Of the two landmark hotels in town, La Fonda de Taos (108 S. Plaza, 800/833-2211, www.lafondataos.com, $134 s, $149 d) has a few more modern perks; with gas fireplaces rather than wood, the rooms don’t ooze atmosphere, but the beds are very nice, there’s DSL, and you can feel quite grand opening your balcony doors over the plaza (request no. 301 or 302). Don’t miss the small collection of D. H. Lawrence’s erotic paintings ($3 admission); they’re tucked in a small room behind the front desk.
Adobe & Pines B&B, tucked just off the road into Ranchos de Taos (4107 Hwy. 68, 575/751-0947, www.adobepines.com, $115 d), is a little out of the way, but it’s especially pretty in the summer, when the large central garden is in bloom. The colors throughout are vibrant and strong, with each of the seven rooms painted a different hue. All but the tiniest (snug Puerta Azul, in the old main house, $98) have staggeringly grand bathrooms.
A relatively generic chain hotel, Best Western Kachina Lodge (413 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, 575/758-2275, www.kachinalodge.com, $119 d) is notable simply because it can be a great deal when booked online. Rooms are large and well kept, a full breakfast is included in the rate, and there’s a big pool. It also hosts Taos dance performances every night May through October—sure, a little touristy, but nice if your trip doesn’t coincide with a ceremonial dance at the pueblo itself.
Inn on the Rio (910 E. Kit Carson Rd., 575/758-7199, www.innontherio.com, $119 d) might be more accurately called Motel on the Creek. But what a motel: Each of the 12 thick-walled rooms is meticulously decorated with an artistic eye. Rich colors liven up the walls, and vintage Southwestern tchotchkes add flair without being overwhelming. The vintage wall heaters, still cranking from the old motor-court days, keep the rooms as toasty as a fireplace would. A hot tub between the two wings, plus luxe sheets and locally made bath gels, add unexpected luxury. Pair this with longtime resident owners and a great morning meal, and you have all the benefits of a bed-and-breakfast without the feeling that you have to tiptoe in late at night.
La Posada de Taos (309 Juanita La., 575/758-8164, www.laposadadetaos.com, $144 d) hits the sweet spot between luxury comforts and casual charm—all the amenities are here, such as wood fireplaces (in five of the six rooms) and whirlpool tubs (in three), but the overall atmosphere is very homey and informal, and the decor is distinctly Taos without being heavy-handed, with sparing country touches. The price is right too, coming in on the lower end compared to other places with the same perks. El Solecito, in the older adobe section with its own back terrace, is recommended.
Starting in the 1890s, the Historic Taos Inn (125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, 575/758-2233, www.taosinn.com, $105 s, $195 d) was the home of beloved county doctor T. P. Martin, who had a good reputation for accepting chickens or venison from his poorer patients in lieu of cash—what used to be a small plaza is now the lobby and the Adobe Bar. Many of the hotel rooms were overhauled in 2006, making it a more appealing place to stay than in years past; rooms in the main building are old-school tiny and subject to noise from the bar, so you’re better off in the courtyard section or other outbuildings, where you may also get a kiva fireplace.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition