Why we love it: A quirky stay full of historic details, local art, and top-notch cocktails
- A collection of local art that’s all for sale
- An on-site lounge with creative cocktails by Donald Murray
- Fun amenities like record players for checkout and a curated vinyl library
No property captures Tucson’s funky, laid-back vibe better than this hotel on historic Stone Avenue, right on the edge of the Barrio Viejo in the artsy Armory Park neighborhood. Set around a central courtyard strung with Edison bulbs, the Downtown Clifton keeps it real with local art, vintage furnishings, and mid-century modern curios. The hotel was built in 1948 but found new life in 2014 after undergoing a $4.5 million upgrade. The 10 bunkhouse rooms now include original wood-beam ceilings, saddle blanket bedspreads, polished concrete floors, and 1940s tilework in the bathrooms, all paired with modern touches like 42-inch smart TVs. For a little something extra, book one of the señorita rooms, which up the ante with exposed brick walls, floor-to-ceiling windows, hand-painted bedframes and vanities, spacious seating areas, and, in numbers 29 and 30, spectacular views of the mountains.
The hotel’s expansion also added the Red Light Lounge, where mixologist Donald Murray, formerly of Tuscon favorite the Dusty Monk, holds sway. Expect unusual offerings like a margarita made from Bacanora (agave-derived liquor) and The Inglaterra, featuring tequila and Pimm’s. The bar also serves innovative Tucson cuisine like chorizo fry bread topped with queso asadero, spicy greens, pickled hibiscus onions, cilantro-lime aioli, and a sunny-side-up egg. Should you wish to cook your own grub, make use of the on-site grills and then dine in the outdoor seating areas.