When Nathan and I did Guadalupe Peak
back in 2001, we stayed at a Holiday Inn near the El Paso airport the first night. Typical Holiday Inn, nothing to write home about, but convenient. We had a four-day weekend so drove up to Carlsbad Caverns and stayed in the "Cavern Inn" up there. Tacky but comfortable.
Carlsbad Caverns was worth every minute of the day we spent there...spectacular formations and a place I'd go back to again if I'm ever in the area. We were there in the fall, so the bats had already headed south for the winter or were hibernating in the cave, so no "bat tornado" in the evening.