8:00 PM: Arriving and hotel checking in
I arrived in Tucson at late night, good for me that the hotel was close to the train station. I had hard time deciding between two hotels near the station. One was Congress Hotel and the other was AC hotel (by Marriott.)
Pros and Cons of two hotels were too clear. It was just which one to choose from.
Congress Hotel (est. 1919!!!!)
Pros: historic, extremely affordable. extremely close to the Amtrak station
Cons: too old, no elevator, very loud at night because of the night club inside the hotel (the hotel even sent me an e-mail to let me know that the hotel should be quite loud at night)
Pros: new, fairly close to the Amtrak station, quite, chick
Cons: expensive (about three times more expensive than Congress Hotel), not a lot of story to it
I first made a reservation for Congress Hotel but decided to change it to AC Hotel at the last minute after reading carefully the email sent to me by Congress Hotel. I have never experienced a hotel sending an email warning that they are sooooo loud. I kind of got scared like ‘oh my god, it must be awfully loud that the hotel itself confesses beforehand!’ Also, I had these huge luggages for one month of train trip, so I wasn’t sure if I could carry them to the second floor without an elevator.
So, I ended up spending quite a $$$ for the night at AC Hotel Tucson.
Anyway, when I arrived at Tucson station, I was pleasantly surprised by its vintage-ishly chick atmosphere. The first impression for me was that ‘oh, so many light bulbs here and there.’ I kind of have this (very unscientific) prejudice that the more light bulbs, the cooler a city. Tucson was full of light bulbs everywhere: from the train station to the bars, to the cafes, to the hotels and to the restaurants.
10:00 PM Tiger Taproom
The AC Hotel was about 7~8 mins from the Amtrak station. I was pretty tired after the long train ride. I just threw my luggages and headed to the bar next door, the bar at the historic Congress Hotel (Tiger’s Taproom.) It was about 10:00 PM when we grabbed a seat at the outside table. It was like an early evening at Tucson, that young ones with loose and cool outfits started to come out for some local beer and small talks. The muscular bartender was like one out of an 1980’s movie, wearing a white, sleeveless shirt with a white cotton towel resting on the shoulder. And of course, there was live music to cheer the warm air of Arizona desert night.