I really enjoy Santa Fe, NM. It’s one the oldest cities in the U.S (founded as a Spanish colony in 1610), has the United States’ oldest church and the oldest house. Santa Fe is nestled in the Sangre de Christo mountains and sits at an elevation of 7,200 feet, which means you may be short of breath and you have to take it easy on wine and cocktails (they say that 1 alcoholic drink in Santa Fe has the effect of 3 at sea level). It’s a short flight from Dallas to Albuquerque and then a quick 45 minute drive to Santa Fe, which is also quite scenic along the way. You can also fly direct from DFW to Santa Fe on a small plane, which we have done but I am not a fan of the small plane and I enjoy the drive up from Albuquerque.
One of my favorite hotels ever is the Inn of the Five Graces. The hotel is actually part of a complex of buildings built in the 1600’s and is owned by designers Ira and Sylvia Seret, who import exotic rugs, antiques, textiles and art and own a massive store in Santa Fe on Galisteo Street. It’s a Relais & Chateau property and while it is a splurge, each room is unique and like a mini work of art. Sylvia Seret hand tiles each bathroom in mosaics and no room is the same. We have stayed in Tourmaline and Birdsong and each room is a mini villa with separate living room (all have wood burning fireplaces), hallway, bedroom and bathrooms and Birdsong even has its own private terrace. The bathrooms will blow you away. Sorry for the poor quality but most of these are older iphone photos.
The hotel is right in the middle of Santa Fe, about a 5 minute walk from the historic plaza. While the rooms are pricey, the Inn does not nickel and dime you. Valet parking is free, a full breakfast (including room service) is free, there are free wine and cheese tastings in the afternoon and everything in your room minibar is also included, which is nice because we probably drink 6 or 7 bottles of water a day in Santa Fe due to the dry climate and elevation. However, some other great options near downtown Santa Fe are The Inn at the Loretto and the The Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi. About 15 minutes outside of town is the Four Seasons, which is a nice property and extremely quiet and peaceful but you are much more isolated and outside of town.
The great thing about Santa Fe is that the entire town is walkable – once you arrive, you don’t need your car until you want to do excursions out of town to go hiking or to the spa. Santa Fe also has some fantastic restaurants, both casual and upscale. My favorite upscale restaurants are Geronimo, The Compound, Restaurant Martin and the Coyote Cafe. The best casual places are The Pink Adobe, The Shed and the rooftop Cantina at the Coyote Cafe (closed in winter). We also love the Upper Crust Pizza for when we get tired of Mexican food which has a nice patio and live music several evenings each week.
New Mexico is known for its hatch green chiles and I love them – I could put green chiles on just about anything.Hatch chiles can be very mild, like a poblano, or they can be fiery hot. You never know until you bite into one. This past year New Mexico had very little rain and that made the chiles hotter than usual so be careful!
Santa Fe is also home to a large art community and the place to go is Canyon Road. It’s right in the heart of Santa Fe (5 minute walk from the Five Graces). You can spend hours walking Canyon Road and popping in and out of art galleries. On Friday evenings, the art galleries stay open later and offer a free wine/cheese option and many of the artists will be there in person to meet and greet.
There are also some fantastic spas nearby. We have visited the Spa at the Four Seasons and Ten Thousand Waves. The Four Seasons is about 15-20 minutes outside of town and while the property is nice, I don’t think I would stay someplace so far out of town because it’s isolated. The spa is also very small and was underwhelming in my opinion. Ten Thousand Waves is about a 10 minute drive up towards the ski valley and is a Japanese onsen style spa that has whirlpool tubs and soaking baths, both communal and private. This is my first choice for a spa day. Last month we had massages at Ten Thousand Waves and booked a private spa hot tub suite for an hour which was great. The spa suite had a large outdoor whirlpool, seating area, view of the forest and a cedar sauna. They have master trained masseuses and offer a wide variety of treatments, including Thai massage, which is my favorite. I also think their prices are more reasonable than the Four Seasons and you get better treatments/service.
During winter you can ski at Ski Santa Fe (about 20-30 minutes outside of town) or go hiking nearby. This last trip in July 2016, we drove about 1.5 hours out to Ghost Ranch in Abiqui to go hiking last month and it was gorgeous. Ghost Ranch is where Georgia O’Keefe lived and painted for many years and you can visit her old house and hike the surrounding area. Below are some views of Ghost Ranch and the Chimney Rock hike we did.
Santa Fe is a great place to visit for a long weekend though I could easily spend a week there!