The advantage of chain hotels is that you know what you’re getting, but it’s rarely an experience that will stand out in your memory. Thankfully, New Mexico has plenty of places to stay that are a little beyond the norm. From bed and breakfasts to caves, you won’t forget a night spent at these 12 spots in New Mexico.
1. Kokopelli Cave Hotel, 5001 Antelope Jct, Farmington
How many people can say that they've spent the night in a cave?
The texture of the surrounding, 65-million-year-old sandstone walls may be rough, but the accommodations sure aren't. This 1700-square foot suite comes with its own kiva, a waterfall shower, a TV and DVD player.
2. Taos Earthships, 1 Earthship Way, Tres Piedras
Go eco for a night by renting an earthship home in the Taos area. Whether you're toying with the idea of building your own or are simply curious, staying in one of these amazing structures is sure to make an impression.
3. El Rancho Hotel, 1000 E Hwy 66, Gallup
This hotel was built by the brother of movie director D. W. Griffith in 1937 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The list of movie stars who've stayed here is extensive: Burt Lancaster, Doris Day, Errol Flynn, Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart, Joan Crawford, John Wayne, Katherine Hepburn, Lucille Ball. The list goes on and on. Most of these stars stayed here while filming in the area.
If you visit, pop into the 49-er lounge. Errol Flynn infamously rode his horse into this bar!
4. Motel Safari, 722 E Rt 66, Tucumcari
The stretch of Route 66 that passes through Tucumcari is better preserved than most and many buildings from that era are still standing.
The Motel Safari opened in 1959. While the outside remains authentic, the interior is unexpectedly slick with amenities such as flat screen TVs and Sealy Posturepedic mattresses,. Those definitely weren't around during the heyday of the Mother Road. If you want to travel back in time and keep your creature comforts, this is the spot for you.
5. Blue Swallow Motel, 815 E Rt 66 Blvd, Tucumcari
The Blue Swallow Motel is another restored motor court in Tucumcari. This motel opened in 1940 and is vintage, both inside and out. Each room has a rotary phone and some even come with their own garage for your car!
6. Sierra Grande Lodge and Spa, 501 McAdoo St,
Truth or Consequences
Truth or Consequences used to be called Hot Springs for a reason - it's a great place to soak. At this hotel, which dates back to 1929, you can take the waters in the comfort of your own room or slip into one of the private soaking tubs. This hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places.
7. Historic Taos Inn, 125 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte, Taos
The Taos Inn is what you imagine when asked to picture the quintessential New Mexican hotel: warm colors, curved lines, and plenty of wood. Compiled of several adobe homes from the 1800s, this establishment has been frequented by the likes of Greta Garbo and D.H. Lawrence.
The on-site restaurant, Doc Martin's is rumored to be haunted by the spirit of Arthur Manby, a man who was either beheaded in his neighboring home or faked his own death then disappeared. It all depends on which version of events you believe. But there's no need to be scared of the dark here. Each room has its own kiva fireplace to act as a nightlight.
8. Downtown Historic Bed and Breakfast of Albuquerque, 209 High St NE, Albuquerque
This bed and breakfast is made up of two houses. The more famous of the two is dubbed The Spy House. When the Freeman family owned this property in the 1940s, they rented out the upstairs rooms.
One of these rooms was occupied during the week by Ruth Greenglass, who was joined on weekends by her husband, David Greenglass. David worked on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. He was also a Soviet spy and the brother of Ethel Rosenberg. (Ethel and her husband Julius Rosenberg were executed after being convicted of espionage.)
David Greenglass met with a Soviet courier in The Spy House, where he passed on drawings depicting parts of the atomic bomb.
9. Bottger Mansion of Old Town, 110 San Felipe St NW
The Bottger Mansion has hosted the likes of Machine Gun Kelly and his gang (they were on the run and in disguise), Elvis Presley, and Janis Joplin. It's also the only hotel that is actually inside the boundaries of the Old Town Historic District.
10. Inn of the Five Graces, 150 E De Vargas St,
On a corner in Santa Fe is what appears to be a salvage yard mixed with Aladdin's Cave. Ornate carved doorways are propped up to form passages and, if you enter the adjoining building, you'll find yourself surrounded by stacks upon stacks of rugs. The store's name is Seret and Sons - the owners left Afghanistan for Santa Fe after the 1979 coup. They established themselves as importers, which explains not only the wonderland of the store, but also the decor at Inn of the Five Graces. The Seret family converted these buildings into a hotel, filling it with stunning decor that immediately transports you to the other side of the globe.
11. Trinity Hotel, 201 S Canal St, Carlsbad
The building that houses this boutique hotel was once a bank and little touches like old safe doors remain. The hotel restaurant offers one of the best dining experiences in town and there are generous, free wine tastings available in the bar. Just what you need after a day spent underground in Carlsbad Caverns.
Have you been to these hotels or motels? What other offbeat New Mexican establishments have you stayed at?