As I walk into El Presidio Inn, a faded brown wall plaque catches my eye. It’s an entry from the 1999 Zagat Guide, which lauds the inn as “a step back in time.” If it was a step back fifteen years ago, what does that make it now?
El Presidio is a little haven of Victorian architecture, vintage décor, and old-fashioned Southern hospitality in the middle of Tucson. Owner Patty Toci has lived in Tucson since the 60s, but she hails from South Carolina, and she is a consummate hostess. When you arrive, she welcomes you home. She smiles down at you, she blesses your heart, and she occasionally wields a grandmotherly sternness to insist that you simply must go to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, because she’d be a terrible host if she didn’t force you to.
Rooms are fully stocked with toiletries, beverages, snack mixes in glass bowls (thoughtfully covered with Saran wrap), and little handwritten notes to explain all of the amenities, including the wi-fi network, “JesusG.” In fact, the whole place is furnished with loving care. It teems with knickknacks, frills, vintage tins, and magazines from the ‘90s. I felt a bit like a bull in a china shop, but a very pleased and bashful bull on his best behavior.
The Inn sits smack dab in the historic Presidio district, which makes it easy to explore the city on foot, or to drive to nearby attractions. But you may be tempted to spend your time just lounging about the inn. It’s quiet and peaceful; in particular, the garden courtyard is really stunning.
Each morning, we arose promptly for breakfast at 8:30. Sit down, pour a cup of strong coffee, and chat with other guests at the long dining table. Before you know it, Patty beams her way through the door with a massive home-style meal. We always began with fresh fruit served on fine china, and continued on to platters of sausage or extra-crispy bacon, tender eggs (scrambled, omelet, frittata, etc.), and often a starch as well (gingerbread pancakes with lemon syrup, thick-cut cinnamon raisin French toast).
Given El Presidio’s great location and hospitality, not to mention that our suite was lovely, the prices are almost surprisingly affordable. I can’t imagine what more you might want in a Tucson bed and breakfast.
El Presidio Inn
297 N Main Ave
Tucson, AZ 85701