I was on a business trip with my wife, and we decided to make this as much as a vacation as possible. It has been a couple of years since we've been able to go together. That in combination with being there a week really gave us chance to enjoy the hotel.
You pull up to the front entrance of the hotel and you are warmly greeted by the staff. They immediately help you with your luggage and are very gracious. I did not use valet because the self parking isn't far, and it is free.
If anyone is near the front door, they will open it for you.
The lobby is quite beautiful southwest design. There are backgammon, chess and checker boards available for use. The doors on the opposite side open to beautiful views of the Sandia mountains. The lounge and the Corn Maiden (and some rooms) have that fantastic view. The resort is on the edge of some protected land, so it seems like you are out in the distant country even though you are not that far from town (maybe 5 minutes by car).
The check in process was very easy and efficient. The staff at this hotel is really great, as mentioned in other reviews. Since we were in for a week, I asked to see the different room options. The lady at the front desk was very helpful. She even took us to see the rooms before we checked in. The service worked and we selected an executive suite with a view of the Sandia mountains.
We both were tired and decided to have a light dinner in the lounge overlooking that wonderful view. They served western barbecue family style. Ribs, coleslaw, mac and cheese. They were all very good. The drinks were excellent also.
The room was quite nice. The bed was very comfortable. The furnishings and balconies were quite nice. The suite had a kitchenette in it that was more like a large wet bar. There was a full sized refrigerator but no stove or microwave. It was helpful for water bottles and coffee, but there was no place to reheat leftovers. It would have been nice if that was available.
The bathroom was smallish for a room of this type. The hallway leading to the main closet and the hallway was very large. You could have given away a third of the width to add more space and a larger tub in there (a whirpool tub would be perfect).
The only problem we had with the room was the television. The channel selection isn't great, but not a huge problem. The problem was with the reception. Some of the channels had a lot of white noise, and there were less channels on one TV than the other. I talked to the mechanic about the problems. He said that he could do nothing about the white noise, but he could fix the missing channels on the one TV. Unfortunately, the missing channels did not appear, and two more channels disappeared from both TVs.
The breakfast buffet provided in the Santa Ana cafe is excellent. There were a complete selection of southwest, continental, and even vegan selections. There was an omelette stand, but there were so many other interesting and tasty things to eat that I didn't even bother with it. The buffet is well worth the price.
On Friday night, there is a prime rib buffet. It has much more than prime rib. It is very extensive like the breakfast buffet. It is also a great bargain for what you get (I can't say that at most resorts!) It is much more than just prime rib.
We also ate at the flagship restaurant, The Corn Maiden. We sat outside. The food was excellent. I had The Range rotisserie, which included a chopped salad, green chile potatos au gratin, and sauteed vegetables. My wife had the green chile braised lamb shank with a side of of the roasted corn and sage risotto. Everything was flavorful and very tasty.
With that being said, there is one serious problem with the Corn Maiden. The music in the restaurant is terrible. They have a noisy selection of top 40 playing. Looking over the beautiful terrain, watching birds, wild turkey, and coyotes interact while eating a excellent meal would be perfect--except for the terrible music. No one was even able to turn the channel or shut it off. It was so bad that we decided to skip dessert to get away from the music.
The only other food issue is I wish there were another selection other than dark roast coffee. The Seattle influence has taken over the West. I wish I could get some light roast. I ended up switching to tea for the week.
The spa gave excellent treatments. They were expensive, really too expensive, but the staff was quite competent. I had the West Journey and my wife had the South Journey. The men's locker room and private hot tub, steam room, and sauna where well maintained and quite nice. The steam isn't quite as good as the Ritz Carlton Kapalua (haven't found one that is), but it was nice. The hot tub had a very nice feature where you could stand it 5 ft of water and have sets of jets move up and down the your body. This was really nice. I wish all hot tubs had this feature.
The only other negative was in the spa. It was lunch. The only place to eat was in an area that had an abandoned hot tub disguised as a rock garden. The place was paved in grey concrete stamped to look like paver stones. It reminded me of Alexanderplatz in East Berlin before the wall came down. There were a couple tables under some shade where we could eat. Lunch wasn't really served at the spa. They had you use room service (with all of its up charges). On top of the extra charges, the food was served in paper boxes with plasticware. It is bad enough to charge for room service in a public area of the hotel--but to upcharge and serve it and with disposable utensils. It was a big disappointment.
The other problem is the hot tub, steam rooms, and sauna are unisex. There is no place for couples to enjoy the facilities together. Here is an idea: take out "Alexanderplatz" and make it an area for couples to enjoy. At least put in a place where you can have a nice lunch. And STOP considering that eating in the spa is room service, esp. if you are going to serve lunch using take out boxes.
Still, the best part of this experience for me was the trail ride. What a wonderful place for a ride! The terrain is unbelievable! The stables are also excellent. The horse I had was the best horse for hire I have ever rode. He was a joy.
Overall this was a very good experience. I recommend this resort to anyone.
Sandia mountain view.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.