Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Native American-inspired design and decor, with a focus on local art and culture
Perhaps the only building in New Mexico that has been photographed more often than the Inn at Loretto is the one that provided the inspiration for the hotel, the famed Taos Pueblo. The Loretto imitates the classic design of the centuries-old Native American community, featuring tan adobe walls, extruding pine beams, and a multi-tiered building arrangement.
The lobby is small, but appealing, with floor-to-ceiling wood pillars, colorful Native rugs, and plenty of local artwork. The adobe walls are whitewashed, giving the hallways a resemblance to the interior of a Spanish mission. Next to the lobby is the Living Room Lounge -- a big, charming space with a bar, tables, fireplace, and small library. Decor inspired by the local culture is everywhere in the form of baskets, pottery, carvings, and horned skulls.
More local flavor can be found at the hotel's indoor retail section, which includes a jewelry store, art galleries, gift shops, and an entrance to the Loretto Chapel, a gorgeous, Gothic Revival style church built in the 1870s that features the eye-catching Miraculous Staircase. Even The Spa at Loretto takes its inspiration from Santa Fe's distinct culture, as its extensive array of treatments include Native American-inspired rituals and the use of traditional herbs.
Out back, the pool is large enough for doing laps. However, there is no Jacuzzi. The surrounding lawn and gardens are quite pleasant, with lounge chairs placed underneath trees. Adding to the general romantic ambience are the church bells that ring every hour.
One block from the Plaza, within walking distance of shops, museums, and other attractions
The Loretto is located one block from the Plaza, putting guests within easy walking distance of the many attractions surrounding Santa Fe’s cultural hub. Guests are charged a daily fee for valet parking. No shuttle service is offered.
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.
The Loretto's 129 rooms and five suites offer a combination of luxe amenities and Pueblo Indian-style decor. The Native American look comes through in the dark wood furniture, white ceilings, and red walls -- some of which are decorated with zigzag patterns representing lightning bolts. A faux, kiva-style fireplace containing candles comes with some rooms, while real fireplaces are included in the suites. Hand-carved wood chests and furniture add to the warm, earthy feel, and teddy bears on the beds are a charming touch. High-tech features include 42-inch flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi -- many rooms also offer iPod docks. Balconies are available with most rooms and the views are stellar from the upper floors. Bathrooms have stone tile floors and porcelain sinks with old-timey charm, but almost no counter space.
Luminaria Restaurant is renowned for its “Conscious Cuisine” that is served up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Locally obtained ingredients are used as much as possible, consistent with the Loretto’s dedication to operating an environmentally-conscious hotel. The menu is seasonal and offers some organic selections. Outdoor seating is available during warmer months.
This upscale property has a long-standing reputation as one of the finer inns in Santa Fe. A historic chapel adjoins the hotel, the location by the Plaza can't be beat, and the decor is classic southwestern. Highlights include the stylish Luminaria Restaurant that is renowned for its fresh, organic cuisine, and The Spa at Loretto, popular for its varied array of treatments. Rooms have a warm, earthy feel and offer high-tech amenities such as flat-screen TVs and iPod docks, but some are on the small side.