Archive for the ‘Running an Arizona Inn’ Category

Tucson Attractions Passport

August 15th, 2011 by tucsonbb

Tucson Attractions Savings Passport

Tucson, Arizona and the surrounding area are home to some of the most diverse attractions in the United States. The Tucson Attractions Savings Passport is a booklet offering 2 for 1 entrance fees to some of the most popular attractions in Southern Arizona, all within easy driving distance of Hacienda del Desierto Bed & Breakfast. We have one booklet left and it is free (a $15 value) to the first guest who reserves a room for two or more nights during August 2011 if they mention reading this blog when they call to reserve a room.

Updated Patio Suite

August 10th, 2011 by tucsonbb

Updated Patio SuiteWant to know one of the things B & B’s do in the summer season in Tucson? We do maintenance and improve the property for our new up-coming travel season. At the Hacienda, we have just finished updating one of our guest suites, the Patio Suite. It has a beautiful new slip cover on the sofa, new chair covers, and a new rug. Stop by for a visit. The room pops!!

A Culinary Taste Treat

September 8th, 2010 by tucsonbb

Bananas FosterSome visitors to Tucson are “foodies” at heart and are looking for new taste experiences.  In addition, for some, wine is a necessary complement to that food experience.  If you are planning a trip to Tucson or if you are lucky enough to already live here, the Tucson Culinary Festival will be taking place at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort October 28-31.

It is hosted by Tucson Originals, Tucson’s independent restaurant group featuring top local and national chefs cooking and teaching.  There is a World Margarita Championship, a Reserve Tasting, a Grand Tasting, and a Copper Chef Challenge & BBQ, all but the last taking place in the evening.

New Hampshire Artist Popular with Tucson Bed & Breakfast

October 25th, 2009 by tucsonbb

A major artist who contributes to the room decor at Hacienda del Desierto Bed & Breakfast is Lori Simons from New Hampshire who spends almost a month with us every year.  An original water color hangs over the desk area in the Galleria guestroom, and a still life print hangs in that bathroom.  The Patio Suite guestroom also has an original oil painting of Sabino Canyon.

Agua Caliente Park by Lori Simons

Agua Caliente Park by Lori Simons

In other areas of the Bed & Breakfast are original watercolors of the front gate entrance, the courtyard, and Agua Caliente Park.  She also helped me design and execute a wall mural of an ocotillo for our office wall.  A small table also has a painting of a Javalina.  Guests who visit in February look forward to her stay with us, often purchasing new work she brings with her.

Agua Caliente Park,  the subject of the painting, is 15 minutes north of our Tucson lodging.  There are natural springs there which create a birding habitat.  It is truly an oasis in the desert.

Artist inspires Tucson Bed & Breakfast Décor

August 3rd, 2009 by tucsonbb

Every wonder what inspires a Bed & Breakfast guest room’s décor?   We wanted to take a two-room suite which had been used by one of our mothers (painted in Pepto Bismal pink, her favorite color) and turn it into a guestroom for which no guest would need Pepto Bismal to enjoy a relaxing visit.  During a tour of Mexican and Southern Arizona historic missions, we met a fellow traveler and artist, Arline Tinus from Flagstaff.

Mexican Dancers

Mexican Dancers

Several weeks later she brought some of her work down from Flagstaff and stayed with us overnight.  I picked one of her beautiful watercolor paintings of Mexican dancers to be the color inspiration for the new guestroom.  It hangs in the bedroom of what has since been called the Galleria because of all the artwork in the room.

We were inspired to experiment with paint on the wall on which the queen bed has been placed to make it reflect the transparent purple of the Mexican dancers’ skirts.  We painted the wall off white, and then washed it with a watered down fuchsia, then an even more watered down deep blue, letting the paint drip down to the floor from the roller used.  The finished wall looks exactly like the transparent purple in the Mexican dancers’ skirts and doesn’t overpower the rest of the room.

Patio Suite Wall with painting

Patio Suite Wall with painting

We also picked up the transparent peach tones in the dancers’ clothing from the painting and washed the upper half of the room with that same watered down peach tone, keeping the lower wainscoting off-white so the suite still has a restful feel and isn’t overwhelmed with color.  You can see more pictures of this guest room and the rest of the inn on our website.

Most of Arlene’s recent work seems to be oil painting, but this one is a watercolor, my favorite.

Becoming a Tucson Innkeeper

June 28th, 2009 by tucsonbb

Ever wonder draws a couple or individual to innkeeping?  Well, I can tell you what attracted Rosemary & David Brown to bed and breakfast innkeeping.  We had a large home with private entrances to bedrooms built around a central courtyard like historic Spanish haciendas.  We are located on 16 acres in the foothills of the Rincon Mountains next to Saguaro National Park East in Tucson, Arizona.  Since our children were grown, the house was way too big for just the two of us, yet we had built it ourselves and wanted to remain there.  Having just retired from school teaching for many years and ready for a new experience, we were ready to try a new career.  With the help of family and local adobe brick masons, my husband had built most of our home in the 1970’s so had the experience to remodel guestroom spaces.  With her love of interior décor, Rosemary had the interest and experience to redesign the guest bedrooms with guest comfort and convenience in mind.

Having been teachers, we were both used to working independently and planning carefully.  What we had yet to find out was whether two managers who had run their own classrooms over many years could work cooperatively together without killing each other.  After a year of trial and error, we found we could share some activities such as, making reservations, checking in guests, breakfast preparation, visiting with guests at breakfast, acting as concierge, while other tasks were better handled by one or the other of us.  David enjoys working with accounting and banking and does most of the maintenance work while Rosemary is the great list-maker/organizer/manager and is the only one interested in working on the computer, advertising, and decorating.  Since David has a great deal of historical knowledge of the old southwest, he also provides background information to guests about the Tucson area.

Adaptability is also an essential characteristic for innkeepers as the World Wide Web and other advertising venues are constantly changing.  Successful innkeepers must constantly keep abreast of new innovations and technology.

What we lacked was small business experience in the area of innkeeping.  This we got by joining the Arizona Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns and talking with other innkeepers in our area.  The Professional Association of Innkeepers International is also a great resource of those interested in becoming innkeepers.

What is a “Hacienda”?

May 11th, 2009 by tucsonbb

Hacienda del Desierto front gate

Hacienda del Desierto front gate

The term ‘Hacienda’ refers to a parcel of land, or an estate, and may be well compared to American Plantations, where ‘tied’ laborers worked the land in return for basic provisions.

Haciendas were a European concept, introduced by the Spaniards during the 16th Century as part of an economic model that aimed to create efficient industrialized ‘centers’, overseen by powerful land-owners and their estate managers. They reached their peak during the 18th Century; however, as the political and economic landscapes changed, the era of the Mexican Haciendas came to an end.

Originally, a Hacienda was a complex of buildings which housed the family and workers and included a chapel, blacksmith shop, and food storage areas.  The main family house was built around a square courtyard where there was a well and cooking ovens.  It was large enough so that if there was an attack, all the farm animals and workers and their families could come for safety and help defend the house.  There would have been one large entrance into the courtyard with large heavy wooden gates which could be barricaded when necessary.  The roof would have been a parapet where men could fire weapons.  No windows would have been located on the outside of the building which was constructed of two-foot thick walls with a stuccoed coating.

Hacienda del Desierto Bed & Breakfast in Tucson Arizona has patterned its house design after the Mexican hacienda in that the building wings enclose an inner courtyard which has not an oven or animals but a Mexican fountain, flowers, and patio furniture.  It is built of adobe bricks from Mexico in the territorial style with a parapet roof but no stuccoed walls.  The only ‘tied’ laborers at the hacienda are its innkeepers, David and Rosemary Brown.

Developing Hacienda del Desierto

May 7th, 2009 by tucsonbb

Hacienda Living Room

Hacienda Living Room

It would be so much more interesting if we could claim that the Hacienda was an old stage stop on the Spanish Trail, an old route to Mexico.  The truth is somewhat less striking but a labor of love nonetheless.

Originally, David’s father bought about 200 acres in the ’50’s when Tucson stopped at Swan road.  He later sold off all but 40 acres, leaving some acreage to each of his 4 children.  In 1970, we moved to the property, living with our 3 children in just the west wing of the house.  Over a period of 9 years David, his father, and several neighborhood bricklayers completed the house after school, weekends, and vacation periods as we both taught school.  Of course, the children helped, and if you listen to their story, they did all the slave labor.  We had an architect help with the initial building plan but did some revision as the building progressed.  David has done a good deal of the work including the hand-adzing of porch beams, and Rosemary is the interior designer.

The beams are old electric poles and the ceiling boards were taken from the old St. Mary’s Sanatorium and an old Safeway store, both torn down in the  late ’60’s and early ’70’s.  The Patio Suite and Galleria suites were originally our children’s wing and later the Galleria housed Rosemary’s mother for 5 years.

In 1981, David and our youngest son built the Casita, and our older son promptly moved in with his son and lived there for 10 years.

In 1991, David applied for a license to operate a Tucson Bed and Breakfast after we stayed in a number of them in Great Britain.  He didn’t know at that time whether we would ever decide to operate one but wanted to apply before too many restrictions were developed.  In 1993 we experimented with having guests stay without the breakfast to see whether our place was attractive to others and whether it was something we might seriously consider after teacher retirement.

It wasn’t until 1994 that we officially opened the Tucson lodging accommodation with only one remodeled guestroom, the Patio Suite.  A year later we remodeled the space that is now La Rosa.  We then remodeled the Casita (after our son moved).  In 1999 we remodeled the Galleria after Rosemary’s mother left.  Since we want to maintain the present size, we will be adding no additional guest facilities.