Motels in New Mexico
Blue Swallow Motel Tucumcari, NM. Quite simply, the best lodgings of any kind I've ever stayed in anywhere. The Blue Swallow has everything a Route 66 motel should have: Friendly owners, immaculate rooms, beautiful decor, attached garages (many with elaborate murals in them), Southwestern architecture, a small gift shop in the lobby, architectural neon everywhere, and a world-famous neon sign out front. On top of all that, it's got vintage rotary-dial phones in all the rooms and real towels -- the big, fluffy kind like you have at home -- in the bathrooms. At night, when the neon is lit up, there's nothing more beautiful than the Blue Swallow ... except maybe the sun setting over nearby Tucumcari Mountain. Do not, under any circumstances, pass through Tucumcari without stopping for a night at the Swallow. Bonus: The owners are diehard Route 66 supporters with a passion for history. To make reservations, call (575) 461-9849.
Route 66 Motel Tucumcari, NM. Although it's not quite as flashy as its neighbors to the west, the Route 66 Motel is an excellent option for the budget-minded. Formerly the Royal Palacio, the Route 66 Motel features mid-century furniture; a sleek, minimalist lobby with a beautiful stone countertop; and all the usual amenities (free Wi-Fi, cable TV, etc.) Perhaps best of all, the Route 66 Motel has an attached coffeehouse called Circa that offers a full line of espresso drinks in a distinctly Mod setting. Motel guests can present their room key to receive a 20 percent discount at Circa. To reserve a room, call (575) 461-1212.
Roadrunner Lodge Tucumcari, NM. A relative newcomer to Tucumcari's Route 66 renaissance, the Roadrunner began as two separate properties -- La Plaza Court, built in the late 1930s or early 1940s, and Leatherwood Manor, which opened in 1964. The properties merged at some point, underwent multiple changes in name and ownership, and shut down for several years before new owners David and Amanda Brenner bought it in 2014 and began the painstaking task of renovating it. The motel now features 1960s-style decor and modern amenities, including 32-inch HD television. Highly recommended. For reservations, call (575) 282-7866.
El Rey Inn Santa Fe, NM. With its sweeping grounds, elaborate gardens, and luxurious amenities -- including a sauna, hot tub, exercise room, open-air fireplace, and complimentary breakfast -- El Rey feels more like an upscale bed-and-breakfast than a traditional motel. The rose garden is gorgeous in the summer. Not a budget motel, but very reasonable (particularly by Santa Fe standards), and the amenities and creature comforts make this historic Pueblo Deco inn a fantastic bargain. If you're taking the old alignment of 66 up to Santa Fe, do yourself a favor and bok a night at El Rey. You won't regret it. For reservations, call (800) 521-1349.
Monterey Non-Smokers Motel Albuquerque, NM. Gorgeous neon sign, clean rooms, and wonderful showers. Amenities include refrigerators and microwaves, in-room coffee, heated pool, and on-site laundry. Discounts offered for National Route 66 Federation members. All rooms designated nonsmoking. Wonderful place to stay. For reservations, call (505) 243-3554.
El Rancho Hotel and Motel Gallup, NM. A Route 66 institution, El Rancho bills itself as the "Home of the Stars" because of all the movie stars who stayed there while shooting Westerns on location in the Gallup area. Pets allowed. Amenities include a pool, lounge, gift shop and on-site restaurant. Hotel rooms are named after the celebrities who once stayed in them. The neon sign on the front of the building advertises the "Charm of yesterday, convenience of tomorrow." A must-stop. For reservations, call (800) 543-6351.