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“Buffalo Disappointment” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder

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Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   20 Buffalo Thunder Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87506   |  
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Ranked #25 of 60 hotels in Santa Fe
Essex Fells
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Buffalo Disappointment”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

The website photos of Hilton's Buffalo Thunder made the resort look opulent and huge. When I arrived, I was surprised to find that the grand staircase in the lobby was half the size I expected and the indoor pool was quite small and harshly lit with bright floodlights. The photos seemed so much nicer. That's not to say that the place was not beautiful and elegant. I was just expecting more. The decor was very nice and obviously great expense had been lavished on all details. The front desk staff were very helpful and encouraged me to upgrade to a larger junior suite for my party of three. The room was beautifully furnished, but overlooked a vast parking lot. We were on the second floor and felt very isolated. We barely saw any other guests until Saturday night, when revelers were noisily partying in the hallways (for some reason) until 4am. The casino was disappointing--quite small and claustrophobic with low ceilings and the ever-present, pungent smell of cigarette smoke. I liked the location away from the hustle and bustle of Santa Fe and it was only a 15-minute drive into town. There was always free parking (or valet parking if needed). Also, Red Sage was a very nice restaurant and the Sunday dinner buffet was a big bargain. I never checked out the spa, much to my regret. All in all, a pleasant hotel experience. Maybe my expectations were too high.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hal L, General Manager at Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder, responded to this review, December 30, 2012
Dear Joel,
What a great review! Thank you for taking the time to share your recent experience at Hilton Buffalo Thunder and I must admit that I was initially concerned after reading the heading....Buffalo Disappointment. Hearing your impressions on our propety being "beautiful and elegant", your guestroom being "beautifully furnished", the Front Desk staff as "very helpful", and that our two restaurants, Painted Parrot buffet being a "bargain" and Red Sage was "very nice" spoke volumes regarding the guest experience. I was however disappointed to hear that our casino was disappointing in regards to its size, low ceilings and smoke smell. I have passed along these comments to our Casino Manager.
On another positive note, I was pleased to hear that our location "away from the hustle and bustle", was only a short drive into town.
Joel, thank you again for taking the time to write this review along with the separate review that you submitted on our Red Sage Restaurant, regarding your extraordinary dining experience there. I look forward to welcoming you back to the Hilton Buffalo Thunder on your next visit to Santa Fe and we'll make sure that you receive a room with a view of the beautiful mountains in this area.

All the Best

Hal Leonard
General Manager

Hal L
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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English first
San Antonio, Texas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

We have been to Buffalo Thunder many times. It used to be my favorite hotel. This trip has been somewhat disappointing. I am sitting in my room at 8 am listening to little kids running up and down the halls screaming. I was woken up several times during the night by noise. I appreciate that the hotel is kid and pet friendly, but I would suggest putting the pets and families with small kids near the lobby and the rest of us with older kids or no kids farther down the halls. It seems to me that would help with the noise.

Also, the food is not as good as it used to be. We have always enjoyed the Turquoise Trail but the prime rib is not that good any more. The burgers and nachos were very good. I went to the deli this morning to get breakfast burritos for my teenagers and they said their eggs are old and spoiled. I went to the Micah where they had eggs. So why no eggs at the deli? Makes no sense.

Last thing -- we used to get free rooms from the casino, but they have cut way back on the comps too. But i care more about the other issues than that.

I will definitely come back but hope things are a littler smoother and less noisy next time.

Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Hal L, General Manager at Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder, responded to this review, January 6, 2013
Dear Paula,
Thank you for taking the time to review your last visit to Buffalo Thunder, and I was disappointed to read that our property was "not as good as in the past". I have taken the liberty of passing on your comments to our Casino Manager regarding your poor experiences in the two casino restaurants, Turquoise Trail and the Pueblo Deli. I would also suggest that you reach out to him prior to your next visit regarding complimentary accommodations that you had received in the past.
We look forward to your next visit and I can assure you that we will address the issues that you have brought to our attention.

Sincerely,

Hal Leonard
General Manager
Hilton Buffalo Thunder
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Albuquerque, NM
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

Buffalo Thunder casino and resort opened in 2008 yet we have never had the pleasure of staying there. What a beautiful, clean resort with a very attentive and friendly staff. We checked in and loved our suite which had two fireplaces and a huge bathroom with a jacuzzi tub. The beautiful outdoor pool is closed in the winter, but it has nice indoor pool and hot tub. The gym is open 24 - hours and better than most hotel gyms. We had a great steak at the Red Sage fine dining restaurant. We spent some time in the casino, the staff and the patrons seem very nice, and they do have some non-smoking spots in the casino. We will definitely go back.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hal L, General Manager at Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder, responded to this review, December 29, 2012
Thank you for taking the time to post your glowing review of the Hilton Buffalo Thunder titled " A Great Place to Stay". I was very pleased to read that you found our property to be, "a beautiful, clean resort with a very attentive and friendly staff". It was also nice to hear that you "loved the suite, Fitness Center, Indoor Pool and Hot Tub" and that you and your family will "definitely go back".
Thanks again for the outstanding review and on behalf of our entire staff, I look forward to welcoming you back on your next visit to Santa Fe.

All the Best

Hal Leonard
General Manager
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New Mexico
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012

On a Tuesday afternoon my husband and I traveled to this resort to celebrate my 50th birthday. This place is in a very remote location North of Santa Fe. When we arrived, it was snowy and windy. As we pulled up to valet, no one came out to great us and there was no one to be found for about 5 minutes. I went into the hotel and a sad sack of an employee said "Do you need your car parked?' I said yes and we need our luggage taken to the room. She told us that she could not take the luggage but could park the car because they were understaffed. I told my husband and he decided he would forego the $8.00 per night valet parking fee. We unloaded the car there (they would not allow us to use a cart for our luggage) and then he went and parked the car while I went to the Front Desk. I waited 10 minutes for someone to show up to check me in. She spoke very little, no welcome to the resort, no offer of any information about what was happening at the resort. She just gave us our keys and said the elevators are on the right. Well, you had to walk down and around a corner to get to the elevator for the 'SPA' side. The hallway curved and you walked by the indoor fitness center/pool, the Spa stairwell, a small meeting room and then voila there is a little nook where the elevators are. We get to the room and it is a basic hotel room set up albeit with upgraded linens and furniture. The tv was small, there was no refrigerator (only an honor bar) and no microwave. The coffee maker is a joke. And the bedside clock time cannot be changed. It was an hour off the whole time we were there. We had a balcony that was not clean, chairs were soiled and there was no light out there. Also, the view is VERY bland....brown and white. No color whatsoever. The room was quiet and clean. Decent bathroom, nice towels, hair dryer and shampoo/conditioner/soap. Closet was nice size with a safe.

Going back to the hotel, there was very little decor around indicating that is was the hoiliday season. That was very dissappointing. Everything seemed very clean. The indoor pool is nice but could be very loud if there were alot of kids playing in there. The pool is only 4' deep anyway. The hot tub is clean but some repairs have been made to it that make it look kind of shabby. You have to hunt for the entrance to the pool as well. Not easy to find. The outdoor pool was closed due to the season.

The lounges and eateries are very nice looking but the food and drink are of average quality at a very steep price. Breakfast in Mica was $45.00!!! That was for fritatta, breakfast burritto, coffee and orange juice. We had brought a bottle of wine with us that I paid $4.99 for (yea, cheap table wine). The SAME bottle of wine was in the gift shop for $19.99. The prices in the gift shop will shock you. Make sure you have EVERYTHING you need before you go as there is no where within 10 miles to get what you might have left at home.

There is a huge amount of meeting space and would probably be a great destination conference site.

In short...we were there on a Tuesday night before Christmas. There were very few people there and most were older couples....did not not see any child. In general, the employees have a 'don't bother me' attitude about them. They are not wiling to step up and give information or make you feel welcome. Our whole experience here was just kind of blah. I will give kudos to Karan at the concierge desk...she had a lot of life in her and was very helpful.

I would not care to stay here again and don't recommend it.

Room Tip: Choose the SPA side on the 4th floor. It is quiet.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DOFOOJASON, Front Office Manager at Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder, responded to this review, December 24, 2012
Dear Guest,

We are saddened to hear of your recent experience with us here at the Hilton Buffalo Thunder. We are continously striving to exceed our guest expections and it appears we fell short with your stay and for this we sincerley apologize. Thank you for the invaluable feedback here as we have dispersed your comments to various departments. We can only hope for a return stay in the future. Please call me directly if we do get that opportunity as I would love to oversee your reservation.

Regards,


Jason Schliening
505-819-2100
Director of Front Office Operations
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Santa Fe, New Mexico
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2012

The employees at Buffalo Thunder are first rate. We upgraded and our room had a huge terrace and fireplace. The hotel was running a special that included a reduced rate for their buffet and free breakfast. We used the pool and fitness area which was clean and well stocked with towels.

Room Tip: Choose the upgrade to a terrace suite with a fireplace. The spa wing is quiet and you have easy acc...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hal L, General Manager at Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder, responded to this review, December 20, 2012
Dear Pam,
Thank you for taking the time to share your comments on our "First Rate Employees" and "Clean and Well Stocked Pool and Fitness Room". I was also happy to read that you upgraded to a suite and that you truly enjoyed the comfort that it provided.
I look forward to welcoming you back to the Hilton Buffalo Thunder again in the near future.
Happy Holidays!

Hal Leonard
General Manager
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Corrales, New Mexico
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012

We stopped by at the Buffalo Thunder for breakfast on Saturday morning 12/15/2012. We had tried for the breakfast buffet once before and missed it by a few minutes and thought that this would be a great time to try again.

I only wish we had not.

We waited to be seated, not a long time, but puzzling as there was plenty of seating. The group ahead of us was seated in the hallway outside the Mica. I had thought that may be nice.

We were not offered that choice of seating and no big deal. We took our seats and waited to be offered coffee or a beverage and asked if we wanted to order from the buffet or from the menu.
And we waited, and waited, and waited, for 15 minutes we watched as the staff marched by, and no one really looked our way.

I got up and started to serve myself from the buffet offerings, thinking when the wait staff did come, I would order eggs prepared as I wanted them, not the scrabbled eggs offered, and my husband wanted to wait for an omlette.

Eventually a waiter stopped by, brought coffee. Took our order. Coffee was not the best. Clorinated coffee has never been my favorite flavor. It was hot at least. And the only cup we would be offered. As bad as it was, that was no problem.

As we waited, we could see the staff was having problems. One waiter seemed over worked, the other waitress sighed deeply as she walked about as if the whole thing was just too much for her to bear.

As time past, more of the people like us looked more and more unhappy, some saying they had been waiting over 45 min to be served. Others asking if there really was wait staff.

The gentleman from the party ahead of is that was seated out in the hall way asked us if we knew where the coffee was kept so he could serve refills to his table and joked with me if he did find it could he bring us some as well.

A family of four stopped a passing waiter to ask if the food would be coming soon as he was not so much just upset with the service, but he stated he was just hungry and tired of waiting.

I thought maybe the customers at this point were to going to form a mutiny.

We paid the overpriced ticket, really, $15.99 for that experience per person was way out of line. I have had better service at a buffet for $5.99 at Denny's or JB's.

A shame to the Hilton name.

I am sad to say I don't believe we will be back. We really would like to stay here as we travel to Taos frequently and this is just the perfect stop coming from Albuquerque, but we won't subject ourselves to this comedy of horrors again in the future.

Thanks, but no thanks. There are many other places along the route that we will try in our travels.

We will soon find out if they can do better than the Mica. We certainly do not want to impose on the Mica to offer us any service.

Room Tip: Run from the Mica unless you have lots of time and don't mind being ignored and charged for the...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris I, Manager at Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder, responded to this review, December 19, 2012
Thank you for your recent feedback. I'm very troubled to read of your poor experience with breakfast on Saturday. Unfortunately we were challenged with service issues on Saturday that should not have been passed along to you, our valued guest. Please reach out to me at extension 2003 on your next trip through Santa Fe so that I can treat you to breakfast and try to mend the relationship. You did not experience us at our best and I would like to try to make it up to you and your husband. Please accept my apology, as well as that of our staff. We hope to see you again.
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Albuquerque, New Mexico
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
94 helpful votes 94 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2012

Not Travelin' Jack's first visit to the pet-friendly Hilton Buffalo Thunder Resort of Santa Fe. AND not the LAST. This is one of Jack's ALL-TIME favorite pet friendly destinations in New Mexico. And this holiday visit did not disappoint....again receiving Travelin' Jack's prestigious 5-Paws Rationg. Here's why:

1) Large Comfy Rooms with room for Rover to relax and spread out.
2) 2nd floor designated pet friendly rooms with outdoor patio access to courtyard.
3) LARGE public areas that are pawfect for walking through the beautiful resort with your pet (sure to get LOTS of attention from guests/staff/passers-by) ADDED BONUS!
4) Large Grassy Courtyard is outfitted for pups to visit with Potty Stations scattered throughout.
5) Pet Friendly dining/beveraging in the outdoor poolside patio area.
6) VERY pet-friendly staff.
7) Great room service dining if you prefer to dine with your dog in the comfort of your suite.
8) LOTS of outdoor hiking/walking areas around the vast and beautifully landscaped resort grounds.
9) Nice personal patio (with outdoor access from room) to lounge about in enjoying the beautiful views.

Travelin' Jack's parting words: "Yup-Pup. Buffalo Thunder Resort is one dog-dandy resort destination. Both People and their Pooches will LOVE Buffalo Thunder Resort....no dog-doubt about it! On my RECOMMEND list. "

Room Tip: Make sure to reserve your Pet Friendly Room on the 2nd floor. (the 2nd floor is actually ground lev...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hal L, General Manager at Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder, responded to this review, December 16, 2012
Dear Travelin' Jack,
Glad to hear that Hilton Buffalo Thunder is still your favorite Pet-Friendly Resort! Our entire staff is looking forward to your next visit. Thanks for all of your outstanding comments and the Five-Paw rating!
See you soon
Hal Leonard
General Manager
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Additional Information about Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder

Address: 20 Buffalo Thunder Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87506
Phone Number:
Location: United States > New Mexico > Santa Fe
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Spa Hotel in Santa Fe
#8 Luxury Hotel in Santa Fe
#18 Business Hotel in Santa Fe
#19 Family Hotel in Santa Fe
#23 Romantic Hotel in Santa Fe
#25 Top resorts Hotel in Santa Fe
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder 4*
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hilton Santa Fe Golf Resort And Spa At Buffalo Thunder
Hilton Santa Fe Golf Resort & Spa At Buffalo Thunder Hotel Santa Fe
Hilton Santa Fe Hotel
Santa Fe Hilton

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