Santa Fe's Best Hotels: Indulge Yourself with a Unique City Stay

Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Governors
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
Photo courtesy of Hotel Santa Fe
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
Photo courtesy of La Fonda on the Plaza
Photo courtesy of Inn and Spa at Loretto
By Billie Frank, Santa Fe Local Expert

Come for the clear blue skies and breathtaking sunsets. Stay for the history, culture and food. Travel back in time strolling down historic streets lined with Moorish-influenced adobe and acequias. Inhale the seasonal aroma of burning piñon or roasting chile and you’ll know you’re in New Mexico. From budget to luxe, there’s a place for you to stay. Downtown is the heart of the action. Places here can be pricey, but well-worth the splurge. The right hotel for one may not be the best for another; each hotel has their own niche. Choose carefully. Want romance? Opt for the Inn and Spa at Loretto. For over the tor luxury, book the exotic Inn of the Five Graces. Bishops Lodge Ranch Resort & Spais great for families and outdoor fans. Love big bathrooms? The ones at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado are big enough for a bed. Best bang for the buck: Santa Fe Sage Inn, Inn of the Governors or the retro, budget-friendly Silver Saddles. Summer is the busiest time of year. Book early. Insider tip: visit off season when there are hotel deals to be had. No matter when you come and where you stay, you’re never far from a magical Santa Fe experience,

10. Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins

Need to get a bit of work done while in the Land of Enchantment? The Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza, an easy walk to shops, restaurants, museums, galleries and the Plaza, is well set up for the business traveler or workaholic. In-room desks offer convenient outlets for all your electronic gear. There's also a business center if you need one. Set up in The Hilton Honors and VIP lounge on the 3rd floor and you can munch your way through that tedious work. They serve continental breakfast and afternoon hors d'œuvres. Light refreshments are stocked all day. Need a break? The seasonal pool with kiva fireplace and hot tub or the fitness center awaits. When you're ready to get out and about, museums, shops and restaurants (including the legendary Coyote Café and Café Pasqual's) are just down the street.

9. Inn of the Governors
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Governors

Get bang for your lodging buck and still be near the Plaza at the Inn of the Governors. Rates include free parking, Mountain Sunrise Breakfast, afternoon sherry and tea in the lobby as well as free Wi-Fi. Book directly with the hotel and you'll receive a $15 daily food credit to use in Del Charro, their in-house restaurant. Décor is traditional Santa Fe style. Traditional Rooms, in a separate wing, have outside entries. Superior level rooms and above, many with wood-burning fireplaces, have inside entrances. Treat yourself to a mini-suite with private balcony. The friendly staff at this family-owned inn is committed to meeting guest needs. Want nightly turndown service? Just ask. After a day exploring Santa Fe and beyond, dive into the year-round heated pool. Walk to shops, galleries, museums and restaurants.

8. Bishop's Lodge Ranch Resort Santa Fe
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins

Get your cowboy on at Bishop's Lodge Ranch Resort & Spa. There's fun for the entire family on 450 acres, once the estate of a celebrated archbishop and later home to the newspaper Pulitzers. Ride a horse, play tennis, shoot skeet or dive into the seasonal outdoor pool. There's always a lot to keep kids busy including the seasonal Kids' Camp and plenty for mom and dad to do, too. Tired of all the action? Relax poolside or at the spa. Summer brings cowboy cookouts to the sounds of live cowboy music. Accommodations run from rustic to luxurious hillside villas that occasionally house a recognizable face or two. Opt for Superior Deluxe level or above and request a sunset view. On a cold day, grab a libation from the main lodge bar and pull up a fireside seat. Christmas at Bishop's Lodge is magical. Don't miss the bounteous holiday buffet.

7. The Hacienda & Spa at Hotel Santa Fe
Photo courtesy of Hotel Santa Fe

Have you always wanted to be waited on by an English-style butler? The Hacienda, a boutique gem, has them; they're trained to meet even the most exacting guest needs. Nestled within the pueblo-style The Hacienda & Spa at Hotel Santa Fe, the city's only Indian-owned hotel, The Hacienda, is often called home by A-list stars shooting films such as A Million Ways to Die in the West, The Lone Ranger and Crazy Heart in and around the city. Which stars have stayed here? Mum's the word; just keep your eyes open. Hacienda rooms come with continental breakfast and daily wine, cocktails and hors d'œuvres in the spacious guest lounge. When you're ready to venture downtown, just call for the hotel's purple British taxi and away you go.

6. La Posada de Santa Fe, a Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa
Photo courtesy of Steve Collins

Love art? La Posada de Santa Fe, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa is the place for you. Walls at the self-proclaimed "Art Hotel of Santa Fe" are adorned with works by established American artists and they're all for sale - there's even an on-site curator. The newest addition to the Starwood Luxury Collection is built around an old mansion. You may even meet Julia Staab, the original lady of this 1880s house. Some say her benevolent spirit walks the halls at night. The quirky Santa Fe-style casitas, built in the 1930s and 40s to house artists, provide unique guest accommodations; many have wood-burning fireplaces. Six lush acres provide an urban retreat just blocks from the city's bustling Plaza. 'LaPo's' Staab House Bar is a popular spot to grab a drink and listen to music. In warm weather, the outdoor dining patio's the place to be.

5. La Fonda on the Plaza
Photo courtesy of La Fonda on the Plaza

Bask in the historic ambiance at La Fonda on the Plaza, the city's oldest hotel. Sitting at the heart of downtown at the end of the Santa Fe Trail, this former Harvey House hotel once served tourists traveling west on the legendary the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Entrepreneur Fred Harvey partnered with the railway to provide hotels, eating houses and even tours to exotic places including New Mexico pueblos and the Grand Canyon. The recently renovated La Fonda combines original vintage charm with 21st century amenities. Dine at La Plazuela in the glass-roofed courtyard or sip a margarita while listening to live music in the Fiesta Lounge. The seasonal Bell Tower Bar boasts magnificent views of Santa Fe's legendary sunsets.

4. Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe
Photo courtesy of Four Seasons

Savor one of the best sunset views in Santa Fe at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado. Commune with nature on 57 secluded acres and experience the grandeur of the high desert while surrounded by majestic mountain views. Book a second floor room; they're a bit more expensive, but worth it for the views. Unwind and pamper with one of the eclectic treatments at the 10,000 square foot spa. You may even spot a famous face there or in the bar while sampling a Stormy Orchard or the Manhattan Project, made with house-aged bitters. Like to cook? Book a private class with the Executive Chef or have the concierge arrange an off-site class in town. All this is a scenic 15-minute drive from the downtown Plaza. Reserve one of the complimentary guest Mercedes and head out to adventure.

3. Inn and Spa at Loretto - Destination Hotels & Resorts
Photo courtesy of Inn and Spa at Loretto

Embrace 'the art and soul of Santa Fe' at the Four Diamond Inn and Spa at Loretto. The stunning pueblo-style building embodies the spirit of Santa Fe. Cozy up in front of the fireplace in the lobby Living Room and enjoy a glass of wine, one of their signature drinks or a bite to eat. Dine in one of the intimate nooks at Luminaria or on their romantic patio in summer. The year-round outdoor pool is also a draw for kids as is the expansive Sculpture Garden. The interior of this 136-room hotel pays homage to the rich history of New Mexico with a mix of Indian and Spanish art and design. Handcrafted details are everywhere you look. Need to unwind? The serene spa embraces local healing traditions as well as traditional therapies. Explore the Santa Fe Plaza a mere block away.

2. Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi
Photo courtesy of Rosewood Hotels

The front patio at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi is a people-watching paradise. The top-notch bartenders serve stylish drinks to sip while munching on a Caprese empanada. This Four Star/Four Diamond inn, just around the corner from the historic Santa Fe Plaza, is a short stroll from Santa Fe's vibrant downtown. The 58-room boutique property is a haven for the discerning traveler who loves little touches like nightly turndown service. The lobby living room is perfect for an intimate dinner a deux. Oenophiles will love the inn's wine cellar. If you want to get out of town, the concierge can arrange a stunning balloon ride, a visit to a sculpture garden, a snowshoeing adventure or a day-adventure to Taos.

1. Inn of the Five Graces

Silk Road meets southwest at the secluded and chic Inn of the Five Graces, a top destination for the Hollywood set and other well-heeled folks. Decor at this mostly suite property is a collage of antique and new, sourced from exotic destinations across the world. Relax in the huge soaking tubs in the sumptuous bathrooms, treat yourself to a massage at the on-site spa or sun yourself in the private courtyards. If you can tear yourself away from this oasis, it's just steps away from the heart of Santa Fe and its fantastic shops, galleries, museums and restaurants. The exceptional staff at this Relais and Chateaux/Four Diamond property will arrange tours to ancient pueblos or set up authentic outdoor adventures that will thrill your soul.