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Off-the-beaten-path romance in Southeastern Arizona.

February 21, 2012

Elegant 18th-century architecture and hacienda-style hospitality make this city a great getaway. It’s a sprawling city so, for couples, it’s all about finding its cozy nooks. Spend your days wandering through ancient buildings, lingering over a savory dinner, and sipping a glass of wine while looking out at the gardens that surround your intimate hotel. If that’s too tame, there’s a decent nightlife scene, too.

Arizona Inn

Just north of the university, 14 sublimely private and controlled acres deploy a succession of gardens crazed with flowers and trees, separated by little gates and laid out with the whimsy of an English estate. It is a feat to find your room, but on your way you bump into teams of gardeners busily planting pansies and stock, trimming hedges, cutting lawn. The Arizona Inn was built in 1930, in what was then the desert, by the rich and compassionate Mrs. Isabella Greenway. Today, 50 years after Mrs. Greenway's death, staying there is like being the guest of a vastly wealthy great-aunt with centuries of Yankee tradition behind her, who is very happy that you are there but doesn't really want to see too much of you. Afternoon tea is served in an immense library with dark oak tables and plenty of tempting books to borrow. Rooms are huge, furnished with mahogany, and where the mini-bars, in the best WASP tradition, are empty. Guests can take breakfast by the large but curiously private pool. The marmalade is made on the premises, thick, sweet, and rugged with peel. Dine on an extravagant dinner in the restaurant and leave feeling like one of the many movie stars that have stayed on this famous property.

Mission San Xavier del Bac

Tour the stunning Mission San Xavier del Bac, also known as the White Dove of the Desert; it’s often cited as the finest intact example of Mission architecture in the Southwest.

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