Originally, when we realized we’d be driving roughly 2,500 miles across country to move, we planned a journey out of it. We’d stay a few days in Flagstaff, a few days in New Mexico, a night in Oklahoma City, a night in Topeka, detour up through Iowa so I can claim my 50th state, then arrive in Tennessee via St. Louis and a long overdue visit to the Arch.
Very little of that actually happened.
First of all, do you know how freakin’ forever it takes merely to get out of California? 557 miles to be exact. So in our terms—which means a bathroom break every hour and a half like clockwork—that’s an entire day. We barely made it over the border before dark and spent the first night in the casino town of Laughlin, Nevada.
(Luckily, the day before we left, we had a going-away shindig with the family at SVV’s sister Lisa’s house in Oakland. That included a lot of good food, good company and—most importantly—Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey whiskey. Because no send-off to the South is complete without a dose of JD. We were mellowed out is all I’m saying.)
The second day of the drive was a much shorter stretch, from Laughlin to Flagstaff, Arizona. We had planned to make our base there for two nights, but after a stay at the Hotel Monte Vista went awry—read the first review by me, “krysleigh,” for more details on where not to stay in Flag—we packed up, relocated to the Howard Johnson—$15 a night for pets; can’t beat that—and continued on the next morning.
Then … we arrived in Albuquerque. As I mentioned before, we landed a room for two nights on Jetsetter for a song—I think it was around $70 a night, but I had $100 credit from signing up for Eater’s email newsletter so we only wound up paying $20 a night out of our own pockets—at Hotel Andaluz, and it charmed the pants off of us both.
Even without a flash sale, the rooms aren’t typically that pricey—around $90 to $100 a night—which just blows my mind. And just a heads up: I saw Jetsetter is running another Andaluz sale starting tomorrow. If you’re heading to New Mexico soon, sign up for the site so you don’t miss it!
In a completely random occurrence, I was talking to my mom as we pulled into Albuquerque and mentioned where we were staying. “Your sister and I stayed there for the Balloon Fiesta a couple years ago!” she said. “It’s probably my favorite hotel of all time. It’s not like it’s overly fancy; it’s just got a cool vibe.”
And I needed only to step foot in the lobby to see its Moorish architecture and giant mosaic-tiled hanging wall to get exactly what she meant. Everything about this place was darling. It’s a historic hotel with updated amenities, so while the building oozes Southwestern charm, the rooms are very contemporary in a sense.
While still having that signature New Mexico flair.
We ordered in-room dining from Lucia downstairs, and it was delicious. Downstairs, there was a bar and a library and nooks and crannies galore for grabbing a seat and just chilling out, but we camped out in our room and watched a True Blood marathon. You also can’t beat paying $20 a night for a room plus free Wi-Fi plus HBO.