Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Loretto Inn and Spa Santa Fe

28 Feb 2011 by AndrewGough

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Loretto Inn and Spa was built in the late 1970s and is modelled on traditional pueblo-style New Mexican adobe architecture with curved mud walls and flat rooftops. Although there are three suites on a fifth level, the majority of the property occupies four floors. (Local building regulations are very strict.)

The hotel was given an US$7.5 million renovation in 2009 and offers guests high-end lodging combined with a rustic feel – think hand-woven textiles, beamed ceilings, kiva fireplaces, terracotta walls and Anasazi zig-zag motifs. There are good facilities for both business and leisure travellers including a heated outdoor pool open year-round, a spa 1,115 sqm of meeting space, and a superb restaurant.

WHERE IS IT? In the heart of Santa Fe, the oldest city in the US. It is located adjacent to the Loretto chapel on the Old Santa Fe Trail, which is a few minutes’ walk from the central square. Albuquerque airport is an hour’s drive away. Santa Fe can also be accessed by the new Rail Runner Express train service that started operations between the two cities in December 2008.

ROOM FACILITIES Bedrooms are stylish yet in keeping with the Native American theme of the property, with wooden headboards, patterned throws and cushions, ochre leather armchairs, dark furnishings and a palette of cream, black, brick red and terracotta. My standard Traditional room was of a decent size (about 30 sqm) but as there was only one window it was a little dark. However, there were nice views of the swimming pool and mountains in the distance.

All rooms feature wifi internet access, a workdesk, tea and coffee-making facilities, room service from 7am-11pm, flatscreen TVs, a minibar complete with mini oxygen tank (the air is thin at this elevation of 2,134 metres so people occasionally suffer form altitude sickness), a Bose clock/radio or iPod dock, a hairdryer and an iron/ironing board. Most bathrooms have a combined baths and power showers, plus robes, and Gilchrist and Soames bathing products.

The hotel charges a daily US$14 resort fee that includes free local phone calls, a daily newspaper, wifi internet access, and morning coffee to go. The entire property is non-smoking.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS The open-plan ground-floor Living Room (open 2pm-11pm) is near the reception and concierge desk, and is fitted with inviting leather armchairs, a striped black and red carpet, dark wooden beams and glowing fireplace. Drinks and snacks such as tortilla soup (US$9), and red chilli beef quesadillas (US$11) are available here, and a daily “happy hour” takes place between 5pm and 6.30pm.

Luminaria is the main restaurant (the food served in the Living Room is from the same menu) serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It has an indoor seating area for about 50 people as well as an outdoor garden patio, which is open May to October and has a delightful arbour above it entwined with flowers and trumpet vines. Come for a sunset dinner followed by a star-lit margarita by the open fire.

The modern American/south-western cuisine is top-notch and beautifully presented – favourites include warm tortilla chips with fresh salsa and guacamole (US$9), and the Santa Fe chopped salad with grilled butternut squash, green beans, black beans, carrots, cilantro, cotija cheese, mustard vinaigrette and either chicken or shrimp (US$10-15). When I ate there service was very attentive, friendly and welcoming, and given the chance, I would definitely go back.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILTIES There is a business centre on the ground floor that is accessible 24 hours a day by keycard and has three PCs and a printer in it for guest use. In addition, the hotel has five flexible meeting spaces (two of which have natural light) including the 263 sqm Chaco and 253 sqm Zuni ballrooms, plus the Hopi boardroom for 20 delegates seated. In fine weather, the Sculpture Garden can also be hired for events of up to 250 people reception-style.

LEISURE FACILTIES There is a range of boutiques and galleries on the ground floor selling (somewhat pricey) local arts and crafts, as well as a heated outdoor pool with sun loungers, although it should be noted that guests will need to put their swimwear on in their rooms first as there are no dedicated changing rooms.

The cosy ground-floor spa (open 9am-9pm May-October, until 8pm the rest of the year) sports a wet room with a Vichy shower and six treatment rooms, and offers guests an extensive selection of therapies including a signature massage and body polish with brown sugar and blue corn exfoliating balms and native desert sage oil.

VERDICT A well-located property in the heart of the city with excellent service and a must-try restaurant. Its decent meeting facilities and authentic Native American décor also contribute to making it a good option for smaller corporate incentive groups looking for a unique experience.

FACT FILE

  • HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 134 rooms including five Speciality suites and one two-storey Presidential suite. Superior rooms are about the same size as Traditional rooms but also have a balcony.
  • ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The comfy living area with coffee table and sofa, well stocked minibar, and unusual Native American-style décor.
  • PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in April started from US$170 for a Traditional room.
  • CONTACT 211 Old Santa Fe Trail; tel +1 800 727 5531; innatloretto.com

Jenny Southan

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