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.
The original main building was designed and built as a private residence for Mr. & Mrs. Quinsler of Watertown and Sherhorn, MA and completed in 1931. The large home, built of adobe brick, boasted four bedrooms/ two bathrooms, kitchen, dining room and living room with fireplace (now the Catalina meeting room). Also on the two-acre property was a corral with three horses, bunk house with pigeon loft and hay rack.
The family compound was purchased by Homer and Cornelia Lininger and opened for business as Lodge on the Desert in 1936 with seven guest rooms. The original swimming pool was added in 1937 along with one additional guest room and swimming area changing room.
Lodge on the Desert operated as a resort facility except during World War II when it served instead as housing for B-24 officers training at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. It had no dining facilities during that time. There was also little refrigeration or air conditioning; water cooling had not yet been perfected. Paved streets ended at Country Club Road; Broadway, Fifth Street and Speedway east of Country Club were unpaved. Lodge was heated by a coal furnace which later converted to oil. When gas lines were extended from Broadway to the Lodge property, it enabled the hotel to convert from oil to natural gas.
Additional guest rooms were added in 1952, 1956, 1968 and 1973, bringing the total to 35 until further Lodge expansion and renovation in 2009.
Lodge on the Desert was purchased from Schuyler Lininger by Lodge Partners, LLC, an Arizona investment partnership, on April 1, 1997. At that time a landscape architect was hired to re-design the hotel grounds. Plus the restaurant and kitchen were expanded and a new patio and lounge were added.
During the extensive 2009 expansion and renovation, another massive re-design of Lodge grounds was undertaken. Guest room and suite inventory swelled to 100 with the addition of several new two-story guest room buildings. More meeting and event space was added, including spacious new, striking and lush outdoor courtyards and lawns. Total meeting and event space grew to over 10,000 square feet. Lodge guests’ sense of arrival was heightened by both the brand new new circular driveway and Hacienda building which includes the front desk reception area, lobby, library, sundry area and small board room. The pristine and also brand new contemporary Southwest swimming pool (complete with whirlpool spa, fireplace and pool water feature), was designed immediately off the Hacienda building and located in the geographic center of the expanded five-acre village-like setting.
In late 2010, to meet the demands of additional overnight guests as well as those attending meetings and catered events, Lodge undertook a total kitchen renovation.
From 1936 to today, Lodge on the Desert – in design and operation – has remained true to its Southern Arizona roots . . . it is at once authentic, charming, historic yet contemporary. It reflects its southwest heritage...simply and completely.