WHERE IS IT? Just a two-minute drive from Albuquerque’s popular Old Town district, this hotel is especially convenient for road trippers. It is just off of Interstate 40 and the famous Route 66 drive. Plenty of great dining options are within walking distance of the hotel, and the hotel offers a free shuttle to take guests who don’t want to walk in the heat. The shuttle will also take guests to the airport without charge.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Best Western Plus is part of Best Western’s large portfolio of independently owned hotels, and it features a more upgraded experience at an upper-midscale price point. These extra amenities were notable throughout my stay including things like all-day coffee and a lending library of books in the lobby, and Keurig coffee machines in guest rooms. Due to COVID-19 precautions, there were some adjustments to the hotel’s normal operation with the restaurant only doing takeout meals and transparent partitions separating the reception staff from guests. The bright lobby has New Mexico-style furnishings, which immediately gives you a wonderful sense of place. As you walk through the hotel, there are dozens of large-scale photographs and regional artwork that tell stories from across the state. It was quite entertaining to check them all out because it helped me to understand more about the Native American population here as well learn more about the city’s history.
ROOM FACILITIES Guest rooms continue the same theme found public areas with regional décor including beautiful wooden headboards, armoires, and mirrors. Each bed had four pillows, which was a great way to cocoon in my bed for a good rest. I liked the spacious work desk with ample power outlets, the Keurig coffee machine with Starbucks coffee, a refrigerator, and the fast and free wireless Internet. Bathrooms are bright and feature citrus-scented Pharmacopia toiletries. Best Western’s We Care Clean protocols were immediately apparent with sanitizing stations everywhere and diligent staff seen cleaning every surface of the hotel. I also appreciated that in-room cups for coffee were wrapped. For those traveling with pets, some of the rooms are dog-friendly.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS In normal times, Wild Avocado serves breakfast and dinner in the dining room, but I still wanted to sample the takeout menu. The menu was extensive, and I was drooling at all of the spicy chile peppers on the menu (New Mexico is famous for them). The New Mexico tortilla soup, house-made tamales and huevos rancheros looked so good, it was hard to decide what to order. There’s also a popular bar, which was closed during my visit, but it’s “Taco Tuesdays” make me want to return.
LEISURE FACILITIES A gym is open 24 hours a day, and a swimming pool and whirlpool look like a great place to relax. Unfortunately, it was closed during my visit, but the patio was perfect for an impromptu picnic.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES A business center is open to guests including the option to print boarding passes. Three ballrooms can accommodate group functions like meetings, weddings and other social events.
VERDICT In the heart of the Old Town action, Rio Grande Inn impresses, even during unusual times, with great service and distinctive New Mexico décor.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 173 rooms and suites
PROPERTY HIGHLIGHTS Southwestern-chic property with rustic wood furnishings and pops of color in modern art and regional photography.
PRICE Internet rates for a traditional room start at $84.
CONTACT 1015 Rio Grande Blvd NW Albuquerque, NM 87104, Phone 505-843-9500. riograndeinn.com