Built in 1948, The Downtown Clifton greets you with a strong sense of nostalgia. Located in Tucson’s Armory Park neighborhood, this no-frills property is a comfortable walk from downtown, making it an ideal location for exploring on a budget.
The Downtown Clifton offers 30 rooms spread across two floors. All accommodations are accessed from the outdoors. Eight are original to the property and part of what’s referred to as “The Bunkhouse.” Restored in 2014, rooms feature vintage furnishings and original 1940s tile work in the bathrooms.
The Señorita rooms were added in 2019 as part of an expansion project. I stayed in room 29, a second floor Señorita room with views of prominent landmark, Sentinel Peak, also known as “A” Mountain. (Located on the west side of downtown Tucson, the area is popular with hikers. The “A” was built by University of Arizona students in 1916 and still plays a role in annual Homecoming festivities.)
An outdoor staircase led the way to the room’s entrance. It had a retro, no frills feel. Vintage bedside tables flanked the queen bed and floor to ceiling windows on a majority of the exterior wall flooded the room with natural light. A small sitting area with two chairs provided bonus room to spread out. Surprisingly, there were no USB ports in the room, but there was a handful of used books, handy for those that enjoy reading before bed.
The bathroom featured a vanity with a single sink and a large shower. Toiletries are provided in large, refillable bottles.
A refrigerator and small microwave were tucked into an alcove that did double duty as a closet. There’s no coffee pot in the room, but coffee is available when the lobby opens each morning. For an additional charge, a French press can be set up in your room.
Housekeeping is available by request. There are no elevators, so if stairs are an issue be sure to reserve a room on the first floor.
The onsite The Red Light Lounge spills out from the lobby into a courtyard. Along with wine, beer and cocktails, there’s a small menu that serves options the likes of sweet potato croquettes and jackfruit taquitos. Opening days and hours can vary.
Just a few blocks away, 5 Points Market & Restaurant is worth saving time for. Open for breakfast and lunch, expect a menu that sources local ingredients to create popular dishes including Huevos Rancheros and frittata, to innovative options like a smoked beet sandwich with a jalapeno-cabbage slaw. Show your room key for 10% off. The Downtown Clifton Keyholder’s Club offers a number of discounts around town.
Room rates start at $119 a night. You can also go to Hotels.com or Expedia to compare rates. Wi-fi is included; there is a small parking lot and ample street parking. Pets are welcome for a nominal $20 fee. The front desk is staffed 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.