The Royal Elizabeth – a Tucson Treasure

The Royal Elizabeth welcomes you

The Royal Elizabeth Bed and Breakfast in central Tucson is a world class establishment. It is, first and foremost, a beautiful historic home which is now a premium place to stay for the lucky visitor to this sunshine city. It has a colonial air and is a unique example of late Victorian architecture as interpreted by South West America.

The breakfast emporium

It has large airy rooms with 17 foot ceilings  and is packed with original antiques and furniture from the period. Set slap bang in the heart of the newly rejuvenated downtown district of Tucson, it is within walking distance of a wealth of up scale bars and excellent restaurants including of note, a brand new  highly recommended Native American restaurant called Barrio.

Take your tribe here

Susan and Glenn Miesch were exemplary hosts and enthusiastic ambassadors for this cosmopolitan corner of Southern Arizona. A special mention must go to Susan who can only be described as a gourmet breakfast specialist. The breakfasts I experienced were two of the best I’ve ever had on my travels around the world. One featured a starter of grilled pineapple with agave nectar and toasted coconut flakes followed by a cheese souffle in a tortilla basket, with barbecue chicken sausage and fresh mango dressed with chocolate mint from the herb garden. The following morning we enjoyed a home made red pepper soup garnished with cream and turkey bacon batons, followed by the Royal Elizabeth Tower of Taste. This consists of Parmesan polenta on a bed of spinach topped with a poached egg in a won ton! It certainly gives the rest of the day something to live up to.

The Royal Elizabeth Tower of Taste

The Royal Elizabeth  is one of Arizona’s oldest buildings built with a traditional adobe style exterior. Constructed in 1878, it was home to Charles Blenman, an English Attorney who practised law in Tucson for more than 45 years. He was known as the ‘judge’ and was well known for his patriotism and raising and lowering the US flag on a daily basis. He also liked to entertain in his beautiful home and you can still imagine the grand entrance, hallway and dining room, which are all still panelled in the original Douglas Fir, full of the great and the good of early Arizona society discussing the issues of the day.

The Nicole Elizabeth Room

The house  survived in the family for some time. Much later it was purchased in the mid 1990s by Royal Henry, a Colorado contractor, and his wife Yvonne Elizabeth. The Royal Elizabeth Inn opened in 1999 after extensive remodeling and refurbishing, which included the restoring of all original woodwork, doors and trim which had been carefully packaged and stored in the carriage house. They also built the outdoor pool and spa which you can access directly from the delightful Nicole Elizabeth suite I was lucky enough to stay in. Or there’s an indoor Jacuzzi ensuite, if you prefer your bubbles indoors.

Delightful downtown desert Oasis

Unlike a lot of other American cities, the centre of Tucson is quite compact, easy to walk around, and very safe too. There is a brand new tram network which covers the city centre and a neat walking tour will take you around the historic sites and public buildings of that area. There is a charming courtyard where the Artisans of Tucson hang out displaying their high end crafts which include beautiful Navajo pottery and other native American creations. Only yards from the front door of the Royal Elizabeth, is a rather lovely restored 1920’s Theatre in the adobe building known as the temple of music and art. We saw the Arizona Première of Wait until Dark there, which I thoroughly enjoyed with half price front row seats for $20 (£15) which you can pick up in the last hour before the performance.

The Royal Elizabeth is best suited to the discerning traveller who can appreciate the architectural features and history of this unique property. It is in a perfect location for exploring the new developments of this compact, cosmopolitan, laid back Southern City. It was a real treat to stay here and it deserves a royal reputation.


A little light reading