Blue Agave Bed & Breakfast was on our original Five Best Tucson Bed & Breakfast Inns published in 2014.
It was with profound regret that we learned last year that it had closed. Proprietor Dana Smith just decided that she missed her nursing career more than she liked being an innkeeper. Nevertheless, we began a search for a Tucson B&B good enough to replace Blue Agave. It took us a while.
We are happy to announce that we found just the right one. As good as it is, in so many ways Desert Dove Bed & Breakfast is different from the four others. They all have their own special character and that’s as it should be. But I know that if you stay at Desert Dove, you will thank us for this recommendation.
LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION
Desert Dove is located on four acres in the foothills of the Rincon Mountains on the far-east side of Tucson adjacent to our magnificent Saguaro National Park East. In fact, the Inn is so close to the Park, you can easily walk to it. On the other hand, the patio gardens are so beautiful, you might just want to hang out in the backyard and watch for the dozens of bird species that frequent this quiet, restful place: Cardinal, Oriole, Roadrunner, Gila Woodpecker, Pyrrhulaxia, Gambel Quail, Western Kingbird, Phainopepla, Cooper’s Hawk, a variety of Owls, several species of Hummingbirds, and so many more.
Nearby are biking and hiking trails, as well as horseback riding through our Sonoran Desert, the most bio-diverse desert in the world.
This adobe home was built as a B&B and decorated with the innkeepers’ extraordinary array of collectibles and antiques that are on display throughout. I easily could have spent a couple of hours just marveling at this wonderful collection of memorabilia. I am certain there is a story behind every one. I was particularly taken by the ornate 1927 wood burning stove in the kitchen and the 1910 upright piano.
The Inn consists of a parlor, kitchen, great room, utility room, two good-size guestrooms; a covered porch overlooking the extensive gardens, and a hot tub. The starry heavens observed from the warm waters of the spa alone would be worth the stay.
Both guest bedrooms have garden and mountain views; a comfortable queen size bed; private bathroom, desk, radio & CD player, a hair dryer, and soft bathrobes. Each bedroom has it own unique collection of antiques and collectibles. No TV in the guest bedrooms, but there is a flat-screen television in the living room if you need to watch that once-in-a-lifetime sporting event.
Just beyond the guestrooms is the multi-purpose room with microwave, refrigerator, KEURIG coffee maker, laundry and other things you might need at any time of the day or night. The innkeepers begin serving coffee and tea at 7:30 AM. Breakfast is at 8:00 or 8:30 AM. Special “treats” might be served in the late afternoon if you’re good.
So, who makes this delightful desert hideaway so special? Harvey and Betty built Desert Dove in 1997. Their son was the architect and they were the general contractor. Harvey’s hobby is restoring classic automobiles, such as his 1929 Model A Ford. He’s currently working on a 1929 Hupmobile. Betty’s hobby is restoring antique dolls and quilts. Many are on display throughout the Inn.
Harvey showed me around the gardens. He is particularly knowledgeable about things that grow in our Desert. And both he and Betty are well-versed in Tucson’s culinary scene and are ready if you need recommendations for lunch or dinner. They are also well-traveled, so if you need assistance deciding what to see and do while in Southern Arizona, they can be most helpful.
Can they arrange for a licensed massage therapist to come to the Inn and relax all your tense muscles and aching joints? Of course. Whatever stress you arrived with will vanish into the desert air.
The Ross’ are a lovely couple: well-educated, articulate, and friendly. As professional innkeepers, they don’t come any better. In addition to admiring the myriad collectibles and antiques that seem to pervade the entire Inn, I could not help notice just how amazingly clean their place is. While Betty told me that she has a system for keeping everything clean, I still imagine a team of happy maids sneaking into the Inn every night just to dust off all the objects on display.
Betty’s breakfast is one of the finest in Tucson and, in keeping with the Inn’s antique theme, her gourmet morning meals are served on vintage tableware. On any given morning during your stay, you might be served Spinach Egg Nest, Southwest Eggs Fiesta, Baked Blueberry French Toast, Baked Oatmeal, Fresh Baked Scones, Yummy Muffins, Waffle Toast; all of which is accompanied by Homemade Salsa, Organic Jams; Fresh Fruit, Fresh Ground Coffee, Tea and Juice. Do you have special dietary needs, such as vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free: no problemo.
When I dined at Desert Dove, I enjoyed a light and fluffy Potato Ranchero Quiche and fresh fruit with sourdough toast and delicious organic jam from one of their neighbors. And then there was this other thingy. It was about the size of a muffin, but was in the shape of a rose blossom. I had never seen anything like it … at least not that was edible. Betty told me that it is an apple rose tart made with puffy pastry and sliced apples. Extraordinary in both taste and presentation!
If you would like Desert Dove recipes, check out the “Recipes” section of their blog.
To the extent we found fault with anything, it is that Desert Dove is a bit hard to find. I passed it three times before deciding that one particular driveway had to be it. This is not an oversight on the part of the innkeepers. For reasons that surpass logic, Pima County would not give them a sign permit. Go figure.
We suggest you pay close attention to the very specific directions on their website.
Nightly rates range for $130 to $145 depending on the season. Two-night minimum February and March. Check the website for availability and to make reservations.
Does Southern Arizona Guide recommend Desert Dove Bed & Breakfast? Indeed we do!
Desert Dove Bed & Breakfast Inn
11707 E Old Spanish Trail, Tucson, AZ 85730