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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Arizona Inn: A Desert Destination

For the past 84 years, the Arizona Inn has welcomed guests to the quintessential old Western town of Tucson. A bastion of graceful hospitality clothed in Southwestern pueblo architecture, the boutique resort hotel has casita-style rooms and suites. Its snowy-white and pearly-pink stucco exterior sports red-tile roofs and bright-blue awnings. A refreshing splash of palm trees and greenery, the 14-acre property commands luscious views of Mount Lemmon, the country’s southernmost ski destination, and intriguing desert landscapes lure visitors to explore the surroundings.

The inn’s history is as fascinating as its surroundings. In the 1920s, Isabella Greenway, Arizona’s first congresswoman and a close friend of Eleanor Roosevelt’s, opened a philanthropically inspired furniture shop in Tucson, the Arizona Hut, to preserve the jobs of disabled World War I veterans. When the business encountered financial difficulties after the stock market crash of 1929, Greenway, seeing the need for a gracious hostelry in the desert town, built the Arizona Inn to provide enough work to keep the shop afloat.

Still today, an on-site cabinetmaking shop stays busy restoring the old “Hut” furniture and creating new custom pieces for the hotel.

Four generations of the Greenway family have since adhered to the standards set by Isabella in 1930. When the inn opened, she declared it to be “a simple, home-like cottage hotel, complete in its luxuries and convenience of service, and built with the desire to give its guests privacy, quiet and sunshine.”

The family’s collection of European antiques, furnishings and paintings adds the feel of a private country estate. With a AAA Four Diamond rating for both hotel and dining room, this National Register of Historic Places property boasts spots on Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List, Travel and Leisure’s Top 500 Hotels in the World, and TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards for Best Service in the United States.


Meeting and Eating

Ideal for groups of 30 guest rooms or fewer, the Arizona Inn has 5,000 square feet of meeting space with four meeting and banquet rooms, all with antiques, high-beamed ceilings, and windows and French doors opening onto patios or flowering gardens. A 1,000-square-foot house is used as a catering space where up to 150 guests can attend a cocktail reception; add to that 100 more people in its surrounding gardens. Another green outdoor reception space around an elegant fountain can accommodate up to 150.

Dining options include Main Dining Room with its cozy fireplace and cathedral ceiling; the Audubon Bar, with nightly live piano; and poolside.


Desert Immersion

Twenty minutes west of Tucson, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a 98-acre zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural-history museum and aquarium that interprets the Sonoran Desert, the lushest on earth. Daytime and evening corporate retreats, meetings and receptions can convene indoors or outdoors.

Inspiring views of the Tucson Mountains fill the Green Room’s floor-to-ceiling windows. The space can be subdivided for a conference, or 180 can dine there. Aquarium galleries host 50, and an outdoor Desert Garden, 250, for receptions.

Two on-site restaurants provide catering. Up-close interactions with the museum’s animals and/or a docent tour can be added to any event.


Pumped-Up Extras

Tucked in a quiet residential neighborhood, the Arizona Inn’s focus on customer service translates into a lack of “hidden” resort fees. High-speed Internet access is complimentary, as are parking, afternoon tea and bicycles. Guests can enjoy a heated pool, clay tennis courts, an exercise facility, a sauna, an extensive library and ice cream by the pool.

The University of Arizona campus is nearby, about 10 minutes by bicycle, and shopping districts, restaurants and nightlife are a 10- to 15-minute pedal. Less than 20 bike minutes away, the downtown El Presido Historic District houses the Tucson Museum of Art, an off-site venue with rentable courtyard, plaza and galleries.