The Downtown Clifton Hotel Tucson
The Downtown Clifton Hotel
Why we love it: a bohemian experience with bold murals and vintage furniture
- hip, mid-century modern aesthetic
- a record player and curated library of albums
- Danny Martin’s gorgeous mural, featuring a skeleton cowboy and Day of the Dead cowgirl
The review: No property captures Tucson’s funky, laid-back nature better than this motel on historic Stone Avenue in the artsy Armory Park neighborhood, right on the edge of Barrio Viejo. Set around an Edison-bulb-fringed central courtyard, the Downtown Clifton keeps it real with local art, unique vintage furnishings, and mid-century modern curios.
Built in 1948, this hotel found fresh life in 2014 and underwent a $4.5m upgrade five years later. The original ten “bunkhouse” rooms have wooden beams, saddle-blanket bedspreads, polished concrete floors, and 1940s bathroom tilework, all paired with modern touches like 42-inch smart TVs. The 20 new “señorita” rooms add hand-painted, locally made bed frames and wooden vanities, and two offer stunning mountain views (#29 and #30). Signature touches include mosaic room signs and brightly painted doors.
The expansion also added The Red Light Lounge, where mixologist Donald Murray, formerly of The Dusty Monk, holds sway. Expect unusual offerings like a margarita made from Bacanora (agave-derived liquor) and “The Inglaterra” with tequila and Pimm’s. It also serves innovative Tucson cuisine like chorizo frybread topped with queso asadero, spicy greens, pickled hibiscus onion, cilantro-lime aioli, and a sunny-side-up egg.