artisan markets organized by local maker Lilith and Daughters. Learn more here.

The historic picks

Emma Lucas, lead wrangler, leads a horse outside the stalls at Tanque Verde Ranch, 14301 E. Speedway, in 2021.

Come for the history, stay for the drinks. That's how you might feel booking a room at Hotel Congress, one of the most well-known icons in Tucson. It's more than 100 years old, and it's a location that played a part in the capture of the infamous Dillinger gang in 1934. The hotel is said to be haunted and you can even attend a live séance in one of the upper-level rooms. Not to mention the restaurant beneath the guest rooms, known for its live music (and its brunch ... and its late-night parties at the club next door). Learn more here.

Arizona Inn came to be in 1930, when Tucson had 32,000 residents, owned by Arizona's first congresswoman Isabella Greenway. The family-owned and operated hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places (and has been since 1988), its incredible architecture nestled into a quiet midtown neighborhood. It's said to be a good place to enjoy a cocktail by the fireplace. Learn more here.

Here's where you go if you're looking for a dude ranch. Tanque Verde Ranch has roots that go back to 1868, when Don Emilio Carrillo started ranching in Tanque Verde Valley. The ranch now sits on 640 acres with incredible views of the mountains and Santa Fe-style architecture. It's where you can attend a cowboy cookout and ride a horse to breakfast. Learn more here.

Lodge On The Desert began its journey many decades ago, first as a four-bedroom home before becoming the resort it's known to be today. The roads were unpaved, and the heat once came from a coal furnace. Actors who starred in Western flicks, and their film crews, are said to have stayed at the lodge in the '30s. Historical decor has been preserved in the hacienda-style hotel. Learn more here.

Keeping close to downtown

The Red Light Lounge is located at the Downtown Clifton Hotel.

Since it was built in 1947, The Downtown Clifton has tripled in size and has also opened an onsite restaurant dubbed Red Light Lounge. The hotel has vintage feels, even with a few record players you can take to your room and its own vinyl library. Community events are frequent: an altar set up for Día de los Muertos, artisan markets, queer dance parties, a puppy pool party over the summer. Learn more here.

Something a bit more fancy

The inner courtyard and some of the original buildings still in use at Hacienda del Sol.

Yes, the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa is owned by one of the largest hotel chains in the world, but there's a reason we're mentioning it: the incredible views. As you wind through the streets heading up to the hotel, you'll be greeted with mountain views and endless saguaros. What's more Tucson than that? (Bonus lore: the resort was in an episode of Top Chef last year, as was Tanque Verde Ranch.) Learn more here.

Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, which calls itself a luxury resort, could also be in the historical section of this list, with its Southwest flair and origins dating back to 1929. The views are stunning, there's a spa to unwind and you can enjoy a night of fine dining at the resort's onsite restaurant, The Grill. Learn more here.

Self-designated as a "timeless Tucson tradition," Westward Look got its start as a hacienda-style home in 1912, the same year Arizona became a state. The hotel sits on 80 acres, surrounded by desert beauty. Take a virtual tour and see if it's the right pick for you. Learn more here.

Boutique inns and bed and breakfasts

Spencer’s Observatory is behind Cat Mountain Lodge on Kinney Road.

The Armory Park Inn, a Sonoran-style home built in 1875, is said to have been a stagecoach stop for travelers in pre-railroad times. It's since been transformed into a seven-room bed and breakfast owned by an eighth-generation Tucsonan. There's even an "Armory Hour" featuring drinks and refreshments. Learn more here.

Just a few minutes away is The Blenman Inn, built in 1878 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One visitor, in a review of the charming hotel, called it a historic jewel in the heart of downtown. Learn more here.

Here's an option for anyone planning to visit the beloved Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (which you should absolutely do): Cat Mountain Lodge and Roadside Inn is just six miles away. It's a bed and breakfast, easily accessible to hiking and biking trails. There are telescopes nearby for stargazing, an adopted desert tortoise (named Juanita Wayne) behind the lodge, and the B&B harvests rainwater! Learn more here.

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