The nicest of the handful of lodging options in and around the small city of Los Alamos, about 30 miles northwest of Santa Fe, this three-story cookie-cutter chain property is across the street from White Rock Visitor Center, from which free shuttle buses provide service to nearby Bandelier National Monument. If you're combining your Santa Fe explorations with trips to the many attractions north of the city, from the Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway to Abiquiu to the High Road to Taos, this is a reliable, comfortable base.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The hotel is outside central Los Alamos in the small community of White Rock, which means that although it's very handy to Bandelier National Monument, it's about a 10- to 15-minute drive from most of the area's restaurants, shops, and other services.
Decor and amenities are typical of other newer Hampton Inns, from the ergonomically correct work desks to the comfy armchairs with ottomans to the presence of handy features like mini refrigerators, microwaves, and plenty of strong Wi-Fi. Several extended-stay suites feature full full kitchens and separate sitting rooms.
Bathrooms have standard dimensions and features of mid-range chain properties. The WaterPik shower heads and curved showers rods give a little more roominess to the tub/shower combos.
Well-lighted and with high ceilings and photography of the local area, the lobby has a stone fireplace and a mix of armchairs and small dining tables. A small snack and convenience shop is open 24-hours, and a business nook has a computer and printer.
The Hampton Inn lacks a bar, but you can pick up wine and beer from the Smith's grocery store across the street.
A car is your best option at this motel located on a state highway outside the main commercial center of Los Alamos. There's ample free parking, and you'll need to drive in order to reach the area's key attractions, with the exception of Bandelier National Monument, which you can reach via shuttle bus from the visitor center across the street.
Cheerful Pig + Fig Bakery & Cafe (3-minute walk) serves well-crafted modern gastropub fare, including breakfast items in the morning and a much-acclaimed hot pig and fig sandwich (with honey-cured ham, Brie, and fig jam) available at lunch and dinner. There's a nice beer and wine list, too. In downtown Los Alamos, Blue Window Bistro (15-minute drive) turns out tasty contemporary American and Southwestern fare in an inviting, warmly lighted dining room.
Downtown Los Alamos has its very own, highly recommended craft microbrewery, Bathtub Row Brewing Co-Op (15-minute drive), which features strong lists of interesting brews, from Hoppenheimer IPA to Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout. At the upscale Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder (20-minute drive) resort, there's a good selection of bar and restaurants to choose from, including Iguana Café, where you'll find excellent margaritas and other mixed drinks.
WHY WE LIKE IT
It's clean and super-modern, with a perfect location for visiting Bandelier National Monument and the museums in downtown Los Alamos, yet it's still close to be a reasonably priced base for visiting Santa Fe.