Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A gorgeous luxury resort with a remote location in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Nestled in the cedar-studded foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains north of Santa Fe, the Rancho Encantado makes its gorgeous location a focal point. Lovely views can be had from much of the property, including Terra, the Rancho Encantado’s acclaimed fine-dining restaurant, the pool, and certain rooms. The hotel also has taken efforts to preserve the natural beauty of its setting; it is dedicated to retaining the original flora in the hotel’s grounds, and employed green practices in the hotel's construction.
As a place to escape the crowds and soak up the high desert, the Rancho Encantado is a good distance from Santa Fe (about 15 minutes by car), so any shopping or sightseeing will mean a drive. The Rancho Encantado offers a shuttle into town, and also provides a few new Mercedes Benz vehicles that are free to use. Guests should plan on reserving a car ahead of their stay in order to ensure availability.
There is plenty to do on-site, too. A nature trail offers runners and walkers a chance to immerse themselves in the desert, and the large heated pool takes advantage of the views. For art lovers who aren’t satiated by the abundant art that’s placed throughout the hotel, there’s a separate gallery. The spa emphasizes healing in its design, and its facilities includes saunas, outdoor Jacuzzi tubs, a serene warming room, and a circular main building design that mimics a kiva, the spiritual chamber used by Pueblo Indian societies.
The hotel lobby is tiny but expertly decorated with works of art and a painted concrete floor. An adjoining courtyard is big enough for wedding parties. Beside the lobby, Terra restaurant and The Bar at Rancho Encantado exhibit a modern, sleek look, and feature outdoor seating and a fire pit ideally situated for enjoying the sunsets.
In the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, 11 miles from Santa Fe
The Rancho Encantado occupies a lovely setting in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, about 11 miles north of Santa Fe. There’s nothing within walking distance beyond the surrounding hills, but a shuttle service offers rides to and from Santa Fe (until 10 p.m.). Also, the hotel offers guests free Mercedes Benzes for getting around.
Santa Fe means “Holy Faith” in Spanish and is home to about 70,000 people of varying cultural backgrounds including Hispanics, Native Americans, and Anglos. New Mexico’s fourth-largest city is also the nation’s highest capitol and its oldest: It was founded in 1607.
The “City Different,” as it’s known, sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet at the southern edge of the Rockies, in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Although the cool summer hiking and skiing in winter offer great reasons to visit, it’s best to keep in mind that the high elevation also means more stress for the body while acclimating. Most people become used to the thinner air after two or three days which means that strenuous physical activity will become easier and less dangerous if you wait a day or two after arriving in town. One more caution - one alcoholic drink at this altitude will equal three drinks at sea level!
The Spanish influence seen so often throughout Santa Fe stems from the missionaries who arrived in the 1600s to convert the local Native American population. Old missions such as the San Miguel can be seen scattered across New Mexico and offer a fascinating glimpse into the region’s history. Often times, these missions are located at or near Native American pueblos, such as Tesuque or Cochiti, which are home to the various Pueblo peoples. Visiting New Mexico’s pueblos offers a chance to interact with the locals, purchase art and wares, and gain a better appreciation of New Mexico’s rich history.
Today, Santa Fe is the nation’s third-largest market for buying and selling art. In addition to the many galleries at the Plaza and along Canyon Road, several museums including the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Georgia O’Keefe Museum (showcasing the painter’s long relationship with New Mexico) celebrate the creative spirit in Santa Fe.
Luxurious rooms featuring wood-burning fireplaces and patios; high-end bathrooms have radiant floor heating and deep soaking tubs
Rancho Encantado's 65 rooms are spread out in adobe buildings across the property, with entrances from outdoor pathways. There are only two types of rooms available: studio-style Casitas, and One-Bedroom Suites. Many have good views, but booking a Vista Casita will ensure one of the better views.
Rooms have high-end amenities, including robes, private patios, wood-burning fireplaces, and high-thread-count linens on the beds. Concrete and wood floors, Native American-style rugs, wood ceilings, and spare placement of local art, such as Native baskets and pottery, create a modern Southwestern look.
Bathrooms are huge and feature double vanities, deep soaking tubs, radiant floor heating, fossil rock counters, and glass-walled showers. Organic toiletries come in large, refillable bottles that eliminate plastic waste.
A heated pool with mountain views, a luxury spa, and free Mercedez Benz car rentals
Terra restaurant and The Bar at Rancho Encantado
Terra is an acclaimed fine dining restaurant led by Chef Charles Dale, serving modern rustic cuisine with some regional influences. It's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and has an outdoor seating area equipped with heat lamps. Sample dinner items include Kobe Beef Hanger Steak.
The 5-pearl, 65-room Rancho Encantado sits in a secluded spot a few miles north of Santa Fe with great views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Big, luxurious rooms are decorated in a modern Southwestern style, featuring concrete and wood floors, Native American-style rugs, and a color scheme or warm browns and oranges, as well as high-end extras such as radiant floor heating, wood-burning fireplaces, and private patios. The fine dining at Terra restaurant is rated highly, and the resort also features an outdoor seasonal pool, Jacuzzi, luxury spa, and even free rentals of a Mercedes Benz for the day. But some guests have complained of noise in first-floor rooms from second-floor foot traffic, and though the location is beautiful, it's a 20-minute drive from Santa Fe Plaza, the city's shopping and cultural center.