Desert Cool: A Tour of The Downtown Clifton in Tucson

Downtown Clifton Marquee
Downtown Clifton Tucson front desk
Downtown Clifton vinyl
Downtown Clifton Tucson Office Sign
Downtown Clifton Armory Park street sign

Have you ever checked into a hotel, and immediately felt at home? That’s how I felt when we checked into The Downtown Clifton, a new boutique hotel on Tucson’s historic Stone Avenue.

I wrote a short piece about the opening of The Downtown Clifton for USA Today’s 10Best.com, and co-owner Moniqua Lane got in touch and invited me to check out the hotel and its unique take on local hospitality.

The hotel, which hearkens back to the roadside motor lodges that popped up across the country in the ’30s and ’40s, is an easy stroll from downtown Tucson, so you can easily walk to all the hot spots on Congress Street. (Tip: If you need any restaurant recommendations, be sure to speak with Ryan, the Clifton’s manager. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the local dining scene. He recommended Diablo Burger, which is worth the visit just for the Belgian-style fries alone).

Here are some things I loved about staying at the Downtown Clifton (presented in no particular order – in list form – because I don’t want to forget anything):

– Ryan, the hotel’s friendly manager, unofficial concierge, and all-around local expert, who gives excellent happy hour/restaurant recommendations, and can give you the scoop on the Armory Park neighborhood, a historic neighborhood in a historic town that’s currently experiencing a real estate boom and all-around renaissance.

– The hotel’s signature Danny Martin mural, which beckons roadside travelers into the hotel’s parking lot. Bold, neon-yellow sun rays radiate from a gorgeously eerie cowboy and cowgirl couple (see pic below).

– The booze-free mini-bar in every room, which more than makes up for the lack of booze thing with a welcoming bounty of gourmet snacks – all Tucson-made (!). We sampled the prickly pear and lemon poppy seed RBars (chewy, delightful energy bars made with seven ingredients or less), wholesome, homemade Bird’s Nest Baking Company granola (I loved the sweet-salty Sonoran blend, which is packed with prickly pear, local pecans, mesquite, and other native ingredients). Dave loved the all-natural jerky Beef Crisps. In the mini-fridge, try the smooth and strong Exo Cold Brew bottled coffee, which will get you going in the morning.

(List continues below . . . )

Downtown Clifton Exterior
Downtown Clifton Interior
Downtown Clifton Vintage Glassware Tucson
Downtown Clifton Snacks
Downtown Clifton info sheet
Downtown Clifton books
Downtown Clifton bedroom with lamplight
Downtown Clifton Barware
Downtown Clifton patio
Downtown Clifton mural
Downtown Clifton patio at night

More reasons to love the Clifton:

– The Crosley portable turntables in the lobby, which guests can check-out and take to their room to enjoy the luxury of falling asleep to the comforting sound of warm, scratchy vinyl. And, of course, the eclectic mix of LPs, which will make you feel like you’re flipping through your cool friend’s record collection.

– The “I Heart Tucson” t-shirts for sale in the lobby.

– The $10 breakfast voucher to 5 Points Market & Restaurant, down the street on Stone Avenue (try the eggs benedict!).

– The vintage glassware in every room, including antique English corkscrews, bottle openers, and wine corks. There’s something about drinking out of a highball glass that makes everything taste a little better.

– The cozy, vibrant Southwestern throw on the bed, which is soft to touch. And the original art in every room, which is available for purchase.

– Armory Park, a neighborhood full of funky old Victorians, dusty adobes, historical markers, and unique shops, like my new favorite boutique, Bon.

– The communal patio with strings of light and vintage, candy color-hued bistro seating. Magical.

– The TV in our room – with Netflix and HuluPlus – that made us feel like we were home.

Okay, you get the picture. I loved our stay at The Downtown Clifton, and you will too if you like low-key boutique hotels that are cozy, colorful and go the extra mile to make you feel welcome.

P.S. If you’re looking for another cool desert hideaway in Southern Arizona, check out The Shady Dell Trailer Park in Bisbee.

The Downtown Clifton
485 South Stone Avenue
Tucson, Arizona 85701
Front Desk: 520.623.3163
Rates start at $90/night

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