Arizona's hotels and motels run the gamut from world-class resorts to budget chains and from historic inns, bed-and-breakfasts, and mountain lodges to dude ranches, campgrounds, houseboat rentals, and RV parks. Make reservations well in advance for the high season—winter in the desert and summer in the high country. A few areas, such as Sedona and the Grand Canyon's South Rim, stay relatively busy year-round, so book as soon as you can. Tremendous bargains can be found off-season, especially in the Phoenix and Tucson areas in summer, when even the most exclusive establishments may cut their rates by half or more.
Phoenix and Tucson have the most variety of accommodations in the state, with Flagstaff offering the largest number in the northern part of the state. Lodgings in Sedona and in some of the smaller, more exclusive desert communities can be pricey, but there are inexpensive chains in or near just about every resort-oriented destination. That said, even the budget chains in these areas can have rates in at least the upper double-digits.
The Grand Canyon area is relatively pricey, but camping, cabins, and dorm-style resorts on or near the national park grounds offer lower rates. If you plan to stay at the Grand Canyon, make lodging reservations as far as a year in advance—especially if you're looking to visit in summer. You might have a more relaxing visit, and find better prices, in one of the gateway cities: Tusayan, Williams, and Flagstaff to the south, and Jacob Lake, Fredonia, and Kanab, Utah, to the north. Of all of these, Flagstaff has the best variety of lodging options in all price ranges.
After booking, get confirmation in writing and have a copy handy when you check in. Be sure you understand the hotel's cancellation policy. Some places allow you to cancel without any kind of penalty—even if you prepaid to secure a discounted rate—if you cancel at least 24 hours in advance. Others require you to cancel a week in advance or penalize you the cost of one night. Small inns and B&Bs are most likely to require you to cancel far in advance. Most hotels allow children under a certain age to stay in their parents' room at no extra charge, but others charge for them as extra adults; find out the cutoff age for discounts.
Our local writers vet every hotel to recommend the best overnights in each price category, from budget to expensive. Unless otherwise specified, you can expect private bath, phone, and TV in your room.
Arizona is one of the better destinations in the country when it comes to B&Bs. You'll find luxurious Spanish colonial–style compounds and restored Victorian inns in the more upscale destinations, such as Tucson, Sedona, Flagstaff, and Prescott, as well as less fancy lodges virtually everywhere. Check with the Arizona Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns for details on its roughly 25 members throughout the state. The Arizona Trails Travel Service has an extensive list of B&Bs and other lodgings, and can also help with vacation packages, guided tours, and golf vacations. Arizona-based Mi Casa Su Casa offers properties in a range of styles, from adobe haciendas and guest cottages in Sedona and Tucson to pine cabins in the White Mountains. More general booking services like BedandBreakfast.com, BBonline.com, and BnBFinder.com also have quite a few Arizona listings, with BedandBreakfast.com leading the pack.
Arizona Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns. Arizona. 928/425–2260; www.arizona-bed-breakfast.com.
Arizona Trails Travel Services. 480/837–4284; 888/799–4284; www.aztrailstravel.com.
Bed & Breakfast Inns Online. 800/215–7365; www.bbonline.com.
BedandBreakfast.com. 512/322–2710; www.bedandbreakfast.com.
BnB Finder.com. 888/469–6663; www.bnbfinder.com.
Mi Casa Su Casa. 480/990–0682; 800/456–0682; www.azres.com.
Guest ranches afford visitors a close encounter with cowboy culture, activities, and cooking. Most of the properties are situated either near Tucson or in Wickenburg, northwest of Phoenix. Some are resort-style compounds where guests are pampered, whereas smaller, family-run ranches expect everyone to join in the chores. Horseback riding and other outdoor recreational activities are emphasized. Many dude ranches are closed in summer. The Arizona Dude Ranch Association provides names and addresses of member ranches and their facilities and policies.
Arizona Dude Ranch Association. www.azdra.com.