Notable nooks, lovely lodgings: Inns and B&Bs that channel the true spirit of Northern New Mexico

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Some folks just want a hotel room as a place to store their clothes, wash up and lay down their heads, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Others, however, like to know the history of a place, what makes it different or special. Local lodging has everyone covered from familiar chains to longtime inns and quaint B&Bs. Many Taos hotels and inns are pet friendly, but be sure to ask.

The following just scratch the surface. For more options, simply drive down Taos’ main drag (Paseo del Pueblo) or check the listings from the Taos County Chamber of Commerce on Pages 203-210.

Adobe and Pines Inn: the place with the labyrinth

As you drive into Taos from the South, before hitting town, it wouldn’t be surprising if the large labyrinth on the right side of the road catches your eye. Talk about warm, cozy and charming — every room is unique, some with fireplaces and a kitchen. The beautifully landscaped grounds (with a “Zen garden”) put the cherry on the top of the views. Gorgeous and romantic.

4107 State Road 68; 855-828-7872; adobepines.com

— Scott Gerdes

Casa Benavides Inn: from the heart

This property comprised of six buildings sits a short walk from Taos Plaza. The structures once served as an art gallery, artists’ studios, adobe homes, a Victorian house and an Indian trading post. The main building is an excellent architectural example of the Pueblo-Revival style. All 37 rooms have their own distinctive appointments, private baths, cable TV and free Wi-Fi. Casa Benavides is known for its scrumptious homemade breakfast and offers afternoon tea time complete with cookies, desserts and other sweets. This inn is the heart and soul of innkeeper Tom McCarthy who opened this special place with his late wife, Barbara, whose grace and style can be seen and felt throughout the property.

137 Kit Carson Road; (505) 758-1772; casabenavides.com

— Scott Gerdes

Casa Gallina: rustic charm meets creature comforts

When guests arrive at Casa Gallina for a stay in one of its five cozy casitas, they can expect to be welcomed by a bottle of wine and a tray of ham, cheese, olives and other hors-d’oeuvres prepared by proprietor Richard Spera, who has created a charming nest for the visitors.

Casa Gallina is an “artisan inn,” which offers Fair Trade-certified products like coffee, soaps and chocolates. The kitchen is stocked with USDA certified organic ingredients and local products, and the grounds are often watered by a nearby acequia.

The property is in a pastoral setting and is only a 5-minute drive to Taos Plaza.

All the casitas boast splendid views of Pueblo Peak, have a wireless laptop computer, satellite TV, DVD player and a music and speaker system. They are decorated with art, antiques and furnishings by local artists. They all have a fully equipped kitchen and a kiva-style fireplace or wood burning stove.

Guests are encouraged to pick from the herb and vegetable gardens — carrot, celery, spinach and many other fresh veggies will be available this summer. There are strawberry and raspberry patches and two apple orchards. And then there are las gallinas de la casa — the hens of the house. The “girls” (the 50 hens that lend their name to the property) inhabit an ample chicken coop in the yard. They provide eggs every morning — in exchange, they are happy to feast on scraps offered by the guests.

609/613 Callejon Road; (575) 758-2306; casagallina.net

— Teresa Dovalpage

Hacienda del Sol: a most romantic of inns

Owned by awarded chef Gerd Hertel, former corporate chef for Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruise Line, and located just behind farm-to-plate restaurant The Love Apple, Hacienda del Sol is a foodie’s favorite. The property and its surroundings are just as intoxicating: Pueblo Peak can be seen through some of the oldest willows and cottonwoods in the area, and guests can enjoy the view while relaxing with a glass of wine in the outdoor hot tub or by the fire in one of the historic adobes’ 12 private rooms. And to top it off, USA Today voted Hacienda del Sol one of the 10 most romantic inns in the U.S.

109 Mabel Dodge Lane; (575) 758-0287; taoshaciendadelsol.com

— John Miller

Inn on the Río: laid-back charm

This colorful, cozy, rustic inn visibly and, in many ways, emotionally defines the Southwest. A dozen, private-entrance rooms are decorated with antiques, hand-hewn beams and American Indian rugs. The private baths are “whimsically painted” by local artists. A hot tub and swimming pool await outside. The property rests along the Río Fernando. It is bordered with towering cottonwoods and native wildflowers such as hollyhocks and purple cornflowers. Breakfast is complimentary and crafted with pride. It is served in a 250-year-old gathering room complete with a quintessential kiva-style fireplace. Innkeepers Robert and Julie Cahalane know Taos and are excellent concierges.

910 East Kit Carson Road; (575) 758-7199; innontherio.com

Scott Gerdes

Mabel Dodge Luhan House: rich in history, authentic in architecture

Called “an artistic salon of the Southwest,” this intriguing property has been a center for Taos arts for nearly 100 years. Mabel, a writer, was often described as domineering, endearing and generous. She is largely responsible for luring many of the greatest minds and artistic talents of the 20th century to Taos, even if just for a brief visit. Notable visitors who stayed in the home include D.H. Lawrence, Ansel Adams, Martha Graham and Georgia O’Keeffe.

This property now serves as an inn and conference center. The accommodations are “pure, warm adobe charm” accented with early century elegance and historic relevance. A full gourmet breakfast is offered every day. Located on Morada Lane off Kit Carson Road, on the border of Taos Pueblo lands.

240 Morada Lane; (575) 751-9686; mabeldodgeluhan.com

— Scott Gerdes

Old Taos Guesthouse Inn: a historically registered cultural landmark

Built in 1804, this historic adobe hacienda and its lush landscape has served as a farm, an inspirational studio for famous artists, and most recently, a bed and breakfast under the management of owners Bob and Cady Aspinwall. As newcomers to Taos, Bob and Cady share in the love and excitement for the area that their guests discover upon arrival. Ten unique rooms each offer an outstanding experience. Guests are invited to gather for a breakfast that consists of fresh fruits, homemade baked goods, juices, roasted coffee, and some of the best quiche in town. Amenities include a massage room where local professionals stop by to help guests unwind. The Old Taos Guesthouse is located on a quiet stretch of Witt Road, southwest of Kit Carson Road.

1028 Witt Road; (575) 758-5448; oldtaos.com

— John Miller

Palacio de Marquesa: a homage to remarkable women of Taos

Palacio de Marquesa (Spanish for “Marquesa’s Palace”), part of Heritage Hotels & Resorts, is an easy walk from Taos Plaza.

Each one of its eight rooms has a unique identity. They were named after famous women artists who once made Taos their home — Martha Reed, Georgia O’Keeffe, Gene Kloss, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Agnes Martin, Dorothy Brett and Millicent Rogers.

The iconic ladies became the inspiration for interior designer Adriana Long, who, while keeping the inn’s Southwestern charm and original New Mexico art, also added contemporary touches like walk-in marble showers, heated floors and flat screen TVs to every room.

The romantic getaway property has a beautifully landscaped high-desert garden, with trees, fountains and plenty of places to sit and relax.

Palacio de Marquesa was chosen among the 25 best honeymoon resorts under $200 a night by Destination Wedding Magazine.

Guests get to enjoy a gourmet, made-to-order breakfast in the community room or delivered to their room — in a basket.

Spa services like Reiki, Swedish and therapeutic massages are available, too.

405 Cordoba Road; (575) 758-4777; marquesataos.com

— Teresa Dovalpage

The Historic Taos Inn: hallowed hallways

This Taos landmark is known for its margaritas, free nightly entertainment, Southwestern-inspired rooms, food and celebrity sightings.

The structure began as several adobe homes built in the 1800s. The community well (although no longer used) still sits in the center of the lobby.

In the 1890s, the largest of the adobe homes on the site were purchased by the county’s first and only physician, Dr. Thomas (“Doc”) Paul Martin.

Back in Martin’s time, Taos had just one hotel. After his death in 1935, his wife Helen bought the last remaining structure on the site, which was the Tarleton family home. It is now the hotel’s Adobe Bar (affectionately known as the “living room of Taos”). Helen had the open area around the well enclosed and turned the property into the Hotel Martin. It opened in 1936 and quickly became a popular respite for locals and travelers.

Over the years, the property changed hands and the name was changed to the Taos Inn, the thunderbird neon sign — the oldest in town — was added and the hand-carved wooden front desk was brought in. The inn was placed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places in 1982. The hotel’s award-winning restaurant is named after the respected doctor. A section of it was one of his operating rooms. In 2017, Doc Martin’s was named a “Best Wine Selection” winner by Wine Spectator magazine and that isn’t the first time.

Another reputation The Historic Taos Inn holds relates to things that go bump in the night — in the older parts of the property, anyway. As M. Elwell Romancito, a longtime resident, writer and founder of Ghosts of Taos, wrote in her book, “Ghosts and Haunted Places of Taos”: “The claims at The Taos Inn of paranormal activity include staff accounts of being in the kitchen and hearing their name called from another part of the restaurant. The sounds of silverware and clatter are heard coming from an empty kitchen. The soft sounds of footsteps have been heard in an otherwise empty dining room.”

To this day, the inn is still the place to see and be seen, whether of this world or another.

125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte; (575) 758-2233; taosinn.com

— Scott Gerdes

Hotel La Fonda de Taos: compelling chambers

In the heart of Historic Taos Plaza, with its large red letters streaking across its adobe face, the Hotel La Fonda de Taos is the oldest hotel in town and the only lodgings on the Plaza. The original hotel was built in 1880, although it wasn’t the first structure to occupy the site.

That honor goes to the St. Vrain Mercantile Store. The next 60 years saw many fires engulf different areas of the Plaza, and possibly by some divine intervention spared the hotel every time.

Aloysius Liebert built the Columbian Hotel & Bar in 1880 on the mercantile plot where the present La Fonda hotel stands today.

The Columbian changed hands in 1900 when Robert Pooler and his wife, Maclovia Mares, bought it. Tragedy struck in 1909. An angry bar patron was kicked out of the Columbian Bar for being drunk and disorderly. The man shot Pooler and killed him in the bar. Pooler’s widow and her heirs took over, running the hotel and bar until they sold it in the late 1920s to Greek immigrant brothers James and John Karavas. The brothers renovated the property and added a second and third story in the Pueblo-Revival style. In 1937, they changed the name to “La Fonda,” which means “boarding house” in Spanish.

Saki Karavas bought out his uncle’s interest in the property after his father died in 1953. He ran the hotel until his death in 1996. Saki was widely known to be a ladies’ man and art lover who amassed an impressive collection of works. He was also drawn to the writings of D.H. Lawrence and owned a number of first editions. Lawrence’s “Forbidden Art” paintings were sold to Saki in the mid-1950s. He displayed them in his office, along with photographs of the talented, but sometimes controversial author and his wife, Frieda, and their friends. Representations of Lawrence’s paintings now hang in a special gallery in the hotel.

Because Saki had no children, he left the property to his friends George and Cordelia Sahd, who renovated the hotel in 1998.

Over the years, Hotel La Fonda de Taos has attracted visitors, locals and the famous alike. Notable people who have stepped into the lobby include Judy Garland, Tennessee Williams, Robert De Niro, Peter Fonda, Julia Roberts and many others.

The hotel also has a great place to grab a bite. The Plaza Café offers soup and sandwiches, and New Mexican-inspired dinner entrees.

108 South Plaza; (575) 758-2211; lafondadetaos.com

— Scott Gerdes

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