On the west edge of downtown you’ll find the Queen Anne–style Mauger Estate (701 Roma Ave. NW, 505/242-8755, www.maugerbb.com , $129 d), a historic inn that fortunately has a light hand when it comes to lace—it gleams with polished dark wood paneling and floors. Luxe touches such as triple-sheeted beds and fresh flowers contribute to an overall feeling of elegance.
At Albuquerque’s nicest place to stay, you really feel you’re nowhere near the city. Los Poblanos Historic Inn (4803 Rio Grande Blvd. NW, 505/344-9297, www.lospoblanos.com , $145 d) sits on 25 acres, the largest remaining plot of land in the city, and a nearby public plot of 50 acres preserves wetlands and bird-migration routes. The rooms are tucked in various corners of a sprawling built in the 1930s by John Gaw Meem for city bigwig Albert Simms and his wife, Ruth McCormick, former U.S. legislators who contributed enormously to the city’s social and economic life. Murals by Taos artist Gustave Baumann and frescoes by Peter Hurd.
Main-house guest rooms, accented with Spanish colonial antiques and arrayed around a central patio, retain their old wood floors and heavy viga ceilings; a big sunny guesthouse is filled with colorful folk art. Guests are welcome in the extensive gardens and the organic lavender farm (the produce of which goes into the soap, shampoo, and lotion in guest rooms) and the community-supported agriculture (CSA) plots that take up much of the acreage. At the time of research, there were only eight rooms, but plans were in the works to add more. (Note that the majority of the rooms are in the $150–250 range.)
The heart of Cinnamon Morning (2700 Rio Grande Blvd. NW, 800/214-9481, $110 d, www.cinnamonmorning.com ), about a mile north of Old Town , is its lavish outdoor kitchen, with a huge round dining table and a fireplace to encourage lounging on nippier nights. Rooms are simply furnished, with minimalist Southwestern detail—choose from three smaller rooms in the main house, each with a private bath, or the guesthouse across the garden, which has a two-bedroom suite and another separate bedroom with a corner kiva fireplace.
Yes, it’s a highly standardized and fairly typical chain hotel, but the Best Western Rio Grande (1015 Rio Grande Blvd. NW, 505/843-9500, $120 d, www.riograndeinn.com ) is a better deal than the Hotel Albuquerque across the street, and it’s one of the cleanest properties in town. A free airport shuttle, a small pool, and laundry facilities are bonuses; request an upper-floor room for a bit of a view.
An excellent property in the rural-feeling Los Ranchos  district. Sarabande B&B (5637 Rio Grande Blvd. NW, 505/345-4923, $100 d, www.sarabandebb.com ) offers six rooms in three configurations. Choose from a skylight, brick floors, and a potbellied woodstove; a private garden and a gas fireplace; or a wood-burning kiva fireplace and a soaking tub. They’re all done in subdued Southwestern style. A small lap pool takes up the backyard, and a flower-filled patio with a fountain is the breakfast venue.