There are hotels closer to the heart of Santa Fe. There are newer, more amenitized motels. But nowhere will you find a motel that combines history, lush gardens & bend-over-backwards service like El Rey provides. Even though it is on busy Cerillos Road, once you get on the property you feel like you're on an oasis. The landscaping is exquisite, with little chairs & benches placed strategically about the property for your relaxation.
The rooms are on the smaller side, as one would expect from an old Route 66 motel, but they have expanded the bathroom area to be as large or larger than most contemporary motels. The breakfast is excellent, and you have use of the pool, hot tub, sauna, two & exercise facility. We generally take a taxi into town, then walk off our delicious New Mexican lunch/dinner by walking back - it takes about 35 minutes to walk to the Plaza.
We've stayed there once a year since 2007 & would never consider going anywhere else.