TAOS, N.M. -- Room 107 is among the cheapest rooms in the Taos Inn — $100 during our August stay and as low as $75 in November — but it’s fairly large and charming, with a pueblo-style fireplace, an antique wooden wardrobe, a large tiled bathroom vanity, a reasonably good queen-size mattress, a hand-painted headboard and a clattering evaporative cooler.
I could totally envision Greta Garbo staying here. Well, maybe she didn’t stay in this particular room, but the Taos Inn folks say she was among the hotel’s guests, as were D.H. Lawrence, Robert Redford and other big names.
Taos Inn is a rambling adobe motor court whose main house became home to the town’s first doctor, Doc Martin, in the 1890s. Martin and his artist wife bought nearby buildings and started renting them to artists and writers. The buildings opened as Hotel Martin in 1936 and eventually became the Taos Inn.
It’s rumored that the Taos Inn is haunted by the ghost of a guy who lived in the house next door and wound up getting killed and beheaded. Either way, the dog ate the head, or so my server at dinner said.
A block from Taos Plaza, this is a good stay where you can park the car and walk to galleries, shopping and Kit Carson State Park. October rates range from $105 for a simple room like ours to $250 for a courtyard king suite with a sitting room.
Appropriate for this informal town, the rooms aren’t fancy or any way contemporary, except for the flat-screen TV mounted on the wall, but their design speaks to New Mexico. Some rooms have air conditioners and others, like ours, have swamp coolers, which are highly effective. Ours chilled the place to an arctic degree, which, happily, is how we like to sleep. The loud clattering of the swamp cooler was a blessing, because our room was right next to the kitchen.
Unfancy and unhurried, Doc Martin’s restaurant is friendly and affordable, with entrees ranging from juicy elk burger with sweet potato fries ($14) to red-wine braised buffalo short ribs ($23). Our favorite menu item, though, is an appetizer: grilled rattlesnake-rabbit sausage with ancho chile-cherry sauce ($9). The restaurant’s breakfast is good, too, assuming you’re not in a hurry.
Perhaps the inn’s key attraction is its bar. Around 7, live music keeps margarita-sipping customers happy. The Adobe offers a menu of 14 margaritas. If you like a tart one, I recommend the Cowboy Buddha, made with Herradura Silver, Cointreau and fresh lime juice.
• Taos Inn, 125 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte, 888-518-8267; www.taosinn.com. Rooms from $105.