My wife and I recently spent 6 days at the Encantado Resort (An Auberge Chain Hotel) located about 10 min north of Santa Fe. In looking at hotels, we originally planned to stay in the heart of downtown Santa Fe, but this resort, north of town, caught my attention. From the first contact (via telephone with the on site reservations person) it was clear this was an exceptional property. Courtesy of staff began with that reservations person and never fell below that high level.
We visited in the very "off" season, late Feb, and at that time of year, we felt we had the resort to ourselves. The first weekdays, I think there were no more than 4 other guests besides ourselves there. The temp during the day was in the low 30s, but we had mostly sun all but 2 days, and those days had light snow which was very nice. Bring a warm jacket, and if you really get cold, maybe gloves and a hat.
They basically have 3 room types, the pinion, vista and suite rooms (all of the above known as casitas. The pinion rooms have a limited view, being obstructed by either other buildings or bushes. The vista casitas, while including a view, do not all have the same type of view, as we discovered. Some of the buildings are oriented away from the "300 mile view" described by our reservations person. And depending on which room, your view can be partially clipped by the solid wall between units (usually there are four units per building, two upper units and two lower units). Your view is excellent if you go to the balcony and look out, but unless you are near the balcony doors you will not see the distant peaks above Los Alamos. So upon arrival, we were given one of the rooms that faced more north and did not have that amazing view we expected, and because the sun is low in the sky in winter, the room was not as bright as we hoped.
The bellman was very nice and offered to let us see some other rooms, but as we never really found one that was available with the view we wanted, he suggested the suites. Normally in winter, suites go for $700 a night, but we were offered a very reasonable rate and as this was a one time getaway for us, we accepted and were not disappointed.
The suite rooms are huge (maybe 1100 sq feet), with separate bedroom and living room, very large bathroom, large closet, safe, and a gigantic tub that fits two easily with complete submersion (and fills fast). The living room has a couch, chairs and fireplace. A fully stocked refrigerator has a great assortment of complimentary drinks such as soda, fruit juices, ginger ale, etc (restocked every day) and you can purchase the alcoholic beverages if you prefer. The bathroom floors are heated and the decor is first rate. Both the living room and the bedroom open via doors onto your own private balcony with chairs and an outdoor fireplace. Its a very romantic room if you can afford it! The look is very "Santa Fe" with 9 foot double pine doors to the bedroom. There are two bathrooms (a small guest type bathroom off the living room is a great feature. There are two large flat screen tvs, one in the bedroom and one in the living room,each with a DVD player, but the channel selection was very limited. I think there were 40 channels, of which 2 were music only. --however, we did not come to watch tv!
We had flown in to Albuquerque (via Southwest) and rented a car for the approximately 1 hour drive, but the hotel offers free daily shuttles to town every hour if you dont want to drive and park in Santa Fe. During winter, traffic is very light, but this would be a big benefit in peak season, as parking costs in the garages. I understand some airlines fly directly to the Santa Fe airport.
The room is so nice we spent several days without going off property. Speaking of the property, there is a spa and restaurant, pool (Closed in winter) jacuzzi, and exercise room. My wife had a massage, and she said it was very good. We also used the exercise room which had all Precor machines and plenty to keep 20 people busy (we were alone in there). The resort backs up to some type of natural reserve area, and we heard coyotes very nearby the first night (didnt hear them again). There was free high speed internet which worked every time.
The on site restaurant and bar is very nice. I highly recommend the lamb quesadillas and their chips and salsa in the bar. At the two nights we ate at the hotel restaurant, the food was fantastic and the service exceptional. In some restaurants, when things are slow, they tend to hover over you, but not so here. The wait staff was professionally trained and knew when to inquire and when to leave you alone. The chef came out to meet guests, which was a very nice touch.
I guess you can see a pattern to my review. The staff makes the hotel, and every single person we dealt with (from the bellman to the driver of the shuttle) were professional, courteous, and friendly.
Ok, you ask, no one is perfect, so what would I change? Well, the rooms use pine firewood and it was difficult to get a fire started (they give you newspaper and some log lighter "tabs", but still was hard at times). My wife does not like the smell of a fireplace, so if you dont like the slight smokey smell, you might want to not use the fireplace. The staff cleans it each day and it does not bother me, but I have suggested to the hotel to change to gas logs (the real looking kind of logs with the "ember" look as it will be easier on the guests and much easier on the cleaning staff. speaking of cleaning staff, they completely stock you with everything each day, including 4 sets of towels. They are really big towels too!
We had room service 3 times and the food was delivered hot and within 30 minutes and was excellent. But the only table to eat on in the room is a small round table with a built in bench seat behind it, and the chairs in the room are too low to eat comfortably, so I put a pillow on the seat to boost me up (I'm 5'10" tall). If you are going to be doing work in the room, you might want to have them bring you a regular height table chair.
If you like to get away from it all, this place is REALLY quiet. It was perfect for us. What struck us from the first was how quiet it was in this little canyon they call home. However, Santa Fe offers all that people come here for, including many fine restaurants, shopping, and historical sites like the Loretto Chapel and the mission that dates from the 1600s. A great italian restaurant in Santa Fe is Il Piatto. We were both very disappointed with the Georgia O'Keefe gallery and do not recommend paying $10 per person to go in. The gallery has very little of her work and was half taken up by another female artist whose work was not very good.
One of the days we went to the Santa Fe Ski Resort about 30 min from Santa Fe. I highly recommend this to both beginners and advanced skiiers as the mountain has lots of easy slopes, intermediate, and advanced stuff. At the time of year we went, we basically walked on all lifts and had outstanding weather. An afternoon pass was only $45 and rentals were $22.
Another day we visited the "Mecca" for all persons who have any interest in the WWII atomic weapons program or are history buffs: Los Alamos. Only 45 min away, the Bradbury Museum is a fascinating place to spend an afternoon while they make secret things on the mesa just opposite the town. Walk the streets were Oppenheimer and others walked after they designed the first atomic bombs. We recommend the Hill Cafe nearby.
We had a great time and plan to come back again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Under grand skies and infinite stars, rediscover your inner artist in our intimate escape from the ordinary – nestled in a high-mountain desert landscape, minutes from the magic of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Set in 57 unspoiled acres tucked gently into the Sangre de Cristo foothills, Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe is just 10 minutes from Santa Fe’s galleries, shops and distinctive architecture. The Resort offers 65 casita guest rooms and suites, each with its own fireplace and private terrace. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Encantado, An Auberge Hotel Santa Fe
- Encantado Hotel Santa Fe
- Encantado Resort Santa Fe