Downtown Clifton Motel Gets Guests into the Heart of Downtown

March 14, 2015


A colorful mural by local artist Danny Martin greets visitors at the Downtown Clifton.

By Cristina Manos

The Downtown Clifton Motel is all set to open at the beginning of April. This motel not only speaks Tucson, it screams Tucson. The experience of pulling up to the motel, just south of the heart of Downtown where the color starts to fade, gives even passers by a big treat. Adding to the amazing collection of Tucson public art, and placed boldly on the wall of the motel, is an original mural created by world-renowned, local artist Danny Martin.

Staying at the Clifton is about having an experience, not just needing a place to sleep for the night. At an affordable price, the Clifton will provide you with unique extras to make your stay an adventure. Guests will be staying in a place that offers art, character as well as tokens, coupons and guidance for local dining. The staff at the Clifton will curate an experience based on a customized, thoughtful tour. They want to make each guest a part of all of the exciting things happening in Downtown.

Moniqua Lane and her partners, Cliff Taylor and Phil Lipman, transformed the building by hand into an artistic, eclectic collection of dens. The partners are locals who care about creating a sense of community. They’re already partnering with local businesses around them like 5 Points Market, Penca and La Cocina to get everyone involved in creating an experience for visitors. Your Clifton room key will get you discounts within your Tucson experience, and they’re not going to direct you to Applebee’s.

Arid-adapted plants dot the landscape.

Native and arid-adapted plants dot the landscape.

“This is our place. This is our scene, and we love it,” Lane says.

Lipman brought his expertise with renovation into the transformation of the Clifton. “He has an eye for transforming hideous buildings,” says Lane. Taylor, who has designed other buildings in Downtown including Maynard’s Market, brought his own skill set to the table. The building was built in 1947 and was a small apartment complex before the trio of native Tucsonans decided to transform it into this funky, cozy, quiet get-involved spot.

They’re going to provide local Exo Roast cold coffee beverages for guests, as well as access to nonperishable snacks from the Co-op. And because the partners believe in sustainable living, they will offer a 10% discount on rates if you show up without a vehicle. Walking and using the Sun Link streetcar are encouraged.

There are only ten rooms for rent at the Downtown Clifton, so the vibe is both funky and quaint. More than that, the motel is located right near the heartbeat of Downtown, but far enough from it that guests don’t have to worry about late night noise or traffic. After enjoying all of the local treats that Downtown has to offer, the motel Clifton is the perfect little retreat spot to retire to for the evening, or even a for day nap.

Rooms are furnished with art from local artists.

Rooms are furnished with art from local artists and refurbished antique furniture.

Some may be skeptical that out-of-towners, who don’t always “get” the dusty, casual, alternative vibe of Downtown Tucson, will desire to stay at a little motel that has character and not the bling of the Ramada. Lane isn’t worried about attracting the typical tourist, she’s more concerned with providing locals with a cool, affordable place for family and friends to stay when they come to visit Tucson for events like weddings, graduations, and reunions.

Lane, Taylor and Lipman care about the community. They truly love Tucson, and they will share that love, and present their guests with the experience of finding the magic that comes from a community of benevolent business owners and locals. Downtown is the place to be, so why stay anywhere else?

It’s always nice to have family and friends close by when they come for a visit. Set them up at the funky little Downtown Clifton Motel for their stay, and allow the staff to figure out how to entertain your visitors and provide them with a fulfilling experience during their stay in Tucson. That’s what the Clifton is all about.