Destination Guide

Santa Fe

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Santa Fe rises out of New Mexico’s endless desert landscape like a colorful oasis that teeters between over-the-top kitsch and expressive old soul. This is the destination that left a deep impression on American cultural influencers, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Willa Cather and Bob Dylan.

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Suite Bedroom at Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi, Santa Fe, American West

Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi

Located a stone’s throw from the Palace of the Governors, the fifty-eight-room Anasazi is within walking distance of pretty much every museum, restaurant and boutique the city has to offer. This enviable location, however, also means that the three-story pueblo-style hotel occupies a long sliver of real estate tightly framed by neighboring buildings, so views are nonexistent. The rooms themselves, however, are designed with such style and care for detail that guests don’t seem to mind.

The Inn opened in 1990, but when Rosewood took over the management in 2005 and then again in 2014, the company invested serious money to update and renovate interiors. The inspiration is the Southwest, as can be seen in the Navajo-pattern carpets and throws, comfy chaises covered in cowhide, wrought-iron furniture and intricately carved wooden doors. Every guest room has a kiva fireplace (gas, however, not wood-burning) and a spacious bathroom. There are a few lovely, serene common areas, including a library stocked with Southwest-related titles and two cozy drawing rooms, where guests can have tea and escape the bustle outside. A nice touch is the well-edited original art on display, all created by contemporary Santa Fe artists.

The Inn of the Anasazi is run by Rosewood, and consistently receives the best marks for service in Santa Fe; it does feel a touch more formal, and professional, than such properties as the Inn of the Five Graces and the Inn on the Alameda. The Anasazi Restaurant and Bar is known as being among Santa Fe’s best.

Aerial View - Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, Santa Fe, American West

Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado

Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado lies a fifteen-minute drive north of downtown, which is precisely its draw. Perched on a ridge on fifty-seven acres, Santa Fe’s most sumptuous resort is all about space: there are sweeping desert views, especially from the large pool deck; the massive rooms feature minimalist-chic decor; and the property fronts a 1.8-million acre national forest, so hiking trails are literally in your backyard.

There are sixty-five guest rooms (called casitas) and one-bedroom suites, all housed in two-story buildings scattered on a hillside. Casitas on the lower floors have an outdoor patio and an outdoor fireplace, while those on the upper floor have a more expansive view and a sizable terrace. Unlike that at many properties in town, the décor here shies away from the somewhat expected Santa Fe style, embracing a more understated sensibility. It’s as if the designers who settled on the light-painted walls, dark-wood floors and sleek furniture realized that anything more precious would clash with the natural splendor of the great outdoors. Loving details including soft throws and blankets, wood-burning kiva-style fireplaces and original art add color and imbue a sense of warmth. As you’d expect at a Four Seasons property, the high-tech features are seamlessly integrated: heated bathrooms floors, flat-screen televisions and docking stations. And nearly everything in the minibar (included in the room rate except for alcoholic beverages) is locally sourced, which imparts a nice sense of place.

The luxury of space is also striking around the common spaces, which include an elevated pool area, a state-of-the-art fitness center, movement studio (yoga and Pilates) and massive outdoor fire pit off the Lounge Terrace, where a nightly ritual involves S’mores making and stargazing. And the Spa at Rancho Encantado is an appealing destination even for those not staying here. For a place like Santa Fe, which has long been renowned as a center for the healing arts and alternative medicine, the small number of high-end spas is surprising. (Until Rancho Encantado opened, visitors had to choose between Ten Thousand Waves, the famous Japanese-inspired wellness haven, which has some great therapists but a less than luxurious setting, and the spa at La Posada de Santa Fe, which has garnered mixed reviews for its treatments.) With its well-conceived layout, including steam rooms, soaking pools and a gorgeous circular relaxation room, the Spa at Rancho Encantado is the kind of place where you want to spend serious time (and the therapists and treatments are top-notch).

Since it re-opened as a Four Seasons resort, Rancho Encantado has struggled a bit to draw locals and visitors based in the downtown area up to its lofty perch: it reminded me of Amangani in Jackson Hole, blessed and cursed in equal parts with a stunning setting that’s geographically and mentally removed from the heart of the destination. For its guests, the resort also offers a fleet of Mercedes that can be used free of charge for the half-day or day, facilitating day trips to nearby sites including Bandelier Park, Ghost Ranch and Georgia O’Keeffe’s Abiquiu Studio. I for one found the restful day and night I spent here a fantastic conclusion to my Santa Fe visit. After two days of the bustle of downtown, with its droves of tourists, long lines for hot-spot restaurants and ubiquitous commerce, the time of relaxation and introspection at Rancho Encantado was a welcome change of pace.


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