Darn Good Digs

"Darn Good Digs Reveals Outstanding Accommodations with Budget Prices" - Arthur Frommer

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Darn Good Digs in Arizona

Darn Good Digs are the world's best independently owned accommodations for budget-minded travelers, all with rooms under US$150. Darn Good Digs stand out for their originality, spectacular locations, scrumptious food, and great vibes.

  =   Editors' Choice


Traveler Favorite

Alpine (east central AZ): Hannagan Meadow Lodge
 Nominated By: Donna Hull, Tucson, Arizona, USA, May '09

Price Range: US$85-$200 # of Rooms: 16 Kid-Friendly: Yes

Why so darn good? "The location at 9,000 + ft. on the Coronado Trail in the White Mountains. The lodge overlooks a meadow where animals come to graze in the summer. On a snowy day in the winter, you'll see beginning cross-country skiers practicing newly-learned skills." Read more.

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Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice

Bisbee, Arizona: The Shady Dell
Nominated By: Amanda, Dallas, Texas, November '11

Price Range: US$55-$145 # of Rooms: 11 Kid-Friendly: Yes

What makes The Shady Dell so Darn Good? Each vintage trailer at the fabulous Shady Dell is decked out in a retro theme, complete with authentic interiors, period tableware, and mid-century appliances. Over the years, we have stayed in four trailers, each one as cool as the other. We always have fun looking in the trailer drawers and cabinets to see what treasures - old yearbooks, magazines, board games, even packets of 1950’s hosiery - are waiting to be discovered.

Location: The Shady Dell is a couple of miles outside Bisbee, one of southern Arizona’s original copper-mining towns, now home to a laid-back arts and restaurant scene. Bisbee is also worth the trip for a tour of the Copper Queen Mine or a visit to the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum.

Rooms: The Shady Dell has nine vintage trailers, a 1957 Tiki-themed Airporter bus, and a 1947 Chris Craft Yacht. The Polynesian El Rey, the Vegas-themed Airfloat, and all the rest brim with authentic details of days gone by. Sit back and soak up the 50’s era radio broadcasts on your AM radio or watch a Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz flick on your black and white television set. Have some coffee from your electric percolator in a melamine mug or learn to tap dance from a book. There’s so much to do at the Shady Dell, and that’s without even stepping out of your trailer!

Food: Cooking is not allowed in the trailers, but Shady Dell has placed several charcoal grills in the central courtyard – perfect for a cookout and a great opportunity to hang out with your neighbors. For picnic provisions, head to Old Bisbee’s High Desert Market and Café where you’ll find gourmet groceries, organic produce, and locally brewed beer.

Vibe: The Shady Dell has a real sense of community. One night, we had an impromptu picnic with a German mother-daughter duo checked into the El Rey. We had a blast drinking their Icelandic Schnapps and talking for hours. Jen and Justin, the Shady Dell’s on-site owners, are super fun too and helpful if you need them.

Keep in Mind: The trailers are diverse in size and amenities, so check out the online photos and descriptions before making a reservation. In particular, keep in mind that only one trailer has a full bath, most have toilets and sinks, and all are within easy walking distance to the shared bathroom facilities. Also, we are sad to say that the on-site Dot’s Diner is closed.

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Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice

Prescott: The Motor Lodge
 Nominated By: Fans of The Motor Lodge, December '11

check availability, get rates, and reserve online at booking.com

Price Range: US$89-$139 # of Rooms: 12 Kid-Friendly: Yes

What makes The Motor Lodge so Darn Good? Just three blocks from Prescott's town square and famed Whiskey Row, the Motor Lodge has been lovingly rebuilt, restored, and funkified by its new owners. Brian and Joe are fantastic hosts and have poured their hearts and souls into the Motor Lodge, transforming this historic 1940's motel into the stylish, fun, and lively digs that it is today. Hang out with the other happy guests at the community firepit, take a vintage tandem bicycle out for a spin, or cozy up in your comfy bed with its down pillows. Any way you look at it, you might just leave a little hipper and cooler than you were when you arrived.

Location: The Motor Lodge is within walking distance to Prescott's historic Courthouse Square and Whiskey Row, a saloon-lined street featuring live music most nights. Ninety miles north of Phoenix, Prescott is a laid-back old west town, a destination not only for its art galleries, antiques, and boutique shops, but also for its old west history and spectacular setting. After taking in times past at the Sharlot Hall Museum or the Smoki Museum of Indian Art and Culture, get outside and go hiking, climbing, mountain biking or flatwater kayaking.

Rooms: Brian and Joe have pulled off a totally groovy renovation of a 1940's motor court, and have a story to tell about each of the twelve free-standing rooms, all individually decorated with cool art, retro furniture, and funky knick knacks. In Room #6, you'll find a bed and vanity rescued from the original honeymoon suite at the Vegas Stardust hotel, cool glasswork on the bathroom walls, and original subway tiles in the two person shower. Most rooms have porches, adjoining parking garages, and fireplaces, and in cooler months the owners stoke up a fire where guests can warm themselves while having cocktails.

Food: Beer and wine at check–in, freshly baked cookies when you leave. Besides that, some rooms have kitchenettes, and the Motor Lodge has a gas grill available to all guests. Headed out for a meal? Brian and Joe are fantastic at recommending restaurants - every place they suggested was delicious and we tried many a local spot that we would've otherwise missed.

Vibe: Upbeat, low-key, funky, fun, and amazingly hip. We felt welcome from the get-go, like we were instantly in on something fantastic.

Keep in Mind: This is a popular place, so make sure to book ahead, especially for peak weekends and events such as the Whiskey Off Road Mountain Bike Race or the Prescott Rodeo.

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Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice

Sedona: Grace's Secret Garden B & B
 Nominated By: Allison and Michael, Brooklyn, NY, February '08

Price Range: Gosh Darn It! # of Rooms: 3 Kid-Friendly: Yes

What makes Grace's Secret Garden B & B so Darn Good? You are in red rock heaven at Grace's Secret Garden, with clear views of striking red rock formations from the front of the ranch house. The owner, Grace, is incredibly sweet and helpful, and she sure knows how to cook up a good breakfast.

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Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice

Sonoita (south central AZ): La Hacienda de Sonoita
Nominated By: Allison and Michael, Brooklyn, NY, March '08

Price Range: US$115-$140 (breakfast included) # of Rooms: 4 Kid-Friendly: Yes

What makes La Hacienda de Sonoita so Darn Good? La Hacienda de Sonoita is pure cowboy chic, and if you don't watch out, you might just gallop away into the sunset. The hacienda itself is a beautiful, modern take on the mission house, and the main guest rooms all have fun Southwestern themes. But what catapults the Hacienda de Sonoita from just amazing to darn good is its absolutely spectacular setting. The hacienda is surrounded by great fields of grass, yellow in the winter and green in the summer, with majestic mountains looming in the horizon and the big blue sky above.

Location: The Hacienda is located an hour south of Tucson and only five minutes from Sonoita, a little town that is really not much more than a cross in the roads.

Rooms: The Hacienda's four guestrooms, the Mission, Ranch, Railroad, and Grand Canyon, border a traditional Spanish courtyard and are all clearly decorated with love, care, and great attention to detail. Relaxing in our deep turquoise Ranch room, we could imagine our hosts, Cheryl and Tom, scouring local art galleries and antique shops for the perfect pieces. The wrought iron cowboy toilet paper holder and the glass owl night light were especially excellent finds.

Food: Tom cooks up a hearty ranch style breakfast, including such treats as Southwestern scrambled eggs, homemade biscuits, blueberry pancakes, and the John Wayne Breakfast Casserole. I am not sure what that is, but it sure sounds good! Cheryl bakes a fine coffee cake and breakfast is always served with fresh fruit, yogurt, and granola.

Vibe: Tom and Cheryl made us feel right at home. They were super friendly, giving us toys to entertain our seven month old, and sitting down with us to enjoy breakfast.

Things to Keep in Mind: The Hacienda is located up a somewhat rugged dirt driveway, but our little car made it no problem.

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Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice

Tucson: Catalina Park Inn B & B
 Nominated By: Allison and Michael, Brooklyn, NY, February '08

Price Range: US$109-$189 (breakfast included) # of Rooms: 6 Kid-Friendly: Children over 10

What makes Catalina Park Inn so Darn Good? The Catalina Park Inn is a grand and immaculately restored 1920's era house located in a charming historic district. The friendly innkeepers, Mark and Paul, make a fabulous breakfast, and the dining room is bright and cheerful. We particularly loved sitting in the prickly, yet very soothing, cactus garden alongside the house.

Location: The Catalina Park Inn is located on a quiet residential street in the West University Historic district of Tucson. The Inn is within walking distance to many restaurants, cafes, and boutique shops. We managed to catch some live music at a cafe right down the street.

Rooms: Four rooms are in the main house and two are in a cottage bordering the cactus garden. In the main house, the two upstairs rooms have private porches, and the Catalina room (where we stayed) on the lower level has a big whirlpool bath located in a cedar-lined closet. The Catalina room is big and gorgeous, filled with beautiful furniture and artwork in all shades of yellow and blue. This room is no longer in the Darn Good Digs price range, but it is definitely worth the splurge!

Food: During our stay, breakfast at the communal table was always a festive occasion. The food was abundant, fresh, and delicious, and the southwestern flavors were an exciting bonus. Some house specialties include papaya and lime scones, lemon ricotta pancakes, and spicy buttermilk coffee cake.

Vibe: Mark and Paul were very welcoming, and we especially loved how they set out a plate of freshly baked cookies every evening. We truly appreciated the warmth and relaxed atmosphere of such an impeccably kept and beautiful bed and breakfast.

Things to Keep in Mind: The Catalina Park Inn is not in walking distance to downtown, but it is just a few minutes drive away. Also, while the inn's website states that they allow children over 10 years old, they welcomed our 7 month old.

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Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice

Winslow: La Posada Hotel
Nominated By: Michael and Allison at Darn Good Digs, November '10

check availability, get rates, and reserve online

Price Range: US$99-$169 # of Rooms: 45 Kid-Friendly: yes

What makes La Posada Hotel so Darn Good? La Posada, originally a 1929 railroad hotel, was designed by southwest star-chitect Mary Colter to resemble a grand Spanish hacienda. In 1997, its new owners, Allan Affeldt and Tina Mion, began an extraordinary restoration to bring the Posada back to its former glory, while at the same time adding their own contemporary touch. We especially dug La Posada’s museum–like common areas which showcase the owner’s eclectic collection of contemporary artwork and historical pieces, including several of Mion’s own paintings.

Location: La Posada is in tiny Winslow, Arizona on iconic Route 66 three hours northeast of Phoenix near the fascinating Four Corners area. While the town was made famous by the Eagles hit “Take It Easy,” the hands-down reason for coming to Winslow is La Posada. While we could have easily spent our entire visit exploring the hotel and watching the trains go by, we tore ourselves away to take a stroll through Winslow and a dip in the local swimming hole at Clear Creek.

Rooms: Each room is named for one of the hotel's famous guests from days-gone-by such as John Wayne or Clark Gable. The rooms are Southwestern in style and are decorated with fine antiques, original artwork, wrought iron lamps, and hammered tin or tile mirrors. Our room was bright and airy and very comfortable.

Food: We splurged and ate breakfast and dinner at La Posada’s award-winning Turquoise Room restaurant. The gourmet southwestern-inspired cuisine was delicious and memorable, particularly the Crispy Fried Squash Blossoms appetizer we had at dinner. Yum!

Vibe: La Posada’s restoration is truly remarkable and a must see for train buffs, historians, and art aficionados alike. The staff is friendly and helpful and the hotel has plenty of comfortable spots just to kick back and relax.

Keep in Mind: Although we thought it was pretty cool that guests could arrive by train right at the hotel’s back door, we liked having a car to explore the area.

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