A water feature on the private road that leads to Bishop's Lodge — Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
Turn into the treed drive leading up to Bishop’s Lodge Ranch Resort and Spa, and you’ll feel like you’re entering a private world. The verdant landscape here is a far cry from the high desert scrub you’ve left behind.
Not only do you get peace and quiet, but you also get resort amenities such as a pool, stables, tennis courts, a spa and even skeet and trap shooting.
It’s a perfect place for families looking for things to keep the kids busy. In summer and over school holidays, they offer kids’ camps and sports camps. Children can have a great time while their parents get some time alone.
The pool and grounds at Bishop's Lodge — Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
The adults can even head off for the day to shop, sightsee or gallery and museum hop – all the things that the young folks wouldn’t enjoy. It’s a win-win situation.
Bishop's Lodge is also a great place for corporate meetings and retreats, family reunions, girls’ getaways and weddings.
The historic inn offers 111 rooms spread over 15 lodges, ranging from historic to contemporary. Opt for Superior Deluxe level or above and request a sunset view.
A guest room at Bishop's Lodge — Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
If you want your own villa, they have eight set atop the mesa behind the resort. These luxe one- and two-bedroom residences have housed A-list stars, bestselling authors and just plain folk who enjoy living well.
Bishop’s Lodge is a place to get away from it all, a place where you can hike, ride horses or bikes or just sit at the pool in season and soak up the sun or play a round of croquet. In summer, they even offer cowboy cookouts on top of a mesa.
On cold winter nights, spend a bit of time in the living room in the main building. The fireplace beckons, and you can sit and read or play a game of cards.
The fireplaced living room in the historic main building — Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
This self-contained world offers a restaurant and bar for in-house guests as well as locals and visitors staying elsewhere. There are two main dining rooms.
The one that is accessed directly from the lobby living room has wonderful carved latillas (ceiling beams) and Mexican tin chandeliers. Vintage New Mexican art adorns the walls. This adjoins a west-facing room, offering expansive views of the adjacent dining patio and the resort beyond. It’s a great place to start your day.
The resort, set on 450 rolling acres, has a rich history. It was the former retreat of Santa Fe’s noted 19th-century Archbishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy. He was immortalized in Willa Cather’s classic novel Death Comes for the Archbishop.
Lamy, who hailed from France, named his estate Villa Pintoresca. This historic building, where he lived and worshipped, is still standing, and you can visit it.
Archbishop Lamy's chapel in fall — Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
The cleric was an avid gardener. Cather wrote, “Wherever there was a French priest, there should be a garden of fruit trees and vegetables and flowers.”
Besides vegetables, he planted an orchard with apricot, apple, peach and pear trees. Lamy returned from one of his trips to his native land bearing grape vines, which he planted on the property.
The vines, removed years ago, were believed lost. But they were rediscovered and returned to the resort in 2009. Today they bottle wine made from these heritage grapes; order a bottle with your dinner.
Bishop Lamy passed away in 1889, and the land passed to the Diocese of Santa Fe. In 1905, the property was sold, becoming home to a small dairy farm.
In 1915, the Pulitzer family – think newspapers and prizes – acquired it as a summer retreat. Three years later, they sold it to Denver mining man James R. Thorpe, who wanted to establish “a fine Southwestern resort." He named it The Bishop's Lodge. He and his descendants ran the property for 80 years. In 1998, it was sold again, and earlier this year, it was acquired by HRB Hotel Partners.
A cowboy cookout on the mesa at Bishop's Lodge — Photo courtesy of Steve Collins
With new ownership, changes are afoot at Bishop’s Lodge. The new owners have plans, which they’re in the process of finalizing.
“The vision,” says Richard Holland, HRB’s CEO, “is to combine elements of the historic original design with state-of-the-art luxury features that are culturally correct for this Santa Fe mountain retreat.”
He adds that the renovation will incorporate "indigenous materials grounded in the cultural language of the area, and will reintroduce the history, authenticity, charm and iconic nature of the old Bishop's Lodge to a broader audience visiting Santa Fe.”
If you’re headed to Santa Fe and want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Bishop’s Lodge Ranch Resort & Spa is the place for you.