“Albuquerque has bed-and-breakfasts?” I heard that more than once while researching this article. Apparently, the charms of these properties are better known to those outside New Mexico than to in-staters. That’s a shame, as bed-and-breakfasts offer one of the most transporting lodging experiences around—a way to feel ensconced in a home away from home without any of the attendant chores and frets. They’re ideal for Albuquerque staycations, located minutes from museums, shopping, and outdoor recreation (or any of the farm-to-table outings mentioned in Cheryl Alters Jamison’s October feature, “To Market, To Market”). B&Bs are also great settings for mini family reunions, destination weddings, and girlfriends’ getaways.
When B&Bs came on the scene in the 1980s, their chintz-draped bedrooms and hot, homemade breakfasts appealed to travelers who were tired of the homogeneity of hotels and motels. Since then, vacation rentals, amenity-laden boutique hotels, and even spiffy Airstream parks have also become popular, but the charms of bed-and-breakfasts endure. They offer a particular escape from reality: Where else can I pretend that I’m in a Merchant-Ivory movie, or that I have a gracious aunt or uncle with a big house containing a bevy of guest rooms . . . who makes killer scones? The smell of homemade cookies often suffuses the common areas, and you can generally find some to snack on, beside carafes of hot coffee and water for tea.
Connection is at the heart of the B&B experience—hosts are invariably experts on their localities, happy to recommend just-right restaurants, museums, and shopping excursions. And for travelers who enjoy socializing, breakfast and wine-and-cheese hour offer plentiful opportunities to chat with guests and hosts. That’s not everyone’s cup of tea, which is fine. More cookies for me.
From historic downtown Victorians to a North Valley hacienda, homey habitations await. (Find more members of the Albuquerque Bed and Breakfast Association at abqbandb.com.)
Brittania & W.E. Mauger Estate Bed & Breakfast Inn
This Queen Anne Victorian, built in 1897, was the residence of prominent Bostonians W.E. and Brittania Mauger (pronounced major) from 1907 to 1923. Although the Old Town house is 116 years old, the décor is eclectic rather than chintz-and-doily. We stayed in the Exotic Suite (2C), which has an understated safari vibe; our second-floor bedroom, a former sunporch, is graced with multiple walls of wood-slatted windows. Prints of animals and maps decorate the furnishings. Other rooms have Southwestern, colonial, Provençal, or Asian themes; browse the website to find the room that most appeals to you.
Breakfast is served with a smile by owner Tamera Walden and her assistants, often UNMstudents. Dig into Apple Bacon Cheddar Bake or Breakfast Bread Pudding with Warm Berry Sauce . . . or perhaps a Southwestern Sunrise Soufflé dotted with diced green chile. All rooms have private baths. Adjacent townhouses offer more space for families and groups. From $99; (800) 719-9189; maugerbb.com
Bottger Mansion of Old Town Bed & Breakfast
Built in 1908, this rose-colored residence in Old Town is steeped in history (Machine Gun Kelly, Elvis Presley, and Janis Joplin stayed here). Archival photographs of early-20th-century Albuquerque line the handsome main hallways, each paired with a lively and educational caption. The Franz Huning Room, where we stayed, offers a relaxing palette of white linens, dark wood, and beige walls, and a private bath with a clawfoot tub and mini-chandelier. The high step-up bed and net-and-pearl canopy contribute to its romantic mood.
The innkeepers, Steve and Kathy Hiatt, are a pleasure to converse with (the perfect pretend aunt and uncle). They recommended great restaurants, and the breakfast they served (Green Chile Quiche and Blueberry French Toast Casserole) in the house’s enclosed front porch fueled our morning hike, and then some. Although the rooms are quiet, guests are just steps away from the Old Town Plaza, and guest parking is free. From $104. (505) 243-3639; bottger.com
An expansive, adobe-walled courtyard adorned with flowers, pools, Talavera tile, and bright furniture—that’s the first thing guests see as they enter this hacienda-style compound in Albuquerque’s North Valley. The spot-on Mexican vibe evident throughout the property can be traced back to the time owners Sue and Dick Percilick spent living in Quimixto, near Puerto Vallarta.
To accommodate our family of four, we chose Casita Delores over a room in the main house. Rosy earth-toned walls, brightly striped textiles, colorful tile, and a sconce filled with M&Ms comprised a festive ambience. A kitchenette, living room (with foldout futon), bedroom, and a cute outdoor patio with chimenea gave us room to spread out.
When the guests gathered for breakfast in the main house’s great room with exposed kitchen, anticipation mounted as Sue put the finishing touches on our meal: fresh fruit, pillowy French toast, and plump sausages. We all sat down at a long, vibrantly adorned wooden table, which encouraged conversation—we were soon swapping travel tips like old friends. (800) 214-9481; cinnamonmorning.com
Managing Editor Candace Walsh is the author of Licking the Spoon: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Identity (Seal Press). She’s on Twitter @candacewalsh.