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“Magnificent - Plus Here is the good, the bad and the ugly.”

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Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Mescalero
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Magnificent – Plus Here is the good, the bad and the ugly.”
Reviewed July 16, 2009

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.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
2 Thank EasyRover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Bethesda, MD
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 165 helpful votes
Reviewed July 16, 2009

We stayed in a one bedroom suite (815) for three nights in July. The suite was really great - it was hugely spacious. The living area had one half bath, a small bar area with a microwave, table, pull-out couch and chairs, TV, and balcony. The bedroom was very big, with a balcony, king bed, TV, closet, desk and very large bathroom. The bathroom also had a TV, and was always stocked with toiletries, as well as towels (and a little amenity kit for the bath, like loofah and bath salts). The suite was clean and replenished daily. Our only complaints with the room were that the air conditioning was very loud, and the mattress was in terrible shape (we notified management in a survey - I'm interested to know if it gets corrected).

We generally enjoyed the rest of the hotel. The gym was excellent. The casino was fun for a visit, but smoky, We ate at the breakfast buffet twice - no lines, I thought the price was not too bad, the food is okay - certainly not gourmet, but I don't really expect gourmet at a buffet. We checked right in, but I definitely passed the line when people were obviously waiting for a long time. The pool was sort of gross when we visited - with skin and shampoo floating on the surface. We ordered from room service once and it was delivered promptly.

The location is lovely, as are the hotel grounds. IT is a quick ride into Ruidoso.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank mgreene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
109 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2009

We arrived after check in time to be told we would have an hour wait because they had no clean rooms. We were not the only ones. Its remote location, which we feel is a plus, wasn't really conducive to travelling anywhere so we just waited. When we got to the room, it appeared ok, but my request for extra pillows and towels had been ignored.

We called for towels and pillows and they were assured, but never came. The person on the phone was really rude. We called for towels and pillows after we returned from dinner and towels eventually did get sent up. The next morning, I called housekeeping and asked, again, for pillows and some bottled water. Got pillows, no water.

For this supposedly being a 4 start or diamond resort, it is terribly lacking. From check in to check out, the personality of the employees is just stale. The smoke from the casino creates a thick haze and nasty smell in the hallways you have to walk through to exit or go to parking.

The last straw that made me never want to stay there again was what I saw on the second night when I was taking a bath. I had run scaldin gwater in the tub before doing so. Then, as I was sitting there, I noticed the base of the toilet was SO FILTHY, I thought I would throw up. It looked like it had not been cleaned EVER and I don't even have to tell you what was on it. I will NEVER stay there, again.

I agree with other posters. The buffet is very expensive and food quality mediocre.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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3 Thank familyfour65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Mescalero hotels

Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed June 25, 2009

Don't waste your money on the buffet. Lousy service and seafood. Extra for beer and wine and overpriced. Casino slots paid off though so it was a wash. Stayed at a bed and breadkfast - Evergreen - bit of a drive north of town but wow, nice views rooms, hosts, and a fantastic breakfast.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3 Thank JimGarHouston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new mexico
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed June 14, 2009

Location: absolutely beautiful
Golf course: very pretty (i am not a golfer but it looks good to me)
Wendell restaurant: very disappointing...poor service, slow service, so-so food
Check-on: took a long time
Buffet: very long lines around meal times
Casino: not a gambler, but folks looked like they were having fun
Rooms: run-down (scuffed furniture) but bed in suite was very comfortable
We wanted a lakeview...they gave us a room that overlooked the golf clubhouse...LOL
Exercise room is extremely nice...pool is so-so

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3 Thank tfirma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Mexico
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed June 10, 2009

Beautiful property, but obviously way understaffed. Had to wait in line for over 30 minutes to check in (1-1/2 hours after check in time). Then was told that we could check in, but room was not ready - had to wait until after 6:00 pm for room to be ready, then had to wait in line again to pick up keys.
They have bellhops to help with luggage, but they were all busy, and if you would like to use a cart and take in your own luggage, you're out of luck. It's a long walk from garage to room, especially after taking 3 trips to get all of your stuff - management - buy some more luggage carts and make them available!!!!!
Casino is tight, and self-service soft drinks are not available - have to wait for cart to come around - several times I had to go looking for lady with drink cart, as I felt like I was about to die of thirst. Players club is very stingy with comps and benefits.
Has a lot of potential, but I got the feeling that overall it is very poorly managed. For what the rooms cost, I expect more.

Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
1 Thank NewMexicoTina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed June 6, 2009

Could be my fault, but somehow from their site I had the impression this was like a 4-star hotel, which was why we were willing to fork out more than what we'd normally pay for a hotel. I'd give it 2 stars at most. As with most hotels, lobby is pretty great, with floor to ceiling view of Sierra Blanca Mountain and Mescalero Lake. Room layout is large, with beds set back and 2 not so comfortable chairs positioned in front of TV, with large bathroom. But carpet and furniture are worn, scuff marks on walls, stairwells between floors are dirty, parking garage is very dark with no sign of security anywhere. Check-in I knew was at 3pm, but we arrived closer to noon and were essentially told to come back. I asserted that we'd been told to just check upon arrival, and indeed there were rooms ready so we could check in. Pool is small, hot tub is large, but both look like they need to be cleaned, as does the waterfall (dirt in the water) on the outside of the Inn facing the lake. We rented a boat for a ride around the lake and ended up spending part of the time helping another group get back to the marina, since the youth running the area had not seen them waving frantically. Perhaps that was the issue - throughout the facility, from check in to boats to pool attendants, all were fairly young - could explain why from one day to the next the towels and shampoo bottle I left in a shower were never removed. Just had the sense that no one was cleaning up this place. Even the carpet on the major staircase that led down to the restaurant had some kind of large white fuzz on it that stayed for 2 days. We did not try Wendell's Restaurant, though it looked quite classy - with high prices to match - but did have a good breakfast buffet at The Gathering of Nations Buffet. Another restaurant that's advertised on their site, the Apache Tee, was very dirty - we turned around and left. I felt pretty disappointed in the stay overall and would not return.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1 Thank MJAL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino

Property: Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino
Address: 287 Carrizo Canyon Rd, Mescalero, NM 88340-9641
Location: United States > New Mexico > Mescalero
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Mescalero
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino 4*
Number of rooms: 273
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

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