The allure of the Old West has always been strong in Southern Arizona — especially in Tombstone, where the sounds of an infamous shootout are still echoing more than a hundred years later. Like Tombstone, Tucson has historical ties to the Old West, and one of the best places to experience that is the Armory Park Inn, built in 1875 and believed to have been a stagecoach stop for travelers headed to the Old Pueblo. Later, with the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad, it became housing for conductors and engineers.
Today, the horses and the boxcars are long gone, but the B&B still honors the site’s legacy by offering a nice balance between historical charm and modern amenities.
“What’s stayed the same is the feeling you get when you’re here,” says Amy Draper, an eighth-generation Tucsonan who owns the B&B. “What’s evolved is its use, but not its character. The inn gives its occupants a sense of place, history and connection to the area.”
And a little pampering as well.
Each of Armory Park’s seven rooms — which feature hand-tufted cashmere and cotton mattresses, Frette bed linens, down pillows, robes and slippers — pays tribute to a figure who helped shape the state, including Charles Poston, the “Father of Arizona,” and Isabella Greenway, the state’s first congresswoman.
In the morning, a three-course, Southwest-inspired breakfast features fresh-baked scones and breads, seasonal fruits, yogurt parfaits, meats and salads. All dishes are regionally inspired and use locally sourced ingredients. Another option, if you’d rather stay in bed, is to order one of the gourmet in-room breakfast baskets.
At some point, though, you’ll want to leave your room and explore the neighborhood. The B&B, which is near downtown Tucson and the University of Arizona, offers free use of seven-speed cruiser bikes for tooling around. If you’re not familiar with the area, the staff will map out a cycling route that includes local shops, galleries and restaurants.
Back at the inn, which features 22-inch-thick adobe walls and 18-foot ceilings adorned with saguaro rib and wooden vigas, guests can unwind on the quiet patio, warm up next to the stone fire pit and enjoy “Armory Hour,” a version of happy hour that includes house-made hors d’oeuvres and specialty drinks. It’s a good space for curling up with a book, too. The inn has an extensive collection that highlights historic downtown Tucson and Southern Arizona. If you want to learn about the allure of the Old West in a place that’s part of the Old West, the Armory Park Inn measures up.
The Armory Park Inn
438 S. Third Avenue