In a review this Spring I said Buffalo Thunder is “Magnificent.” This is a Native American casino resort near Santa Fe, New Mexico. After spending four nights there in late March, my wife and I spent another five nights at The Inn of the Mountain Gods in early April. I have to say this hotel is Magnificent - Plus.
The following review gives this resort a far better rating than many prior reviews. There are too many bad ones to discount them. However, there were also many good ones. The fact that we there off season and during weekdays meant that we got a good deal on the room rate and the hotel was sparsely occupied. I would guess that only 10% to 20% of the rooms were filled. It seemed that maybe 20% to 40% of the tables in the resort restaurants were occupied by customers when were there. That was mostly after peak lunch and dinner times. The restaurants get local traffic as well has hotel guests. Therefore, we might have received better service and even better food partially for those reasons. I do not doubt the negative incidents in many prior reviews. Our experience was primarily different and we would return again, probably, in an off season.
Very good and very bad prior reviews can be found for all seasons, so I am not sure that this is the determinate. Off seasons probably occur in the Spring and Fall, when there is no skiing, no horse racing, and little vacation travel there. January is also an off season in the travel industry. Significant promotional discount prices during these times would make a big difference in how guests perceive the value received.
The Inn of the Mountain Gods is a luxurious resort steeped in Apache culture. It is located in Southern New Mexico mountains right next to the small town of Ruidoso. The resort’s website will give you all the particular features offered, including the rooms, restaurants, golf course, skiing, swimming, fishing, hunting, hiking, gambling, horse racing (nearby), Etc.
THE GOOD – This is a four-star rated resort and I would say that is correct. We had an excellent room rate because it was out of season in early April. The down side of this is that the weather is extremely variable and many attractions of the hotel are not available. The mountain climate there in the early Spring and Fall can be severe, with extremely high winds and cold. That was the case for the week just before we arrived. The roads there were closed. However, by luck, the weather was mild during our stay (daily Max. Temp. 50 to 65 degrees).
The interior of this resort and its exterior settings are simply beautiful. See some pictures I have included with this review. The Mescalero Apache Indians were the last Native America’s to hold out against the encroachment of white settlers, ranchers and the U.S. Government on their lands. Their reservation is in beautiful mountain forest and meadow lands. Interior and exterior decorations and art works reflect Apache culture and traditions. When we arrived we were greeted by a group of five or six Apache drummers next to entrance statues depicting Apache dancers. The staff are Native American’s, except the persons caring guests’ bags to the rooms. Apaches will not do this job because they consider it deeming.
A tribal elder is in the lobby to answer questions about the tribe, its history, the reservation, and neighboring area. He wears a sash denoting his position. You must approach him with your questions, otherwise, he will remain there, with dignity, at his distance. He is not always there so use the opportunity to get inside information. There is also a concierge disk for the usual information on activities, sights, entertainment, restaurants, Etc.
From many prior negative reviews, I expected this to be a beautiful resort with extremely bad service. That was not the case, except in two respects. I will discuss them later under “The Bad”. In general, the staff was friendly, attentive, responsive, and proficient.
Our room was large and very well appointed. The pictures we have included do not do justice to the feeling of luxury in this room. The bathrooms were large, marble tiled rooms with great showers. All the related items were quality including the glasses. Note in one picture the long stemmed wine glasses. The other glasses were very suitable for drinking whisky or cocktails in style. There were two nice thick white robes for us to use (see picture). The beds and pillows were excellent. All in all, we felt very comfortable.
The restaurants we used were very good. There is upper-class fine dining, which we did not experience. We can travel a lot because we economize must of the time and splurge occasionally. Fortunately, the resort has an excellent and well-priced buffet for all three meals a day. In addition, there are even more economical and good meals available in a bar pub in the resort casino.
We enjoyed the area for its scenic beauty and old west historical background. Ruidoso has a nice museum of the west. It is near the race track and was previously the Museum of the Horse. You might also enjoy driving to Lincoln, which looks much as it did when Billy the Kid was there and killed two lawmen. It was the center of the Lincoln county wars, namely old west shootouts. Be sure to visit the largest museum there, which is a distance from the road and mostly behind another old building. The museum looks like a small commercial strip of stores. I can also recommend a drive to Cloudcroft, a small mountain town. In addition, do not miss an opportunity to see ancient Native American rock drawings in the little-known Three Rivers Petroglyph National Recreation Site. The so called ‘town” of Three Rivers is on U.S. Highway 54, 17 miles North of Tularosa. You might go to see the park when traveling to or from the resort. Three Rivers is just a few buildings, so it is easy to miss it. Turn off west on a road west on the road there and drive about seven miles to the park. This primitive park has about 20,000 Native American Indian rock-art drawings. A large number are easy to reach within a short walk from a parking lot there.
The hotel is at about 7,000 feet altitude and travels from sea level will require about two days to adjust. We live at about the same altitude. The altitude also results in a colder climate and there are veryhigh winds at times. The cooler climate is one of the reason people visit there from Texas and elsewhere in the Summer. It also provides skiing in Winter. However, it can pose unexpected problems in the early Spring and late Fall.
Although the hotels had a high vacancy the entire time we were there (Sunday to Thursday nights), we were given not so great rooms. I asked in advance for a quiet room when I made our reservations months in advances and again during registration on arrival. We were put on the 8th floor right next to the cleaning service room. Therefore, cleaning staff and carts were continually entering and leaving that room in the morning. This did not conform to my request and many other rooms were available. Fortunately, the cleaning staff was careful not to make noise. The room on the other side of us was not occupied. Therefore, our room turned out to be quiet, anyway.
The West Side of the hotel had a beautiful view of the lake and mountains (see pictures). However, all of the rooms on the East side of the hotel have views of building roof tops and air conditioning equipment on them (see picture out our room window). We asked to change our room to a vacant one across and further down the hall. The answer was “Certainly.” “Just pay us 25% more on the room rate.” There were not many people in the hotel and it would not have cost them one cent more for such small complimentary upgrade. Well, we seldom look out our hotel window, we would not use the room balconies on the west side because it was often too cool, and the cleaning service room next door was not a significant problem
Warning - This next problem could be very serious. It could result in losing far more of your money than at casino games. I filled out an application and joined the casino “players club” over the internet, months before I left on vacation. At least, that is what I thought was the case from a resort players-club email confirmation. When I got there the players club attendant said she need my I.D. and proceed to fill out a new application on the computer. That was fishy! She was copying private I.D. information into a computer record, including my birth date, license number, and expiration date. She said she needed this information and, I think, my social security number to report to the IRS if I win a jackpot. I am not sure about requesting the social security number because I cut off the application about this point. I said “If I win a jackpot, I will give you my social security number then for the IRS.” Birth date is not needed for this purpose. In fact, they do not need any of this information for the functions of a players’ club. This otherwise wonderful casino resort should eliminate this dangerous practice.
With such information, crooks can steal your identity. They can use it to obtain possibly: a driver’s lenience with your name and another picture and address on it, equity and second mortgage loans on your house, and all the funds from your bank accounts, brokerage accounts, mutual funds, and your retirement accounts. That is far too much risk, for a lousy play’s club card, even if a crook just gets part of this information which he needs. Crooks can search elsewhere for the rest. You can not control your I.D. information once they get it like this.
The casino and its players’ club need not be the problem. It could be anyone who can gain access to this information, including employees of the casino or of an outside organization running the casino or its players club.
There was nothing ugly about this resort. However, the above players’ club practice of getting your I.D. information could result in very ugly situations and ruin lives.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- EXPERIENCE A RESORT AND CASINO THAT IS ABOVE AND BEYOND. New Mexico’s premier mountain resort awaits with impeccable service, mouthwatering cuisine for every palate, incredible gaming action, and breathtaking alpine scenery to nurture your soul. Situated high in the picturesque mountains of Mescalero, New Mexico just outside of Ruidoso, guests return time and time again to Inn of the Mountain Gods to enjoy the clean mountain air, stunning panoramic views, and exciting entertainment options. Upon your arrival, you’ll be greeted by a stunning lobby featuring a sweeping view of the snowcapped mountains, lake and championship golf course. Guests have come to expect all of the little extras that come standard here at Inn of the Mountain Gods. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be enchanted by original works of art throughout the property, roaring fireplaces in the lobby, and a tranquil setting that makes the everyday world feel a million miles away. Beyond that, discover an endless variety of activities, entertainment and escapes to make it a getaway you’ll never forget. 273 LUXURY ROOMS AND SUITES, NUMEROUS DINING OPTIONS FROM A SIGNATURE STEAK AND SEAFOOD RESTAURANT TO A SCRUMPTIOUS BUFFET, 40,000 SQUARE FEET OF MEETING SPACE, 38,000 SQUARE FOOT CASINO, INDOOR POOL, A FULLY EQUIPPED WORKOUT FACILITY, SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING, 18 HOLE CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF COURSE, BIG GAME HUNTING, SKEET SHOOTING, HORSEBACK RIDING, FISHING, GONDOLA RIDES. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Inn Of The Mountain Gods Hotel Mescalero
- Hotel Of The Mountain Gods
- Mountain Gods Inn
- Inn Mountain Gods
- Mountain Gods Hotel
- Of The Mountain Gods Hotel