The first thing that awed and amazed me was the internal courtyard: a riot of flowers and trees greet you, offering a gorgeous oasis in the already vibrant, lively core of the historic El Presidio district of Tuscon. This private, fenced-in grotto provides a perfect setting for relaxing in the shade, for quiet contemplation or meditation, for reading or taking advantage of El Presidio district's wi-fi connection, or just for sitting and enjoying the fresh air. There is ample seating for all the Inn's guests, separate enough to be private but close enough to be friendly.
The hostess is a Georgia Peach transplanted to Arizona. A Southern Belle in manner and speech, she is kind, gracious, courteous, and generous. Patti is polite and speaks in a soft, unhurried and deliberate cadence. She has many stories and anecdotes to share, and will gladly do so over her delicious, home-cooked breakfast.
Even if Patti weren't so nice, and the grounds weren't so beautiful, the food alone would be enough to bring me back to El Presidio Inn. She cooks southern comfort food, often with a desert twist: I was fortunate enough to experience a dish that has earned El Presidio Inn much praise already: her ginger pancakes with lemon syrup. These, too, have a story -- the tale of how she came to possess the recipe -- but I won't spoil it for you. You'll just have to visit, and hear it for yourself. Suffice it to say, however, that the pancakes are definitely worth the hype.
The scrambled eggs with Parmesan and salsa were served both days of my stay, and I might have to take the concept back to Canada with me. You really haven't had scrambled eggs until you've had these. And the french toast made with cinnamon raisin bread and marinated in orange juice was a delicious spin on a classic breakfast food.
My friend and I stayed in the Victorian room, so named for its lovely private sitting room full of comfortable wicker furniture and decorated in a pretty colour scheme of white and desaturated pinks, aquas and browns. The bed was large and decadently comfortable, and though the bedroom itself didn't have a lot of space to move around, there was more than enough space for our things.
Top to bottom, El Presidio Inn Bed and Breakfast is tidy and pretty. It is obviously well-loved and well-cared-for. Rooms are clean and fresh, and they possess just enough decoration to feel homey without being cluttered. The aesthetic style may not be for everyone -- very Victorian -- but whether your stylistic tastes run more toward modern, classical, or minimalistic, I think everyone can appreciate that this inn is clean, efficient, and very welcoming.
Shared areas, such as the dining room, are spacious enough to accommodate all the Inn's guests even at full capacity without bumping elbows or rubbing shoulders.
Guests who have left animal companions at home will be pleased to see Patti's cat, Snuggles, wandering the grounds. The cat is as polite and unobtrusive as Patti herself is, though Snuggles makes fast friends with guests who are interested in her feline friendship. She is a shy cat, however, and seems to require that the guest makes the first move in initiating contact -- a boon for those who may be allergic, or are simply not fond of cats.
The beautiful grounds, friendly service, and Patti's personal touch -- like finding the eye contact solution in the bathroom cabinet -- make this one of the best places I've ever stayed. Thank you for a wonderful experience, Patti.
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