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“Looks Aren't Everything”

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Lodge on the Desert
Ranked #20 of 129 Hotels in Tucson
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 29, 2012

This hotel certainly talks itself up online, but once the reservations are made, that's the end of the communications. The check-in was practically wordless -- the desk clerk put an x on the map to show up where our room was, and that was it. There was absolutely no literature about the hotel in the room and no information on check-in and check-out times, what facilities were available and where they were located, restaurant hours -- nothing.

When we went back into the lobby to get directions to a local attraction, the desk clerk -- who had checked us in less than 15 minutes earlier -- looked at us blankly and said "Name?" as though we were brand-new guests checking in.

The grounds are beautiful and our room in the historic section of the hotel had plenty of character, although we could have done without the hole in the wall, the non-functioning television and air conditioner/heater/fan and the slow running drain in the tub.

When we went to check out, we dealt with a different desk clerk, but the level of apathy about customer care was pretty much the same. She said "Hello" without looking up from her computer and then made us stand there for several minutes while she finished up whatever she was doing.

I have been a guest in European hotels that were not as visually impressive as this one, but without fail, they were gracious and hospitable.

I am at a total loss as to why this hotel has received service awards.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Sara N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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677 - 683 of 1,002 reviews

Reviewed October 23, 2012

We learned about the Lodge on the Desert at The University of Arizona orientation. We have stayed with the Lodge on the Desert twice since. Once for moving our children in and once for Family Weekend. On both occasions, the grounds were perfectly groomed and the room was beautifully kept. The staff is very pleasant and helpful. We will definitely stay with them again!

Room Tip: We asked for a room on the newer side of the property because they have wi-fi available. The rooms o...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Betsy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2012

We had gotten the brochure at college orientation and I had spoken to the representative. The next day I called to make our reservation. We booked a deluxe 1 bedroom suite for a very resonable rate. We headed to Tucson for parents weekend at U of A. Upon arrival, the lodge looked very nice the service was accurate and check in went quick. We were extremely happy with our room. The room was spacious and very comfortable. There were plenty of outlets for chargers, a coffee maker, a TV in the bedroom and living area AND the bed was very comfortable. We would stay at the lodge again!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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Thank T S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2012

Very helpful staff. Well groomed grounds with numerous cactus species. If you enjoy quiet and relaxing - this is the place. Our room was comfortable and very warm and inviting. The price was reasonable and I will definitely book again when I come visit my son at U of A...

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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Thank DRWDuke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2012

The front desk clerk didn't explain the features of the property...I just read here there was a great happy hour...noted. There is no coffee in the lobby, no news paper delivery (just fyi)

This is well maintained property. We stayed for two nights and had a double queen room. We had mostly everything we needed...short a few towels for 4 of us, not a big deal. The bathroom had a double sink and very large shower. There was a mini-fridge that was cold and a coffee maker with Starbucks hotel coffee. What I would have liked (and the lower rooms do not have this) was a window or door to open for fresh air (temperatures at night were perfect for this). Our door opened to a bunch of bushes...no patio! Some of the upper rooms have small balconies with two chairs.

The pool area was always very clean but there was no poolside service for food or beverage. It is open 24 hours and there are lounges and seating area plus a beehive fireplace. The pool and spa were sparkling clean, the tables and chairs were very nice. One waitress came to our table by the pool stating "this is a one-time deal, I don't have any tables inside, do you want anything". 30 minutes later we got the one drink order delivered, which we had forgotten about.

Service was pretty slow in the restaurant (breakfast/lunch).
The menu at the restaurant was diverse and somewhat unique. The wait staff were all very friendly, We were there on a busy weekend, so our Sunday brunch/lunch order was somewhat comical with 1/2 of our party of 8 had to order something else because they had run out...spinach, soup of the day, something else, no matter... (still early in the day at 11 - time to make/buy more??)

Because it came at such a leisurely pace, we got to our room at 8 minutes past noon - checkout time. We were locked out of our room. Fortunately someone on staff was walking by and let us in...no questions asked (which seems like that could have been a security issue).

I would stay again because it was clean, quite and a good value, but I would request an upper room.

Room Tip: Upper room with a balcony
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank debschwendler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2012

After doing extensive research on Trip Advisor, I booked a delux king room at this property to celebrate my birthday with my girlfriend. Soon thereafter and to my delight, I discovered a Groupon offering on the Internet, which saved us some additional $$. The customer service beforehand was excellent and transitioning between reservations because of the Groupon was a breeze.

One of the main reasons why I booked the room was for the 42 inch LCD. It was a huge Saturday for college football and I was looking forward to eating at the restaurant and enjoying the games. Before booking the room, I went so far as to call the property to make sure they carried the channels that I wanted to watch. I also reviewed the menu extensively online and called the restaurant to make sure they could accommodate any special dietary requests that we have - as we are both on restrictive diets.

Check-in was a breeze and we soon had our room with good views of the Catalina Mountains. Everything was great until I turned on the TV set. Right off the bat, the reception for CBS was fuzzy. I contacted the front desk and they had someone come right up. All the maintenance guy did was play with the remote control and adjust the brightness, sharpness, and contrast of the picture which I knew wasn't going to eliminate all of its static. I decided I could live with it as some of the channels seemed to come in acceptable enough (although none were in HD.)
After enjoying happy hour at the bar (where the TV reception was fine) we retired to the room to watch some more games. Unfortunately, the reception went from pretty bad on CBS to absolutely atrocious on ABC and NBC. I got a headache trying to watch TV. I couldn't even see the football.

Again, I brought this issue up with the front desk who told me that it was a problem with the cable company. (How come the reception was fine at the bar?) At this point in time, I explained this was unacceptable and asked for some form of discount compensation as this was one of the main reasons why I booked the room. The clerk offered to switch our room to one in a less desirable area of the property, which I declined. We were already settled in and this was a hassle. He said he would have to talk to the general manager and left us know at checkout if anything could be done. Unfortunately, I never heard from him again.

Well, I figured since I couldn't watch football we might as well go to the restaurant to have some dinner. The ambiance was lovely, but again, the service was bad news. Despite ordering only dinner (without drinks, salads, or appetizers) the server managed to botch both of our orders including serving me the wrong dish completely. What annoyed me even more, is that she knew they prepared the wrong dish, but she actually tried to pass it off on me anyways. Once I mentioned it to her, she acted like it was no big deal and said the correct dish would be right up. Needless to say that we didn't eat together at all. Meal pretty much ruined. Mine was comped (after I asked to speak to the manager) and the food was good, but certainly not great, nor original and for the quality it was most definitely overpriced. For the money, I would not eat there again nor do I recommend it.

Overall, we still had a nice time as I wasn't going to let anything ruin our experience. It is a very pretty property, the rooms are spacious, clean and very quiet, and happy hour was awesome. The beds were fairly comfortable and the ceiling fan and fireplace are nice touches. There were a couple oddities with the room: including light switches that didn't seem to operate anything, the remote control for the TV was sticky and unreceptive, a couple of lights were burnt out including my beds overhead reading light, and the light switch for the bathroom was located in an awkward area above the sink inside the bathroom so you had to enter in the bathroom in the dark to turn on the light. The mid town location is convenient, but the surrounding neighborhood and businesses are a little on rough side. The pool is smaller with limited deck space and exposure.

Overall, for the money, I rate the value and service as average and the restaurant as below average (except the happy hour.) It's a pretty good deal if you have a Groupon, but otherwise I'd explore my options before returning.

Room Tip: eastern facing room
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Michael G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frank R, General Manager at Lodge on the Desert, responded to this reviewResponded October 16, 2012

Thank you for choosing one of our promotions and joining us at the Lodge on the Desert. I recognize that we did not meet your expectations and for that I sincerely apologize. After investigating your comments I would like to offer an insight into the issues you noted. Your television reception was due to two factors: The television service in Tucson comes with two channels for each station. One which is analog and one with is HD. We do caring HD service along with HBO for our guests. Regretfully our Houseman did not point this out and I apologize for this mistake on our part. The reception was due to a bad cable which we have since corrected. Again, my apologies. We do not experience this problem and this was an isolated incident but unfortunately it impacted you.Our restaurant issues are understood and I hope that our comping your meal was satisfactory to your concerns. Thank you for your kind comments regarding our Happy Hour, it is very well received by our guests. Our reputation for food has consistenly been extremely positive for the great majority of our guests and our Chef is the reigning Iron Chef of Tucson for two years running. We are fortunate that our food quality, service and menu selections have been well received by our clientle but I apologize that we did not meet your standards. I would like to take a little issue with your comments regarding our location. The neigborhood includes two golf courses two blocks away along with a major tennis facility, we are only two miles from the University of Arizona and the homes in our area, along with the school, one block away are considered a upscale midtown neighborhood. I apologize for the length of my response but the rating of our hotel as the #5 hotel in Tucson supports our position. I would hope you would reconsider returning to the Lodge on the Desert and I am confident your will enjoy your stay.

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Reviewed October 7, 2012

We stayed here for two nights. And had a ground floor room. A very big room! Just like our own little house! It was extremely comfortable and quiet. The layout of the hotel is fantastic, get a map when you arrive! But it really is like being in a little oasis in the middle of the city. beautiful walkways with cactuses and flowers. All the staff were extremely helpful and the restaurant is fantastic, if breakfast is anything to go by, the evening meals must be delicious, we didn't eat here in the evening due to other engagements. It also has a reading room with free internet for all guests. Yes, I highly recommend this hotel, it is one of a kind. So I am giving it allround top marks.

Room Tip: Our room was a single ground floor unit but was fantastic. It was away from the pool and very quiet.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank emporerpenguin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lodge on the Desert

Address: 306 N Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85711-2855
Location: United States > Arizona > Tucson
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Spa Hotel in Tucson
#9 Romantic Hotel in Tucson
#14 Family Hotel in Tucson
#24 Business Hotel in Tucson
Price Range: $140 - $280 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Lodge on the Desert 3.5*
Number of rooms: 103
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Lodge on the Desert is a Tucson classic and guests experience the authenticity of the Old Pueblo blended with the modern southwest charm that has evolved throughout the Lodge's storied 80 years. This 100-room boutique hotel is situated on five acres in mid-town Tucson, AZ and appeals to leisure and business travelers alike. Plus with event spaces for up to 175 guests, Lodge on the Desert is popular for small to mid-size meetings and intimate social gatherings. An Arizona landmark and Tucson tradition renowned for its intimate residential setting and genial hospitality, here guests discover pathways meandering among regal palms, native cacti and manicured lawns wrapped in ribbons of seasonal flowers. Charming hacienda-style accommodations afford guests a sanctuary in which to retreat and relax. It is truly Tucson's urban oasis. And considered by many to be the Old Pueblo's mid-town masterpiece. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lodge On The Desert Hotel Tucson
Hotel On The Desert
On The Desert Tucson

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