Hotel at a Glance: Inn and Spa at Loretto
The AAA Four Diamond Inn and Spa at Loretto is tucked into the heart of downtown Santa Fe. But its dramatic facade appears to be carved from the desert itself, mimicking the adobe and stone pueblos scattered across New Mexico. Inside, the inn—which ranked among Travel + Leisure’s 2014 roster of the world’s best hotels—offers a wealth of upscale amenities, including Luminaria Restaurant and Patio, recipient of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for five consecutive years.
In the kitchen, executive chef Marc Quiñones skillfully transforms local, organic ingredients into Berkshire pork belly with bean ragout and “responsibly raised” foie gras french toast with honeycomb, pear, and blueberry. You can enjoy these in the elegant dining room inspired by Anasazi Native American history, or outside amid the patio’s draped tents and flowering vines.
- Optional add-on: a $50 credit for use at the restaurant or spa
- Enjoy a spa day: In the award-winning spa, staff members channel Native American healing rituals while pampering you with facials, aromatherapy, and body treatments. Take a dip in the heated outdoor pool all year round.
- Have a drink in the Living Room lounge, which features live music on the weekends.
- Room with a view: From your private or shared balcony, you’ll be able to see the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, St. Francis Cathedral, or the inn’s gardens. Each room is decorated with tasteful southwestern touches.
- Press mentions: New York magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, and Glamour
- Local oddity: Upon completion of the Loretto’s chapel in 1878, the nuns who prayed there realized there was no way to reach the second-story choir loft. After nine days of prayer, a carpenter appeared and built the tightly winding staircase that still stands, using no visible support and, as the legend goes, no nails. He then disappeared and was never heard from again.
Santa Fe, New Mexico: Old West Architecture and Fiery Southwestern Cuisine
Santa Fe’s vibrant mosaic of cultural influences includes pieces of Native American, Latino, and western traditions. You can get an idea of the city’s varied background by visiting Santa Fe Plaza, which has served as the city center for more than 400 years. On a walk through, you’ll see old buildings made of adobe, the red brick-like material that defines much of Santa Fe’s architecture. Centuries of colorful southwestern artwork are also on display in the New Mexico Museum of Art, which is located in the Plaza.
Fiery New Mexico Chile is the signature flavor at many restaurants in Santa Fe, which earned a place on TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Food & Wine Destinations in the United States in 2011. It’s worth it to sign up for a walking food tour of the area, which has sprung up with popular eateries, each offering its own spin on zesty southwest cuisine.
For more than 300 days a year, Santa Fe soaks in sunshine. Such consistently great weather, paired with New Mexico’s varied terrain, makes the region ideal for hiking and biking. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains have peaks that stand over 13,000 feet high, and they’re traced with trails that wind past picturesque meadows filled with Indian paintbrush, purple lupine, and undomesticated landscape painters. From late fall to early spring, up to 300 inches of snow falls on the slopes of the mountains, which offer miles of downhill-skiing and snowboarding trails.
Book a spring break trip for the chance to win a second trip!