Monday, January 21, 2013
Lodge on the Desert - Tuscon
We love Tucson and when we go one of our favorite places to stay is the Lodge on the Desert. It is a great hotel with great history, not too far from downtown and even has its own ghost. And, this hotel is also pet friendly (which Gypsy loves)! What more could we want? Here is our story...
A blending of the historic and modern is always an architectural challenge, but when that challenge is overcome, something special is certain to be the result. And special is the best word to describe what has been achieved in the preservation and renovation of the historic mid-town hideaway known as the Lodge on the Desert in Tucson.
The genesis of this Arizona treasure began with the story of Mr. and Mrs. Quinsler of Watertown, Massachusetts early in 1930. Mr. Quinsler had just received the medical diagnosis of tuberculosis and was told by his doctor that the best medicine for his recovery was the dry climate of Arizona.
The Quinslers decided Tucson would be the best place to start their new Arizona life and purchased two acres of land in the desert, 4 miles east of downtown Tucson. A New York architect was hired to design their new home and even though he had never been to Arizona, he designed a home that took maximum advantage of the Tucson sun. Tucson builder Zanner Lee, whose daughter would grow up to be singer/environmentalist Katie Lee, built the new, Quinsler home.
The adobe home was completed in 1931 and it was something special even then. It contained 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, dining and a family room with a large fireplace. A horse corral and bunkhouse completed the Quinsler’s new desert home site.
Life changed for the Quinslers and in 1936 they sold their desert home to Cornelia and Homer Lininger who saw the beautiful adobe home and surrounding desert as a perfect location to open a lodge. The first guest arrived to the Lodge on the Desert in November 1936.
The Quinsler’s dining and living rooms became the main lobby of the new lodge and the large fireplace became a beacon of welcome to lodge guests. The home’s bedrooms and bunkhouse made into seven guest rooms for rent. A new swimming pool and more rooms were added in 1937. These historic 1937 rooms are available for today’s guests as rooms #153 and #154.
The Lodge on the Desert took on a patriotic mission from 1942 – 1945. During these years of war the lodge’s guest rooms were used as a dorm for young aviators learning to fly at nearby Davis-Monthan Army Air Field, today’s Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
The end of World War II saw a new boom in population growth and tourism come to all of Arizona including the Old Pueblo. The Lodge on the Desert kept up with this new demand for vacationing retreats by adding more guest rooms in 1952, 1956, 1968 and 1973.
The 35 rooms and suites of the beautiful resort were now connected to the original Quinsler home lobby by broad sidewalks that meandered through lush desert gardens and green patio lawns. The large living room fireplace still welcomed new and returning guests. The Lodge of the Desert had become a desert oasis surround by a modern Arizona city.
Lodge lore also tells us that it was during this time that an old guest, one from the other side, began to appear to lodge visitors. Affectionately called Gus, this friendly spirit is believed to be an old cowboy who once enjoyed the lodge’s accommodations and just doesn’t want to ever check out!
In 1997 the Lodge on the Desert was purchased by entrepreneur Dan Donahoe. Mr. Donahoe had gained fame in the hospitality world with his purchase and restoration of the L’Auberge de Sedona and the Rosario Resort & Spa in the San Juan Islands of Washington.
Under Donahoe’s masterful eye all 35 historic rooms were completely restored with the most modern of furniture and conveniences. The old cactus gardens were also rejuvenated and restore to their 1940s charm.
But Dan Donahoe’s vision for lodge was not yet complete. In 2007 a major expansion project began. Adjacent acres were acquired and sixty-eight modern guest rooms and suites were constructed to blend with the old, historic architecture of the lodge.
A new charming hacienda style lobby now greets lodge guests while a new banquet and meeting rooms are available for the business traveler. A roaring fire in the old Quinsler fireplace still greets guests on winter days.
Weddings once again have become a common Saturday afternoon occurrence on the beautiful lawns and families once again refresh in the modern, heated swimming pool.
The newly renovated restaurant features the wonderful culinary offerings of Chef Ryan Clark who is well known for his fresh farm-to-fork meals. And cowboy Gus still makes an appearance, most often hanging around the old lodge bar.
So when you travel south to Tucson and need a place to stay in the Old Pueblo, let us suggest you head straight to the Lodge on the Desert. You too will find the historic and modern accommodations and the people who will greet you to be very special – even ol’ Gus!
Here is a link to this wonderful hotel - http://www.lodgeonthedesert.com/
First 6 photos belong to the Lodge of the Desert; remaining are ours...