This sprawling, U-shaped motel may surround a parking lot and offer relatively little in the way of ambience, but it's reasonably clean, if greatly in need of updating, and you'll be hard-pressed to find more affordable accommodations just a few blocks from the Plaza, smack in the middle of historic Barrio de Analco.
The clean, no-frills rooms are done in earthy tones. Other than a smattering of Southwest accents, these accommodations could really be anywhere. Five suites are quite roomy and offer separate sitting areas. Some rooms have small refrigerators and microwaves. Appliances, including the TVs, are generally dated.
To avoid street noise and have a bit more privacy, request one of the rooms in the back of the property.
With pastel tiles, small and simple pedestal sinks, and combination shower-tubs, these bathrooms are perfectly functional but nothing special.
Casually furnished with Southwestern-style sofas, chairs, and tables, the compact lobby is a good place to grab coffee and pick up brochures before heading out.
Garrett's is one of the few downtown hotels with a full-size heated pool; it's typically open May through September and does have a good selection of deck chairs and poolside furniture.
Garrett's has an exercise room with basic weights and a couple of cardio machines.
Perhaps the greatest asset at Garrett's is the terrific restaurant, Santa Fe Bite, which serves some of the best green-chile cheeseburgers in New Mexico in a retro space festooned with vintage-car photography and other roadside kitsch. Very good steaks, chicken flautas, and Texas-style chili with cornbread are served, too. In the morning, stop in for a hearty breakfast of pan-fried trout with eggs, French toast, or biscuits and gravy.
The motel's casual restaurant, Santa Fe Bite, serves beer and wine but is better known for its root beer floats and malted milkshakes.
Garrett's sits along historic Old Santa Fe Trail, just steps from the state capitol building and historic San Miguel Mission and a short walk from the Plaza and the many museums near it. There's a large parking lot ($8 daily) if you do have a car, but you could get by without one, using Uber or taxis for occasional longer trips.
Walk next door to snazzy 315 Restaurant and Wine Bar to sample well-prepared contemporary French fare, from seared foie gras to crispy wild-mushroom risotto—it's a popular spot for happy hour, with a good selection of food available from the bar menu. There's good people-watching and juicy chops to be had at Rio Chama Steakhouse (3-minute walk), a favorite dining room among local politicos and visiting tourists.
Adjacent to the iconic Pink Adobe restaurant, and historic and atmospheric Dragon Room (3-minute walk) is a very hangout in town for margaritas and conversation. Venture over to trendy Santa Fe Spirits Tasting Room (10-minute walk) to sample locally crafted calvados-style apple brandy, single-malt whiskey, and artisan gin.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Although it's functional rooms have zero personality and could stand a refurbishment, this '50s-era motor hotel has a terrific downtown location on the Old Santa Fe Trail, a good-size seasonal pool, and one of the best burger restaurants in town.