We were on our third day of a road trip when we spotted the signature neon sign of the Historic Taos Inn. Just north of the downtown Taos Plaza, this 19th century adobe compound stretches nearly a block along a busy street. A National Historic Landmark since 1982, from its 2-story lobby to its quaint 44 rooms, this historic New Mexico boutique hotel is popular with both locals and travelers.
Adobe structures are as common as souvenir shops in Taos, New Mexico, located about 70 miles from Santa Fe and 130 miles from Alburquerque. Yet, the historic Taos Inn is unique with as it’s a cluster of 19th century adobe homes. Since 1936, the Historic Taos Inn has welcomed celebrities from Greta Garbo to Robert Redford, and once you step into the iconic structure, you’ll become immersed into New Mexico history.
From the 1800s, several adobe houses surrounded a small plaza, formerly the first downtown Taos. A community grew up here, connected by the center plaza, and when Dr. Thomas Paul (Doc) Martin moved to Taos, he became the first and only physician, purchasing the largest of the adobe structures in this plaza. Doc’s wife was known as a gifted artist, both known for hosting the Taos Society of Artists. The Martins purchased additional adobe buildings surrounding the plaza, and these were rented to artists over the years. When Doc died, his wife bought the last remaining property, and opened the Hotel Martin in 1936.
The adobe structures stretch nearly a block on the busy US-64 highway, a Taos downtown street also known as Paseo del Pueblo Norte. We entered what appeared to be an alleyway between the adobe buildings and drove to the back of the building, about a half block to complimentary off-street hotel parking. A sidewalk intersects the adobe structure and takes you passed several pods of accommodations and courtyard to enter the main building where the lobby is located.
A 2-story dramatic lobby stretches to the ceiling in southwest kiva-style architecture, often called the “living room of Taos.” The front desk is near the entrance of Doc Martin restaurant, southwestern influenced fine dining, and the lobby stretches the other direction to ta local favorite, Adobe Bar. Free live music is featured each evening.
Our check-in was almost effortless, with the exception of our keys. The keys are traditional and made in-house, and only one was made for my room. They had to have the locksmith create another one, which we received the next afternoon.
The main building is the oldest accommodations, with lower ceilings and (I’m told) smaller rooms. We were in the newest addition, behind the Sandoval House, in a section named Helen’s House (after Doc’s wife). Our rooms were located along the fence separating the hotel parking from the accommodations with a small, shared rectangular courtyard next to the fence.
The historic Taos Inn featured 44 air-conditioned rooms and suites, and each room was furnished with antiques and southwestern themed furniture and artwork. We traveled with another couple, and we opted for the convenience of rooms next to each other (not adjoining).
Helen’s House Room 407 was our home for 2 nights, with a king bed, cholla cactus wood furnishings, gas fireplace, sofa chairs, writing desk, and full bathroom.
Our friends stayed in Helen’s House Room 406. Although it was the same size, there was something about this king room with the reclaimed timber headboard that made it appear larger.
Both displayed local artists, and in our room, I became fascinated with the portrait near our bed by Taos painter Miguel Martinez. WiFi was excellent! Initially we had some problem with our TV, but maintenance responded promptly and reset the channel.
On-site, we enjoyed drinks in the Adobe Bar. Happy hour was Monday-Friday 4-6 pm with discounted drinks and food. The Adobe Bar offered a limited many including hummus, nachos and burgers. Fine dining was available Doc Martin’s, the on-site restaurant, with an extensive wine list, although we didn’t have the opportunity to dine there. Several locals told us we had missed out as the Doc’s Chile Relleno was the best in town!
Literally cross the busy Main Street in front of the hotel (Highway 64) and you’re in downtown Taos, with access to multiple restaurants and shops. Once you parked, there really was no need to get back into your vehicle unless you were exploring the Taos region.
New Mexico’s Historic Taos Inn was everything I could imagine. I loved the southwestern vibe, the adobe structure and the comfortable, king-size room. We took full advantage of our courtyard (patio), bringing drinks back to the table and chatting with our friends. We all agreed that we would return to explore more of the Taos region.
Accommodations courtesy of Historic Taos Inn. Photos courtesy of Taos Inn and Diana Rowe