The Mount Lemmon Lodge wants to make your ski chalet dreams come true — right here in Southern Arizona.
With an expected opening date of spring 2022, the new lodge will join the soon-to-open Mount Lemmon Hotel in providing visitors overnight accommodations in the mountain village of Summerhaven. The Mount Lemmon Lodge officially broke ground just a few weeks ago.
The lodge will have 16 guest rooms, a gift shop and a Beyond Bread café. Yes, Beyond Bread.
It's located across the street from the Mount Lemmon General Store and Gift Shop, near the Mount Lemmon Hotel.
The Mount Lemmon Lodge is Tucson architect Diana Osborne's vision. Her daughter Valerie Osborne says the family's ties to Summerhaven go back to the community's creation. The family also has a cabin on the mountain, Valerie says.
"And over the years, there have been a number of lodging places for people to enjoy the mountain and there have also been a number of fires," Valerie says. "A lot of those places burned down, so my mom wanted to recreate some of that historical, lodging feel."
So the family began developing the Mount Lemmon Lodge.
Grey Carpenter, the owner of the Mount Lemmon General Store and Gift Shop, says there is a huge need in Summerhaven for hotel rooms.
"There are a lot of home rentals and cabin rentals that are privately owned, but I think the niche that the hotels will fill is, for one thing, they're a slightly more economical place to stay, and maybe more last minute," he says.
He says first-time visitors in particular often find themselves enchanted with the mountain and wanting to extend their stay. Currently, that's not easy to do.
When the Mount Lemmon Hotel opens in the near future, guests will be able to stay in fully-stocked, individual cabins on the site of the former Alpine Lodge, which burned down in the 2003 Aspen Fire.
When the Mount Lemmon Lodge opens in a few years, visitors will have yet another option.
"Diana's lodge is going to be something special," Carpenter says. "I am so excited for what she's going to do there."
All guest rooms in the lodge will have balconies or patios, plus soaking tubs. Valerie says room sizes will range all the way up to multi-room suites.
"The vision is to have an alpine-style chalet lodge," Valerie says.
But then there's also the magic.
"My mom's mom really influenced her as far as the magic of the mountains, and my mom raised me like that," Valerie. "So as kids, she assured us that there were fairies around every corner, and leprechauns under this rock."
She says plans for the lodge intend to capture that magic and incorporate the atmosphere of the fairy tales that were passed down through her family. Think, a fairy tale map to fairy gardens and secret spots on the mountain.
"We hope to be ambassadors for the mountains," she says.