Roughing It Not Your Thing? Check into Santa Fe's Luxury Hotels

Photo courtesy of Fairmont Heritage Place
Photo courtesy of Inn at Vanessie
Photo courtesy of La Fonda on the Plaza
Photo courtesy of Hotel Santa Fe
Photo courtesy of Inn and Spa at Loretto
By Billie Frank, Santa Fe Local Expert

What makes a hotel luxurious? Ask five people and you’ll probably get five different answers. For some it’s the level of service including a concierge and bellmen/valets; for others it’s the décor or perhaps the bedding. Décor is an important factor as are bathrooms and their amenities; soaking tubs, walk-in showers and granite or marble double-vanity are considered de rigueur by some discerning guests. Ample closet space with robes for the guests’ use as well as oversized towels and even heated towel racks are important to many. In-room or on property dining with exceptional cuisine and service are also hallmarks of a luxury property. Santa Fe offers luxury a range of luxury accommodations ranging from the sumptuous, Silk Road-inspired rooms and suites at the Inn of the Five Graces to the southwest contemporary accommodations at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado. There are lots of options in between. Want butler service? Head to the Hacienda at the Hotel Santa Fe. Does a duplex penthouse call to you? There’s one at the Inn and Spa at Loretto. History buffs love the historic, refurbished La Fonda on the Plaza, a former Harvey House. Decide what features are important to you in a luxury property and call the hotels directly to ask your important questions. And ask about specific rooms – they’re not all created equal. Lastly, and make sure they lock in your choice. Which one on this list is best for you?

9. Fairmont Heritage Place, El Corazon de Santa Fe
Photo courtesy of Fairmont Heritage Place

If you're looking for a luxury home away from home for your Santa Fe stay, consider Fairmont Heritage Place, El Corazon de Santa Fe. This upscale property, part of the chain's Heritage Place concept, offers fractional and full ownerships rents a select number their condo apartments on a nightly basis. One and two-bedroom accommodations feature totally-equipped gourmet kitchens; living rooms with fireplaces, master bedrooms with kiva fireplaces and en-suite bathrooms with whirlpool tubs and walk-in closets. The larger units featuring a second bedroom and bath are perfect for families. All units have washers and dryers. While not a traditional hotel, the property offers hotel-style amenities such as concierge service and a fully equipped fitness center. Take advantage of El Corazon's innovative partner program offering guests discounts at several upscale restaurants as well as cooking schools, golf courses and spas.

8. Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder
Photo courtesy of Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino

Want the excitement of a casino combined with luxury accommodations? Buffalo Thunder Resort, north of Santa Fe, offers over 395 guestrooms making it the largest hotel in Santa Fe County. Owned by the Pojoaque Pueblo and operated by Hilton Hotels and Resorts, the art-filled hotel features Pueblo-style décor including furniture and art created by Pueblo members as well as other Native American artists and artisans, including renowned artist and former Tribal Governor George Rivera. An in-house curator oversees the extensive collection which includes bronze and marble sculptures, stained glass, pottery and baskets. There are nine suite-types, including the opulent two-story Governors Suite featured in an episode of the popular reality TV show, The Bachelor. The resort offers indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a spa, a golf course, a nightclub and, of course, the casino. There are seven dining options including the upscale Red Sage, known for southwest fusion cuisine.

7. The Inn at Vanessie
Photo courtesy of Inn at Vanessie

If you're a fan of intimate properties, the Inn at Vanessie, tucked away on West Water Street about a ten-minute walk from the Santa Fe Plaza, is an unexpected gem. The luxury boutique inn offers 18 rooms and suites, each uniquely decorated in the southwest style that The City Different is known for. Rooms, done in the rich tones that are synonymous with Santa Fe style, feature hand-carved doors and headboards, Frette sheets, hand-dyed and woven throws and rugs, original art on the walls and lighting on dimmers. Some bathrooms feature walk-in showers and one room has a soaking tub. Traveling with that special someone? The romantic inn is a great choice. Daily continental breakfast is included.

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

Want the ultimate in luxury in Santa Fe's most historic hotel? Opt for the Terrace Concierge Level accommodations at this Four-Diamond property. The 15 deluxe rooms and suites in this boutique "hotel within a hotel" with its own concierge boast wood-burning fireplaces and spacious bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs perfect for two. Amenities in the Terrace's public areas include an open-air hot tub, small fitness center, and outdoor terrace with magnificent views of the St. Francis Cathedral and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains beyond. Accommodations feature handmade furniture and rugs from local artisans, as well as luxury bedding. Turndown service each night and a welcome tray upon arrival will make you feel even more pampered.

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

If the ultimate in service and attention to detail is important to you, head for the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi. The recently refurbished inn, just steps from the historic Santa Fe Plaza, melds Santa Fe-style with a more modern, sophisticated aesthetic. Public areas from the restaurant to the library and living room with its wood burning fireplace are adorned with handcrafted textiles, paintings, carvings and baskets that reflect New Mexico's three main cultures: Native, Hispanic and Anglo. Enjoy morning coffee or light afternoon refreshment in the library or dine in the hotel's restaurant with its interesting fusion of Santa Fe, European and Argentinean cuisines. Experienced concierges assist you with dining arrangements, day trips and hands-on activities such as art and cooking classes or a trip to the Farmers Market with the hotel's chef. Nightly turndown service includes a cookie and a welcome humidifier for the dry climate.

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

Want to be pampered by a butler? Check into The Hacienda at Hotel Santa Fe. The Native American-owned hotel's exclusive 35-room and suite retreat offers butler service daily from 6am to 10pm. The specially trained butlers pamper guests and fulfill any need no matter how large or small. They'll unpack for you, press your clothes, shine your shoes, run errands or perform any other task to make your stay memorable. Guests will be contacted by a butler prior to arrival to discover what arrangements they may make in advance of your stay. Dinner reservations, activities, concert tickets or anything else you want to have arranged for you. A butler greets you upon arrival, gives you the lay of the land and is there for you for your entire stay. In addition, guests can partake of complimentary breakfast and a daily evening reception. It doesn't get much more luxurious than this.

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

Want to be out of town in the quiet countryside? Opt for Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado. The boutique property, about a 15-minute ride from the historic Santa Fe Plaza, seems like it's in another world. The 65 contemporary casitas offer fireplaces, private patios or terraces with views, ample closet space and over sized bathrooms. Each has a soaking tub, walk-in shower and double sinks in a granite vanity. The luxurious spa will pamper you. There's also a seasonal outdoor pool and well-equipped fitness room for guests' enjoyment. Terra, the resort's restaurant, takes fine food seriously; the Chef even has an organic garden right outside the kitchen door. Enjoy a sunset drink around the patio's fire pit or in the bar. The views are superb. Ride the Mercedes shuttle into town or arrange in advance to use a new Mercedes-Benz convertible or SUV while you're there.

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

This Four-Diamond hotel on the historic Santa Fe Trail is one of the most photographed buildings in the downtown area. Its distinctive pueblo-inspired design has makes it a favorite of photographers. The interior, designed to reflect Santa Fe style, showcases original artwork, much of which is for sale. Guests can retreat to the lobby living room and enjoy some quiet time in front of the fire. Note the detail in the hand-carved ceiling. At night when the bar is open, the living room is the perfect place for a leisurely cocktail or glass of wine. Rooms, with their red accent walls, differ. The different room types offer a range of accommodations and room sizes. Want to spend some spa time? Ask for a room adjacent to the private spa elevator and you can ride down in your robe in privacy. Luminaria, their in-house restaurant, is a great dining option.

1. Inn of the Five Graces

Santa Fe meets the Silk Road at the sumptuous Inn of the Five Graces. This Relais and Chateaux property, set on one of the city's most historic streets, offers discerning guests an experience like no other. Room decor is a mélange of antique and new, sourced from exotic destinations around the world. Soft featherbeds top each bed. It's been compared to "sleeping on a cloud." Sitting areas feature plush furnishings. Like baths? Choose one of the suites with over sized bathroom featuring mosaic walls, deep soaking tub, walk-in shower and spacious double-sink custom vanities. Unwind with a luxurious soak at the end of the day; you can even have rose petals upon request. Private courtyards evoke faraway lands. All rates include full cooked-to-order breakfast daily as well as a stocked fridge, Wi-Fi, valet and concierge service. From the moment you arrive until your departure, you'll feel pampered by the attentive staff.