New motel could bring more business to Summerhaven community

Mount Lemmon Hotel welcoming guests after a nearly two-year odyssey

New hotel opens on Mount Lemmon

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The new Mount Lemmon Hotel is open and welcoming its first guests.

It’s been nearly two years in the making thanks to setbacks from the pandemic and the Bighorn Fire.

The first phase of the hotel is complete and owner Justin Hafner said in a way, Friday was bittersweet.

“It’s been hard financially, mentally, so we are very excited that step one is done of our project,” Hafner said.

COVID-19 caused several delays with crews having to quarantine. Hafner said the threat of snow from October to April stopped construction from as well.

The hotel was originally scheduled to open last summer, but the project came to a halt with the Bighorn Fire. The fire burned over 100,000 acres of land, forcing many in the mountain community to evacuate.

Stephanie Trevino, director of operations for the hotel, said the fire was stressful.

“I mean I could even see the fire, you know everyone could see, from my home in northwest Tucson,” she said. “It was just a lot of praying and a lot of just hoping that we wouldn’t have the same incident that happened, I think it was back in 2003.”

Friday brought nervousness and excitement as the family-owned and operated hotel came to life. Trevino said it’s a labor of love.

The hotel is the first of its kind in Summerhaven. Hafner and Trevino say they’re excited to collaborate with other businesses in the community.

April Hudgens, Cookie Cabin manager, is looking forward to what the hotel will bring for the rest of the businesses on Mount Lemmon.

“I know first hand there’s not a lot of places to stay up here,” she said. “I think having that hotel up here is really going to expand business and get a lot of people up here that wouldn’t normally stay up.”

It’s a positive push for the growing community of Summerhaven and many look forward to what the future holds for the Mount Lemmon Hotel.

The first phase includes nine cabins, three of which are pet-friendly. But they are all booked on weekends until August. The second and third phases are in the works, but the hotel will be offering more cabins soon.

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