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“A Perfect Two-Day Trip in SE Arizona”

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Lodge on the Desert
Ranked #23 of 130 Hotels in Tucson
Certificate of Excellence
Phoenix
Level Contributor
37 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“A Perfect Two-Day Trip in SE Arizona”
Reviewed April 8, 2013

Traveling with another couple, we had an ambitious itinerary to see Kartchner Caverns and visit some wineries and we wanted to do it over a short weekend with just one night in Tucson. I found Lodge on the Desert on hotel.com. I was looking for something centrally located with some SW charm rather than a modern hotel. The reviews and pictures looked good and the price was right so I took a chance and booked two rooms. We arrived, after a very early start in Phoenix, a cave tour, several winery stops, and a one-hour detour to get around an accident on a road north of Sonoita. I always wonder, when we book on hotel.com, whether we will get second rate rooms but we were very, very happy with what we saw when we arrived. The grounds are lovely and the property is small enough that you can easily navigate. Our rooms were in the back, where it was quiet and the rooms, both Deluxe One King Bed, were spacious and clean and very comfortable. We had a huge bathroom, a fireplace, a balcony, and plenty of room to spread out. We even had a small refrigerator in the room. There is no elevator so keep that in mind if you have trouble with stairs but the hotel is only two stories so it is not a long walk up. The property has a beautiful, small restaurant with a creative chef. We had drinks and dessert in the bar after dinner at another restaurant on Saturday night and then we had breakfast on Sunday morning. The menu is a mix of unique/creative and standard dishes and prices are reasonable; always a consideration at an upscale resort. The only thing that Lodge on the Desert could have done better was let us know, when we checked in, about the restaurant happy hour. A sign and menu at the front desk would have been helpful and we would have been down there for happy hour right away! They have some restaurant signage but it was much too subtle and not right at the front desk. We took a chance on breakfast on Sunday morning without knowing if the restaurant would be open. Fortunately, it was and we ended up spending a very enjoyable morning there eating and talking. The food was fresh and delicious, the service was great, and the ambiance was lovely. This hotel is a great place to stay if you don't care for huge properties with a lot of noise and activities. The pool is small but very comfortable and parking is close to your room. We will go back next time we are in Tucson.
While you are in Tucson, check out the International Wildlife Museum. Even though I grew up in Phoenix, I had never heard of it but our friends had been there. It is an amazing collection of animals and insects; from Woolly Mammoths to bears and birds. Just about everything creature you can think of, and many you can't, are beautifully displayed. Great for kids but we adults spent a happy hour-plus wandering through the rooms before we headed back to Phoenix. It is an inexpensive museum and supports conservation through education. It is located west of 1-10 on Speedway so it is easy to get to. It is a worthwhile stop while in Tucson.

Room Tip: Ask for a room towards the back of the property. Ours was in a two-story building with a nice view...
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Paula B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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954 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (329)
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English first
Port Huron, Michigan
Level Contributor
56 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed April 7, 2013

We loved our visit to the Lodge on the Desert. The staff was tremendously helpful and made us feel extremely welcome. Our room was spotless and very comfortable and spacious. The dining room cuisine is incredible. We ate dinner there both nights and had the same entrees each night because they were so delicious. Next time we are in Tucson we will stay at the Lodge on the Desert.

Room Tip: We were in room 201 which was very spacious and comfortable.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank cabotpierre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northumberland UK
Level Contributor
56 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed April 7, 2013

Once we had found our way around the hotel it was very good - we definitely needed the map to begin with. We had a large spacious modern room with an excellent shower. My wife made good use of the pool and hot tub / jacuzzi which was never crowded. The breakfast was good - with porridge (aka oatmeal brulee) as good as Scotland. It was lovely to sit outside for breakfast. The restaurant was also very good on the 2 nights we ate there. Staff were all helpful. It was useful to be able to access a computer with a printer both for a hike to Madera Canyon and to print off our flight boarding cards. Wi-fi could be a bit iffy. It might be helpful if Reception had a sign, for new arrivals. We enjoyed our week's stay.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank gansonwheels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 7, 2013

Loved this place! We stayed in a Spa King room. It had a fantastic spa whirlpool tub, a shower with lots of hot water and good pressure, comfortable bed, gas fireplace, mini fridge, coffeemaker and free wi-fi that actually worked! Everything was impeccably clean and well groomed. We just have a couple of suggestions. The Spa King room is so roomy why is there not a small table and chairs to sit at and eat a meal? I was not feeling well and did not want to go to a restaurant we had to sit on the bed to eat, and there is a small patio with glass sliding door but no chairs out there to sit out in the beautiful Tucson evenings.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank PatSv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
46 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed April 7, 2013

I stayed a week at the Lodge on the Desert (LOD) along with a professional group. "Disappointed" does not cover it. I am from New Orleans, originally. What happens there is a number of hotels and restaurants dress up a place to have a French Quarter look to entice visitors who think that look equals quality and a cultural experience. A lot of those places are all style with no substance. Such is the case with LOD. This is basically a low-end establishment, like a Scottish Inns or Motel 6, but dressed up in the Santa Fe adobe look. Its not near the mountains as advertised, which are 40-plus miles away. It is downtown, and not in the most exclusive part of Tucson either. Rather its in a lower middle class neighborhood on crowded stretch of road through the suburban sprawl. Two blocks south of LOD begins the industrial, poor, urban blight part of the Old Pueblo City. But, to the rooms: Cheap, poorly appointed, e.g. corroded shower head, plastic garbage cans, no tables on the balconies (but no issue - the mountains far far away can only be seen from one side of the hotel - and not clearly). They have exposed pipes in the bathroom and the furnishings are cheap, uncomfortable and sparse. They don't have any hooks on the bathroom door or anywhere else. There is no laundry service and no bag or bellman service. You drag your own bag. The strutting property manager, has cut corners in these rooms until there are no corners. No mini-bar and just a dorm room fridge on the floor. The little Kiva fireplace works - works like a pizza oven. It will roast you. It is unusable -- unless you like to push the thermostat to 82. It has two settings - on and off and that is controlled by a light switch. I could go on. This place is not a bargain; its not an experience -- well a bad one, yes -- and its not worth half what they are charging. It is insulting to be taken for a rube by people who put "lipstick on a pig," as the saying goes. Best deal in town is in Ventana Canyon. Look it up...right IN the mountains and truly delivers what you expect and expect to pay. Avoid the LOD. Its not any more in the Desert than all of Tucson, and this is no "lodge." Its a mirage on the desert.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
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Helpful?
1 Thank le_meridional
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 review, April 10, 2013
We recognize and appreciate reviews of our hotel by any and all of our guests. I met with you frequently during your stay and addressed your concerns, some of which you did not mention, perhaps due to their inappropriateness. Your previous review was removed by TripAdvisor as it was agreed that it had an agenda which was not shared by any of your collegues of the large group you were a part of or the vast majority of previous guests of Lodge on the Desert. The reputation of our hotel has been consistently reviewed as a quality service oriented facility. If one wishes to purposely attack a business we can all find flaws in any business. Taking situations out of context and attempting to publicly damage a business in a manner which does not truly reflect actual conditions or the advertised descriptions of the hotel is an unfortunate reflection on the reviewer. Again, the fact that you wished to pursue this agenda a second time clearly identifies your reviews as suspect. One additional point, when Lodge on the Desert began as a private residence and then became a small southwestern lodge, it was in the desert and Tucson grew. The golf courses two blocks away, the most popular family and work out trail and restaurants, movie theaters and shopping are within 5-10 minutes more properly describes our location. I wish you well in your future travels and hope you enjoy your future hotel stays.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, AZ
Level Contributor
42 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed April 4, 2013

A beautiful property in a good location. The rooms are modern, clean, well appointed and very comfortable. The restaurant was excellent and the food enjoyable. The pool area and pool were very clean even tho we didn't use them.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank pcleavitt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boulder, Colorado
Level Contributor
72 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed April 4, 2013

We loved our stay here, convenient to the city but tucked away in a residential neighborhood with a view of the mountains. Around every corner of the the lovely grounds and adobe village atmosphere are quiet seating spots and little fountains where you can enjoy relaxing in the shade or soaking up the sun. We stayed in one of the historic casitas- a very spacious room with lots of character-kiva fireplace, hand painted folk art trim. Don't miss the restaurant-meals fabulous, inventive young award winning chef. We ate there for convenience the 1st evening and loved it so much we ate every meal there the next 4 days. The restaurant is also a lovely spot with outdoor dining and a glowing fireplace to gather around on cool evenings and indoor dining with floor-to-ceiling glass that feels like being right out on the patio. Excellent drinks with fresh juices (like watermelon), both cocktails and non-alcoholic.

Room Tip: The single story historic casitas are large and character laden and have a shower and tub.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank ECandC
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

Property: 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:
#9 Spa Hotel in Tucson
#9 Romantic Hotel in Tucson
#14 Family Hotel in Tucson
#24 Business Hotel in Tucson
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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