Category Archives: *Hotels

Santa Fe updates

El Rey Inn has changed owners, which worried me, but so far there have not been radical changes to the property. (The new website makes it look crazy-chic, but the rooms I saw were the same as always.)

Bodega Prime is an absolutely excellent cafe across the street from El Rey Inn. (And El Rey is currently serving their great pastries as the continental breakfast…but is in the middle of building a restaurant, so this may go away.) It’s a huge bonus to have such a good bakery away from the center of town.

More cheap/free tips

Reader Paul has some more very solid advice! I’ll be working these details into the next edition of the guide.

1. NM Rail Runner Train (p. 120). Current fares $9 OW, $10 day pass. Buy ticket either online or on the train. In Albuquerque, buses 250 and 50 connect the Alvarado train station to the ABQ airport Mon – Sat. Sundays there is no connection. Bus service is free by showing your valid train ticket. [This is covered in the back of the book, but not sure I noted that the bus is free with your Rail Runner ticket–very helpful!]

2. Sandia Shuttle Express — fare is now $30 OW. If one is taking the last run of the night, call the toll free number and let them know. Also, Sandia works in the opposite direction, picking up at your location in SF and delivering you to ABQ airport.

3. Santa Fe Public Library, 145 Washington Avenue, a block and a half north of the plaza, (505) 955-6781, https://santafelibrary.org/ . A great place to spend a rainy afternoon. Many out of town newspapers. A small but well stocked bookstore, paperbacks $1, hardcovers $2. I don’t remember your mentioning it, however the library is marked on the map on p. 77.

4. Ghost Ranch, p. 113. Perhaps worth more emphasis is that GR has many week-long programs mostly emphasizing the arts (painting, photography, jewelry making), the outdoors, and ministry (given GR’s connection to the Presbyterian church). Most but not all programs happen in the summer. [There’s a bit about this in the back of the book under Classes.]

5. Music on the Hill, free concerts in Santa Fe on Wednesday evenings at St. John’s College, Museum Hill area, Santa Fe. http://www.sjc.edu/programs-and-events/santa-fe/music-hill-2016/ I spent two weeks at St. John’s College last month and noticed that people turned out from all over to attend these concerts. Incidentally (shameless plug), St. John’s College is one of last remaining college curricula based on the Western and now Eastern classics. It has campuses in Santa Fe and Annapolis.

6. Santa Fe International Hostel, p. 94. You describe it well, particularly the “dimly-lit” part, however, I love the place and would stay there even if I had the money to stay somewhere fancier. Why? Intriguing people of all ages from all over the world stay there. Also: free food (but check the expiri date) and no taxes added to the price. Plus, doing the morning chore helps establish a bond to the place. So might you consider dropping the “not the worst” phrase? The hostel deserves better. [Always good to get firsthand reports from hotels, as I never have the time to stay in each and every one myself. Thank you so much!]

Santa Fe changes

Santa Fe Children’s Museum is closed. (Officially temporarily, but no reopening date is set.)

Marble Tap Room is closed.

Chuck Jones Studio Gallery has moved to 126 W. Water St.

Eight Modern gallery has moved to 1601 Paseo de Peralta.

La Fonda hotel has undergone some terrible renovations in the lobby, so it’s not so nice and old-feeling anymore. The lobby bar is a lot more generic.

Ecco Gelato moved down and across the street.

Santa Fe Baking Co. is closed.

St. Michael’s Laundry is closed.

I don’t usually rave about new things, BUT: MEOW WOLF IS AMAZING.

Outside Albuquerque

The church at Laguna is now open officially only 9am-3pm Mon-Fri. When I dropped by, Alfred Pino wasn’t around, though the woman in the church office said he still comes by from time to time.

The Cerrillos Hills B&B is closed.

In Mountainair, the Shaffer Hotel has new management, as of this spring, and looks in great shape again. Excellent homemade pie in the dining room, and it’s open 6am-9pm most days.

Taos changes

Fernandez de Taos bookstore/newsstand is closed.

Parks Gallery moved from Bent Street to Paseo del Pueblo Norte, just north of the intersection with Kit Carson Road, on the west side of the street.

Laughing Horse hotel/hostel is closed.

Rellenos Café is now La Cueva, though the menu and food is largely the same.

Loka coffeehouse is shut. It’s now Stella’s, an Italian restaurant.

Zebadiah’s in Angel Fire now goes just by Zeb’s.

The Angel Fire visitor center has moved. Look for it on Hwy 434, just south of the T-intersection with Angel Fire Rd.

Correction: Wired? Internet café is behind Albertson’s, not Raley’s.

Shaffer Hotel

This place in Mountainair has changed hands, and the rooms have gotten pretty sketchy. I wouldn’t recommend pre-booking here–take a room only if you can inspect it beforehand.

The cafe seems to be open regularly, though, for late breakfast and lunch every day but Tuesday.

I also noticed Alpine Alley, just north of Mountainair’s main intersection–this looks like good coffee and light food.

Santa Fe changes

As I noted before, the NM history museum is now open. Signage is not quite as detailed as I’d like, but otherwise it’s a nice introduction. The exhibits in the Palace of the Governors (now accessible via the history museum) are the same, fortunately–I find these more interesting.

Walking tours run by the museum go from mid-April to mid-October (not just in summer, like the book says). They last about two hours, and the route depends on who’s leading it, but it covers a couple of miles.

Linda Durham Gallery has moved away from Canyon Road, over to 1800 2nd Street.

Collected Works books has moved to the corner of Galisteo and Water, and now has a coffeeshop inside–lovely.

Adelante Casitas is back to being called Chapelle Street Casitas. Its online booking system is buggy–better to call.

Hotel St. Francis has been redone by the Heritage Hotels & Resorts group–it looks quite chic, but the rates have of course gone up. (The same group has redone the Hotel Plaza Real as well, which is great because that used to be a wasted dump.)

Willee’s bar is shut–it’s now called Corazon and books a lot of hipper live music.

Chispa! bar closes at 11pm now.

Green Palace teahouse is shut.

Carlos’ Gosp’l Cafe is shut. The space in the Design Center now sells NYC-style pizza by the slice–it looks good!

El Tesoro in Sanbusco Center is no longer particularly Salvadoran–the menu is more standard Mex-New-Mex, but everything looks good.

The Treehouse cafe moved to 1600 Lena Street (and unfortunately didn’t bring the nursery with it!).

The Blue Heron restaurant is shut.

Taos lodging

The Laughing Horse Inn is no longer particularly cheap, which is odd. I now think the Taos Inn has one of the better deals for solo travelers.

The Paragon Inn has changed names and is embroiled in a bit of a local scandal, and I can’t really bring myself to recommend the place.

Mountain Light no longer functions as a B&B, just a longer-term retreat center.

Santa Fe Hotels

Budget Host (p. 53) is now a Red Roof Inn.

El Rey Inn (p. 54) is incorrectly placed on the map—it’s actually about midway between Llano St and 2nd St, so closer to the plaza than on the map.

Chapelle Street Casitas (p. 54) has changed its name to Adelante Casitas.

La Tienda and Duran House (p. 54) is now part of the larger Las Palomas property across the street. Physically everything’s the same, but there are reports of service suffering. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough info to judge.

And I didn’t include the Santa Fe Sage Inn (www.santafesageinn.com) in this book, but it has since gotten a complete overhaul and is now excellent value—free wi-fi, pool, big breakfast, really comfortable beds and clean rooms. It’s only a little farther out of the center than Santa Fe Motel & Inn.

I’m hearing terrible reports from La Posada de Santa Fe (p. 56), and it did seem exceptionally scattershot when I visited. At least I’ll have to retract that ‘top pick’ status.

Taos hotel change

Budget Host (p. 115) has a fresh coat of paint and wireless Internet access. Prices are now squarely in the $50–100 category—a double room is about $65 now. But it’s still the cleanest budget motel in Taos. Try to get one of the back-facing rooms, for less traffic noise, and if you want a non-smoking room, make sure it’s adjacent to other non-smoking rooms, because the walls are thin, and the smoke smell can seep through.

Hotel Blue: warning

A reader just dropped me a note to say his experience at the Hotel Blue in Albuquerque (p. 159) was far less than satisfactory: the pool was closed, the airport shuttle was discontinued “until further notice,” the shower didn’t work, and his non-smoking room had an ashtray in it and smelled smoky. And then there was the small matter of a cockroach.

From this info, it sounds as if the original manager, who was extremely scrupulous, has gone on to another job. This is really disappointing, since this would be a huge waste of a hotel in a prime location.
So, until I check on this myself when I’m back in ABQ next month, proceed with caution. You might consider instead the Best Western Rio Grande, in roughly the same price category.

UPDATE: I checked on the Hotel Blue in September ’06. The pool was closed this summer due to citywide water restrictions during a severe drought–this can affect hotels all over the state.

The staff claims an airport shuttle is available, and the rooms look clean enough, but there was a general air of disorganization and slight untidiness about the place–cigarette butts around the front door, for instance, and rumpled carpeting in the room I saw. The staff was having problems with the in-room Internet access, but weren’t really equipped to fix the situation. If I’d been staying there, I would’ve been deeply frustrated.

I’d say this hotel is still a decent option, though at this point, I’m removing the wholehearted “Moon Pick” support of the place.

I’ll check in again in December.

Changing focus

Alma del Monte in Taos (p. 118) will no longer be functioning as a B&B after October 6, 2006–it’s shifting to a full house rental, for weddings, retreats, etc. So if this place sounds appealing, book your visit now…or plan on renting it out later with your whole gang of friends.