Laughing Horse Inn, one of Taos’s most popular budget B&Bs (729 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, 800/776-0161, www.laughinghorseinn.com , $70 d), cultivates an eccentric reputation, with a guest list of starving artists and Europeans on vision quests. Ten rooms in the main adobe house give new meaning to the word “snug” and share three bathrooms, while the penthouse A-frame room, which conjures some of the bygone hippie charm, has a big deck and room for six to sleep ($150 for two). An honor-system kitchen, a clothing-optional hot tub, and continental breakfasts of organic, locally farmed foodstuffs add to the throwback feel.
Budget Host Inn (1798 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, 800/323-6009, www.taosbudgethost.com , $74 s, $79 d) is the best of the string of cheapies along the highway at the southern end of Taos. The rooms in the cheerily painted two-story motel building are a little worn but kept very clean, and you get cable TV and wireless access. Try to get a room in the back for reduced traffic noise, and if you want a nonsmoking room, make sure it’s between other nonsmoking rooms, as the walls are thin enough that the smell can seep through.
The same owners manage the Taos RV Park next door, which maintains the same tidy standards. If you’re on a strict budget, book well ahead here or at the Snowmansion , because many other hotels in this category can be quite grim indeed.
A good alternative to the Budget Host, the 117-room Paragon Inn (615 Paseo del Pueblo Sur, 575/737-0447, www.paragoninntaos.com , $80 d) was remodeled in 2007, so while its motel-style rooms aren’t full of flair, they are at least clean and comfortable. The deluxe rooms do have gas fireplaces—a rare touch in this price category. There are also a small pool and whirlpool tub, and continental breakfast is included. Prices can fluctuate according to season and availability.
El Pueblo Lodge (412 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, 575/758-8700, www.elpueblolodge.com , $74 s, $89 d) is a budget operation with slightly spacey management but nice perks such as free laundry. Rooms vary wildly, from a tiny, very atmospheric nook in the oldest adobe section to new, slick motel rooms complete with gas fireplaces; those in the 1960s motel strip are a good combo of atmosphere and tidiness. The grounds are quite pleasant, with a heated pool, a hot tub, and hammocks slung between the big cottonwoods in the summertime.
Casa Benavides (137 Kit Carson Rd., 575/758-1772, www.taos-casabenavides.com , $89 d) calls itself a bed-and-breakfast, but now it feels a bit more like a small hotel, as it sprawls down Kit Carson Road in a series of interconnected buildings, one of which is a wood Victorian built around 1900. The owners, a local family, have put a lot of care into the decoration of the 38 rooms with Taos-style furniture and Western artifacts. Each one is different, which makes the choices a little overwhelming—the artist’s studios are nicely secluded, and the two small (and cheap) upstairs rooms in the Benavides family home have balconies with mountain views. Otherwise, pick the price you’re comfortable with (they range up to $300), and go from there.
In addition to being a tourist attraction, the Mabel Dodge Luhan House (240 Morada La., 575/751-9686, www.mabeldodgeluhan.com , $95 d) also functions as a homey bed-and-breakfast. Choose one of the snug little rooms in the oldest adobe section, all furnished with rickety antiques, floors worn down from years of treading, and tiny fireplaces; or one of the rooms in the main house: Mabel’s original bedroom ($190) is the grandest (you can even sleep in her bed), but for those who don’t mind waking at the crack of dawn, the upstairs solarium is gloriously sunny with gorgeous views of the mountain. Either way, you’ll feel a little like you’re bunking in a historical museum.
Not a hotel at all, but simply a clutch of well-maintained one- and two-bedroom private casitas, Taos Lodging (109 Brooks St., 575/751-1771, www.taoslodging.com , $90 studio) is in a quiet, convenient block about 10 minutes’ walk north from the plaza . The eight cottages, arranged around a central courtyard, have assorted floor plans, but all have porches, full kitchens, and living rooms, as well as access to a shared outdoor hot tub. The smallest, a 350-square-foot studio, sleeps two comfortably; the largest, at 800 square feet, sleeps up to six.