I never would have guessed that Crossroads Motel is so central; it's like the Washington Monument of ABQ, at the intersection of Central and 25. But interestingly, their prominent sign demanding a fee for pictures really put me off...at first. Naïvely, this requirement struck me as out of step with the rest of the city's embrace of the show; it felt very standoffish. But in just a few short days what I came to realize was that, well, people can be shit and not respect that many of the filming locations are functioning businesses and private residences. So in the end, I get why Crossroads puts up their barrier. When my wife came back from paying the fee in the office, she commented that the girl at the counter was very nice, to boot.
I'm very glad we ultimately stopped here. The Crystal Palace may not be as wholesome as Cold Stone Creamery, but I've seen worse motels.
De Anza features in one of BrBa's earliest sad sequences. In it, Combo gets killed, Walt misses Holly's birth, Jesse and Jane start using, and Walt let's Jane die. At the middle of all this is the first big deal with Fring, selling off what remained of the 40 lbs. cooked during "4 Days Out" for 1.2 million. The exchange happens at De Anza, which is very much abandoned and uninspiring, but not remote at all. Victor tells Walt to meet at a "truck stop, two miles south of Exit 13 on the 25", but De Anza is actually located on Central, right across the street from Guerrilla Graphix t-shirt shop, another ABQ DIY lynchpin. De Anza was completely surrounded by a fence and, oddly, seemed to always have security on the premises. Hence, the best pictures we could get came from across Central, directly out front of Guerrilla Graphix.
Note to come soon.
Located about 10 minutes south of town, Isleta's role in BrBa is slightly nuanced. It features as Jesse's rehab after Jane's death ("ABQ" and "No Mas"), but also as a safehouse for the Whites after Jesse douses 308 Negra Arroyo with gasoline. As such, I'm treating it as two locations. I'll talk about the jar spa in the "Other" section and simply deal with the hotel here, since the connection is never made in the show.
As a hotel Isleta is decent. It's something like the tip of a Vegas iceberg, about 10 minutes drive south of ABQ on the 25. The staff was friendly, but my wife had to fight our way into our room. While we were there they had some kind of work being done that forced the water to be shut off. This is fine, but they managed the communication poorly. When asked, they told us we could get to our rooms by 4pm. We checked in at that time, and then were told rooms weren't guaranteed until 7:30. We were offered a room without a balcony if we wanted to check in early. That's a bit absurd of a gesture, and my wife's exasperation-sans-anger persuaded the staff to get our room ready quicker.
Our room was good overall. It had a spectacular view to the West for sunset (thank God we didn't sacrifice this), and was certainly ample size. It's hard to comment on the deluxe room that the Whites stayed in. It was a set, and if grounded in reality at all, outside of our price range. The pool area--where Walt and Flynn share a pretty touching conversation--does not look like an obvious place to shoot (contrast to the jar spa, which begs for the camera). How cool this looked on-screen is another credit to Michael Slovis.