A rarity among Santa Fe's economical motels, this well-maintained, independently owned property is set not among the shopping centers along busy Cerrillos Road but rather in a quiet mostly residential neighborhood in the foothills on the east side of town, close to both Interstate 25 and Museum Hill. It's home to a popular New Mexican restaurant, and its 23 rooms are attractively furnished.
The relatively close proximity to a number of hiking and mountain-biking trails on the East Side make this an excellent option for outdoor enthusiasts.
Rooms are in a few single-story buildings set back from the road but overlooking parking lots. They each have windows in front and back, however, which let in plenty of light and in most cases allow views of the surrounding mountains and high desert. All accommodations are cheerfully and individually decorated with Southwestern blankets, tiles, and carved-wood furniture, and both studio and the even larger two-bedroom/two-bathroom casitas have full kitchens.
Bathrooms are more than adequately sized and outfitted, if not especially fancy, but exactly what you'd hope for from an older budget-minded motel. Colorful Mexican tilework and good-sized counters are welcome touches.
There's a simple lobby that's primarily just a place to check-in or ask the friendly staff for advice on what to do in the area. The best common spaces for relaxation are outdoors and include a park and play area and several benches set around the grounds.
During the warmer months, the outdoor pool is a pleasant spot to relax around—it's fringed by lounge chairs.
Open three meals a day and serving reliably tasty New Mexican fare, the roadhouse-style Pecos Trail Cafe is at the front of the property. The chile rellenos smothered in green chile are among the house favorites.
Both beer and wine are served at Pecos Trail Cafe. The wine-based margaritas aren't as good as tequila-based ones, but they're a decent substitute in a pinch.
This vintage motorlodge is set along a former stretch of Route 66, in a pretty but not especially central area. You'll want a car if you're staying here, as there isn't much to see and do within walking distance, and public transportation options are pretty limited. There's plenty of free parking.
Harry's Roadhouse (5-minute drive) is one of Santa Fe's most inviting venues for breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner. The eclectic menu features delicious egg dishes and pancakes in the morning, and tempting burgers, pizzas, stews, and salads—along with famously rich house-made desserts—the rest of the day. You can sample some of the best (Asian) Indian food in the state at stylish Paper Dosa (7-minute), which specializes in dosas (thin, rolled lentil-rice crepes) with creative fillings.
A great spot for live music and locally brewed beers, Second Street Brewery (6-minute walk) also serves tasty bar fare.
Although set in an unexciting shopping center, Loyal Hound (5-minute drive) is easy to reach from the inn and has an inviting, neighborhood-pubby ambience and a terrific selection of craft beers along with a nice wine list, too. A couple of blocks from Santa Fe's historic Plaza, Secreto Lounge (8-minute drive) serves some of the most interesting and well-prepared cocktails in town.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The care and attention the owners give this retro motel with great rates and a fantastic, peaceful location on the edge of the East Side foothills helps to set the Pecos Trail Inn apart from other properties in this price range. Nice extras include a well-kept outdoor pool and a terrific, lively restaurant serving authentic New Mexican fare.