We found Arizona’s second-largest city Tucson to be one of the most culturally invigorating places in the Southwest. The charming city seamlessly blends Anglo, Mexican, Spanish, and American Indian traditions to infuse it with a rich sense of history and community. So, we weren’t surprised when we found out that the terrific Tucson is also very welcoming of the LGBTQ community. And we also found a number of gay hotels in Tucson, even though Tucson doesn’t have a gayborhood! However, it produced amazing gay bars, clubs, and lounges, which lie Downtown near Oracle, 4th Avenue, and Speedway. And, of course, Tucson has vibrant Pride celebrations that have been around since as far back as 1977. Clearly, Tucson was a worthy stop on our southern gay sojourn, and it should be on your itinerary too.
But we wanted to explore Tucson beyond its gay scene, too, as the city and its surroundings are home to some of Arizona’s top things to do. As culture and history lovers, we loved walking through the historic town of Tombstone and the Spanish ruins of Tumacacori National Park. For some intrepid adventure out in nature, we had the Saguaro National Park and its absolutely fascinating desert landscape at hand. There’s also the Arizona-Sonora desert museum, the Cathedral of Saint Augustine, and the amazing Pima Air and Space Museum to check out. Tucson, thus, made for a well-rounded destination for a great gay holiday. Check out our top hotel recommendations while staying in the Old Pueblo.
Table of contents
- Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort
- Hotel McCoy
- The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa
- Embassy Suites by Hilton Tucson Paloma Village
- Arizona Inn
- Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
- University Inn
- JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort
- AC Hotel Tucson Downtown
- Lodge on the Desert
- El Conquistador Tucson, A Hilton Resort
- Our Verdict!
- Just So You Know:
Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort
We can’t head to Tucson and not stay in a hotel brimming with romantic old-west charm, can we? And Old-West charm and luxury melded beautifully at Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, one of the best hotels in the town. The peaceful resort is tucked on a hilltop north of the city and offered incredible views of the Tucson Valley and the Santa Catalina Mountains. What’s more, the boutique resort dates back to 1929 and was a getaway for Hollywood stars during the 1950s.
Old-world Spanish Colonial architecture coupled with contemporary touches such as the heavenly zero-edge pool made this place a delight to stay in. Did we tell you there’s another heart-shaped pool too? After a heavenly dip in the pool and a lazy lounge on the chaise lounges, we even headed to the spa for a treatment. If you’re energetic, the 24-hour fitness room will work for you. Do you know what’s even better? Going horseback riding! The on-site restaurant and lounge are known for their craft cocktails, gourmet American contemporary cuisine, and stellar views. Breakfast selections were innately Spanish – think rancheros with green chilies, fried eggs, and eggs and house-brined corn beef hash.
Choose from 59 rooms, casitas, and suites, all of which feature decorative hand-carved furniture, colorful Oriental rugs, and rustic accents in soothing hues. We especially loved the oversized bathrooms with huge walk-in showers and vibrant fittings.
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Most offbeat. Creative LGBTQ travelers looking for funky and affordable LGBTQ-friendly hotels in Tucson will love Hotel McCoy. The exterior of this remodeled retro hotel belies its personality and interiors. Think artwork and statement murals by local artists and some excellent sustainability credentials.
The zenith of the amenities here was the pool deck, aptly named Oasis Beach, which was nothing less than a picture-perfect mid-century centerpiece. We loved the minimalist lobby and bar too, which was the perfect place for a complimentary glass of Arizonan wine and local coffee. The staff, which is local, was very enthusiastic and well-informed about the town. They even suggested and booked tours for us. Moreover, the games area and poolside had foosball, pinball, ping-pong tables, a fire pit, and an outdoor movie screen. If you’re a social butterfly like us, then this is your breeding ground.
A laundry room and gym aside, the hotel’s lengthy and creative roster of events has made it so popular with gays and otherwise, too. Even though there was no restaurant, the bar served a breakfast of Maya tea, local EXO coffee, and an oatmeal bar with more than 20 toppings on offer.
The rooms were photogenic to the hilt with colorful upcycled 1960s furniture and southwestern kitsch, retro fridges, exposed brickwork, and beams. However, they have luxurious touches in the form of marble-accented bathtubs, blackout curtains, and memory foam mattresses.
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The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa
We absolutely love desert landscapes, and that’s why we loved everything about the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa, one of the most luxurious Tucson hotels. Nestled at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains, the backdrop of the resort is the jaw-dropping Sonoran Desert. In fact, the place has an on-site Serenity Garden where we could have a look at the area’s fauna and flora.
Unsurprisingly, the hotel overflowed with amenities, with the five-pool oasis being the focal point of everything here. We fell in love with the serene adults-only pool and the mineral pool containing Dead Sea salt. After a refreshing swim, we indulged ourselves with a massage and a facial at the Red Door Salon & Spa, which reinvigorated the senses. If that wasn’t enough, the place also had a fitness center, ten tennis courts, and the 27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course. Plus, with six restaurants and bars on the property, including a pool bar and grill, we didn’t need to leave during the length of our Tucson stay at all.
The rooms and suites at this Westin resort boasted million-dollar views from floor-to-ceiling windows, swanky mod-cons, and full-sized bathtubs in the bathrooms. The best bit? All rooms had private balconies and patios. We chose the King room with the balcony overlooking the Catalina mountains.
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Embassy Suites by Hilton Tucson Paloma Village
Best budget. Not every visitor to the city wants to live in sprawling hotels in the Catalina mountains, right? Sometimes, all we need is a centrally located, value-for-money stay. And since we were a large group looking for a cheaper LGBTQ-friendly stay, we found the Embassy Suites Tucson Paloma Village to be perfect. And just because it was budget-friendly didn’t make it any less pretty!
Located north of downtown Tucson, this 119-room hotel had a lot going for it. The suites were decked out in modern, Tuscan-style decor and were spacious, warm, and inviting. Comfy beds aside, they had separate sleeping and living areas with cushy sofas, coffeemakers, fridges, and microwaves. What’s more, they even had private balconies that overlooked the desert mountains or the pool. And even though the hotel had no dedicated restaurant, we appreciated the round-the-clock room service on offer.
Our days began with complimentary made-to-order hot breakfasts and ended with an evening social hour with cocktails and snacks. We’d head down to the amazing pool during the daytime to cool down after exploring this desert city. There were even loungers by the side so we could lie before returning to the room. During evenings, we’d gather around the outdoor fire pit to mingle with other travelers and enjoy an alfresco dinner.
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Best boutique. The historic boutique Arizona Inn is one of the best LGBTQ-friendly hotels in the city. The 92-room hotel sits on huge lush, manicured gardens that are full of flowers and fountains. This place was perfect for us as we wanted to delve into Tucson’s gay scene and were on exploring the town too.
With origins going back to 1930, this mid-priced hotel offered gorgeous casita-like accommodations. The rooms exuded a simple yet elegant southwest radiance, complete with private patios that had views of the mountains or the gardens. Oh, and did we mention the turndown service? Yes! Our Deluxe Suite was particularly indulgent and felt like a private palace with a private outdoor patio with seating, a sleek ensuite bathroom, and a coffee machine.
Apart from that, we loved a lot about this hotel, especially the Hacienda-style decor and the gorgeous 60-foot-long heated outdoor pool. In fact, it’s one of the best hotel pools in Tucson. Obviously, we couldn’t miss enjoying a swim and a lounge on the daybeds after, could we? What’s more, the hotel offered a slew of activities such as ping-pong, badminton, croquet, tennis, and more. Plus, we were even able to borrow bikes on the property and explore the town. Our lunches and other meals were feasts by the poolside dining area, which even had an ice-cream bar.
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Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
Not only is Loews Ventana Canyon Resort one of the best gay friendly hotels in Tucson, but it’s overall one of the best hotels in Tucson, Arizona. This lavish hotel lies northeast of Tucson, overlooking the Ventana Canyon Wash.
With 400 rooms and 26 suites, this hotel is dog-friendly and even offers your four-legged furry companion’s room service! Moreover, the rooms and suites have private patios with excellent views of the Sonoran Desert and the Catalina Mountains. Huge soaking tubs, glass-enclosed showers, and chic decor complete the place. This time, We chose a different room, the Ventana Canyon room on the ground floor, with a patio overlooking the lush grounds and the desert in the distance. It’s one of the prettiest luxurious rooms we’ve stayed in.
There was a plethora of activities and amenities on the property that energetic travelers like us will love. For starters, this Loews property is home to hiking trails, lighted tennis courts, and not one but two Tom Fazio-designed PGA golf courses. Lush gardens with koi ponds made even walking around the property a lovely activity. What’s more, there are two on-site restaurants that offer delicious local fare. Don’t miss the poolside Sunday barbeque brunch with barbeque ribs, grilled salmon, and sushi. In fact, many travelers stayed back for the same. The serene adults-only pool was a great way to cool off, especially after we indulged in the Self-Guided Audio History Walking Tour of Tucson Downtown. We wrapped up our day with a soak in the hot tub and a massage at the spa.
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The University Inn is one of the best budget gay-friendly hotels in Tucson and is a preferred wallet-friendly favorite by LGBTQ travelers. Not only is the place comfortable and clean but also it’s affordable and a solid budget choice. What’s more, it’s a 10-minute walk to Tucson’s amazing gay bars and clubs, such as IBT. Plus, the city’s tourist attractions are also clustered around, making this an excellent base for exploring the city without burning a hole in the pocket.
If you think this inn is a typical motel, then think again. Accommodations are a notch above the usual motels and come with mini-fridges, microwaves, and even free Wi-Fi. Even the rooms are anything but run-of-the-mill and have highlighted walls with gorgeous abstract decals. In fact, you wouldn’t believe that these are motel rooms! Even bathrooms are swish with vanity mirrors and bathtubs.
Despite being a budget offering, the hotel is in no way lacking in terms of amenities. For one, it offers a gorgeous outdoor pool that’s excellent for a refreshing dip at the end of the day. Our days began with a hot and free continental breakfast, a real perk for a budget hotel. Rounding up the features are electric car charging stations, free parking, and coin laundry.
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JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort
Saying that we were looking forward to staying at the JW Marriott Tucson Star Pass Resort is an understatement. This resort is tucked amidst mesquite groves and saguaro forests in the Tucson mountains and is one of the most luxurious LGBTQ-friendly digs in the town. What’s more, it lies just around 10 minutes west of Tucson downtown and is also the largest resort in the city!
The rooms and suites here were befitting of a Marriott property and were decked out in colors of the desert. Think of shades of beige, white, and gold. Moreover, we found all sorts of mod-cons in the room, including minibars and plush bathrooms with bathtubs. If that wasn’t enough, each and every room came with a patio or a balcony. Our room overlooked not just the pool but also the mountains and the town and was simply divine.
The exterior of the resort was equally impressive, with huge sun-bleached stone walls blending into the natural surroundings. All over the property, there were outdoor terraces, complete with alfresco seating around Kiva fireplaces. They overlook the vast desert valley, as well as the rolling greens of the golf course and the gorgeous pools. Whenever we weren’t exploring the town, we’d be happily ensconced in a corner of the property. We also had the choice of three outdoor pools for a dip or a lounge, along with a lazy river that ran throughout the property. The restaurants and bars took care of all our culinary whims and fancies, and the bar even had a happy hour with complimentary tequila shots with a dramatic recitation of Pancho Villa’s story.
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AC Hotel Tucson Downtown
A 10-minute walk from Tucson’s gay scene brought us to AC Hotel Tucson Downtown, one of the best chain hotels in the city. Whether you’re here for a vacation, to explore the region, or simply to dive into its gay scene, this stylish hotel makes for a great base, as it did for us.
Even entry-level rooms were nicely spacious and featured modern minimalist décor. What’s more, floor-to-ceiling soundproof windows ensured not only excellent views of Tucson downtown but also a good night’s sleep for an energetic next day. Mod-cons such as smart TVs with Netflix and bespoke toiletries in the bathrooms made our stay here as comfortable as it got.
After a day of work or exploring the city, a sundowner cocktail in the lobby bar was just what we needed. We’d head to the rooftop pool for a refreshing dip when we had time during the day or even in the evening. Afterward, we lay on the daybeds, soaking in the gorgeous views of the desert and the mountains while sipping drinks from the poolside bar. The hearty buffet breakfast was a great way to start the day, and the hotel even had fitness and business centers.
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Lodge on the Desert
There’s nothing like a boutique hotel experience, and that too when the hotel structure itself is historic to boot. We were floored the minute we stepped into the 100-room Lodge on the Desert, one of the chicest hotels in the town. With origins going as far back as 1936, the hotel offers Spanish-Mexican hacienda-style accommodations with the stunning Santa Catalina Mountains as the backdrop. The rooms and suites were housed in pleasing burnt-orange structures that have now come to define the city. On the inside, exposed wooden ceiling beams and adobe walls added to the character, as did the original tile artwork in the baths. Modern additions such as plush bathrobes, mod-cons, memory foam mattresses, and fireplaces ensured our stay was more comfortable.
Unsurprisingly, the amenities here were excellent, especially the charming heated saltwater pool surrounded by lush foliage and sunbeds. What’s more, there was even a whirlpool spa to the side, where a soak felt perfect after a swim. The peaceful and lush gardens and water fountains in the background added to the tranquil charm of the place. Finally, the on-site restaurant served fusion-American fare, complete with a continental breakfast.
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El Conquistador Tucson, A Hilton Resort
Most luxurious. It’s only fitting that the sprawling and opulent El Conquistador Tucson occupies the top spot on this list of LGBTQ-friendly hotels in Tucson. With sweeping views of the gorgeous Sonoran desert and the stunning Catalina Mountains, this luxurious hotel in Tucson offers the choice of regular rooms or casita-style accommodations.
The casitas were private, one-bedroom homes that were fully decked out with kitchens and huge balconies with stellar views. The rooms in the main buildings were no less, with more than half of them featuring kiva-style fireplaces. If that wasn’t enough, all rooms here came with well-equipped minibars and granite bathrooms with bathtubs. Even the standard rooms, where we were, offered stunning views of the Catalina Mountains, and we were downright impressed.
“While there are many resorts with the Catalina Mountains as the backdrop, few are as luxuriously intimate as the El Conquistador.”WOW Travel
In fact, the resort impressed us right from the time we set foot in the spiffy lobby with a huge copper mural of cacti and cowboys. Behind it, a wide view of the Santa Catalina Mountains only made the setting all the more gorgeous. The pool complex at this hotel was particularly famous and came with a 140-foot-tall waterslide. After a swim, the cold and hot jetted tubs felt very soothing. If you’re intrepid, there are many activities around; think horseback riding, birdwatching, and off-road biking. A fitness center and two on-site restaurants round up the facilities here.
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Withh its desert landscapes and Pueblo-inspired architecture, Tucson is a sight to behold. And while each and every hotel in the list above has been handpicked, the ones below are rather special, according to their best features.
- Most offbeat: Hotel McCoy
- Best budget: Embassy Suites By Hilton Tucson Paloma Village
- Best boutique: Arizona Inn
- Most luxurious: El Conquistador Tucson, A Hilton Resort
Just So You Know:
- Tucson was the first municipality in Arizona to enact the domestic partner registry law in 2003.
Get Some Culture in Tucson:
- Tucson Pride: Tucson Pride is organized by Tucson Lesbian and Gay Alliance, which is supposedly Arizona’s first and oldest LGBTQ organization. The first Tucson Pride took place in 1977, and today it’s a vibrant and riotous festival that celebrates the LGBTQ-friendliness of this city. Aside from the main Pride parade itself, there are also panels, discussions, and parties that go on just about anywhere in the city.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Tucson:
- IBT’s Bar + Food: This is one of the most buzzing of Tucson’s gay bars and dance clubs. You’ll love the really spacious dance floor, which sees the hottest gogo dancers dancing. During hot summer nights, the place comes alive with DJs playing the greatest and latest hits and the large outdoor patio packed with the LGBTQ set.
- Venture-N: Having withstood the test of time, Venture-N is one of the oldest gay bars in the city. What’s more, it’s the home bar of the Tucson gayborhood and BOTOP (Bears of the Old Pueblo).
Best Gay Saunas in Tucson:
For all its gay-friendliness, Tucson doesn’t have gay saunas, unfortunately. However, this is more a matter of time than attitude, and we’re sure that the city will see gay saunas and bathhouses soon!